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Objective—To investigate the effect of exercise during yearling sales preparation on the risk of interruptions during training in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals—114 Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedures—Information regarding the daily exercise of yearlings during sales preparation was obtained prospectively from a convenience sample of stud farms. Yearlings were followed to entry into race training, and subsequently, daily training information was recorded until the end of the racing season. Competing-risks survival analysis was used to model time from entry into race training to voluntary training interruption (no known condition or disease identified) and time from entry into race training to involuntary training interruption (due to presence of a condition or disease) occurring before the first trial (practice race for education). Total hand walking time and mechanical walker time accumulated during sales preparation were the main exposures of interest.

Results—82 of 114 (71.9%) horses had an interruption before the first trial; 65 (79%) interruptions were voluntary, and 17 (21 %) interruptions were involuntary. Increased total hand walking time was significantly associated with decreased risk of voluntary interruptions, whereas longer cumulative distances at a canter were significantly associated with decreased risk of involuntary interruptions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results identified an association between early exercise during sales preparation and decreased risk of voluntary interruption and increased risk of involuntary interruption during training of 2-year-old Thoroughbred racehorses. Further investigation into the effects of early exercise on racing performance is needed, but results have indicated that there may be an opportunity to modify early exercise programs.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To compare regional proportions and spatial distributions of volumetric bone mineral density (BMDv) of the palmar aspect of the distal epiphysis of the third metacarpal bone (McIII) in limbs with or without a condylar fracture from Thoroughbred racehorses.

SAMPLE McIIIs from cadavers of Thoroughbred racehorses with (n = 6 bones) and without (8) a condylar fracture.

PROCEDURES BMDv and spatial distributions of BMDv in peripheral quantitative CT images of the distal epiphysis of McIIIs were quantitatively assessed with spatial analysis software. Relative proportions of voxels within 9 threshold categories of BMDv and spatial statistics for BMDv distribution were compared between fractured and nonfractured limbs.

RESULTS No significant differences in BMDv characteristics were identified between fractured and nonfractured limbs, although fractured limbs had a lower proportion of voxels in the BMDv thresholds 700 to < 800 mg/cm3 and 800 to < 900 mg/cm3 but a higher proportion of voxels in the BMDv threshold 1,000 to < 1,100 mg/cm3 for the central condylar region of the medial condyle. Results of spatial analysis reflected the response of bone to race training rather than differences between fractured and nonfractured limbs. In both limb groups, uniform clusters of low BMDv with areas of high BMDv were identified.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE BMDv characteristics of the distal epiphysis of McIII reflected training load, and fracture characteristics were subtle. Serial imaging techniques in conjunction with detailed training data are required to elucidate the onset of the pathological response to load in horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research