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SyncThermology Blog

Grand National Weekend Is Here

Monday, April 13, 2015  ‹ Back To Latest News List

Our latest blog is a lovely piece by our Durham based Technician Holly who has not only owned a National runner but also ridden at Aintree on National Day, Enjoy ......

A glint appears in a purposeful eye, arteries pumping hard, veins raised, supplying essential oxygen to every cell of a firm, sleek form. Weight shifts from quarter to quarter, springing elastic that bounces and bends. Impulses fire. Vital messages relay instantaneously. Each minutiae of the athlete's body is ready to perform it's task that months of unforgiving training has built to and all of this happens in each split second as the crowd goes wild. Wild as the instincts that drive the most magnificent of beasts to soar like eagles and plummet to earth like asteroids in the hope of beating the 30 fences that stand in their way. It's the Grand National. And it's the toughest of the tough. Preparation is key and without it there is no hope of crossing the line let alone being in with any chance of a place in the race, a place in history.

To prepare for such a task takes months of training and each and every team involved in this epic race has toiled continuously behind the scenes in the hope of reaching the final selection, in the hope of getting onto the main stage and proving themselves and their exceptional steeds. The horses of the Grand National must be in their best condition and when it is considered what is asked of them it is no wonder. That magnificent beast that flies through the air, then hurtles to earth only to take off once again weighs approximately half a tonne, which needs to be carried and sustained throughout the race. Landing heavily on the forelimbs, it is easy to see why so many racehorses experience such serious problems in their limbs, let alone the Grand National runners and why it is so vital to ensure that everything has been done for them to be in absolute peak condition. This weight along with the jockey and any additional weight which is required to be carried when the horse is saddled is propelled round the course at an average speed of 30.45 miles per hour. Without months of fitness training, jump training, psychological preparation, specialist dietary measures and staunch farriery and veterinary attention (along with an extremely large dose of patience and stubborn determination at each step of the way) this would be impossible.

Thermography is widely used in the equine field for ongoing routine monitoring as well as to assist in the diagnosis of many different conditions and injuries. It's ability to detect tendon lesions up to 2-4 weeks prior to the detection of structural lesions allows it to be of exceptional use when monitoring athletes and it's preventative nature can assist in the best outcomes being available for the animal in question. Also especially useful for other musculoskeletal abnormalities, back, neck and foot conditions, it is invaluable for ensuring that both pre and post race runners are not experiencing difficulties which may cause them to break down or to run unsuccessfully. The risk is not worth taking when so much effort is aimed towards a race. Syncthermology's clinical grade service allows our qualified veterinary team to read and interpret the scans correctly and it therefore uniquely assists in the provision of the best result for the horses. Should breakdown unfortunately occur, our service is noteworthy for monitoring recovery and due to it's highly cost effective nature, it is easily accessible for those on and off the track. Retirement from racing brings it's own 'hurdles' and with laborious careers behind them, ex racehorses need special care and attention to monitor their health and wellbeing as a new career or retirement progresses. We are here to assist with all cases and are happy to work alongside your professional teams during and following completion of our scans and interpretations as you wish.

So tomorrow is the Grand National and excitement is building with each hour that passes. Having ridden on Grand National day in 2009 and having taken on Bewley's Berry, an ex national horse following a very successful National career coming 5th in 2008, it is an event in the calendar that I refuse to miss. Love it or hate it, an appreciation for the dedication of the horses, their jockeys and their teams is hard to avoid...and of course the burning question is 'who will win'? As the great day arrives and everyone's preparation reaches it's pinnacle...a lot of the result must be attributed to luck.

We hope that all of the horses come home safely in 2015 and should anyone require any further information on our monitoring, rehabilitation and diagnostic services please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you for the welfare of your racehorse or ex racehorse.