Research Into Training Programs Needed To Protect Equine Tendons

The superficial digital flexor tendons in a horse’s front legs are responsible for much of the animal’s athleticism: They store energy and play a critical role in the efficiency of the horse’s trot and gallop. However, these tendons are especially susceptible to injury: They are one of the most common causes of lameness in performance horses. Tendon injuries are slow and difficult to heal, so it’s imperative that they be detected early and that training methods be adapted to allow time for the tissues to heal.

Drs. Claire O’Brien, Neil Marr and Chavaunne Thorpe investigated the biomechanical and biothermal effects of strain on this tendon and how both forces contributed to microdamage. Though the tendon is essential for efficient performance and locomotion, it has a very narrow window for error, which makes it susceptible to injury.

The trio reviewed 140 scientific papers and discovered that most superficial digital flexor tendon injuries occur during fitness work. Risks to tendons include variations in training intensity and frequency, surfaces and equipment. Individual risk factors include breed, age and sex; variations in tendon blood supply, strength and flexibility may contribute to chronic tendon injuries and longer recover rates.

The team suggest that research be done in several areas so that recommendations based on scientific principles can be made for training programs; these would minimize the risk of tendon injury. They also suggest that those involved in a horse’ training understand the following:

  • The physiologic demands high-intensity training places on equine tendons
  • Heavy training sessions that mimic competition should be closely monitored and only repeated every 72 hours to allow tendons enough time to repair and adapt. Factors such as the horse’s age, history of injury and previous competition experience should help guide decision making on the frequency of training sessions
  • The effects of other factors like surface type, fence height, bandaging and ambient temperature place on tendon temperature and strain
  • Training should be increased incrementally over time, using objective measures to gauge each horse’s physiologic response

Read the full article here.

Read more at HorseTalk.

The post Research Into Training Programs Needed To Protect Equine Tendons appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.