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Taking Care Of A Race Horse

Introduction

Racehorses are some of the most formidable animals in the civilized world. They are specifically bred and trained from a young age for physical fitness and mental acuity, both of which help them run fierce races and win. Keeping up such a high level of performance requires a lot of care, something that we’re exploring today.

Knowing the caring process for a racehorse is important for owners and fans alike, as they give insight into how the animal will perform on the track. If you’re part of the betting crowd, you’ll want to scout out the competition and find the horse that you like the most, with the most caring and supportive team behind them. Check out the latest Breeders Cup odds when lining up your next bet.

 

General Care

The key to caring for a racehorse is careful observation of the animal and addressing any concerns that arise. For example, you’ll want to make sure the horse is eating their feed whenever it is presented to them. Catching physical issues early will lead to better treatment, recovery, and healthy and productive life as a working racehorse.

Racehorses aren’t just cared for; they are also trained. Training is necessarily strenuous, presenting the possibility of injury and other complications. It’s important that pacing is used when training or introducing other stressors to the racehorse’s mind and body.

 

The Mind

Before we get to the many physical considerations we have when caring for horses, let’s start with their mind. A horse can be a powerhouse of an animal but, if their mind isn’t sharp, then they’ll be disobedient or skittish when the starting gun fires. They won’t win any races if they haven’t been taught to win races.

Like many domesticated animals, horses must be taught positive reinforcement and kindness. Horses generally respond well to being talked to, even if they don’t know exactly what we say, and so it’s great when every member of a training team treats the horse with respect as if they were a pet or even a friend.

Taking this approach to horse training will also help mitigate medical concerns and accidents since the team will make the horse’s environment as horse-friendly as possible. Many horse injuries happen because of stress on the horse’s part too, which is reduced when teaching with kindness.

 

The Heart & Lungs

Racehorses need to have strong hearts and efficient lungs to sprint properly, as do all mammals. The hearts of racehorses are generally healthy because of how young they are and they are kept in good health by veterinarians and frequent checkups. They also suffer less from colic, especially where the intestines are kept in good conditioning through regular deworming and parasite control.

As for the respiratory system, horse trainers need to look out for bleeding, or EIPH (Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage), where a horse is pushed too hard. The abundance of ammonia in stalls and other horse dwellings can also promote diseases in the airways of horses, which must be managed to keep the respiratory systems functioning. Vaccinations against many diseases help to keep common respiratory issues at bay.

 

The Bones

While the organs of a horse are important, they also need strong bones to carry their weight and take the impact of a full sprint. This is where it is important to start racehorses young, where it’s easier to prepare their bones for the pressures of being a racehorse. This is typically at 2 or 3 years old.

One of the most important bones is the cannon bone. It is spherical at the start of a horse’s life but, through training while young, it gradually remodels itself into an egg shape in response to stress. If the front cannon bones turn tender, the horse’s shins will start to buckle and become over-stressed.

One of the most common issues with horse bones are chips, better known as peri-articular fractures in medical circles, where small fragments of the bones are knocked away. Many of these fractures can be helped with modern surgeries.

 

The Hooves

Just like the bones, the hooves carry a lot of pressure. They are the point of contact for the horse when they thunder down the track, so they need to be strong, healthy, and resistant to injury. They’ll need to be shod every four to six weeks, even if the shoes haven’t worn out, to maintain peak performance. Toe grabs are best avoided as they interfere with how kinetic energy travels up the horse’s legs.