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SyncThermology Blog

Equine Injuries

Monday, January 12, 2015  ‹ Back To Latest News List

January Offer!

Does your colt or filly have any joint concerns? Throughout January, Syncthermology will be offering half price full body scans for colts and fillies as part of our young horse awareness month. You also have the opportunity to win a full body scan for your colt or filly by posting a picture of them on our facebook page and telling us why you would like to win one.

There are many injuries which horses can incur, especially if performing at a high level. These can occur for numerous reasons and horse owners and equine professionals are continually looking at new ways to detect and counteract them. When used correctly as part of a veterinary investigation, thermography has been recognised as a useful tool in the early identification of musculoskeletal and neurological injuries, especially non-specific (and difficult to diagnose) lameness and is a strong clinical utility. Vets have also found it beneficial when monitoring response to treatment and recovery.  Thermography is unique in its capability to demonstrate the body’s physiological response to an injury ie inflammation, which can assist in localising the source of an issue or establishing whether a problem is behavioural or created through pain.  You can find a list of conditions at the bottom of our website home page, click on the condition for more information on how thermography can assist both diagnosis and rehabilitation in specific cases.

Causes of Equine Injury:

Patrick Hopgood of Hopgood Think Horse says “In my opinion most injuries come from poor conformation or bad training methods.  When I am looking at buying a horse, it doesn’t matter how good the breeding is or how cheap they are, if they do not have good conformation I will not buy them.  One of the main things I look at is the legs.  I want to see straight legs.  It is common to see horses with a turned in / out leg, this increases the chances of your horse breaking down.  It is a constant battle I have with clients, they see a horse they like, it’s bred well and is in their budget, I have to remind them that there is a reason this horse with this great breeding is in their budget.  I don’t like to see long pasterns on a horse; this is also quite common and can cause tendon problems later on down the line.  I have personally trained a few horses with quite poorly conformed legs, when I get a horse in like this I am very careful on how I train them.  I will NEVER work them hard, I don’t ever want to see them blowing/breathing heavy from working too much.  If you do there is a very good chance they will break down.  I will always warm them up for a little longer by going through my exercises.  I will also not teach them really difficult manoeuvres or expect them to perform at a high level as I know their body won’t hold up to this.  I have been very successful and have never had a horse break down from training.  I pride myself on this but am always very careful when working a horse with bad conformation.

The second biggest cause of injury is from over working the horse.  If you can keep a clear head when training your horse and realize not to try to achieve everything in one day you should not have a problem.  Most times when a horse is over worked it happens because of one of these 2 scenarios: 1) Someone not working their horse very often so their horse is out of shape then trying to achieve everything at once or 2) Someone getting too emotionally involved when training their horse. They become blinded by trying to achieve what they are asking rather than concentrating on what is going on with the horse’s body.  If your horse gets too tired not only will the muscles and tendons become easy to tear but your horse is not going to get/understand what you are trying to achieve as they will also be mentally tired.

I always boot my horse’s front legs, to protect the tendons. I like to use professional choice elite boots. However, there are other good makes out there. Boots work well if put on correctly and not left on all day.  If you leave the boots on all day you can do harm to your horses legs. The hind legs don’t need boots as the tendons are a lot stronger, if you are working your horse very hard at the highest level then I would put boots on the hind legs too.”

I start my quarter horses as 2 yr olds (some other breeds like warm bloods need to be left until they are 3 as they develop slower), I have done this for years and never had a horse break down from being started too young. However I never over work my horses.   I make sure I build up my rides, my first ride on a horse is 2 minutes long, this builds up to 5 minutes over a months period.  Over 3 months this then builds up to 15 minutes.  From then on I work them from 15 – 30 minutes.  The beauty of slowly building their work schedule is they build the muscles to carry you and get fitter.”