Common Horse Racing Injuries to Watch Out For

Injuries in thoroughbred racehorses are inevitable and a common occurrence among active racehorses. It is the side effect of training and even racing itself. It's why you must consider the horse's possible injuries as well as any injuries in the past before placing your bet. 

We have compiled the five common horse race injuries that thoroughbreds can acquire throughout their racing career. But, first, you must check out each of these injuries to better understand them. 

Flexor Tendon Injuries 

Flexor tendon injuries are horses' most common tendon injury, especially in eventers and racehorses. However, over-exertion or a field injury can also happen to any horse. It is also worth noting that British research conducted on tendon injuries in racehorses suggested that few thoroughbreds might be genetically vulnerable to tendon injuries. 

Because of this research, handicapping using horse pedigree is vital when picking a horse to bet on to know if your pick is vulnerable to any tendon injuries. The primary flaw is a central fracture of tendon fibers, which causes inflammation and bleeding. But you don't have to worry. Tendon injuries are treatable and will not end a thoroughbred's career as long as it is diagnosed early and the horse is given appropriate treatment. 

Joint Injuries 

Joint injuries are prevalent among racehorses that actively participate in races. Injuries to the horse's joints aren’t solely caused by running the race itself. Injuries can also happen during training. The most common joint injury you might encounter with racehorses are inflamed joints and arthritis. 

Thoroughbreds that have joint inflammation can be easily spotted as they will show signs of soreness, and their joints will be stiff. In addition, racehorses that are suffering from joint injury will display a decrease in their performance. 

These horses suffering from joint injury should take enough rest to recover in time for their next race. For example, if the horse is experiencing an inflamed joint, it should rest for 7 to 10 days without running. However, some horses might need a more extended recovery period, like one month, to fully recover. 

Muscle Soreness

Like humans, horses can also experience muscle sores when working out too much. It is because the horse overworks their muscles and strains them. Once the muscles are strained, it will be painful, especially when moving around. 

The horse's most significant muscle is located at its hind part as it gives them the needed drive during a race. But unfortunately, it is also that muscle that’s more vulnerable to strains when overworked. While this type of injury is most frequent in dressage horses, it can still affect any race horses that run a lot. Sore muscles are one of the most common types of injuries. However, that doesn't necessarily imply they should be neglected.

Bone Bruises 

Another common injury among racehorses that you should watch out for is Bone Oedema or bruises on the bone. It is an injury to the bone layer that adjoins cartilage to the weight-bearing joints. This bone layer is called the subchondral bone. Repetitive trauma on this bone area causes the blood vessels to bruise.

Although it's not as severe as a bone fracture, it still could cause hairline fractures. This injury could also involve internal bleeding and swelling. The most vulnerable to this injury are event horses and jump race horses, as they frequently happen due to the hard landing after the horse jump or if the horse is overworked.

Bone bruises are painful for the horses, requiring time away from competition and training. The horses who acquired such injury will require 3 to 4 months to heal. Any horse returning from a bone bruise in less than three months can have a hard time racing, so avoid betting on them. 

Suspensory Ligament Damage

Horses have a suspensory ligament that is broad, strong, and fibrous structure. It attaches to the back of the horse's cannon bone right below their knees. Its primary function is to connect bones and serve as a support. 

It divides into two sections that wrap around the back of the ankle and end at the front of the pastern bone that underlies it. This ligament's function is to help the ankle joint by sinking once a load is placed on it and then back to normal whenever the weight is removed.

If the suspensory ligament is overwhelmed, it can rupture, resulting in injuries ranging from mild to severe. If a few of the fibers tear can be minor, it can worsen with repetitive strain. Finally, it can progress to the point where the ligament ruptures or the bone fractures, which is extremely dangerous. Jump racing horses are especially vulnerable to this type of injury.

Final Words

Watch out for the five common injuries that thoroughbred racehorses can acquire from training or competition. Before you bet on a specific horse in a race, you should figure out whether that horse has an injury or has been from an injury.

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