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Training Science/Physiology/Technoloy

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Gay3 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 12:03pm
Check out these fascinating interviews with Skiing Olympian Bode Miller Smile










Edited by Gay3 - 04 Aug 2022 at 12:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 12:26pm
Super super interesting  Beer




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 1:00pm




reductio ad absurdum



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 1:12pm
Trying to work out the order of these videos on Youtube Evil Smile





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 1:13pm
1st





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 1:23pm




reductio ad absurdum



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carioca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 1:46pm
I wonder where this man will be in 10 years time, he appears to be very wealthy and full of ideas, the way Mother Nature and genetics have designed the thoroughbred they won't go much faster but if the cheats get their grubby hands on certain drugs they will go faster further if that's understandable , just like the F1 the more you stoke the boiler the quicker they will implode, they are not designed for that , a fit , well, healthy thoroughbred will race to his optimum if circumstances allow, I'm for progress, and change, but not for change sake.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bi Carb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 6:21pm
Originally posted by Carioca Carioca wrote:

I wonder where this man will be in 10 years time, he appears to be very wealthy and full of ideas, the way Mother Nature and genetics have designed the thoroughbred they won't go much faster but if the cheats get their grubby hands on certain drugs they will go faster further if that's understandable , just like the F1 the more you stoke the boiler the quicker they will implode, they are not designed for that , a fit , well, healthy thoroughbred will race to his optimum if circumstances allow, I'm for progress, and change, but not for change sake.
 
Corrrect
These know alls arent horsemen.
You can read computer print outs til your arse bleeds , isnt much use to you if the horse hasnt eaten for a week because the heavy workload is crushing him.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 6:25pm
Originally posted by Bi Carb Bi Carb wrote:

Originally posted by Carioca Carioca wrote:

I wonder where this man will be in 10 years time, he appears to be very wealthy and full of ideas, the way Mother Nature and genetics have designed the thoroughbred they won't go much faster but if the cheats get their grubby hands on certain drugs they will go faster further if that's understandable , just like the F1 the more you stoke the boiler the quicker they will implode, they are not designed for that , a fit , well, healthy thoroughbred will race to his optimum if circumstances allow, I'm for progress, and change, but not for change sake.
 
Corrrect
These know alls arent horsemen.
You can read computer print outs til your arse bleeds , isnt much use to you if the horse hasnt eaten for a week because the heavy workload is crushing him.
 

I am not sure you have really listened to what he has to say.

If you have, I fail to see how you can come to that conclusion ?






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlackKnight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2017 at 8:15pm
Originally posted by Carioca Carioca wrote:

I wonder where this man will be in 10 years time, he appears to be very wealthy and full of ideas, the way Mother Nature and genetics have designed the thoroughbred they won't go much faster but if the cheats get their grubby hands on certain drugs they will go faster further if that's understandable , just like the F1 the more you stoke the boiler the quicker they will implode, they are not designed for that , a fit , well, healthy thoroughbred will race to his optimum if circumstances allow, I'm for progress, and change, but not for change sake.


Bode Miller knows plenty about drugs, both legal and otherwise.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2018 at 12:32pm
This is why I hate seeing 'let up..............40 - 60 odd days', physiologically & anatomically it's nowhere near sufficient time for complete healing Cry

https://horsetalk.co.nz/2018/01/26/current-training-regimes-legs-racehorses/#BVzTZIPAaRSQw6Xh.99


Current training regimes may be too hard on the legs of racehorses, findings suggest




Microscopic fractures were found in the front leg bones of nearly all the euthanized racehorses used in a recent Australian study, including those whose deaths had not resulted from a catastrophic fracture.

The study team found a telling trend in the bone damage they saw in the Thoroughbreds. It was worse among the older horses and those with longer careers, which indicates accumulating injury due to chronic overload of the racehorses’ joints.

Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan and his fellow researchers at the University of Melbourne, writing in the Australian Veterinary Journal, said the findings suggest racehorses might need longer and better-managed breaks during their careers to ward off bone fatigue, which is recognised as a common factor in catastrophic race fractures.

The scientists set out to examine the prevalence of microscopic bone fractures in the lower legs of Thoroughbreds that had been euthanised in Melbourne. They related those findings back to the training history of each animal.

Their work involved the careful examination of leg bones taken from 83 Thoroughbreds that had died or been euthanised on Melbourne metropolitan race tracks or at the University of Melbourne Equine Centre.

In all, the study team sourced bones from the lower forelimbs of 38 Thoroughbreds, and those from the lower hindlegs of a further 45 racehorses.

The bones were examined using a scanning electron microscope for evidence of microfractures, as well as undertaking an assessment of bone density.

The background of the horses, who were aged from two to 10, revealed they had careers that ranged from 0 to 66 race starts, with earnings that varied from nothing to nearly $2.7 million for one animal.

Of the 38 horses from which forelimbs were collected, 21 had been in training at the time of their deaths. Most were put down as a result of a leg fracture.  Of the 17 not in training, four had died as a result of  fractures. The other deaths resulted from cardiac arrest, gut problems, joint infections, ataxia, ligament problems or kidney issues. The period of time since their race training ceased ranged from 1 to 59 weeks.

Twenty-four of the 45 horses from which hindlimbs were collected had been in training at the time of  death, nine of which resulted from fractures, including one pelvic fracture and one broken shoulder.

Of the 15 training horses without fractures, deaths variously resulted from exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH), cardiopulmonary problems, serious gut issues, tendon injury, bleeding into the chest, and one from cancer.

This left 21 who were not in training. Eight of them suffered fractures, half of which involved the leg bones. The others died as a result of EIPH, gut problems, neurological issues, trauma, septic arthritis or lymphoma. The longest had been out of work for two years.

Palmar/plantar osteochondral disease – a degenerative condition affecting the lower leg bones – could be seen in  65.8% of the forelimb horses and 57.8% of the hindlimb group. This condition is generally considered a result of “bone fatigue”, which occurs when damage accumulates from repeated loading, also known as stress fractures.

Such fatigue injuries begin at the microscopic level and accumulate over time to become visible to the eye.

Under the microscope, microfractures were identified in the forelimbs of 97.4% of the horses. The density of these tiny front-leg fractures increased with age and the number of race starts

Changes in the subchondral bone – that’s the layer of bone just below the cartilage in a joint – were common among the Thoroughbreds in the study, the authors said, with the accumulation of damage seen in horses with longer careers being consistent with bone fatigue.

The authors acknowledged it was likely that subchondral bone damage was over-represented in the group because most had died as a result of a catastrophic bone fatigue injury.

However, the fact that the microscopic prevalence of subchondral bone injury was worse in older horses with longer racing careers was noteworthy. It was, they said, consistent with fatigue failure of the bone related to accumulated training distance.

Rest from race training may allow some degree of repair in the microscopic damage, they said. However, the burden of damage in this population suggested that, in general, the horses might need more time off from intense training than is currently the case to minimise the risk of bone injury.

Bani Hassan and his colleagues noted that plantar osteochondral disease can be seen with the naked eye in up to 80% of Thoroughbreds undergoing post mortems.

“Knowledge of the prevalence of bone fatigue is helpful for an understanding of its importance and to enable development of training strategies that will reduce the risk of injury becoming a clinical problem.”

They said small numbers of microfractures in subchondral bone are likely to be of limited significance in racehorses. “However, accumulation of numbers of microfractures in horses appears to be abnormal.”

Just how much damage needs to accrue before a clinical effect is apparent remains unknown.

“Based on the information obtained from the race records and trainer and veterinarian interviews, many of the horses in this study were performing well and were not reported to be showing signs of lameness in the weeks prior to presentation.”

Most lameness detection methods relied on detecting unevenness in the gait to identify pain in a limb, they noted. “Therefore, symmetric distribution of musculoskeletal lesions, as often occurs with plantar osteochondral disease, would mean that subchondral bone injuries may go unnoticed.”

Bilateral symmetric injuries are consistent with repetitive overload injuries in equine athletes, they said.

Bani Hassan was joined in the study by Michiko Mirams, Eleanor Mackiea and Robert Chris Whitton.

The study received backing from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation of the Australian Government, Racing Victoria and the University of Melbourne.

Prevalence of subchondral bone pathological changes in the distal metacarpi/metatarsi of racing Thoroughbred horses.
Bani Hassan E, Mirams M, Mackie EJ, Whitton RC.
Aust Vet J. 2017 Oct;95(10):362-369. doi: 10.1111/avj.12628


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2018 at 8:30am


WHAT DOES A STABLED HORSE DO AT NIGHT?

Ever wondered what your horse gets up to at night in his stable?

This film shows 8hrs in the life of a stabled horse via time lapse camera, condensed into 8 minutes. Even at 8 minutes long I would recommend watching this – it does give a great indication of just how boring it must be for a horse to be locked in a small room with water, their own droppings and ad-lib hay if they're lucky.


Commonsense rather than science imo but that's pretty rare these days Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2018 at 8:50am
Originally posted by Gay3 Gay3 wrote:



<div ="sqs-block -block sqs-block-" -block-="2" id="block-3f09cb04bae63e2c0e36"><div ="sqs-block-"><h1>WHAT DOES A STABLED HORSE DO AT NIGHT?</h1>

Ever wondered what your horse gets up to at night in his stable?

This
film shows 8hrs in the life of a stabled horse via time lapse camera,
condensed into 8 minutes. Even at 8 minutes long I would recommend
watching this – it does give a great indication of just how boring it
must be for a horse to be locked in a small room with water, their own
droppings and ad-lib hay if they're lucky.


Commonsense rather than science imo but that's pretty rare these days Big smile


I'd imagine the option of a small yard and cover would be perfect or would a proper highly strung thoroughbred ( as they should be ) be a danger to itself with too much room to move ?





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2018 at 8:53am
Just on Bode Miller, he is a guest on Lance Armstrongs podcast "The Forward" they only talk horses for a small percentage but still interesting.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2019 at 7:25pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2019 at 9:24pm
How ironical.

pt will be having  a fit at the thought of the horse being designed by GODLOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 10:41am

All You Need to Know About the Hidden C6-C7 Malformation That’s Bringing Horses Down

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What if you were to learn that your horse is living with a hidden malformation? A skeletal abnormality that could be affecting it every day, changing the way it moves, creating a string of other physical problems, and possibly underlying the hard-to-pinpoint problems you’ve been noticing for months or even years ?

And that might even be causing a level of inherent instability that could be putting the rider in danger?

Sadly, this isn’t a hypothetical question. Instead it’s a reality that is only now being slowly uncovered.

And like the proverbial stone rolling down a mountain, the issue is gathering momentum as the equine industry, owners, breeders and researchers learn about it.

  • It’s a skeletal malformation and it can’t be corrected.
  • It’s congenital, ie inherited, so is present from birth.
  • It has been in some lines of TBs for hundreds of years.
  • It creates biomechanical issues due to asymmetry and lack of anchor points for key muscles.
  • At its worst, it can contribute to neurological issues such as Wobbler syndrome.
  • Some horses are so unstable, they are more prone to falling (not good news for jockeys).
  • It can cause constant pain and associated behavioural changes.
  • It’s primarily found in Thoroughbreds, Thoroughbred crosses and Warmbloods, but has also been identified in European breeds, Quarter Horses, Arabs and Australian Stock Horses.

 

The problem behind this is a congenital malformation of the C6 and C7 cervical vertebrae (ie, base of neck) – and it’s pretty nasty.

I’ve written about the work of Sharon May-Davis on this blog before and here I’m going to do so again. Through her many dissections per year, gross anatomist Sharon has become the first person to comprehensively document and quantify this problem. 

In doing so, and publishing her findings in peer-reviewed journals, she has triggered a minor research avalanche as others take up the subject.

 

Those of us fortunate to attend Sharon’s many equine dissections in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Europe have been learning about this for some time. For bodyworkers and hoof trimmers, it has dramatically changed our work. I believe I’ve worked on several horses with this problem, including an eventing horse, a dressage prospect, and a TB intended for a child.

It is, not to put too fine a point on it, an extremely serious problem that is in some cases grave for the horse concerned and can potentially cause injury or loss of life for the rider.

 

The following is an amended version of an article that I wrote for the Winter 2017 edition of Equine News, a NSW, Australia print magazine that sponsored one of Sharon’s series of public lectures on this issue.

Questions, thoughts or comments? Join us at The Horse’s Back Facebook Group. 

 

A hidden problem: this OTTB had the C6-C7 malformation but presented few outward signs.

 

Twenty years of research

Sharon May-Davis’s path with this research began some 20 years ago. In February 1996, a Thoroughbred called Presley came down unimpeded in a race in Grafton, NSW, fracturing his pelvis, a hock bone, and right front fetlock.

Three years later, Sharon examined his bones, and saw something strange in his last two cervical vertebrae and his first ribs.

Fast forward to 2014, when Sharon published the first of her four peer-reviewed papers in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, concerning a congenital malformation in the sixth and seventh cervical (neck) vertebrae.

Although the problem had been mentioned briefly in papers, this was the first time that a researcher had accurately described and quantified the problem in its various forms.

Sharon’s unique perspective, gained as an anatomist who dissects between 15 and 20 horses per year, had certainly placed her in a position to do so.

 

The horse’s seven cervical vertebrae – made simple

Horses have seven vertebrae in their necks, labelled C1 to C7. Of these, four have unique shapes. Most horse people are familiar with C1, the first vertebrae known as the atlas, as it can be both seen and felt by hand with its distinctive ‘wing’ at the top of the neck.

Cervical vertebrae from C1 (top) to C7 (bottom), view from above (L) and below (R).

Almost as well-known is C2, the second vertebrae, known as the axis.

Both atlas and axis have unique shapes for a special reason: they support the heavy skull and anchor the muscles that control the head’s movement.

Heading down the neck, C3, C4 and C5 are broadly similar in shape, with each being a bit shorter and blockier than the one above.

However, C6 and C7 are both slightly different on the ventral (lower) side, for here they provide insertion points for muscles arising from the chest.

 

  • C6 has transverse processes (the protrusions extending outwards) that are different to those of neighbouring bones, with two distinctive ridges running the vertebrae’s length. C6 also has two large transverse foramen, the openings that the arteries pass through.
  • C7 is the shortest and squattest cervical vertebrae of all. Its transverse processes are shorter, while there are also two facets that articulate with the first ribs. C7 has no transverse foramen.

 

At least, that’s how the vertebrae should be in a normal horse.

 

So, what is wrong with the malformed C6 and C7 vertebrae?

In certain horses, these last two vertebrae are rather different, being malformed.

Sharon has identified the manifestations of this problem as a congenital (inherited) malformation affecting some Thoroughbred horses, and horses with Thoroughbred blood in their ancestry.

In C6, there is a problem with the two ridges of the transverse processes, as one or both can be partially absent.

When both are partially missing, it is common for one or two ridges (ie, parts of the transverse processes) to appear on C7 instead.

Also, the articular processes (the oval surfaces on the upper side, where each vertebrae links to its neighbours) can be radically different sizes. There can also be an additional arterial foramen or two.

The level of asymmetry can be radical.

 

 

The secondary problems this malformation causes

Being at the base of the neck, the asymmetry of C6 and C7 can cause alignment problems all the way up the vertebral column, leading to osteoarthritis of the articular facets.

It can also contribute to Wobbler Syndrome (Cervical Vertebral Stenotic Myelopathy), due to narrowing and/or malalignment of the vertebral foramen/canal, the opening through which the spinal cord passes. Not all Wobbler cases have this particular malformation, though.

A further problem is that the lower part of the longus colli muscle, which is involved in flexing the neck, would normally insert on the transverse processes of C6 and C7. When these processes are malformed, the normal insertions are not possible.

This means there is a serious symmetry problem in the junction of the thorax and neck, which can have a deeper effect on the horse’s neurology and proprioception, as well as respiration.

 

Asymmetry and narrowed vertebral foramen (canal) contribute to DJD and Wobbler Syndrome.

 

In a few cases, horses with both the C6 and C7 problem also have malformations of the first sternal rib, on one or both sides. This can cause problems beneath the scapular and further issues with muscular attachments.

Associated stability problems can have far-reaching consequences for the horse, not to mention some serious safety issues for the rider. The safety issue can’t be stated often enough.

(Add to this the fact that the horse’s nuchal ligament lamellar does not attach to C6 and C7, and often only feebly to C5, then you can see that this is a high level of instability in a critical area. Read more about Sharon’s findings on the nuchal ligament here – How the Anatomy Books Unintentionally Fail us Over the Nuchal Ligament.) 

Read on for information on for signs that this problem may be present in the living horse…

 

© All text copyright of the author, Jane Clothier, www.thehorsesback.com. No reproduction of partial or entire text without permission. Sharing the link back to this page is fine. Please contact me for more information. Thank you!

Why isn’t the C6-C7 problem more widely known ?

Why hasn’t this problem been noticed in regular veterinary interventions?

The answer is quite simple. While neurological issues may have been diagnosed, the exact cause has often remained hidden. 

Both Thoroughbred horses and Warmbloods are known to have higher incidences of Wobbler Syndrome than other breeds, and while this is certainly not always due to C6-C7 malformation, the malformation has been found in some when dissected.

For example, the following dissection image appears in a veterinary account of large animal spinal cord diseases. It clearly shows a malformed C7 vertebrae, very similar to the one in the above image, but without giving any further categorisation.

The difficulty lies in the deep location of the lower cervical vertebrae. While normal radiographs can show all or some of C6, they are unable to penetrate the deeper tissues beneath the shoulder to image C7.

 

Photo from another online article: the familiar asymmetry of a malformed C7 is clearly visible in a dissected set of vertebrae.  (c) veteriankey.com (click image to access full article.)

 

Nevertheless, the malformation can be identified in radiographs of C6, once you know where to look.

Since Sharon’s first paper appeared, the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, has reviewed its history of radiographs from horses with Wobbler Syndrome.

Researchers found that 24 cases out of 100 (close to 25%) showed malformation of one or both C6 transverse processes. This study also clarified how to identify the problem on standard radiographs of C6.

In another study, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, completed CT scans on horses’ necks and found the various forms of the malformation in 26 horses out of 78 (33%). Unlike radiographs, the CT scans enabled identification of the C7 and first rib issues, although of course this imaging was conducted post mortem.

 

Is this rare, or are many horses affected?

While the problem has been identified primarily in TBs, it affects most breeds with TB blood in the ancestry to some degree.

Sharon May-Davis reports that to date, published, peer-reviewed journal papers have tallied 136 out of 471 horses as exhibiting congenital malformation of C6.

These have been in a range of breeds including Thoroughbreds (39%), Thoroughbred crosses (27%), Warmbloods and European breeds (30%), Quarter Horses (11%), and Arabs (11%). Standardbreds have also shown the problem, although the numbers included in studies are very small.

A common question is whether it’s known which TB lines predominantly carry this problem. The answer is: Yes. However, it is now so disseminated amongst the modern equine population beyond TBs, that it is of little help to identify them.

 

“Eight Belles… might have been genetically predisposed to breaking down.” 

Exploring the views of a TB lineage expert, this American article from 2009 asks why certain TB lines were prone to breaking down on the track – Eight Belles Breakdown: A Predictable Tragedy

 

It must be remembered that these horses are those already brought to veterinary attention and/or euthanized for a related or unrelated reason, so the percentages may be higher than those for the general horse population. At the same time, the malformation might have played a major part in the horses’ decline, due to the many locomotory and postural problems it can lead to.

 Questions, thoughts or comments? Join us at The Horse’s Back Facebook Group. 

 

‘Gift Horse’, the Trafalgar Square sculpture by Hans Haacke, displayed the malformation, presumably having been modelled on a modern-day skeleton. The George Stubbs anatomical drawing on which it was styled did not. Image (c) bowlofchalk.net

 

How do we identify these horses in life?

It’s all very well looking at these bones post mortem, you might say. Yet how can I tell if my horse has this problem? Or a horse that I might want to buy?

Some answers are forthcoming. As Sharon has frequently assessed horses before dissecting them – usually from video – she has been able to observe that many of these horses lack stability. (Indeed, in many cases, it is this very instability has directly led to the horse being euthanized, and ending up on the dissection table.)

As her research has progressed, she has also been able to identify many biomechanical and locomotion traits that make these horses ‘suspicious’ or at least ‘of interest’. Unsurprisingly, these problems have been particularly noticeable in horses with both a malformed C6 and C7.

For owners and equine professionals, here are some signs that can raise initial suspicions. All can also be caused by other problems, so a group of signs is more common than an individual indication.

  • Some of these horses have a problem with standing square in front, and will always keep one foot further forward. This can persist despite all attempts to improve the horse’s body and to train the horse to halt squarely.
  • Horses with the more serious malformations will often stand base-wide. Such horses can become very unbalanced on uneven ground, and sometimes in work. They easily become unbalanced when a hoof practitioner works on a forefoot. 

 

A bilateral C6 – unilateral C7 horse showing a toe-out stance and hoof distortion. The ventral part of the transverse process was transposed onto the left side of C7.

 

  • With such asymmetry in the skeletal structure, these horses have serious lateral flexion issues that can’t be overcome. When required to elevate the forehand, many will experience difficulties, due to the absence of correctly inserted musculature and incorrect articulation through the joints of the lower neck. 

 

The horse may have one very prominent, widely positioned scapula.

 

  • A high level of asymmetry may be seen in the shoulders, with one scapula sometimes positioned very wide, with no improvement after chiro, osteopathy or bodywork. This is particularly so with the C6-C7 problem and associated first sternal rib abnormalities.
  • The ventral aspect of the neck may show some scoliosis.

    There may be scoliosis along the entire spine.

  • There may be an obvious scoliosis to the underside of the neck.
  • The problem may lead to heavily asymmetric loading of the forefeet, so may be accompanied by a severe high foot/low foot issue (this is not in itself a sign of the C6-C7 problem).

 

 

 

 

 

If you suspect your horse has the C6-C7 issue

First, note that many horses do just fine with a C6 problem. It is those with the bilateral C6 and unilateral/bilateral C7 issue that tend to show the more worrying problems.

If your horse is showing ongoing signs of instability, it’s important to seek veterinary advice, so that neurological issues can be ruled out. (As this a recently recognised problem, it may be worth printing out the abstracts from the journal articles listed at the end of this page and handing them over.)

If the more severe malformations are identified by radiograph, it is important to remember that in some cases this can cause discomfort and pain to the horse, and it is not going to improve over time. 

Since this article was published, Sharon has allowed me to publish her paper with a preliminary protocol for radioagraphing for this issue. Read it here: By Popular Demand: Here’s How You X-Ray for the C6-C7 Malformation.

On the contrary, the cervical vertebrae of some older horses with the C6 and C7 malformations often display advanced osteoarthritis of the articular processes, as shown in the header image of a 19-year-old Thoroughbred’s malformed C7.

Questions, thoughts or comments? Join us at The Horse’s Back Facebook Group. 

 

Where does this knowledge take us?

At the moment, that question is wide open. The findings published by Sharon May-Davis have triggered ongoing research on an international level. There are certainly ramifications for breeders in more than one equine sporting industry.

Connections have been made with a number of falls on the racetrack that have caused injury, and worse, to both horse and jockey, as well as other runners. Similar things can be said for the sport of eventing, where unforced errors can have equally catastrophic effects.

It is entirely possible that at higher levels, pre-purchase examination radiographs will come to include a check on C6. While it’s not possible to radiograph the deeply positioned C7, we do at least know that this will only be present if the C6 anomaly exists.

Vets in some countries are proving faster at picking this up than others. While papers are being published, it clearly takes some time for information to filter down.

And until more is known, this problem is being unknowingly propagated every breeding season.

Of course, many horses harbouring the milder manifestations of this problem at C6 level are functioning very well. All horse owners can do is be aware that this issue exists, make use of this information if a problem arises, and await further research findings.

 

Since this article was published, Sharon has allowed me to publish her paper with a preliminary protocol for radioagraphing for this issue. Read it here: By Popular Demand: Here’s How You X-Ray for the C6-C7 Malformation.

© All text copyright of the author, Jane Clothier, www.thehorsesback.com. No reproduction of partial or entire text without permission. Sharing the link back to this page is fine. Please contact me for more information. Thank you!

 

Sharon May-Davis’s research includes the rarely documented arthritis affecting the elbow joint of ridden and driven horses – Revealed: the Common Equine Arthritis You Won’t Read About in Textbooks.

Plus, read about the effects of hard race training on Thoroughbreds – Buying an Ex-Racehorse: Can You Spot the Major Physical Issues? – and advice from a seasoned trainer on rehabbing your horse once it’s arrived at your stable – 8 Golden Rules for Helping Your Thoroughbred Get Right Off the Track.

 

Literature on the malformation

Peer reviewed journal articles on the C6-C7 and related first sternal rib issues.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 10:48am
One of the more interesting comments:

Vicki McKague says

As a Canadian Sport Horse Association (CSHA) performance horse breeder, I would like to know which Thoroughbred lines predominantly pass on this problem. I think it is important even if so many performance horse breeds have Thoroughbred in them. As a sport horse breeder I have never seen an issue with any of my equines, but I would like to be able to knowingly avoid certain lines if I know of a “possible problem” (which I still feel hasn’t become a serious issue yet).

Hi Vicki,
I got a clear warning not to name the Thoroughbred sire line !

Even within the last month we (European colleagues and myself) got another warning to be careful with our research and to go slow. With a potential 30% in Warmbloods, there are a lot of breeders that stand to lose if this congenital malformation became a reason for loss of purchase. Which by the way has just happened at a major European Warmblood auction!

Remember, mine and other necks are on the line and when I got my first informal death threat in 2005, I had my children in the car.

So I would recommend the congenital malformation to be detected by radiographs with the right technician who can read them.

At this point in time, the radiographs and CT scans have all revealed an abnormal vertebral canal. In other words, not one had normal vertebral canal aperture for the spinal cord to pass through nor Thoracic Inlet aperture. Furthermore, the preliminary radiographic protocols written and accepted for a Japanese journal will be posted next week in English. This paper describes the radiographic view and also, as per a previous paper (re “Longus colli”) the potential influence on the trachea caused by this congenital malformation.

This later paper describes asymmetrical: biomechanical forces; entheses patterns, neurological dysfunction among other issues and the table that Jane posted identifies these also. This paper along with the 1st sternal rib paper notes clinical findings pre and post mortem along with a maternal link. Including embryonic mortality and confirmed C6 and C7 spontaneous abortions of 3rd trimester foals.

The 3 spin off papers from UC Davis (De Rouen et.al), Utrecht Holland (Veraa et al.) and Italy (Santinelli et al.) confirm these congenital malformations and took the findings into other breeds; Warmbloods, Standardbreds, Arabians and Quarter Horses to name a few. So in total 7 papers on the subject.

In fact, I have personally seen or know of it in New Zealand, Japan, UK, USA, Europe and of course Australia.

Research is a slow and time consuming journey and it took 15 years from discovery to publication and I think this was a miracle considering the number of road blocks I encountered.

Cheers
Sharon

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How does gene testing work at Ciaron Maher


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StrideSAFE trial hailed a success

The trial of a new Australian-engineered veterinary screening technology in the USA has been hailed a huge success, with the New York Racing Association now implementing the system on a more permanent basis.

StrideSAFE, a technology developed by Australian company StrideMASTER and Kentucky-based Equine Analysis Systems, uses data captured by a microchip in a horse’s saddlecloth during training and racing to relay information about its movement.

The data is available immediately and can be compared against a benchmark to identify changes in horses’ stride length and stride frequency, which are often red flags for a more serious, musculoskeletal injury.

In December, StrideMASTER’s David Hawke told Racing.com the technology should be on the radar of racing jurisdictions in Australia.

That opinion appears to have been backed up in the recent US trial, where the StrideSAFE system was used on New York tracks between July 2021 and April 2022. 

During that 10 month period, data on 6,458 starts was captured from 2,659 individual horses, although the data was only monitored by authorities and not relayed to trainers.  

Of the horses that sustained serious injuries, StrideSAFE predicted more than 90% of those injuries in advance.

During the period of the trial, 27 horses suffered what was classified as a serious injury or were euthanised following a race - 25 of those horses received a red flag in races preceding the race in which they were injured.

StrideSAFE CEO David Lambert said the successful trial meant the technology could now be used to save horses lives.

“To achieve this level of predictive accuracy in the initial roll out of the product is very exciting and there is further refinement to be made as we accumulate more data,” Lambert said.

“We have already identified from the trial data that all the injuries and fatalities within the red-flagged group (25 horses) were in the top half of the injury risk index for the red flagged horses.

“With further analysis we will be able to reduce the number of red flags without impacting the accuracy of the system and thereby reduce the number of horses that require clinical follow up by up to 50%.

“It’s also important to note that within the red flag group there are horses with soundness issues. These soundness issues may or may not lead to injury, so arming trainers with this information enables them to monitor the higher risk horses more closely.”

Hawke said it was rewarding to see the technology adopted in the USA and he hopes the results of the trial prompt other international racing jurisdictions to consider its application.

“When we set out on this path three years ago, the objective was to develop a practical screening tool that could identify horses at increased risk of injury in time for us to intervene,” Hawke said.

“We are pleased to say that is now a reality.

“And because of the cost-effective, non-invasive nature of the system, every horse in every race can be easily monitored, making screening of the entire participant horse population viable.”

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