Avoiding Injuries & Taking Preventative Action

22 June in Blog

Avoiding Injuries & Taking Preventative Action Injuries are inevitable. And even more so, unpredictable. Whether your horse is accident-prone or sturdy and sound, no one is immune. Successful owners and trainers not only acknowledge and accept that injuries are common and unforeseeable, but they take preventative actions. We recently broke down the repercussions of intense workouts in our outline of the Training Trifecta and how LARC TEST can monitor certain physiological factors to reduce the risk of injury. Despite knowing the threat (and cost) associated with such injuries, some have become so commonplace in the modern horse industry that there has actually been a decrease in emphasis on their significance. Take for example the case of damaged tendons and ligaments. Tendon and ligament injuries now comprise at least 46 percent of sport horse injuries. Moreso, in one particular study of British racehorses and National Hunt horses, superficial digital flexor tendon (SDTF) injuries accounted for up to 90 percent of tendon/ligament injuries. In addition to the initial veterinary costs of physical and lameness examinations and diagnostic ultrasounds, owners and trainers often face a minimum two-week rehab period for their horse. If the inflammation doesn’t subside and the horse returns to work too soon, the results can be disastrous. And yet, nothing is being done to help prevent these injuries that are now considered almost… “normal.” So instead of crossing our fingers and hoping the worst doesn’t happen, let’s take preventative measures. Kelli Taylor, DVM at Mindful Healing Veterinary Care in Bellvue, WA, notes that tendon injuries are preventable through...

Jockeying for Improved Equine Safety in Modern Racing

23 May in Blog

Jockeying for Improved Equine Safety in Modern Racing Preakness Stakes, highly regarded as one of the famed Triple Crown events, witnessed two deaths on Saturday, May 21. In what can only be described as devastating incidents, two horses died within the first four races of the day. While headlines raced around the world boasting Exaggerator’s win of the 141st Preakness Stakes, the death of nine-year-old Homeboykris and four-year-old Pramedya resonated deeply with racing fans, horse owners, and the equine industry as a whole. Pimlico Race Course, the second oldest race track in the U.S., is no stranger to death. A startling 31 horses died of injuries at Pimlico between 2009-2015, with more than 77 percent being age 4 or older, like Homeboykris and Pramedya. Homeboykris, a 9-year-old gelding who competed in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, won the first race of Saturday by a half-length. The champion barely walked 100 yards from the Winner’s Circle before collapsing. Despite trainer Francis Campitelli confirming Homeboykris was in good health, track officials believe he suffered cardiovascular collapse. Before Saturday, Homeboykris had run 62 races, winning 13 and securing a top three finish 28 times. Just two races later, four-year-old-filly Pramedya suffered a left front leg fracture and was euthanized on the track following her collapse. Pramedya’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, also owned Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby champion who shattered his leg in the 2006 Preakness. Though Pramedya was euthanized on the turf, Barbaro underwent surgery first before being euthanized eight months later after developing laminitis. Unfortunately, Homeboykris and Pramedya are...

The Training Trifecta: Heart Rate, Lactate and Respiratory Rate

17 March in Blog

The Training Trifecta: Heart Rate, Lactate and Respiratory Rate As owners of athletes, and often athletes ourselves, we all understand and have experienced the repercussions of intense workouts: soreness, tired or irritated muscles, tentatively-pulled tendons or ligaments, or even a sprained ankle. These injuries are typically a result of pushing ourselves too intensely over a short period of time – and often with little-to-no recovery. When we ignore our pain and continue pushing ourselves, we wind up facing more serious injuries. If we are guilty of overtraining our own bodies, is it possible that we might also be guilty of doing the same to our horses? Just like humans, horses feel the impact of their exercise on a muscular level, something that is easily forgotten since we cannot personally feel (or see) their soreness or internal injuries. But what if there was a way to understand exactly how your horse was feeling? Fortunately, there is. LARC TEST is a diagnostic tool that measures a variety of factors, including heart rate, lactate, and respiratory rate, in order to accurately assess the effects of a difficult workout on your horse. Using this data gathered, LARC TEST evaluates the physical condition of the horse’s heart, muscles, and lungs to prescribe the necessary recovery time and detect any potential injuries. Why heart rate, lactate, and respiratory rate?  These three physiological variables are the key communicators of your horse’s physical status. Heart rate, lactate, and respiratory rate do the talking and helps you understand what your horse’s body is saying. Understanding...

The Key to Faster Racehorses? Training with Technology

04 March in Blog

The Key to Faster Racehorses? Training with Technology Racehorses are getting faster. There is even speculation that the current Kentucky Derby record time (Secretariat’s 1:59 in 1973) could be beaten by as much as 1.5 seconds in today’s world. Alan Wilson, co-author of Modern Riding Style Improves Horse Racing Times, maintains there is no physical limit to how fast horses can get. Why are race times improving so much? What can be done to continue improving these times? A variety of reasons are at play; the horses’ genetics, their diets, the jockeys – and perhaps their training. Without proper technology designed to improve training, a horse can only improve its performance so much. As the racing industry looks ahead to the possibility for faster, more successful horses, an evolution in training technology is on the rise. Recent studies show how technology not only helps improve performance but also prevents injuries in horses. In 2014, there were 41,277 horse races in the U.S., and an increase in the incidence of fatal injury on turf by 27 percent. If horse racing is to continue this racing evolution, new technologies are necessary to safe and successful training. “Innovative technology is the future of training for horses,” says Cecilia Tula, Founder and Director of LARC TEST. “Measuring a horse’s training efforts in-field leads to improved race results, and LARC TEST allows owners and trainers to utilize a high-tech training tool to accomplish these goals.” LARC TEST is a mobile app that generates analytical training reports based on the horse’s heart rate, respiratory...

Your Horse Can Talk… Are You Listening?

16 February in Blog

 Your Horse Can Talk… Are You Listening? Have you had a conversation with your horse recently? Have you asked how he or she was feeling after their last workout? Were you speaking the same language? Most likely, the answer is no. Horses communicate in a language we don’t quite understand, even as experts in our field. While we strive to treat our horses with the greatest care, we don’t always grasp what the horse is trying to tell us. However, not listening to the horse means we don’t truly understand their performance and recovery needs. Horses are resilient and strong, always doing what is requested of them – even if their bodies are pushed to a near-breaking point. A horse’s silence doesn’t express what their heart has to say; what their muscles have to say; what their lungs have to say. Each of these physiological components has a story to tell us but instead, we accept the horse’s silence without question. It is necessary to listen to the horse in order to understand their needs on a deeper level. Once we understand the horse, we can move forward with an enhanced training program and achieve greater success. Horses can talk, and LARC TEST helps you listen. What if your horse needed just one more week of proper training and recovery to be in the best physical condition? What if, instead of overtraining your way to a last place finish, it took just seven more days for your horse to reach the next level needed to win the...