Evaluation of forelimb horseshoe characteristics of Thoroughbreds racing on dirt surfaces

Diane K. Gross J. D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Susan M. Stover J. D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Ashley E. Hill J. D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Ian A. Gardner Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To describe forelimb horseshoe characteristics of horses racing on dirt surfaces and determine whether these characteristics vary with region of California, season, horse characteristics, and race-related factors.

Animals—5,730 Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedure—From June 17, 2000, to June 16, 2001, the characteristics of 1 forelimb horseshoe of horses that raced on dirt surfaces at 5 major racetracks in California were recorded. These characteristics included shoe type; toe grab height; and presence of a rim, pad, and heel traction devices (jar caulks, heel stickers, heel blocks, and special nails). Horse and race information was obtained from commercial records. One race/horse was randomly selected.

Results—99% of forelimb horseshoes were aluminum racing plates, 35% had a pad, 23% had a rim, and 8% had a heel traction device. A toe grab was observed on 75% of forelimb horseshoes (14% very low [≤ 2 mm], 30% low [> 2 and ≤ 4 mm], 30% regular [> 4 and ≤ 6 mm], and 1% high [> 6 and ≤ 8 mm]). Forelimb horseshoe characteristics varied with region of California, season, age and sex of the horse, race purse and distance, and track surface condition. Loglinear modeling revealed that all of these factors were significantly interrelated.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Complex interrelationships among forelimb horseshoe characteristics and region, season, age and sex of the horse, and race-related factors need to be considered when evaluating the relationships between injury and horseshoe characteristics in Thoroughbred racehorses. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1021–1030)

Abstract

Objective—To describe forelimb horseshoe characteristics of horses racing on dirt surfaces and determine whether these characteristics vary with region of California, season, horse characteristics, and race-related factors.

Animals—5,730 Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedure—From June 17, 2000, to June 16, 2001, the characteristics of 1 forelimb horseshoe of horses that raced on dirt surfaces at 5 major racetracks in California were recorded. These characteristics included shoe type; toe grab height; and presence of a rim, pad, and heel traction devices (jar caulks, heel stickers, heel blocks, and special nails). Horse and race information was obtained from commercial records. One race/horse was randomly selected.

Results—99% of forelimb horseshoes were aluminum racing plates, 35% had a pad, 23% had a rim, and 8% had a heel traction device. A toe grab was observed on 75% of forelimb horseshoes (14% very low [≤ 2 mm], 30% low [> 2 and ≤ 4 mm], 30% regular [> 4 and ≤ 6 mm], and 1% high [> 6 and ≤ 8 mm]). Forelimb horseshoe characteristics varied with region of California, season, age and sex of the horse, race purse and distance, and track surface condition. Loglinear modeling revealed that all of these factors were significantly interrelated.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Complex interrelationships among forelimb horseshoe characteristics and region, season, age and sex of the horse, and race-related factors need to be considered when evaluating the relationships between injury and horseshoe characteristics in Thoroughbred racehorses. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1021–1030)

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