European Trainer - April to June 2021 - issue 73

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ISSUE 73 – April-June 2021 £6.95 www.trainermagazine.com

THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE FOR THE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE THOROUGHBRED

EUROPEAN TRAINERS’ FEDERATIO AIMS and OBJECTIVES of the ETF:

a) To represent the interests of all member trainers’ associations in Europe. b) To liaise with political and administrative bodies on behalf of European trainers. c) To exchange information between members for the benefit of European trainers. d) To provide a network of contacts to assist each member to develop its policy and services to member trainers.

ETF REPRESENTATIVES Chairmanship: Guy Heymans (Belgium) Tel: +32 (0) 495 389 140 Email: heymans1@telenet.be

Vice Chairmanship:

Nicolas Clément (France) Tel: +33 (0)3 44 57 25 39 Fax: +33 (0)3 44 57 58 85 Email: entraineurs.de.galop@wanadoo.fr

AUSTRIA

Mrs. Živa Prunk Tel: +38640669918 Email: ziva.prunk@gmail.com

CZECH REPUBLIC

Joseph Vana Tel: +42 (0) 6024 296 29 Email: horova@velka-chuchle.cz

GREECE

Aggeliki Amitsis Tel: 30 229 908 1332+ Email: angieamitsis@yahoo.com

GERMANY

Erika Mäder Tel: +49 (0) 2151 594911 Fax: +49 (0) 2151 590542 Email: trainer-und-jockeys@netcologne.de

Vice Chairmanship:

Treasureship:

Christian von der Recke (Germany) Tel: +49 (022 54) 84 53 14 Fax: +49 (022 54) 84 53 15 Email: recke@t-online.de

Michael Grassick (Ireland) Tel: +353 (0)45 522 981 Mobile: +353 (0)87 258 87 70 Fax: +353 (0)45 522 982 Email: office@irta.ie

HUNGARY

UNITED KINGDOM

Mr. Botond Kovács Email: botond.kovacs@kincsempark.hu

ITALY

Agostino Affe Email: affegaloppo@gmail.com

NETHERLANDS

Geert van Kempen Mobile: +31 (0)6 204 02 830 Email: renstalvankempen@hotmail.com

NORWAY

Are Hyldmo Mobile: +47 984 16 712 Email: arehyldmo@hotmail.com

Rupert Arnold Tel: +44 (0) 1488 71719 Fax: +44 (0) 1488 73005 Email: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.o

RUSSIA

Olga Polushkina Email: p120186@yandex.ru

SLOVAKIA

Jaroslav Brecka Email: jaroslav.brecka@gmail.com

SWEDEN

Caroline Malmborg Email: caroline@stallmalmborg.s

www.trainersfederation.eu

INNOVATION M OTI VATE S PAU L & O LI V E R CO LE – TH E ‘J O I NT M A S TE RS’ O F W H ATCO M B E WHAT CAUSES GASTRIC ULCERS?

Can nutritional intake cause ulceration?

EUROPEAN HANDICAPPING

Is the current system fit for purpose?

MANAGING STABLE VICES

Are they vices or a product of the environment?


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| OPINION |

GILES ANDERSON PUBLISHER’S OPINION

Innovation has always been paramount at Whatcombe; the training base of Paul and Oliver Cole who became the first joint licence holders in British racing when racing resumed last June and some three weeks later, became the first joint trainers to train a Royal Ascot winner. Located between Lambourn and Wantage in southern England, their Whatcombe base has produced five Classic winners, 21 winners at Royal Ascot and was one of the first stables to point horses internationally, which resulted in multiple victories— pretty much everywhere from Russia to Canada, not to mention successes in Japan and Australia. Despite being a household name for as long as I can remember, the Cole family has grafted its way up the racing ladder. As Paul recounts in this article, he started with nothing; so everything he has achieved has been down to his own doing. The same has to be said for his son, Oliver. Before joining the family training business, Oliver ploughed his own furrow in life, taking the opportunities that came his way, with the desire to

By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Manufacturer of Horse Bedding Bedmax Limited, Northumberland

learn about the business of racing. He even ended up writing a series of articles for this magazine, looking at the differences between training methods on his travels across North America. But, I will never forget having a drink with Oliver in the bar at the Keeneland Sales one November, and he asked me for advice on getting involved in the breeding side of the game. By pure chance, the spokesman for a leading Irish farm joined us at the bar, and Cole Jr. was jokingly told that if he were to make it to Ireland for the following Monday, there would be a job for him. No one thought anymore of this—least of all the farm in question— who called me on the following Monday morning, worrying what on earth they would do with him. It was a joke after all! But Oliver ended up working at both their Irish and Australian farms, learning about the breeding industry as he had set out to do. At some point on his travels, Oliver became fascinated with the emergence and potential for Chinese owners in British racing; and if you visit the Whatcombe website, you’ll find pages written in Chinese and a desire to build up a future Chinese ownership base. During the first lockdown last year, Oliver decided that he needed to communicate better with owners who couldn’t make it to the stables, so he invested in an array of videography equipment that wouldn’t look out of place at MGM Studios. He wants to do things differently, knowing full well that despite having a good reputation, there is always a need to get an edge in both training methodology and the way that owners experience not only the highs on the racecourse, but also the day-to-day running of a modern racing yard—innovative practices being the key to future success. Wherever your racing takes you this spring, good luck!

By Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales Manufacturer of Horse Bedding Bedmax Limited, Northumberland

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ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| CONTENTS |

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R EGUL A R S

04 Contributors 06 ETF Members 84 Product Focus

70 ISSUE

Visit trainermagazine.com to download our current digital editions and access back issues of both European and North American Trainer.

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CONTENTS F E AT U R E S 08 Henry de Bromhead -

TopSpec Trainer of the Quarter Lissa Oliver celebrates Henry de Bromhead who achieved the historic feat of winning the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Gold Cup in the same year.

10 Paul and Oliver Cole -

the innovative ‘joint masters’ of Whatcombe Alysen Miller profiles the father-and-son team of Paul and Oliver Cole who can finally enjoy equal billing at the top of the training ticket as one of the first partnerships to train under a joint licence in the UK.

20 Nutrition - what causes ulceration?

With the advances in scoping and increased awareness of gastric ulcers, along with the high prevalence found in horses in training, Catherine Rudenko examines why this condition is still such a problem?

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32 Is the European handicapping 64 The rolled toe shoe system fit for purpose?

Lissa Oliver discusses is it a handicap or a benefit? Horse racing is actually one of the few sports built upon equality. Fillies can race against colts; women can compete against men. It might be equal, but is it fair?

42 What’s that noise?

Kate Allen and Geoffrey Lane give an overview of the different types of exerciseinduced larynx / pharynx collapse and the surgeries to address them.

50 Managing stable vices

Georgie White investigates stable vices: Are they bad behaviours or a product of their environment?

56 Reducing the pressure

Russell MacKechnie-Guire explains the performance benefits of relieving five key pressure points under tack. Recent scientific studies reveal how using new designs of saddle, pad, girth and bridle can significantly benefit the locomotion of the galloping racehorse.

@ t ra i n e r _ m a g

Retired farrier Peter Baker observes the adaptation of a spooned heel into soft rolled toe shoes and its dynamic effect on the front foot of the horse.

70 Whipping up a storm

The Polish Jockey Club’s Jakub Kasprzak shares his views as Poland has recently become the eye of that storm for the debate on the use of the whip in horse racing.

80 EMHF update

Dr Paull Khan is seeking the key to what can be done to make racing more desirable to encourage greater interest amongst the younger generations. For advice on this, who better to turn to, we reasoned, than to students themselves? He also discusses in a world where ‘COVID’ and ‘Brexit’ are two of the most Googled words, will normality return and how will international competition survive? Finally Paull shares news of the EMHF’s recent commercial venture having teamed up with Irish-based Future Ticketing.

/ t ra i n e r m a g a z i n e

/ t ra i n e r m a g a z i n e


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CONTRIBUTORS Editorial Director/Publisher Giles Anderson Sub-Editor Jana Cavalier Advert Production Charlotte Fossey Circulation/Website Kerstin Coward, Anna Alcock Advertising Sales Giles Anderson, Anna Alcock Cover Photograph Georgina Preston

Trainer magazine is published by Anderson & Co Publishing Ltd. This magazine is distributed for free to all ETF members. Editorial views expressed are not necessarily those of the ETF. Additional copies can be purchased for £6.95 (ex P&P). No part of this publication may be reproduced in any format without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Printed in the European Union For all editorial and advertising queries please contact: Anderson & Co. Publishing Tel: +44 (0) 1380 816777 Fax: +44 (0) 1380 816778 email: info@trainermagazine.com www.trainermagazine.com Issue 73

Kate Allen is an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Equine Sports Medicine and researcher at the University of Bristol. Kate’s research interest is primarily the management of diseases that affect equine athletic performance and in particular the diagnosis, cause and management of upper airway disorders in the racehorse. Peter Baker is a retired farrier. In 1964, whilst working on his family stud farm, finding farriers to work on young thoroughbreds were impossible to find—farms had to shoe their own stock. But coming from a family of farriers, this role was a natural fit for Peter. In 1982 he established a round in Lambourn and then moved on to become race day farrier at six southern racecourses. Georgie White is a masters’ degree-qualified Veterinary Physiotherapist, following graduation from Writtle University College. She now runs a mobile Veterinary Physiotherapy service for both horses and dogs in the East Midlands. She has a specific interest in equine performance and pre-habilitation. Lissa Oliver lives in Co. Kildare, Ireland and is a regular contributor to The Irish Field and the Australian magazine, Racetrack. Lissa is also the author of several collections of short stories and two novels. Jakub Kasprzak was born in 1974, a graduate of the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław, Faculty of Horse Breeding. He has been working in horseracing since 1998 and has been employed at the Polish Jockey Club since 2014. Paull Khan PhD. is an international horseracing consultant. He is Secretary-General of the European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation and Technical Advisor for Europe to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. His other clients include the British Horseracing Authority. Previously, Dr. Khan held many senior roles at Weatherbys, including Banking Director and Racing Director. Geoffrey Lane has enjoyed a career-long enthusiasm for the investigation and treatment of upper airway disorders of racehorses. He was a Staff Surgeon at the University of Bristol for 33 years but these days operates an itinerant referral practice in equine ENT and maxillo-facial surgery. Dr Russell Mackechnie-Guire runs Centaur Biomechanics and works with elite athletes in all equestrian sports, optimising performance and marginal gains. He recently gained a PhD in equine locomotion from the Royal Veterinary College Structure & Motion Lab. Russell is co-author of more than 30 published papers on horse-saddle-rider interaction. Alysen Miller is a writer, editor and producer based in London. She has written about racing for publications including The Sunday Times. She launched and produced CNN International’s first dedicated horseracing magazine show, Winning Post. She has ridden on the Flat as an amateur and currently competes in eventing on her retrained racehorse, Southfork. Catherine Rudenko is an independent registered nutritionist with a focus on thoroughbreds. Based in the UK, Catherine has worked in the USA, Europe and Asia with trainers and studs creating feeds and feeding plans customised to their needs and climate. With a keen interest in education and research, Catherine works with professional bodies and universities to promote knowledge of nutrition and its importance in the management of thoroughbreds and other breeds.

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TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 73



EUROPEAN TRAINERS’ FEDERATION AIMS and OBJECTIVES of the ETF:

a) To represent the interests of all member trainers’ associations in Europe. b) To liaise with political and administrative bodies on behalf of European trainers. c) To exchange information between members for the benefit of European trainers. d) To provide a network of contacts to assist each member to develop its policy and services to member trainers.

ETF REPRESENTATIVES Chairmanship: Guy Heymans (Belgium) Tel: +32 (0) 495 389 140 Email: heymans1@telenet.be

Vice Chairmanship:

Nicolas Clément (France) Tel: +33 (0)3 44 57 25 39 Fax: +33 (0)3 44 57 58 85 Email: entraineurs.de.galop@wanadoo.fr

AUSTRIA

Mrs. Živa Prunk Tel: +38640669918 Email: ziva.prunk@gmail.com

CZECH REPUBLIC

Vice Chairmanship:

Treasureship:

Christian von der Recke (Germany) Tel: +49 (022 54) 84 53 14 Fax: +49 (022 54) 84 53 15 Email: recke@t-online.de

Michael Grassick (Ireland) Tel: +353 (0)45 522 981 Mobile: +353 (0)87 258 87 70 Fax: +353 (0)45 522 982 Email: office@irta.ie

HUNGARY

UNITED KINGDOM

Mr. Botond Kovács Email: botond.kovacs@kincsempark.hu

ITALY

Rupert Arnold Tel: +44 (0) 1488 71719 Fax: +44 (0) 1488 73005 Email: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

RUSSIA

Joseph Vana Tel: +42 (0) 6024 296 29 Email: horova@velka-chuchle.cz

Agostino Affe Email: affegaloppo@gmail.com

Olga Polushkina Email: p120186@yandex.ru

GREECE

NETHERLANDS

SLOVAKIA

Aggeliki Amitsis Tel: 30 229 908 1332+ Email: angieamitsis@yahoo.com

Geert van Kempen Mobile: +31 (0)6 204 02 830 Email: renstalvankempen@hotmail.com

GERMANY

NORWAY

Erika Mäder Tel: +49 (0) 2151 594911 Fax: +49 (0) 2151 590542 Email: trainer-und-jockeys@netcologne.de

Are Hyldmo Mobile: +47 984 16 712 Email: arehyldmo@hotmail.com

www.trainersfederation.eu

Jaroslav Brecka Email: jaroslav.brecka@gmail.com

SWEDEN

Caroline Malmborg Email: caroline@stallmalmborg.se


C O N G RAT U L AT I O N S TO A L L T H E W I N N I N G T RA I N E R S , O W N E R S , J O C K E Y S A N D S T A B L E S T A F F A T T H I S Y E A R ’ S C H E LT E N H A M F E S T I V A L ™ F R O M B O E H R I N G E R I N G E L H E I M A N I M A L H E A LT H

HENRY DE BROMHEAD, THE WELLCHILD CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP STEEPLE CHASE (GRADE 1) WINNING TRAINER 2021. Horse: Owner: Jockey: Grooms:

Horse: Race:

Minella Indo Barry Maloney Jack Kennedy Cathal Carmody

Honeysuckle The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) Trainer: Henry De Bromhead Owner: Mr. K Alexander Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Grooms: Coleman Comerford and Zoey Smalley

Horse: Owner: Jockey: Grooms:

Horse: Race:

Put The Kettle On The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1) Trainer: Henry De Bromhead Owner: One For Luck Racing Syndicate Jockey: Aidan Coleman Grooms: Jason Dunphy and Zoe Davidson

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Horse: Race:

A Plus Tard Cheveley Park Stud Rachael Blackmore Zoe Smalley and Jason Dunphy

Flooring Porter The Paddy Power Stayers´ Hurdle (Grade 1) Trainer: Gavin Cromwell Owner: Flooring Porter Syndicate Jockey: D E Mullins Grooms: Jonathan Moore and Rebecca Rafter


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TOPSPEC TRAINER OF THE QUARTER

HENRY DE BROMHEAD The TopSpec Trainer of the Quarter award has been won by Henry de Bromhead. de Bromhead will receive £1,000 worth of TopSpec feed, supplements and additives as well as a consultation with one of their senior nutritionists. Lissa Oliver t what could be described as the only Irish race meeting held in Britain, where 23 of the 28 Cheltenham Festival races fell to Irish trainers, one Irish trainer in particular led the way. County Waterford-based Henry de Bromhead became the first trainer to achieve the historic feat of winning the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Gold Cup in the same year. Add to those the Triumph Hurdle, Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, and it’s little wonder de Bromhead is now looking forward to ‘catching his breath’ while quarantining back home in Ireland.

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TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 73

Francesca Altoft

The amazing week began for the Knockeen team on day one of the Festival, when Honeysuckle powered away under Rachael Blackmore to land the Unibet Champion Hurdle. De Bromhead says of the mare, ‘She’s pretty laid back. She’s really straightforward; she likes her routine, and she’s lovely to have around the place.’ Having watched her success from the track, de Bromhead claimed it as his lucky spot and so it proved—cheering home two more winners on the Wednesday that Bob Olinger got the day’s Gr1 tally started in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, under jockey of the moment Rachael Blackmore. Then de Bromhead became the first trainer to send out a mare to win the Betway Queen

Mother Champion Chase, with Put The Kettle On, under Aidan Coleman. ‘We are very lucky to have good mares like them,’ de Bromhead says, ‘and getting tremendous support from our owners. I thought she had a chance, but on ratings I thought she might struggle a bit; but I hoped she would have a squeak.’ The fairer sex again came up trumps for de Bromhead on the Thursday, Telmesomethinggirl, Rachael Blackmore up, leading home stablemate Magic Daze in the Gr2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle to give the stable a one-two. De Bromhead said on the day, ‘I’m delighted for Rachael. She is such a good rider and an ultimate professional, and she is brilliant to work


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with. She earns everything she gets.’ With the week just getting better and better, Quilixios became the fifth winner for the Knockeen team and the fourth Gr1 winner in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, again under Blackmore. ‘He jumped well and did everything right, de Bromhead enthused. ‘I’m delighted for the Thompsons and Cheveley Park—they’re great supporters of ours. Rachael was brilliant on him and all credit to Gordon Elliott and his team— the horse looked amazing coming down to us, and we’ve done very little. It’s more down to them than us. He’s just a lovely horse to do anything with. He’ll be a lovely chaser in time, I’d say.’ Then came the grand finale—the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup, and another de Bromhead one-two. Minella Indo and young Jack Kennedy led home stablemate A Plus Tard and to complete an historic hat-trick. ‘It’s massive,’ de Bromhead told the press. ‘I can’t tell you what it means to win it, or just to win any of these races. I feel like I’m going to wake up and it will be Monday evening! To do this is a credit to everyone that’s working

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with us; we couldn’t do any of it without our clients supporting us. They give us the opportunity to buy these good horses, and I just feel extremely lucky. ‘We felt we had the team exactly where we wanted them heading over to Cheltenham, but I’ve thought that in other years, too, when we haven’t done so well. I wasn’t confident about any of them winning. They

all seemed okay and happy in themselves, and I was just hoping that they would be able to do themselves justice. ‘The whole week was just surreal from start to finish, from Honeysuckle to the Gold Cup and everything in between. It’s magic, and I don’t think it’s going to sink in fully for quite some time. It’s the stuff you dream about.’

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ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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PROFILE

THE JOINT M AST E R S O F W H ATC O M BE PAUL & OLIVER COLE

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Alysen Miller

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Georgina Preston

ll happy families are alike,” as the saying goes. When Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote these words in 1877, Queen Victoria was on the throne, Alexander Graham Bell was installing the world’s first commercial telephone service in Ontario, Canada, and Silvio had just won the Derby under Fred Archer. But it would be another 143 years before the British Horseracing Authority gave formal recognition to the outsize role of harmonious familial relationships in training racehorses. Now, thanks to a new initiative introduced in 2020, the father-and-son team of Paul and Oliver Cole can finally enjoy equal billing at the top of the training ticket as one of the first partnerships to train under a joint licence in the UK.

| PA U L & O L I V E R C O L E |

It’s a formula that paid immediate dividends as the Coles became the first joint-licence holders to register a win in the UK when the striking grey Valpolicella vanquished her rivals on her debut in June 2020. They followed that up a fortnight later with a winner at Royal Ascot, courtesy of stable stalwart Highland Chief. They also enjoyed handicap success in the Cambridgeshire—traditionally one of the most competitive handicaps of the year—with Majestic Dawn. “The most exciting thing was getting that first winner,” says Oliver Cole, speaking from the family’s Oxfordshire base. “I like to point out that it was a very old owner, Christopher Wright, who happened to be the owner that day. He’s been a great friend and was very supportive of me taking up the joint licence.”

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PROFILE

The move by the BHA to accept joint licence applications, mirroring a successful scheme introduced in Australia several years ago, can be seen as part of a gradual breaking down of the barriers to entry to a career that has often been perceived as the preserve of a handful of a select few, often independently wealthy individuals. “First of all, women couldn’t have a licence. And then you couldn’t have a joint licence. All sorts of restrictions have eased off,” says Cole père. Paul Cole is, of course, one of Britain’s most successful trainers, with multiple Classic and Royal Ascot winners to his name. For his son Oliver, the fruits of this success meant growing up within the rarefied atmosphere of a top-class racing operation. “My earliest memories are from eight upwards. I was spoiled in that Dad was quite successful at that stage; and for the next 15 to 20 years, he was top of his game. It was great fun. There was a lot of action—a great atmosphere.” “It’s a glamorous business and the people in it are glamourous,” says Paul, modestly. “They’re just looking for a little bit more out of life than a lot of other people are. It’s exciting.” Mingling with owners and going on international trips was part and parcel of this upbringing (missing school to attend the Melbourne Cup was a particular highlight). So was it any surprise that Oliver chose to follow in his father’s footsteps? “What else would I do?” he shrugs. “That was the thing I was interested in. The thrill and the buzz are huge.”

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“It’s a natural progression,” agrees Paul. “Some people might want to be a surgeon, or a pilot, or something like that. But if you’ve got a father that’s already got a set-up, you’re more likely to follow your family into what you know. You’ve already got all the connections in the business. And connections are important.” Oliver is Paul’s middle son. The eldest, Alexander, initially showed no interest in racing but now manages Jim and Fitri Hay’s racing operations. The youngest, Mark, is a gamer. But it was Oliver who always seemed destined to follow his father into the game.


| PA U L & O L I V E R C O L E |

It’s certainly not hard to understand the lure of the training life for Cole, particularly on a crisp morning in March when the spring sun is stippling the trees, and every blade of grass on their 450-acre property seems bathed in a vernal glow. From this base at the historic Whatcombe estate, nestled in the idyllic Oxfordshire countryside and criss-crossed with private gallops in a variety of surfaces, Paul and Oliver currently oversee a boutique selection of some 40-50 racehorses for a number of high-profile owners, although there is stabling for up to 120. The property has been in the family since 1986, having previously been in the hands of fellow Classicwinning trainers Dick Dawson and Arthur Budgett. If one looks with careful eyes as the sun rises over the Lambourn Valley below, one can almost imagine that little has changed since the Late Roman period, when the land was cultivated for farming. If this ancient history feels close to the surface, signs of the more recent past are also in evidence: Visitors to the yard are greeted by a statue of Snurge, the first horse to win more than £1 million in prize money; while the stabling is presided over by the great Generous—the last of six Derby winners to be sent out by Paul in 1991.

I STARTED WITH NOTHING, WHICH IS NOT A DISADVANTAGE. IT’S AN ADVANTAGE. IT INSTILS IN YOU THAT YOU WANT TO GET ON IN LIFE, AND YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET ON, AND THEREFORE YOU MAKE JUST THAT BIT MORE EFFORT ALL THE TIME.” PAUL COLE

Such a lifestyle was never a given. “I started with nothing,” explains Paul. “Which is not a disadvantage. It’s an advantage. It instils in you that you want to get on in life, and you know how hard it is to get on, and therefore you make just that bit more effort all the time.” It was a desire to provide for his future family that inspired Paul’s singleminded focus in the early years of his career. “If you want to get married and have children, and give the children holidays, and perhaps send them to school, it takes a long time to get your feet on the ground. But it’s something that you know you have to do. I was brought up with the normal insecurities that families have. I like to think I brought my children up with total security. They never needed to worry about where the next meal was coming from. And now, as you can see, we’ve got a wonderful training establishment. It would be difficult to better it.” Oliver is the first to admit that he is lucky. But he is certainly not alone. The reality is that without family backing, the potential avenues for younger trainers coming into the sport would be considerably fewer. Paul rejects the idea that only those born into racing families have a pathway to a career in training: “There’s no set route to come in. Mick Channon made a few quid playing football—not as much as they make now! So he started (via) that route. People come in from all sorts of different ways. You’ve got to want to do it, of course.” However, he acknowledges the advantages inherent in having a ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

13


PROFILE

Classic-winning trainer for a father: “If Oliver wanted to go training, he’s got to start from scratch somewhere,” explains Paul. “That’s another yard, accommodation, gallops. There are lots of worries, lots of snags, lots of hurdles. This way, he hasn’t got to get out and prove himself or be compared with me.” “I think it’s very difficult for some of these young people,” agrees Oliver. “It’s not just the training. The pressures that go with it must be immense. One of the best things about working together is that I’ve got someone to fall back on in case the pressures get too much.” In many ways, the introduction of joint licencing has merely formalised a practice that has been in existence for as long as racehorses have been trained, whereby sons and, especially, wives serve as de facto co-trainers to their parents or spouses, though often with little or no recognition. Tellingly, among the first to snap up the new joint licence, along with the Coles, were Simon Crisford and his son Ed, and husband-and-wife team Daniel and Claire Kübler, while five-time champion trainer John Gosden and his son Thady are expecting the ink be dry on their new, joint licence in time for the start of season. “It did need recognising that there are other people seriously involved in the success (of a training yard), says Paul.”

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| PA U L & O L I V E R C O L E |


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PROFILE

YOU CAN’T CARRY ON BEING AN ASSISTANT FOREVER. YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF AND IF IT HAPPENS THAT, IN THE FUTURE, I HAVE TO GO OUT ON MY OWN ONE DAY, PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT I’VE DONE IT.” OLIVER COLE

“My mother is a big help around here,” acknowledges Oliver, as the family matriarch wrangles his two daughters in the next room. Was that the motivation for taking out a joint licence? “You can’t carry on being an assistant forever,” explains Oliver. “You’ve got to make a name for yourself and if it happens that, in the future, I have to go out on my own one day, people will know that I’ve done it.” Adding Oliver’s name to the licence has also allowed the Coles to expand their pool of potential owners. “Lots of young people wouldn’t want to have a horse with me, but they want to have a horse with Oliver,” says Paul. Of particular benefit during lockdown has been Oliver’s innate generational facility with social media. Owners who have not been able to visit their horses have been provided with GoPro footage of their gallops once a week, shot from a moving quad bike by Oliver. “I think one of the biggest positives from lockdown is that we had a lot of time to work out the GoPro stuff,” he says. He has also

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invested in a drone in order to shoot sweeping, Francis Ford Coppola-esque aerials of the property, which he proudly shows off on his phone. Another consequence of lockdown for yards up and down the country is that the stable staff have had to form their own support bubble. Many of them have not seen their families for the best part of a year. How do the Coles keep morale up? “We have a great community of staff here. They tend to stay here for quite a while, and I suppose it’s just a question of keeping them happy. We all like the ethos of a fun place with happy horses,” says Oliver. “And we are a smaller yard, which helps. We have some great people out there, some quite funny ones. They’re friends. You go out there and you can have a laugh. We have a WhatsApp group that all the staff are on and we always talk to each other on that, whether it’s ‘Well done with the winners,’ or, ‘Amelia, you rode really well this morning.’ It’s a really good tool.”


| PA U L & O L I V E R C O L E |

ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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PROFILE

Spring is the time for making plans. As the Coles look ahead to the coming season and beyond, they both agree the main effort is to ensure that the business will continue to provide for the next generation. “We’ve just got to get through the next couple of years before we make any big decisions, but our main aim is to fill the yard,” says Oliver. “This is a big place to run. And if you haven’t got a certain amount of horses, it’s quite a struggle,” agrees Paul. “There’s a lot of finance that goes behind keeping it going. You’ve got to think about that as well. We have diversified a little bit.” (In addition to the main yard, there is a stud division and some rental properties.) For the time being, the two seem more than happy to continue to work together as a team, with no signs of handing over the reins in prospect just yet. “We got off to an amazing start last year. We were lucky with some very good horses, and long may it continue,” says Oliver. At this, Paul sits back in his chair and permits himself a satisfied smile. “Despite the hard work and uncertainty, the first 20 years of my career and life were fantastic. Nice people, nice places, nice things. The owners were nice, the horses worked out. So no complaints!” He grins. “Everything’s gone slightly to plan.”

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| PA U L & O L I V E R C O L E |

DESPITE THE HARD WORK AND UNCERTAINTY, THE FIRST 20 YEARS OF MY CAREER AND LIFE WERE FANTASTIC. NICE PEOPLE, NICE PLACES, NICE THINGS. THE OWNERS WERE NICE, THE HORSES WORKED OUT. SO NO COMPLAINTS! EVERYTHING’S GONE SLIGHTLY TO PLAN.” PAUL COLE


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| NUTRITION |

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Catherine Rudenko

Alamy, Fiona Boyd, Caroline Norris, Georgina Preston

WHY ARE GASTRIC ULCERS STILL A SIGNIFICANT CONCERN FOR HORSES IN TRAINING? With the advances in scoping and increased awareness of gastric ulcers, along with the high prevalence found in horses in training, one may wonder: Why is this condition still such a problem? Do we not know enough to prevent this condition from recurring? he short answer is that much is known, and for certain, there are effective medications and many feeds and supplements designed to manage the condition. The underlying problem is that the factors leading to ulceration, at least the most significant ones, are fundamental to the routine and management of a horse in training. Quite simply, the environment and exercise required are conducive to development of ulcers. Horses in training will always be at risk from this condition, and it is important to manage our expectation of how much influence we can have on ulcers developing, and our ability to prevent recurrence.

T

• Clarifying gastric ulceration Before considering how and why ulcers are a recurrent problem, it is helpful to understand the different types of gastric ulceration as the term most commonly used, Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS), is an umbrella term which represents two distinct conditions. The term EGUS came into use in 1999 and represented ulceration of the two separate locations in the stomach where ulcers are found: the squamous and glandular regions. The two regions are functionally different, and ulceration in either location has different causative factors. This is important when considering what can be managed from a risk point of view at a racing yard. The term EGUS is now split into two categories: Equine Squamous Gastric Disease (ESGD) and Equine Glandular Gastric Disease (EGGD).

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| NUTRITION |

ESGD is the most commonly occurring form and the focus of dietary and management interventions. The majority of horses in training have the primary form of ESGD where the stomach functions normally. There is a secondary form that relates to a physical abnormality which causes delayed emptying of the stomach. The condition ESGD is influenced by the training environment and time spent in training as noted by researchers looking at prevalence of horses out of training compared to those within training. In this case, 37% of untrained thoroughbred racehorses had ESGD and this progressed to 80-100% of horses within two to three months of training. This effect is not unique to thoroughbreds and is seen in other breeds with an ‘active workload’; for example, standardbreds progress from an average of 44% ESGD in the population to 87% when in training. Such research is helpful in understanding two things: firstly, that ulcers in the squamous section can occur outside of training, and that the influence of exercise and dietary changes have a significant effect regardless of breed. Even horses in the leisure category, which are thought of as low risk or at almost no risk at all, can return surprising results in terms of prevalence.

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| GASTRIC ULCERS |

PREVALENCE OF SQUAMOUS GASTRIC ULCERS POPULATION

SQUAMOUS ULCER PREVALENCE OF STUDY

AUSTRALIAN TB RACEHORSES

63%

UK TB RACEHORSES

64%

DENMARK – MIXED POPULATION

86%

USA – ENDURANCE

67%

FRANCE – ENDURANCE

93%

UK LEISURE HORSES

50%

Adapted from Sykes & Joklsalo 2015.


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| NUTRITION |

| GASTRIC ULCERS |

• Risk factors There are multiple risk factors associated with development of ESGD, some of which are better evidenced than others, and some of which are more influential. These include:

• Pasture turnout • Having a diet high in fibre/provision of ‘free choice’ fibre • Choice of alfalfa over other forages • Provision of straw as the only forage source • Restricted access to water • Exceeding 2g of starch per kilogram of body weight • Greater than 6 hours between meals (forage/feed) • Frequency and intensity of exercise • Duration of time spent in a stabled environment combined with exercise Of these factors, the stabled environment—which influences feeding behaviour—and exercise are the most significant factors. The influence of diet in the unexercised horse can be significant, however once removed from pasture, and a training program is entered into, ulceration will occur as these factors are more dominant. An Australian study of horses in training noted the effect of time spent in training, with an increase in risk factor of 1.7 fold for every week spent in training. Once in training, there is some debate as to whether provision of pasture, either alone or in company, has a significant effect. Some studies report a lower risk of ESGD when pasture in company is provided for horses in training, whereas others have found no significant effect. The duration of access and quality of pasture involved may be part of the differences in results found. There is a distinct difference between turnout in a paddock that offers a pick of grass and a leg stretch and a paddock rich in well managed pasture. Ultimately a period of turnout whilst in a training program is not enough of a counter-balance to the risks of frequent and intense exercise, coupled with a need for stabled periods and higher rates of compound feeding.

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• The stabled environment The act of putting a horse in a stable is enough of a risk factor for ulceration that this change alone, even without exercise and with provision of forage, can lead to ulceration within weeks. This occurs as the stabled horse, even with provision of high-quality dried forage, will experience a change in feeding behaviour that is in conflict with the need of its own digestive system, particularly that of the stomach. A large part of the horse’s daily behaviour is driven by the needs of its digestive system. Eating is a fundamental need, and in the case of the horse, the normal feeding pattern consists of 10-15 distinct feeding periods within every 24 hours. During this period, the horse will have no longer than three hours resting and not grazing. This immediately presents a challenge when trying to manage the stabled horse as feeding at least 10 times a day; and ensuring intake is never greater than three hours apart is an impossible task. Provision of adlib ‘free choice’ hay or haylage does not provide the solution as one might hope.

During daylight hours, horses spend 60-70% of their time grazing. This changes to spending 40-50% of their nighttime hours grazing.



| NUTRITION |

| GASTRIC ULCERS |

regularity of digestion. Whilst ulcers are often the main focus for provision of fibre, such provision reduces risk of colic, encourages natural foraging behaviour, which is linked to stress reduction and supports a healthy hindgut bacterial profile. The bacterial profile of a horse, much like a human, is becoming an area of significant interest as the bacterial profile is linked with immunity and predisposition to other disorders. Good forage feeding practices should be encouraged with more than ulcers in mind.

• Choice of feeding

Dried forages are high in dry matter compared to fresh pasture. This difference in dry matter is significant as it impacts the amount of time taken to satisfy appetite. Pasture is typically 14-20% dry matter compared with hay that will normally be in excess of 80% dry matter. To satisfy its appetite, a horse will eat approximately 73kg of fresh pasture a day, a process that takes a significant amount of time. Over the 10-15 feeding periods when at pasture, roughly 12-14 hours are spent chewing. In contrast, 11kg of hay can satisfy the same appetite and may take only 5-6 hours of chewing. With only half the amount of time spent chewing required, there is less regular intake over 24 hours and less production of saliva, which is part of regulation of stomach acidity. The choice of forage given when stabled can be influential in terms of encouraging appetite and voluntary intake. The table below shows intake of straw, hay and haylage over 24 hours when stabled in a group of test horses. Molassed alfalfa, if fed at the sole forage source, can be higher than the more common fibre sources—an intake of 3.2% of body weight with this study finding. Where a horse is prone to ulcers and has a poor appetite for the fibrous part of their diet, offering a ‘fibre bucket’ separate to the hard feed of molassed alfalfa chaff can at least help encourage a more normal intake, which is beneficial in terms of reducing risk of colic as much as helping regulate stomach acidity. As some horses struggle with the high dry matter content of forages, soaked sugar beet pulp is another high-fibre feed that can be used to tempt intake. Whilst most yards will add a small amount to a bucket feed, this material can be fed by the bowl full and placed directly on top of a pile of hay or haylage fed from the floor. Whilst provision of forage is not enough to eliminate ulceration, as exercise is a major factor, the consistent provision of a high-quality forage and the use of alfalfa can increase intake, which is beneficial for

FORAGE TYPE

There are many low-to-moderate starch feeds now available in the market, which are often highlighted as suitable for horses with gastric ulcers or tying-up, as both conditions require a regulated starch intake. Such diets seek to eliminate one of the risk factors—a higher starch intake within one meal, which commonly occurs, especially in the evening feed. Such feeds are not a cure for ulcers, nor can they prevent their occurrence, as they are influential for only one risk factor out of the list of many. Despite their limitation from an ulcer point of view, they are a popular choice of feed as they provide a combination of different carbohydrate sources, which itself can be an advantage. Using a blend of fibres, fat and traditional grains, they suit a wide variety of horses—both national hunt and flat—and particularly those that are highly strung or difficult to manage. They carry less risk for tying-up and are arguably better suited for the digestive system, which is not well designed for traditional high-starch grains as the sole feed. Much like forage, choosing a low or moderate starch feed isn’t just about ulcers and will disappoint if the expectation is a cure. Choosing a lower starch feed brings benefits for other aspects of digestive function, muscle function and behaviour. BELOW: Alfalfa chaff

DRY MATTER CONTENT

AVERAGE ‘AS FED’ INTAKE EATEN (FRESH WEIGHT)

% OF THE HORSE’S BODY WEIGHT CONSUMED ON A DRY MATTER BASIS

90% upwards

7

1.3%

Hay

80-85%

11

1.9%

Haylage

55-65%

23

2.8%

Straw

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| NUTRITION |

• The significance of exercise Exercise is a significant risk factor as this physically affects the stomach and the movement of digestive acids that are associated with typical ‘splash back ulcers’. Movement, even when at walk, starts to cause changes; and as the speed increases, the changes in intra-abdominal pressure increase. This causes gastric compression, pushing acidic contents into the squamous lined region of the stomach. A small thoroughbred study in 2002 investigated the effect of exercise on changes in the stomach and specifically changes in pH in the squamous region. These horses were kept at pasture and fed adlib hay to ensure forage intake and foraging behaviour were maintained. They were fed 6kg (approx. 13 ¼ lbs) of a muesli sweet feed, split over two meals, replicating a more traditional diet. Starch intake would likely have been above the 2g per kilogram of body weight marker and so considered a risk factor. The study required such intakes of hard feed so that the impact of fed or fasted state before exercise could be considered. Horses were either fasted for 18 hours before exercise (fasted group) or food was given and removed only two hours before exercise (fed group). The results show that regardless of whether fed or fasted, exercise induces changes in pH; although horses that were fed up to two hours before experience less severity of change. The image below shows the fed group pH changes during rest, into walk, trotting, galloping, returning to trot and finally returning to walk. During trotting and galloping, the graph shows the severity of the pH change in the squamous region, where tissue is easily damaged by the presence of acid. Once at these speeds, acidity is found at levels as low as a pH of 1-2, which are highly acidic and injurious.

KEY

Changes in pH of the proximal (squamous) portion of the stomach during a training session of fed group horses.

w = walking t = trotting g = galloping s = stop Exercise

The table below shows the contrast between fasted and fed horses during the same exercise program. When looking at these results, it is easier to understand why dietary changes—mostly orientated around which bucket feed is chosen—can have only a limited impact on the risk of development of ulcers. The physical changes and presence of highly acidic content found in the squamous section during exercise is simply too great a risk factor, and one that is regularly occurring over prolonged periods of time.

Effect of exercise on the average pH of the proximal (squamous) portion of the stomach in fed and fasted group horses. FED HORSES

FASTED HORSES

Before exercise

5.3

5.23

Walking

3.95

3.15

Trotting and galloping

2.25

1.07

Return to walking

2.39

0.92

PERIOD

Adapted from Lorenzo-Figueras & Merritt 2002.

As time spent in training increases, the risk factors become more established. Exercise intensity increases from the early phases of training; the effects of the stabled environment are noticeable with a matter of weeks, and the requirement for irregular meals of a high-carbohydrate content to meet calorific needs, amongst other nutrient requirements, all become daily occurrences. For all these reasons, we cannot therefore be surprised at the persistence of the condition and must have realistic expectations around what can or cannot be achieved through feeds or supplement changes alone.

7 6

pH

5 4 3 2 1

Time

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15 min

Reading List •G  eor,J. Harris,P. Coenen,M. (2013) Equine Applied and Clinincal Nutrition. China: Elsevier •L  orenzo-Figueras,M., Merritt,A.M. (2002) Effects of exercise on gastric volume and pH in the proximal portion of the stomach of horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research (4) 13, p221-224 •L  uthersson,N., Hou Nielsen,K., Harris,P., Parkin,T.D.H. (2009) Risk factors associated with equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) in 201 horses in Denmark. Equine Veterinary Journal, (7) 41, p625-630 • Sykes,B.W., Heweston,M., Hepburn,R.J., Lutherson,N. Tamzali,Y. (2015) ECEIM Consensus Statement. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in Adult Horses. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 29, p1288-1299 •S  ykes,B., Jokisalo,J.M. (2015) Rethinking equine gastric ulcer syndrome: Part 3 – Equine glandular gastric ulcer syndrome (EGGUS). Equine Veterinary Education (7) 27, p372-375


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INEXPLICABLE UNDERPERFORMANCE : INVESTIGATE IT WITH THE ECG ANALYSIS Providing veterinarians with a real diagnostic challenge, underperformance in the racehorse can be difficult to investigate if the horse’s environment does not benefit from reliable technologies to collect historical data. Indeed, it is difficult to determine the cause of underperformance without almost daily monitoring. The symptoms to be identified are most often subclinical, i.e. they are difficult to detect at rest and during effort. The detection of under-performing horses within the racing industry is a real challenge. Carrying out prevention and detection work could in fact make it possible to avoid serious accidents in training or on the racecourse. In order to detect the elements influencing the performance of the athletic horse, it is interesting to analyse evolution during an exercise because things that do not occur at rest can appear. In the first case we investigate the loss of performance of a 3-year-old filly. The latter had promising performances during her 2-year-old season and then injured her tendon. The trainer decided to stop her until next season. Once prepared for the return to training, the mare showed good abilities and her return was very satisfying. However, a nosebleed was detected after a small canter. The tracks were not particularly deep and there were no circumstances that could explain this bleeding. In order to investigate the causes of this bleed, the first step was to analyse the data from the mare when she presented her nose bleed.

Evolution of speed and heart rate during the training on the EQUIMETRE platform

It can be seen that the speed data are low: the effort does not go beyond 47km/h. The effort was of low intensity, but the heart rate is still very high, up to 217 bpm. It was necessary to analyse the data from a more sustained training session in order to observe what is happening.

Evolution of speed and heart rate during the training on the EQUIMETRE platform

The data is normal: the heart rate changes at the same time as the speed. The veterinarian decided to compare the horse’s data with those of the other horses, who have done similar work. The data does not show any recovery anomalies, the two curves that are superimposed do not show any significant difference. Her heart rate is a little high after the effort, but nothing catastrophic is observed.

Comparison of the pathological horse’s data with the mean of the stable

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1 ST CONCLUSION There is no explanation for the nosebleed in the data. The veterinarian then decides to look at the ECG of this mare. The latter is pathological and shows 8 superventricular extrasystoles in 1 minute. This is far too frequent, especially in the warm-up and recovery phase.

2 ND CONCLUSION

N

The mare has relatively correct parameters. However, arrhythmias during effort are detected. They lead to the bleeding because the mare is in hyper-tension at the pulmonary level each time she has an arrhythmia. During an arrhythmia, the heart skips a beat: whereas it should have beaten and expelled blood, the heart continues to fill up until the next beat, where it expels a large amount of blood, which puts too much pressure on the delicate blood vessels in the lungs and causes them to burst, resulting in bleeding. It is therefore necessary to investigate bleeding during the effort. To do this, the veterinarian has performed a bronco-alveolar lavage. That is to say, he took cells from the lungs to analyse them under a microscope. The examination revealed regular bleeding in the lungs. Although she only had a nosebleed once, there was a bleeding in the lungs at each training session. The veterinarian must then understand the reason for this bleeding. As the mare has no underlying heart problem (no heart murmur, no heart abnormalities and a normal heart morphology), the vet decides to examine the tendon. It is noticed that the tendon is abnormally scarred. This induces stress on the tendon which triggers pain manifested by extrasystoles visible on the ECG. When the mare is working under antiinflammatory medication, she has less extrasystole, but this is not possible during the race.

ECG collected by the EQUIMETRE. Arrows show the arrhythmias.

5 TO 8 SVPCS PER MINUTE DURING EXERCISE WHATEVER THE INTENSITY • Infection? • Primary cardiac issue? • Respiratory issue? • Muscular problem? • Overtraining? Fatigue? • Other...?

The pain explains the arrythmias that cause the bleeding.

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| INDUSTRY |

Lissa Oliver

Alamy, Frank Sorge

A HANDICAP OR A BENEFIT?

C

ontrary to the populist view that horseracing is elitist, it is actually one of the few sports built upon equality. Fillies can race against colts, women can compete against men. We even have a handicap system designed to ensure a level playing field for all, providing an equal chance for the horse of little ability competing against the horse of greater ability. All is fair in love, war and on the racecourse. Except… When did you last see a 10-way dead-heat? Even outside of the handicap system, in the truly level competition of a Gp1, the weak receive an allowance against the strong. The elders are penalised to assist

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their youngers. The fillies are compensated against the colts. Inexperienced jockeys receive allowances based upon, not exactly experience, but wins. In some jurisdictions, women riders receive weight allowances, too. It might be equal, although results usually prove otherwise; but is it fair? Racing is the only sport in which winners are penalised and losers are rewarded. Is it any wonder another populist view of racing is one of deceit and cheating? “Are the jockey clubs looking for equality or equity?” asks renowned handicap expert Mark Cramer. “There’s a difference. I think it’s a noble effort to have some sort of handicap system, but I’m not sure how equitable it is.”


| HANDICAPPING |

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Cramer is the author of Thoroughbred Cycles – How The Form Factor Affects Handicapping, which is considered the definitive work on the subject of thoroughbred form in the USA. “The system makes it that races labelled as handicaps are the hardest to decipher for the studious horseplayer. Furthermore, the whole weight factor may be overrated. A horse carrying two pounds extra is like me running with an envelope in my back pocket,” he points out. “The handicap system favours one type of horse, for example in the Arc, it’s the three-year-olds who get a weight edge. I think the harness race industry does a better job with handicaps, simply making a high earner who’s above the earnings limit start the race 25 metres behind the field.” An earnings-based system rather than one based simply on wins alone is a suggestion put forward by more than one industry expert, but the current system of handicapping has been in place for 170 years, introduced by Admiral Rous in 1851. Rous was appointed the first official handicapper in Britain in 1855 and devised the Weight-For-Age scale, which in theory should afford horses of different ages an equal chance of winning. Tellingly, it says a lot about our sport that he is still remembered anecdotally for the remark, “I have just gone through the next race and have discovered that I have handicapped each horse so well that not one of them can possibly win.”

We could argue that if it isn’t broken, why fix it? Certainly, many trainers have no issue with the system, other than its interpretation by the various official handicappers in relation to their own horse. “There has to be a process in place, and if we didn’t have handicaps, a lot of horses couldn’t compete and would fall out of training,” says Michael Grassick, CEO Irish Racehorse Trainers Association (IRTA). “I personally believe that handicaps serve a purpose. Many do feel that in Ireland the handicapper is too severe. After a period of time horses will run to a certain rating and when they go above that rating, they will no longer be as competitive until returning to that rating. The Irish handicapper is felt to be very slow in moving a horse who has gone up through the handicap back down the ratings; we feel that in the UK horses are lowered a bit quicker. While in the lower grades of 45-60, the horses seem to drop quite quickly and drop through the floor and out of the system. “I always feel the system is unfair on a horse who has run and placed,” Grassick observes. “The horse goes up two pounds, runs again and gets placed second again and goes up another two pounds. That horse will find it extremely hard to win and is not being rewarded for consistency. Personally, I don’t think a horse should be put up in the handicap until it has won.” BELOW: Admiral Henry John Rous

I HAVE JUST GONE THROUGH THE NEXT RACE AND HAVE DISCOVERED THAT I HAVE HANDICAPPED EACH HORSE SO WELL THAT NOT ONE OF THEM CAN POSSIBLY WIN.”

BELOW: Oral stereotypies include crib biting, wind sucking and wood chewing; there is varied opinion suggesting these behaviors may provide temporary alleviation of stomach discomfort.

ADMIRAL HENRY JOHN ROUS

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| HANDICAPPING |

Recently retired trainer Milton Bradley.

Grassick makes a valid point, underlined by the research and figures gathered by owner John Dance, an investment manager and CEO of stockbroker company Vertem, based on every Flat horse in Britain with an official rating. In March 2019, Dance tweeted his findings that 2.6% of Flat horses were Class 1; 5% were Class 2; 9.5% were Class 3; 16.6% were Class 4; 20.7% were Class 5; and 45.6% were Class 6 or lower. 83% of Flat horses, he noted, were Class 4 or lower. Recently, trainer Milton Bradley retired after a career of more than 50 years. He cited the growing lack of opportunities for the lower-rated horse in his decision to finally retire, saying, “The current state of the sport is making me feel despondent when it comes to horses being allowed to race and the cost of participating in the sport. Handicappers haven’t been giving opportunities to lower-rated horses in weeks. It’s frustrating to see people buying horses for over £100,000 only to compete for £2,000 prizes because that’s all they qualify for. It’s a sad day. I didn’t want to give up, but there’s no future in racing the way it is.” Even if we agree with the system in place, the given ratings— based on the personal opinion of the handicapper—are often going to be contentious. Retired UK trainer Bill O’Gorman explains, “Handicaps are a reasonable way of ensuring competition between ordinary horses, much as in golf. As in golf, there needs to be a degree of trust. The most obvious solution is to award a rating only upon quantifiable form rather than upon the lack of it. “The system that we had for nurseries should be revived for all handicaps; only those with a first four placing should be eligible. To get away from the prevailing culture of ‘defensive’ non-triers, I have suggested that maiden races ought to be streamed by

valuation. Provincial maidens ought to be restricted to horses bought below the yearling median, to horses of any yearling price or to homebreds of any pedigree entered to be claimed for that amount. With that done, horses that are incapable of placing in a restricted maiden should not have a lucrative career in handicaps gifted to them.” Like many, O’Gorman believes there are too many handicaps, and they should revert to 45% of all UK races from the present high of 65%. “They ought to be partly replaced with condition races, like the time-limited maiden-at-closing of old. Optional claiming races ought to be introduced so that horses whose connections feel them to be badly handicapped can face an easier task and be instantly re-assessed on one run, as long as they risk being claimed for the deemed value of horses eligible under the race conditions.

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“For example, running in a race of level weights for horses rated 75 or less, or of any rating entered to be claimed for the last horses-in-training sales average for a 75-rated horse, would get a 90 horse dropped to 75—unless he won easily, in which case he’d be claimed anyway! If expensive horses were ineligible for every maiden, there would be less runners trying not to finish close up.” O’Gorman also believes giving potentially top class horses the option of going into the handicap system as All-Weather winners is ludicrous. “The heritage handicaps have too much money and take horses away from the Pattern. If heritage handicaps were restricted to horses that have, say, run six times at entry they would not be such an attractive easy benefit for big stables,” he argues. “Tightening up the system would be universally unpopular in the same way that the 11-plus exam or reducing social security would be. Everyone likes a bad system as long as they can milk it; and it only creates underachievers—equine and human.” Whether for or against the existing handicap system, there is a prevailing preference among industry professionals for alternative options, including those suggested by Cramer and O’Gorman. Paddock judge and racing historian Peter Corbett is unequivocal on the subject: “The handicapping system operating in Great Britain is not fit for purpose.” He muses, “It seems incredible that nearly 200 years later racing in Britain still uses this method. One myth is that it is designed to give each horse in the race an equal chance. This is self-evidently not the case. The idea that any individual, or collections of individuals, however learned in the art of handicapping horses, can do so and equal the chances of all the runners in a race is ridiculous. “Another rather silly expression when at the finish of a handicap, half a dozen runners are close together is to say ‘that was a triumph for the handicapper’. Rubbish! That was simply happenstance; if the race were to be run a couple of weeks later under the same conditions, the result would probably be completely different. Some trainers and owners are certain that the system is designed to prevent progressive horses from winning.

| HANDICAPPING |

“Some horses can become almost valueless because they are euphemistically described as ‘in the grip of the handicapper’. I have never read or heard anyone prominent in racing describe this situation as ridiculous, which it surely is.” A horse badly handicapped after its first couple of runs and allotted too high a mark can indeed have its chances of winning a handicap for the foreseeable future severely compromised. Corbett reminds us, “On the Flat, horses that are good enough to compete in Pattern races may never run in a handicap, and any handicap mark is likely to be irrelevant.

TIGHTENING UP THE SYSTEM WOULD BE UNIVERSALLY UNPOPULAR IN THE SAME WAY THAT THE 11-PLUS EXAM OR REDUCING SOCIAL SECURITY WOULD BE. EVERYONE LIKES A BAD SYSTEM AS LONG AS THEY CAN MILK IT; AND IT ONLY CREATES UNDERACHIEVERS— EQUINE AND HUMAN.” BILL O’GORMAN

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| INDUSTRY |

| HANDICAPPING |

The current handicapping system has been in place for approximately 170 years.

However, for those horses that are below this level, the mark it is allotted will dictate its future career. “Horses of this standard are trained and placed by their trainers in races to ensure, as far as possible, that the initial mark allotted will give it a decent chance in a handicap. It is a short-sighted trainer that allows a horse below Pattern level to reveal the true extent of its ability too early. Trainers are not cheating as such, simply showing caution—aware that the horse’s chances are governed by the need to train this way. There is almost nothing about the handicap system that is to racing’s credit.” This is a point also highlighted by trainer Mark Johnston who tells us, “I can’t necessarily say that the handicap system is failing trainers, but I defy anyone to tell me how it benefits them unless they are going to claim that they can gain some advantage for gambling purposes by ‘cheating’ to get a horse down in the handicap. “I think the handicap system is failing the sport because it is inevitable that its complexity and the very fact that the competitors are not competing on level terms must alienate a large number of potential supporters. “It compounds the public perception that the sport is crooked and that ‘information’ is more important than form. The BHA spends fortunes on integrity and trying to catch people cheating in a system that, theoretically at least, can reward cheating.” So, what is the purpose of handicapping? Corbett says, “Quite simply it is to convince enough trainers that their horse can win off its current mark to enter a race and provide a sizeable field. A 16-plus runner field is a triumph for the handicapper because a competitive field has declared to run.”

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BELOW: Mark Johnston

Again, we return to the alternatives. “Should the heritage handicaps be retained?” Corbett asks. “It is worth noting that the weight range for these races is sometimes quite narrow, suggesting that the race would be just as competitive if staged at level weights.” Corbett suggests we start to programme races according to the likely ability of each horse. “Maidens at Gr1 and 2 courses should attract the best-bred horses. Gr3 and 4 courses are for those bred to be below the top level. It is dispiriting for a small trainer with modestly bred horses to enter at a small track only to be confronted by two or three horses bred in the purple from top stables. So, restrict some races at small courses to modestly bred sorts.


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“Restrict all maidens and novice events to horses that have not raced more than five or six times. A horse that can’t win after this many attempts should be placed at a lower level. Novice races should continue as they provide opportunities for first-time out winners to gain experience.” Reflecting the view of Michael Grassick, Corbett says, “After a horse has won, and not before, it should be given a handicap mark.” He also puts forward an interesting solution to the problems arising from handicapping and a fair alternative. “Class 1 Pattern Races, suitable for those horses rated 110 and up but open to all rated 90-plus. “Class 2 Listed Races 95-110, open to all, penalties for Group 1 Pattern winners only. “Class 3 Heritage Handicaps 90-110, open to those rated 111 and up but such horses must carry weight above the maximum. 9st 10lbs (4.5kg) is to be allocated to the highest rated horse, up to 110. “Class 4, 5 and 6 Classified Races, three different rating categories of 80-90, 70-80, 60-70, each category open only to horses rated within each category. “Class 7 Claiming and Optional Claiming Races, conditions to be decided by each racecourse. “Class 8 Selling Races, conditions to be decided by each racecourse. “Prize money bands to reflect each Class, so that a Class 3 race can’t be worth more than a Class 1 or 2. A Class 6 race can’t be worth more than a Class 5 and so on. “There are no other races. Based on the present spread of Flat horses, the majority will race in Class 4 and below. “The advantages to racing are largely positive. Horses will generally compete against horses of similar ability. There is no incentive to conceal a horse’s level of ability at any stage as better prize money can be won by progressing a horse to a higher grade as soon as possible. Finally, an owner is rewarded in accordance with the horse’s ability, rather than earning less than another horse which may be some way inferior, due to quirks in handicaps in the present race programme.” The advantage of horses competing against other horses of similar ability was the initial aim of Admiral Rous in the first place, with Corbett’s idea surely a far more equitable solution. But returning to Mark Cramer’s observation of prize money, rather than form, providing the basis of handicapping in harness racing, our current handicap system itself presents a problem, as Mark Johnston points out. “It does nothing to ensure that the best horses win the most races or the most prize money,” Johnston argues. “You could almost argue that it is the luckiest horse that wins the most prize money. There is often no rhyme or reason to how much a horse wins in a career handicapping and there is little or no correlation between earnings and rating. “There are plenty examples of horses that have won more prize money than better rated horses, but this should not be taken as evidence to support the common argument that the handicap system gives the ‘small’ trainer a chance. At all levels there are examples of winners and losers. I say those that support the handicap system and feel that it gives them a chance have a lottery mentality. They think they might get lucky and win races with lesser horses when the reality is that I am just about the most successful trainer in Britain in handicaps.

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“There is always room to improve and amend the system; and the narrowing of the handicap bands, for example, has vastly improved the system. Now it is virtually impossible to get a horse well down in the handicap in order to run it for a big prize, as was once common practice in races like the Ebor—as it simply won’t get in,” says Johnston. “However, the system is flawed, so why continually fight to retain it?” We have already seen ideas expressed around prize money and graded races, and those speaking here have put much thought into the subject. Johnston is no exception. “The alternative to handicaps is a system of graded races, run at level weights or with weight-for-age and sex, based on prize money won,” he suggests. “Thus a horse that had won no prize money would run against others in the same boat, maybe with other conditions like auction and median auction, etc., retained if that was found to be necessary. As horses win money, they rise in grade and compete against those in the same earnings band. If you have got lucky and won more than you deserve in a race, because of few runners or sales company sponsorship, or because you travelled to France for better prize money or Germany for weaker opposition, you are going to find it harder to win more


| HANDICAPPING |

WE DON’T KNOW HOW SUPERIOR A HORSE REALLY IS UNTIL IT IS DEFEATED BY THE CONCESSION OF TOO MUCH WEIGHT.” MICHAEL TANNER

for a period of time. Horses would find their own level; and in the sales ring and in pedigrees, prize money won would be a very clear indicator of ability. “Very slow horses might struggle to win anything at all, as is the case now and so it should be, but at least they would be able to run against other horses that had won nothing, or next to nothing. Again, they would be catered for and would get their chance. The principle would be very easy for everyone to understand, and putting races into classes would be very logical and objective, unlike under the current system. Surely, in this day and age, a system can be computer modelled to ensure that the races available fit the requirements of the horse population.” There is a group of industry professionals omitted from this discussion, a peripheral band of businesses providing a service to those who choose to invest in the outcome of races. The bookmaker and punter view themselves as vitally important to the industry and, at times, industry bodies give the impression of being in agreement. Are handicaps as vital to the gaming industry as we are made to believe, and is that the stumbling block in initiating a change? “There is no reason why the gaming industry cannot also do very well without handicaps,” states Mark Johnston. “Nine of the

top ten betting turnover races are non-handicaps. Contrary to what we are led to believe, punters like non-handicaps. Betting on other sports is huge and growing all the time, without handicapping. “We have allowed the betting industry to operate a model based on margin rather than turnover. It is surely quite simple to adapt the model, and that would also be a step towards us working together with the betting industry with a common purpose to expand the sport in terms of betting turnover and public interest.” In view of the various cases for and against and the alternatives discussed, Bill O’Gorman concludes, “The long and the short of it is that the only true handicapping system is the claiming system, in which connections make their own luck by assuming the risk of losing the horse. As we are not prepared to go down that route, the only alternative is to introduce some simple checks and balance to ensure that cheating is counter-productive and that pot-hunting in maiden races becomes a very high-risk strategy. “Handicaps ought not to cater for bad horses, but the present system fails to differentiate between blue-blooded failures and relatively successful white-page catalogue horses; tightening up the maiden races and requiring a first-four placing for a handicap mark would solve that at a stroke.” Last word must go to turf historian and author, Michael Tanner, who wrote 30 years ago on the value of handicaps to the sport and sees no reason to change his view that handicaps were once an excellent testing ground of a horse’s ability. “A century ago the Classic three-year-old frequently showed its mettle in the Cambridgeshire or the Cesarewitch. Sadly, we are seemingly entrenched in an era when the sport might easily be renamed Flat breeding rather than Flat racing,” he laments. “The merit of a top chaser is frequently assessed by a handicap performance rather than victory in the level-weight championships. “We don’t know how superior a horse really is until it is defeated by the concession of too much weight. Arkle in the 1965 Hennessy being the perfect case in point; that stamped his greatness. Put another way, could Frankel concede two stone to a horse officially rated 28lbs (12.7kg) his inferior to prove the ratings correct?” Tanner sees a place for heritage handicaps and an opportunity to take them back to the glory days of the past. “If money can be poured into projects like sales races and the Festival of British Racing, why not institute a card of sponsored handicaps offering opportunities across the entire spectrum from Pattern class to plater? A good afternoon would be in prospect for anyone wishing to see the racehorse undertaking its primary function, performing to the limit of its ability.” ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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Kate Allen & Geoffrey Lane

AN OVERVIEW OF EXERCISE-INDUCED UPPER AIRWAY DISORDERS

Caroline Norris, Frank Sorge

he majority of upper airway (‘wind’) disorders affect the regions of the pharynx and larynx. Most of these conditions are only present during exercise, when the upper airway is exposed to large changes in pressures associated with increased breathing rate and effort. This is the reason why performing endoscopy at rest may not give an accurate diagnosis. Endoscopy during strenuous exercise (overground endoscopy) has become key for veterinary surgeons to be able to give an accurate interpretation of upper airway function. There are many different forms of upper airway disorders. They occur when part of the pharynx or larynx collapses into the airway, causing an obstruction to airflow. This obstruction causes turbulence to airflow, which in turn creates the abnormal noise. Observations of upper airway function during exercise enable veterinary surgeons to estimate the impact of the abnormalities with respect to race performance. Generally speaking, the more the structure collapses and the more the airway is narrowed, the greater the detrimental effect to performance. The mechanisms by which upper airway disorders affect performance are surprisingly complex, but in brief they influence the amount of air the horse can breathe in and also how hard the horse has to work to get that air into the lungs.

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A full understanding of an individual horse’s upper airway function allows targeted treatments to be performed. Although the more common treatments have been included here for completeness, it is important for you to discuss individual horses with your own veterinary surgeon. Understanding the anatomy is the first step to interpreting upper airway function during exercise. When looking at an endoscopic image, the left side of the horse is on the right side of the image as we look at it, and vice versa (fig 1). With good upper airway function, we are looking for full abduction (which means opening) of the arytenoid cartilages while the vocal cords and aryepiglottic folds remain stable, and the epiglottis retains a curved shape; the soft palate and pharyngeal walls also remain stable. This gives a wide opening called the rima glottidis for air to enter the lungs (fig 2 a, b, c).

Aryepiglottic fold

Rima glottidis – entrance to trachea / wind pipe

Vocal cord

Epiglottis

Soft palate

FIG 1

• Palatal instability and dorsal displacement of the soft palate In the normal horse, the soft palate is positioned beneath the epiglottis. Palatal instability comprises billowing movement of the soft palate and often coincides with flattening of the shape of the epiglottis. The appearance of palatal instability can differ between horses (fig 3 a, b, c). Palatal instability often causes an inspiratory noise. Dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) occurs when the free border of the soft palate becomes displaced and comes to lie above the epiglottis (fig 4 a, b, c). In this displaced position, there is a substantial obstruction of the rima glottidis. Sudden onset ‘gurgling’ expiratory noises are characteristic of DDSP. Palatal instability almost invariably precedes DDSP, and it is thought these conditions may arise through weakness of the muscles within the palate itself. Thus, in younger racehorses, palatal instability and DDSP will often improve with fitness and maturity. In the UK, the two most commonly performed surgical treatments are soft palate cautery and laryngeal tie-forward. The purpose of the soft palate cautery is to induce scar tissue to tighten the soft palate. The tie-forward has a different rationale. In some horses, the larynx slips backward just prior to DDSP, therefore the tie-forward holds the larynx in a more forward position, thereby inhibiting displacement.

Arytenoid

Pharyngeal walls

a

FIG 1: Most disorders of the upper airway are named according to the structure that is collapsing. Therefore, understanding the anatomy of the airway will help to understand the individual conditions.

b

c

FIG 2

c

FIG 3

c

FIG 4

FIG 2 a, b, c: Images showing good upper airway function.

a

b

FIG 3 a, b, c: Images showing different types of palatal instability.

a

b

• Arytenoid cartilage collapse This condition is also called recurrent laryngeal neuropathy, laryngeal hemiplegia or laryngeal paralysis because it is caused by nerve damage to the muscles of the larynx. During exercise, we observe collapse of the arytenoid cartilage almost always on the left side. In the context of sales, most trainers are familiar with laryngeal function

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FIG 4 a, b, c: Images showing dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP). The epiglottis is no longer visible as the soft palate is now positioned on top of it.


| U P P E R A I R WAY D I S O R D E R S |

grading applied during resting endoscopy. The purpose of this is to predict what is likely to happen to arytenoid function during exercise. During exercise, arytenoid function is typically graded as A, B or C where A is full abduction, B is partial collapse and C is complete collapse (fig 5 a, b, c, d, e, f, g). The majority of horses with grade 1 or 2 laryngeal function at rest have grade A function during exercise (96% and 88% respectively). Arytenoid cartilage collapse causes a harsh inspiratory noise, often termed ‘roaring’. Arytenoid cartilage collapse occurs when the nerve supply to the left side of the larynx is damaged. The most frequent surgery to improve complete collapse is a ‘tie-back’, which fixes the collapsing left side into a semi-open position. The potential limitation of this surgery is that if the arytenoid is fixed open, it cannot close to protect the rima glottidis during swallowing. Therefore, horses that have had a tie-back are susceptible to inhaling food into the lower airways leading to coughing. The tie-back is associated with a higher risk of complications than all other upper airway surgeries. More recently a nerve grafting surgery has been developed in which a normal local nerve is detached from a local muscle and then implanted into the laryngeal muscles. This avoids the potential complications of food inhalation but does take a few months to take effect. Both of these surgeries can be combined with ‘Hobday’ surgery.

a

b

c

d

e

f

g FIG 5 FIG 5 a, b, c, d, e, f, g: Images from 7 different racehorses, showing the variations in position of the left arytenoid. The first image shows a good position, followed by horses with increasing severity of collapse. In the last image, there is virtually no opening remaining for airflow.

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• Arytenoid subluxation This condition seems to be observed with increasing frequency. We see it most commonly in young flat racehorses; it is far less common in National Hunt horses, which probably reflects maturity of the laryngeal structures. One arytenoid subluxates or slips underneath the other arytenoid (fig 6 a, b). The full name for this condition is ventromedial luxation of the apex of the corniculate process of the arytenoid cartilage (VLACPA). This condition appears to lead to instability of several other areas of the larynx, most commonly the vocal cords and aryepiglottic folds (fig 7 a, b). There is limited scientific evidence for the best way to manage this disorder, and at present there is no effective surgical treatment. The instability within the larynx can be exacerbated the more the horse is exercised, therefore limiting the intensity of training to allow the larynx to mature may be recommended.

| U P P E R A I R WAY D I S O R D E R S |

a

FIG 6

b

FIG 6 a, b: Images to show a closeup of the arytenoid cartilages. The image on the left is normal, and the two arytenoid cartilages meet in the middle. The image on the right shows that one side of the larynx has subluxated or slipped underneath the other side.

a

b

FIG 7

• Vocal cord collapse Vocal cord collapse is often described as mild, moderate or severe, and typically causes a highpitched inspiratory ‘whistle’ noise. Vocal cord collapse will almost always occur if arytenoid cartilage collapse occurs (fig 8) but can also occur without arytenoid cartilage collapse (fig 9). The traditional treatment for vocal cord collapse is the ‘Hobday’ procedure, which aims to remove the mucosal pocket to the side of the vocal cord along with the cord itself.

FIG 7 a, b: Images to show arytenoid subluxation which has led to aryepiglottic fold collapse and vocal cord collapse.

FIG 8

FIG 9

• Aryepiglottic fold collapse Aryepiglottic fold collapse is when the folds of tissue on the side of the larynx get sucked into the airway (fig 10 a, b, c). This condition also causes a high-pitched inspiratory noise. It is typically graded as mild, moderate and severe. It most often occurs in conjunction with other conditions that alter the normal conformation of the arytenoid or epiglottis (i.e., palatal instability, arytenoid subluxation, arytenoid cartilage collapse). Treatment aims to remove a section of the folds.

• Pharyngeal wall collapse Pharyngeal wall collapse is when the roof or sides of the pharynx collapse, which tends to obscure the larynx from clear view (fig 11 a, b). It occurs more commonly in sport horses than racehorses due to head and neck position; the more flexed the head and neck position, the harder it is for the walls to remain stable. The time that we most often observe it in racehorses is at the start of the gallops if they are restrained, and often it will improve as the horse is able to extend its head and neck. This condition also causes a coarse inspiratory noise.

FIG 8: Image showing left arytenoid cartilage collapse with vocal cord collapse.

a

FIG 9: Image showing severe bilateral vocal cord collapse.

b

• Epiglottic entrapment

Although included here for completeness, epiglottic entrapment can usually be diagnosed during a resting endoscopic examination, particularly if

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FIG 10 a, b, c: Images showing aryepiglottic fold collapse.

c

FIG 10


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| U P P E R A I R WAY D I S O R D E R S |

Most upper airway conditions are only present during exercise, when the upper airway is exposed to large changes in pressures associated with increased breathing rate and effort.

the horse is triggered to swallow. The epiglottis becomes enveloped in the excess tissue that should lie underneath it (fig 12 a, b). Sometimes the epiglottis remains entrapped, but sometimes it will entrap and release on its own which can make the diagnosis more difficult. The noise caused by epiglottic entrapment can vary, depending on the thickness of the entrapping tissue and whether DDSP occurs concurrently. Treatment involves releasing or resecting the excessive tissue. The disorders outlined above are described as if they are isolated single entities, but it is commonplace for horses to sustain complex collapse, which means collapse of multiple structures at the same time. Other less common disorders are epiglottic retroversion (when the epiglottis flips up to cover the rima glottidis), and cricotracheal membrane collapse (when there is collapse between the larynx and the trachea). On occasion obstructions to breathing can also occur in the nasal passages and the trachea (i.e., masses, ethmoid haematoma, sinusitis), but are far less common than those of the pharynx and larynx. Looking forward it is unlikely that any new conditions remain to be discovered. Research now centres around better understanding of the causes of these disorders and how best to prevent and treat them. A particular area of investigation amongst several research groups is understanding how to train the upper airway muscles more appropriately to reduce the prevalence of these disorders and to investigate methods to strengthen the muscles. This would have the potential to reduce the number of horses needing surgical treatments.

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a

b

FIG 11

FIG 11 a, b: Images showing pharyngeal wall collapse.

a

b

FIG 12 a, b: Images showing epiglottic entrapment in two different horses. Image b shows an epiglottic entrapment that is more long standing, and the tissue has become swollen and ulcerated.

FIG 12


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| TRAINING |

Georgie White

Alamy, Shutterstock

W

e often see the word vice used in the equestrian world to describe an undesirable behaviour completed by a horse; these are often repetitive behaviours completed either at certain times of the day, prior to or following a particular event or activity which causes the horse stress for whatever reason. When we look to the dictionary definition of a vice, the words ‘immoral,’ ‘corrupt’ and ‘wicked’ are synonymous; but these are all words used to describe premeditated or deliberate acts of wrongdoing. When we consider that these are horses we are talking about, they simply do not have the cognitive ability to do this. As humans, we tend to over complicate and anthropomorphise animal behaviour, likening it to our own and thus presuming horses complete these behaviours for far more complex reasons. Recently the term vice has been replaced with a more correct term: ‘stereotypical behaviours’ or ‘stereotypies,’ which encompasses any behaviour deemed to deviate from normal behaviour and has resulted from the horse coping with a challenge or stress. On the surface, the behaviours appear apparently functionless, but when understood as a coping mechanism rather than a premeditated misdeed, we can begin to understand how that behaviour serves the horse, if only temporarily.

• What is stress? Stress is the body’s response to a potentially threatening situation and is experienced by humans and animals alike and even serves as a function to keep the animal alive. Presence of a short-term stressor such as a predator serves to kick-start the fight or flight response, which is part of the acute stress response.

STA B L E VICES ARE THEY BAD BEHAVIOURS OR A PRODUCT OF THE ENVIRONMENT?

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| S TA B L E V I C E S |

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| TRAINING |

Stress can be divided into two subtypes: acute and chronic, which are dealt with by the body very differently. They also result in several different physiological adaptations that are notable when discussing stereotypical behaviour. Acute stress refers to a short event or episode that causes a temporary increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, salivary cortisol levels, increased blood pressure and muscle tension. In relatively healthy animals, once the stressful event has passed, these body parameters will return to a base-line normal. These short episodes are not always necessarily bad and can help a horse learn and adapt to their environment. As horse handlers, we also know we can help a horse habituate to a common stressor by regularly introducing them to it and giving them a positive experience. Over time, their stress response will become less severe, and thus they will learn to cope with it reoccurring. Chronic stress refers to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period of time, which an individual perceives to have little to no control of—the latter part being key in horses. Stereotypical behaviours will often occur during times where horses cannot control their environment. Stabled horses are most likely to display stereotypical behaviours because they are often in a situation when they cannot immediately change their environment or remove themselves from a particular stressor. Symptoms of chronic stress include weight loss, decreased appetite, negative demeanor or aggressive tendencies.

BELOW: Oral stereotypies include crib biting, wind sucking and wood chewing; there is varied opinion suggesting these behaviours may provide temporary alleviation of stomach discomfort.

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Horses suffering from chronic stress sometimes go unnoticed because the signs are more subtle; there is no pounding heart rate, sweating, increased breathing rate or more obvious cues that handlers may associate with a typically stressed horse. The other problem is that stereotypical behaviours can go ignored or become ‘just something they do.’ There is a common link between horses who display stereotypical behaviours and those diagnosed with gastric ulcers as both are closely related to chronic stress. There is debate over cause and effect, whether the horse performs these behaviours in an attempt to ease the discomfort of gastric ulcers or if those performing stereotypies are chronically stressed and at higher risk of developing gastric ulcers.

• Stereotypical behaviours There are several common stereotypical behaviours seen in domesticated horses, and they can be divided into two simple categories: oral and locomotor. Oral stereotypies include crib biting, wind sucking and wood chewing; there is varied opinion suggesting these behaviours may provide temporary alleviation of stomach discomfort, but this is a question for cause and effect. Locomotor stereotypies include weaving, box/fence walking and door kicking. These behaviours expend a lot of energy, especially if the horse devotes a significant amount of time to this behaviour and as a result, the horse can be prone to losing or maintaining condition.

THERE IS A COMMON LINK BETWEEN HORSES WHO DISPLAY STEREOTYPICAL BEHAVIOURS AND THOSE DIAGNOSED WITH GASTRIC ULCERS AS BOTH ARE CLOSELY RELATED TO CHRONIC STRESS.”


| S TA B L E V I C E S |

There is research to suggest that if performed for long enough, stereotypical behaviours become a habit; and acting as a reward to the horse, the release of endorphins occurs which reinforces repetition. Further to this, it can also be preempted by a horse who regularly experiences the same stressor at the same time of the day, each day and will therefore begin the behaviour before the stressful event occurs. Individual horses will vary in the degree of persistence and vigor to which the behaviour is performed; and this largely depends on how much of the horse’s time is devoted to the behaviour and how often the trigger event occurs in the horse’s routine. Some horses with stereotypies will appear to have a generally nervous demeanor, and others are relatively eventempered and well-adjusted animals who otherwise do not appear to be suffering adversely from their environment. Some horse owners will notice a trigger or a marker that often sets off the behaviour, in this case the stereotypy is easier to manage (e.g., ensuring that the horse is turned out first or fed first to prevent weaving or door kicking). When there appears to be no causative link, solving the stereotypy may become quite difficult especially if the horse has routinely done it for some time, as this becomes an ingrained habit.

• A little about anatomy The left hemisphere controls routine, internally directed or self-motivated behaviours in relatively low stress and familiar environments; examples would include foraging and grooming other horses. On the other hand, the right hemisphere is

ABOVE: Locomotor stereotypies can include fence walking.

responsible for environmental-motivated behaviours, emotional arousal and unexpected or threatening stimuli; this refers to natural behaviours that have been redirected to other objects or pastimes when the previously innate option is not available. These may include crib biting, bed foraging and wind sucking. The horse’s brain and associated physiology are quite different from the human’s; in part this can be attributed to the fact that horses are prey animals, and their innate fight or flight response is regularly triggered. The amygdala and hypothalamus work closely together to detect trauma and process memories. If a stimulus is considered threatening enough, it can be etched into a horse’s memory. Therefore, it can be appreciated how quickly a horse can memorise a previously distressing event. Horses lose the ability to discriminate between past and present experiences and also lack the ability to rationalise or interpret environmental contexts correctly. This means that although we know the horse next door is only going to the field 300 feet away, the horse who has started weaving has not rationalised or understood this. Horses that are prone to or that regularly complete stereotypical behaviours have “up-regulated” nervous systems, meaning that they are closer to the threshold of panic and may in some cases constantly remain in an over-aroused state. It will take very little to send them over this threshold and begin their stereotypical or coping behaviour.

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| TRAINING |

| S TA B L E V I C E S

RIGHT: Research suggests that instead of preventing the behaviour via suppression or restraint, such as as weave grill, it is most beneficial to cure the cause of the behaviour rather than the symptom.

• Why don’t all horses do it? A common misconception is that horses copy each other completing different stereotypical behaviours, but in fact there is no scientific research to support this; and the environment the horses are in is usually the common factor. This could be that their basic behavioural needs are not met; this can be due to lack of turnout and thus opportunities to socialise and burn off excess energy. This leads nicely to another common question: Why don’t all horses carry out these behaviours? Just like in people, individual horses cope with different environments and events differently. This can be due to their innate, built-in makeup or their past experiences or a combination of the two. For example, other horses being turned out first will bother some individuals immensely due to their desire for social contact being greater and may be a trigger for weaving for example, whereas others patiently wait their turn without bother.

• Racehorses and stereotypies It is a fair comment that competition horses, and in particular racehorses, are statistically more likely to develop stereotypical behaviours. This can be due to a number of reasons, some of which could be altered with careful management to improve the welfare of those horses affected. In general, racehorses spend a large amount of time stabled, in busy barns with lots of movement of horses; when surveyed, horse owners noted horse movement as a key factor in the initiation of stereotypical behaviours, particularly weaving and kicking. Other factors include boredom, although racehorses are in higher workload than some other stabled horses and do inevitably stand in a stable for extended periods of time, which may contribute to boredom levels.

• Prevention, redirection or adaptation? Among the equine community, the question “Should we stop them?” is often raised, and there is much debate on how, why and if we should stop these behaviours. There is a vast range of devices on the market that aim to prevent horses completing stereotypical behaviours, some preventing them physically and others redirecting the behaviour. Common devices include anti-weave grills, cribbing collars, topical anti-chew pastes to prevent crib biting and door-kicking prevention devices. Research suggests that instead of preventing the behaviour via suppression or restraint, usually in the form of a cribbing collar or weave grill, it is most beneficial to cure the cause of the behaviour rather than the symptom. By providing the horse with appropriate natural stimulation and opportunities to behave naturally, it will prevent the horse from feeling the need to complete the coping behaviour in the first place. This may include housing horses in groups where possible, or at worst, allowing them to see, touch or interact with other horses when stabled. If grass turnout is not possible, turnout in small groups on surface or hard standing may help provide social interaction. Where resources are limited or significant changes to the horse’s housing or routine is not possible, simple changes can help attenuate distress to some degree like providing them with extra forage during times of potential stress, turning them out first before others who do not get so distressed, and/or providing them with something to do during times of potential daily stress (e.g., putting them on a horse walker or exercising them during this time).

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BY PROVIDING THE HORSE WITH APPROPRIATE NATURAL STIMULATION AND OPPORTUNITIES TO BEHAVE NATURALLY, IT WILL PREVENT THE HORSE FROM FEELING THE NEED TO COMPLETE THE COPING BEHAVIOUR IN THE FIRST PLACE.” Horses who repeatedly display what can feel like relentless stereotypical behaviours can sometimes be told off by their handlers or people on the yard. This may act as a temporary fix and temporarily suspend them from the behaviour, but in some cases this can either worsen the behaviour or reinforce it because the horse gets a short fix of attention.

• In summary This article has aimed to dispel some of the myths associated with stereotypical behaviours but also appreciates some of the logistical challenges of managing horses in a stabled environment where immediate change to their routine is not possible. A key take-home message, when managing a horse displaying a stereotypical behaviour: It is beneficial to explore methods to help solve and cure the behaviour rather than punish or prevent the behaviour. This is important in order to improve equine welfare and ultimately benefit the lives of our equine athletes!


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| TRAINING |

Dr Russell Mackechnie-Guire

REDUCI NG THE

PRESSURE Scientists discover performance benefits of relieving five key pressure points under tack

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| REDUCING THE PRESSURE |

Recent scientific studies reveal how using new designs of saddle, pad, girth and bridle can significantly benefit the locomotion of the galloping racehorse. • Saddle up

R

esearchers detected peak pressures under commonly used tack that were of a magnitude high enough to cause pain and tissue damage. When horses have to manage this type of discomfort on a daily basis, they develop a locomotor compensatory strategy. Over time, this can lead to tension and restriction that inevitably affects performance. Physio interventions will usually ease the symptoms of tightness and soreness and, after a period of rest, performance may be restored and improved. However, this costly course of action only addresses the secondary problem. If the primary cause is still apparent—in this case pressure from badly designed or ill-fitting tack—the compensatory gait strategy will be adopted again, the tension will return, and the cycle will repeat. Reducing the pressure that forces a horse to adopt a compensatory gait will not only improve performance, but it will also help prevent further issues which could have veterinary implications and reduce susceptibility to injury in the long term.

FIG 1

HALF-TREE: High peak pressures consistent with the end of the tree 3/4-TREE: Peak pressure on one side of the back at a time, depending on the gallop lead FULL-TREE: Peak pressure was further back NEW DESIGN: The lowest peak pressures with a more uniform distribution

HALF-TREE Half Tree

THORACIC TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE LATISSIMUS DORSI MUSCLE

When scientists tested the three most commonly used exercise saddles, they discovered every saddle in the test impinged on the area around the 10th-13th thoracic vertebrae (T10-T13)—a region at the base of the wither where there is concentrated muscle activity related to locomotion and posture. The longissimus dorsi muscle is directly involved in the control and stabilisation of dynamic spinal movement and it is most active at T12 (see fig 1). Dynamic stability is the combination of strength and suppleness—not to be confused with stiffness—and is essential for the galloping thoroughbred. The horse’s back moves in three planes: flexion-extension, lateral bending and axial rotation—all of which can be compromised by high pressures under the saddle (see fig 7). Studies in sport horses have shown that saddles which restrict this zone around T13 restrict muscle development and negatively influence gait. This effect is amplified in a racehorse because they train at higher speeds, and faster speeds are associated with higher forces and pressures. In addition, gallop requires significant flexion and

3/4-TREE 3/4 Tree

FULL-TREE Full Tree

NEW Design DESIGN New

T10

T10

T10

T10

T13

T13

T13

T13

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| TRAINING | FIG 2: Improved hip flexion was recorded in the new saddle design (A) compared to a commonly used saddle (B).

FIG 2

reducing pressure, significantly outperforming gel and polyfill pads. Preliminary findings show the forces were 75% lower, and peak pressures were 65% lower under the foam pad than those recorded under the gel pad. The polyfill pad reduced the forces and peak pressures by 25% and 44%, respectively, compared to the viscose gel pad. A pad with a midline ‘seam’ designed to follow the contour of the horse’s back and withers performed best, maintaining position and providing spinal clearance even at speed. Flat pads without any shaping or a central seam were observed to slip down against the spine as the horse moved, even when the pads were pulled up into the saddle channel before setting off. The pressure associated with a pad drawing down on the spine under the saddle will lead to increased muscle tension, reduce elasticity of the back and could potentially alter gait. Relieving pressure at this location improves posture, movement and propulsion. It might be assumed that using multiple pads under an exercise saddle would improve spinal clearance or comfort. However, based on studies, this is not the case. In contrast, it can lead to saddle instability, which has the potential to encourage the jockey to overtighten the girth in an attempt to keep the saddle still. The added bulk puts a feeling of distance between the horse and rider, compromising the close-contact feel and balance all jockeys strive to achieve.

• Girth up

A B extension of the horse’s spine; and if this is compromised by saddle design, it seems logical there will be an effect on the locomotor apparatus.

When girth pressures were measured in horses galloping on a treadmill at a standardised speed, pressure readings under a regular straight girth peaked out above the highest calibration point on the pressure mat: 106kPa. The exact magnitude could not be recorded, but 106kPa is three times the peak pressure reported to cause capillary damage and discomfort beneath a saddle.

FIG 3: A pad shaped to follow the contours of the back maintains better spinal clearance during gallop.

Tree length In addition, half-tree and full-tree saddles were shown to cause pressure where the end of the tree makes contact with the horse’s back during spinal extension at gallop. In the three-quarter-tree, high pressure peaks were seen every stride and either side of the spine, correlating with the horse’s gallop lead; this indicated that the saddle was unstable at speed (see fig 1). Using a modified saddle design to achieve a more symmetrical pressure distribution, researchers saw a positive impact on spinal stability and back muscle activation. The hindlimb was shown to come under the galloping horse’s centre of mass, leading to increased hip flexion, stride length and power. A longer stride length means fewer strides are necessary to cover any given distance; and better stride efficiency brings benefits in terms of the horse’s training potential and susceptibility to injury (see compensatory strategy panel).

Pressure pad The saddle pad acts as a dampening layer between the horse and the saddle, reducing pressures and absorbing forces. In a pilot study of thoroughbreds galloping at half speed over ground, a medical-grade foam saddle pad was shown to be superior at

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FIG 3

T13

Clearance


| REDUCING THE PRESSURE |

The girth lies over various muscles involved in respiration and locomotion, and these muscles require room to function efficiently. The rectus abdominis and external abdominal obliques are important muscles that raise the trunk and modulate spinal movement. If their contraction is restricted by girth pressures, this is likely to compromise locomotion. When the same horses were galloped over-ground wearing a modified girth, designed to avoid areas of peak pressures, gait analysis demonstrated a significant improvement in the horse’s movement with increased hock and knee flexion, enhanced hindlimb extension and improved impulsion.

FIG 5

And breathe Researchers also observed that pressure peaks occurred during inhalation under straight girths. However, with the modified girth, the peak pressures were not evident at any point. This is thought to be because the modified girth removes pressure on the intercostal muscles, which are responsible for inhalation, and therefore does not hinder the ribcage’s naturally occurring expansion. In addition, it’s worth noting that research has shown elastic inserts do not result in reduced pressure or more efficient breathing. A previous study has documented a relationship between increased girth tightness and a reduced run-to-fatigue time on a treadmill: pressure limits the limbs’ full range of motion, so FIG 5: A normal girth lies over the junction of important muscles that control movement. Relieving pressure at this point improves the gallop.

A

B

C in effect the muscles have to work harder and, if required to work harder, they will fatigue sooner. Relieving girth pressure could extend gallop time before fatigue and improve comfort. For horses that already have clinical signs of ulcers, excessively high girth pressures at gallop—combined with the irritation caused by cortisol and gastric acid—are likely to compromise health and performance. If a modified girth can remove pressurerelated discomfort, this would make the girth an effective tool in a multi-disciplinary approach for horses undergoing treatment and management of ulcers.

• On the bridle

FIG 4: The new modified design in comparison to A – anatomic girth, B – shaped girth, C – straight girth.

FIG 4

In a study of bridles commonly used on sport horses, high pressure peaks were seen at the base of the ears in the region where the browband attaches to the headpiece. Anatomically this corresponds to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is linked to the hyoid bone by small muscles and is an important location for the cranial nerves and muscles that control proprioception and balance. Three significant muscles from the hyoid link directly to the horse’s chest, shoulders and poll, influencing the horse’s movement by means of ‘chains’ of muscle and fascial attachments which extend to the whole body. The hyoid apparatus is also associated with the tongue and swallowing mechanism, which actively creates pressures against the bridle each time the horse swallows. Bridle pressure can contribute towards hanging, tongue lolling and sore mouths. The same pressure-performance relationship already identified in saddles and girths is also seen with the bridle; areas of high pressures beneath the bridle have a significant effect on locomotion and cause the horse to develop a compensatory locomotor strategy (see panel). Scientists were able to show that a bridle which relieves pressure at the TMJ leads to improved movement and increased joint range of motion, as well as improving straightness. ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| TRAINING |

Tongue Muscles linking the hyoid apparatus to the tongue and the jaw

| REDUCING THE PRESSURE |

FIG 6: The TMJ is an important location for muscles affecting movement; a bridle that relieves pressure here improves locomotion.

FIG 6

An additional bridle pressure zone was identified under the noseband. However, removing the noseband does not remove the problem. A cross-discipline study showed that sores in the mouth are 2.6 times more likely in horses ridden with no noseband. Furthermore, 48% of racehorses were shown to have oral lesions— the highest percentage across all the disciplines in the study and the group where bridles without nosebands are most common. A noseband provides stability to the bridle, and it has been shown that horses perform better when the bridle is stable. Bit stability is also likely to improve when the bridle has a noseband. When the horse hangs its head to one side to alleviate bridle discomfort, an unstable bit can be pulled through the mouth, increasing loss of control and exacerbating discomfort. A specially designed Mexican grackle, which sits higher on the side of the horse’s head, was found to exert the least pressure and, consequently, improve the locomotor apparatus, giving the jockey a more refined contact and helping maximise gallop efficiency. There is no evidence to suggest that a well-fitting noseband restricts airway function or respiration; in fact, with the mouth closed and the lips sealed, nasal respiration and breathing function are thought to be optimised.

Bones of hyoid apparatus TMJ

COMPENSATORY STRATEGY

• Faster and longer

Horses experiencing pressures under their saddle, bridle or girth will still perform when asked, but they develop a compensatory locomotor strategy in an attempt to alleviate any discomfort. Compensation strategies may manifest themselves by altering the gallop lead, excessive lateral bending away from the leading leg (hanging) or stiffening of the spine. Strategies such as these lead to asymmetric force production, and these asymmetries have a negative effect on the horse at walk, trot and canter, resulting in poor performance and potential increased risk of injury. These will be amplified when galloping. This is because forces are influenced by speed and weight and are produced when the hoof comes in contact with the ground. At racing speeds of 38 mph/61 kmph, the hoof hits the ground approximately 150 times per minute.

When asked to increase speed, a galloping horse has to increase stride frequency or increase stride length. Stride frequency is an important consideration because every stride impacts the horse’s joints, causing wear and tear. A study has suggested that horses have around 100,000 gallop strides before the structures reach failure point. Therefore, any reduction in loading cycles (number of strides) could potentially help reduce injury risk. Fewer, longer strides is the preference for optimum training efficiency, and stride length has been demonstrated to increase when saddle and girth pressures are reduced.

FIG 7: The horse’s back moves in three planes: flexion-extension, axial rotation and lateral bending.

FIG 7

A: FLEXION - EXTENSION

A: FLEXION - EXTENSION

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B: AXIAL ROTATION

B: AXIAL ROTATION

C: LATERAL BENDING

C: LATERAL BENDING


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| TRAINING |

| REDUCING THE PRESSURE |

STATE-OF-THE ART TECHNOLOGY Pliance is an industry-standard method of measuring pressure in any gait using a sensor mat between the horse’s skin and the saddle, bridle or girth. Initially the results are displayed as a moving colour-coded image with areas of peak pressure showing as pink and red. Two-dimensional biomechanical gait analysis uses markers on the horse’s key joints while the horse is photographed in motion at a rate of 300 frames a second—approximately 25 times faster than the human eye. The data quantifies any changes in joint and limb angles, allowing differences in

movement to be determined. Three-dimensional gait analysis uses inertial measuring units to show precisely how changes in saddle pressure affect the complete range of spinal movement. ‘The combination of pressure mapping and gait analysis allows scientists to see exactly what effect relieving pressure has on the horse, and it removes any subjectivity a jockey might think they can feel or that an onlooker might think they can see.

FIG 8: Pressure mapping combined with 2-D and 3-D gait analysis has led to significant advances in tack design.

FIG 8

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ISSUE ISSUE 73 69 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| INDUSTRY |

THE

ROLLED TOE SHOE ITS DYNAMIC EFFECT ON THE FRONT FOOT OF THE HORSE 64

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Peter N Baker

Frank Sorge

| THE ROLLED TOE SHOE |

T

he 1980s saw a great leap forwards in farriery stabilised, and the run forwards heel was no longer seen as a awareness and an increased understanding of problem. Traditionally defined corns ceased to be present in balance and anatomy. Balance, as it is thought 100% of the horses, acute angled bar buckles were no longer of today, was not considered in any depth in the seen, and the lameness associated with this condition was no 80s. The forces that are transmitted through, longer evident. Linear bruising of the solar junction of the bars around and into the equine foot were only then beginning to be completely disappeared and “Baileys dorsal depression” in 95% thought about. Little attempt had been made to write or talk of the horses so affected went away. The horses were generally about them. sounder, tracked up in a far straighter line, and they undoubtedly Some years ago, an ongoing study was undertaken of the began to move more freely. Posterior third lameness became a Catherine Rudenko Norris,that Alamy effect of the rolled toe upon the structure of the equine athlete’s thing of Shutterstock, the past, exceptCaroline in those horses suffered attributable foot. Some quite interesting observations were noted and physical injury, disease to their feet or those suspected of having supported by Duckett (Newmarket 2nd International Farriery surgical intervention in their pre-training lives. and Lameness seminar, 15 - 16 September 1990), although a The type of rolled toe used was the “Charlie Double” toe, as somewhat different interpretation is placed upon their meaning. recommended and demonstrated by Colin Smith, FWCF. The Firstly, this study was undertaken in an attempt to find a roll is produced by rolling the toe of the shoe over the beck of sequel to the run forwards heel syndrome. At the time, this the anvil. The toes of the first shoes used were rolled to the first was a serious problem with high-performance horses. toenail hole to the opposing first nail hole on the other side of The author changed his style of shoeing and converted 200 the shoe. The shoes were made of wide section, light steel and horses in his care to rolled toe front shoes. The response was were fitted long and full at the heels. This type of shoe and toe dramatic. Within a month, the heels of 95% of the horses’ feet immediately stabilised the animal’s run-forwards feet.

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| INDUSTRY | 

| THE ROLLED TOE SHOE |

There were, however, four quite serious complications:

1

A black spot of necrotic matter formed under the shoe at the centre of the toe in the white zone.

2

A ridge of solar horn developed, which corresponded with the widest part of the foot. This ridge sometimes bridged the lateral clefts between the frog and the bars.

3

These observations are most probably related to the second complication, but the dorsal wall appeared to shunt backwards and two shallow grooves (Duckett’s Dimples) appeared proximo/distally in the dorsal wall— one on either side of the common digital extensor tendon, starting just proximal to its insertion on the extensor process the distal phalanx. These grooves did not seem to be formed as the horn grew downwards from the coronary band. One must conclude that they formed as a result of horn shunting. The second and third complications are possibly linked by the fact that the dorsal wall shunts backwards. This dorsal wall shunting descends the wall only as far as the upper solar plate wall junction, as the wall below this point is held in place by the horny sole. Such action causes the distal 3/4 of an inch of the dorsal wall to turn upwards and exaggerate the formation of the dip in the dorsal wall. The wall expands medially and laterally, and unless care is taken, this bilateral flaring will develop to a point of sole wall cavitation and wall laminae shearing. The minor posterior displacement of the sole causes the ridge and bridging effect previously indicated. It appears the horse’s physiology is forming the bridge to stabilise and strengthen the solar plate in an attempt to counteract weakness.

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4

Another problem is seen when using this type of shoe on horses with flattish feet, when in order to remove sufficient horn to allow the rolled toe to seat properly, the blood line can easily be breached. As can be seen from the above, the removal of one set of problems by fitting a rolled toe shoe from first toe nail hole to first toe nail hole was immediately replaced by a second set of problems which were potentially just as injurious as the first. Four months into the trial, the amount of toe roll used was reduced. The production method remained the same, but the amount rolled was reduced to half. Great care was taken to relieve the pressure on the sole directly behind the centre of the toe.


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| INDUSTRY | 

| THE ROLLED TOE SHOE |

Standard Shoe

Standard Shoe

SIDE

Slightly Rolled Toe

FA C E

Slightly Rolled Toe

SIDE

Increased Rolled Toe

Increased Rolled Toe

SIDE

The complications ceased, and nothing detrimental was seen afterwards. The feet remained stable. In 1990, a similar trial was carried out by a fellow farrier in my area, with equally dramatic results. Three of the horses in his care won two European Derbys, French and Epsom—the third horse only just got beaten into second place in the Irish Derby by Salsibil—probably the filly of that decade, a Triple Crown winner herself. The farrier made the following comments: “Rolled toes make it just a little bit easier to get the work into the horses” and “I have also noticed since using rolled toes that sore shins seem to have disappeared, even during this exceptionally dry season”.

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FA C E

ROLLED TOES MAKE IT JUST A LITTLE BIT EASIER TO GET THE WORK INTO THE HORSES; I HAVE ALSO NOTICED SINCE USING ROLLED TOES THAT SORE SHINS SEEM TO HAVE DISAPPEARED, EVEN DURING THIS EXCEPTIONALLY DRY SEASON.” Recent observations suggest the adaption of a spooned heel into soft rolled toe shoes accelerated beneficial changes to the athletic and mechanical effects of the rolled toe shoe, which completely did away with any heel constriction (corns, bar bending and associated bruising) and also coincidentally works quite well with a normally clipped shoe. The author has an open mind about future progression from today of this observation.


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| OPINION |

WH I PPI NG

UP A STORM

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| WHIPS IN RACING |

Jakub Kasprzak – Polish Jockey Club Translation: Joanna Krawczyk – Polish Jockey Club Frank Sorge, Stefan Olsson/Svensk Galopp, Lukasz Kowalski/FEI

T

his time it is Poland that has become an arena for the debate on the use of the whip in horse racing. It all started after the 2020 Derby, when Szczepan Mazur atop the winning colt Night Thunder (IRE) exceeded the limit of six whip strokes on the finishing straight (for which he was punished by the Stewards). The margins between the first three horses at the wire - ‘½ - head’. The owners of the horses that finished in second and third places [Inter Royal Lady (IRE) and Timemaster (FR)] felt cheated. They accused the victorious rider of unfair play and torturing the horse. They lodged a protest to disqualify the winner and to suspend the rider—for life—from race riding. The Stewards dismissed the protest. However, the matter gained momentum and took on a life of its own. People actively involved in racing, as well as former riders, fans and supporters, all had something to say. Some people expressed their opinions very clearly, stigmatising the situation that took place and spreading information left and right about the ‘bad, bandit behaviour of the rider’, about the fact that ‘money is more important than the welfare of animals’, or about the ‘lack of reaction from the Racing Commission, organiser and racing authorities’. Whereas a thorough assessment of the rider’s behaviour, as well as the statements about the use of the whip in horse racing or the evaluation of the work of Stewards, should be preceded by a theoretical analysis of the matter and existing regulations in Poland and other countries. Below, based on widely available sources, is a presentation of what the permissibility of using the whip in racing is dictated by, as well as the method of regulating the use of the whip in Poland and other countries. Finally, some high-profile examples of whip abuse, leaving the final judgment to the readers. We should start with what racing is. According to the Polish Act on Horse Racing, these are trials, which the task is to assess the breeding value and select the best individuals for further breeding. For this to happen, the riders have their own rights, duties and responsibilities in the race, including ‘the use of such tactics to show the maximum abilities of the ridden horses.’ Of course, everything is within the limits of common sense and in accordance with the established rules. On the other hand, ‘A rider who: 1) does not make every effort to win the race or take the best possible place, shall be subject to a financial penalty or the penalty of suspension of the riding license’. And this is where the following questions come to mind: • Did the rider who had a chance to take a better place, but did not want to receive a penalty from the judges, make the effort to take a better place? • Does the rider become an ‘executioner’, ‘brutal’ and a ‘bandit’ by exceeding the current limit of strokes? • From how many strokes do we determine that the rider is ‘a brute or an executioner’? 10, 20 or maybe 1? • By exceeding the whip limit, did the rider achieve a better result—but not by fair play? • What is the appropriate penalty—financial or suspension of a licence, or maybe trainers should enter such a rider ‘without a whip’? • How does one evaluate the damage of the horse’s image and its welfare after ‘cutting a few quick ones’?

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| OPINION | Szczepan Mazur atop Night Thunder winning The 2020 Westminster Derby at Slużewiec Racecourse, Warsaw.

• The whip in training literature The award for the best football player is the Golden Ball, for the best speedway rider, the Golden Helmet; and for the best rider, the Golden Whip. There is no point in discussing the symbolic aspect of the whip. The problem is understanding that it is not an end in and of itself, but it is an aid in achieving the desired result in a race. It has been, is and will be inseparable from the rider’s profession, because it is one of the many tools used during training and racing. As John Hislop put it in The Theory and Practice of Flat Race Riding (The British Racehorse, 1971): ‘The use of the whip in riding can be divided into four categories: punishment, education, encouragement and guidance.... Should the question of punishing a horse arise, the rider will be well advised to ensure that he can do so properly.... If a horse is to be punished at all, he should be hit hard, well behind the stifle and, preferably, left-handed. If he is merely looking around him, a smart tap on the shoulder, without taking the hand off the rein, should be sufficient to remind him that he is not there for sightseeing, and be unlikely to cause a dissolution of the partnership. ‘In the case of a well-trained, manageable horse, therefore, the use of the whip is confined to encouragement and guidance. ‘The damage done by improper use of the whip on the racecourse cannot be overestimated. In this way honest horses are turned into rogues, the spirit of a sensitive one may be broken, and races can be lost through horses being caused to go off the true line, or curl up. The first principle in the use of the whip in race riding is not to hit horses too hard. Occasionally, a thick-skinned,

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indolent horse needs a couple of good hard cracks to bestir him, but for the average horse a couple of taps, or even the mere sight of the whip swinging, is sufficient to make him do his best. If a horse is to keep on racing effectively, he should not be made to dislike it; particularly he should not learn to associate pain with the finishing stages of a race. If he is to be hit hard, it is far better to give him two or three good cracks some way from home, when he still has some running left in him, then to do so in the final stages when he is all out.’ So much for Mr. Hislop... And what about Col. Karol Rómmel in Practical tips of horse training for hurdle races cross country (Military Institute of Research and Education, 1938)? ‘If riding out the horse with the use of hands and legs does not help, and there are just a few meters left to the wire, where even a slight difference in length is decisive for victory, the rider must sometimes use the whip. Hitting a horse over the entire “straight” or without any sight of taking a place in the race is a shameful cruelty, which in addition has a completely undesirable result. ‘Almost every Thoroughbred gives its maximum effort in a race and basically, apart from having to be ridden out, does not require any encouragement to work. Only occasionally we find individuals so blunt that the help of spurs or even a whip is really indispensable. Therefore, one should treat the whip as an unpleasant last resort and use it, though not always, just before the wire itself, in the final fight for victory. The whip, held with the reins, by the right hand next to the knob, rests with its thin end on the horse’s shoulder. Before using the whip, the rider moves the reins to the left hand to the rhythm of the gallop, but


| WHIPS IN RACING |

does not reduce their tension and does not interrupt the rhythmic “riding out” movement of the hand (in this case only one hand). At the same time, the right hand “twirls” the whip in the direction of the movement and turns the whip with its tip upwards. The rider now holds the whip end first, parallel to the horse’s neck, approximately at eye level. The left hand continues the energetic riding-out movement. Immediately before the stroke, in order to catch the rhythm, several “twirls” of the whip should be made to the rhythm of the gallop in the direction of the tail, wherein the movements of both hands must be strictly coordinated, i.e. when the left hand is extended, the end of the whip is near the horse’s right groin. After 2 or 3 “twirls”, the rider hits the horse short and hard behind the girth or a bit further, but not in the groin, still to the rhythm of the gallop and always with a twirling whip movement.’ The above studies are from 1938 and 1971. Despite the differences regarding the use of the whip in the last metres of the race, both gentlemen agree that the whip should be treated as a last resort, and additionally, show first, then hit. They also both agree on the technique (method) of hitting: holding the reins in both hands, as well as the fact that sometimes there are ‘thick-skinned’ or ‘blunt’ individuals that need a much stronger impulse. Generally, one can draw the conclusion from their statements that apart from the necessity and need to use a whip sometimes, you should take care of the welfare of the animal you work with, because it will pay off in the future. And they came to such conclusions several decades ago! What has changed since those years? Not much, actually. It is difficult to come up with something else, except that it should be diligently implemented and applied under the supervision of experienced instructors (trainers). Unfortunately, the lack of education causes problems. An example of this are the answers of future riders during exams, which check their theoretical knowledge of racing rules. When asked, ‘What will change when you win the 10th race in your career?’ (According to Polish rules, a rider who has not won 10 races cannot ride horses with a whip in flat races.) Ninety-nine percent of them reply, ‘I will get a whip’. It doesn’t matter that you will be able to participate in races of the highest rank. (According to Polish rules, a rider who has not won 10 races cannot ride horses in races of the highest category, e.g., the Derby.) Nor will it be possible to ride debuting horses (Polish rules also say that a rider who has not won 10 races cannot ride horses that have never run); and you will have less weight allowance (you can eat a bit more). But the important thing is that you will have a whip. A lack of education on the part of the trainers, a lack of willingness of the riders to improve their skills and the blind faith in the whip as a source of victory (resulting from misunderstanding) will only cause problems.

• What does the ‘whip issue’ look like in Polish racing rules? Contrary to appearances, it has been regulated long ago. In the rules from before 2016, there was a provision that read ‘riders must not abuse the whip in relation to the ridden horse’, which gave the judges of the Racing Commission great flexibility in assessing any identified abuse. Of course, it can be argued whether there was an abuse or not; but the skilled eye of the Steward must have noticed the handling of the whip, which qualified as abuse—hitting without showing, hitting again and again without waiting for the horse’s reaction, hitting too many times, hitting when the horse was winning with an advantage, etc. In the current Polish rules, amended in 2016, paragraph 74 of the Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on the Rules of Horse Racing states that during the race riders cannot: ‘d) abuse the whip in relation to the ridden horse, in particular by too many hits, too strong stimulation and by raising the hand with the whip above the shoulder line; the permissible number of whip strokes on the finishing straight is 6, e) hit the horse in a way that may cause injury, in particular by hitting the head or flank, and if the hand with the whip lets go of the reins - also in front of the saddle, f ) hit the horse with a whip, if as a result the horse does not accelerate, is defeated or is winning the race with an advantage, g) create other situations that may endanger riders and horses’. If they do not comply with the above provisions, they must take into account the consequences.

• The whip and the rules Animal organisations—especially those in England—have long put pressure on the racing community by reporting whip abuse. Racing authorities in many countries work closely with governmental animal welfare agencies, and the relevant provisions regarding the widely understood welfare, and in particular the manner and number of whip strokes, are regulated by both international (also included in the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering) and domestic regulations. ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| OPINION |

This is how the matter of the permissible number of strokes— where to hit, how to strike, when it is allowed and not allowed— has been regulated in Poland. Additionally, other sections of the regulation have information about who (how experienced the rider is and the number of victories) can ride with a whip, in which races (race category) and with a whip of what length (depending on the age of the horse). For those who are not aware, racing regulations in other countries are not significantly different. The differences are primarily the number of strokes allowed without penalty. The table on the next page are examples of countries and their number of permissible whip strokes in a race—of course, in a technically correct way. The list shows, there are as many ideas as there are countries for solving the problem of whip abuse in terms of the allowed number of strokes. This is not an issue that can be settled by a single decision and signature, despite the awareness that animal welfare and the image of racing are of great importance.

• What has changed in Poland since 2016? It was a breakthrough year due to the amendment of the regulations and the introduction of a detailed description of when an offense related to the wrong use of a whip occurs. It required the riders to change their habits, especially those concerning the technique (swing) of handling the whip. The table below presents a list of offenses related to the abuse of the whip by riders/drivers in races based on the judicature of

TYPE OF OFFENSE

the Racing Commissions in Warsaw, Sopot and Wroclaw. The number of overly strong strokes (determined by raising the hand with the whip above the shoulder line) found by the Racing Commission has dropped significantly. It is worth noting that in 2014, the Racing Commission punished the riders for exceeding the permissible limit (working on the rules without the number of strokes!!) as many times as the Stewards did in 2016 or 2018 using the established limit of six strokes. Another thing is punishment. Depending on the type of offense, the penalty may vary. The Horse Racing Act provides for penalties ranging from a warning, thorough reprimand, a financial penalty (from PLN 50 to the equivalent of the sum of prizes in the race in which the offense occurred, i.e., the same offense may be treated differently in the case of a race of the lowest or the highest category), license suspension and the heaviest penalty: revoking the license to train, judge, ride/drive. In the event of violation of the regulations related to the use of the whip, it is possible to apply only a fine, suspend the license to ride/drive or revoke the license in the event of gross acts. For several years now, Polish Stewards have regulated the issue of punishment, which can be traced on the basis of judicature. The basis of the penalty for whip abuse in a race exceeding the stroke limit is the loss of prize money and riding fee for the jockey. The penalty is not increased indefinitely. If the rider/driver commits a ninth offense, the license is temporarily suspended, and the period is extended with subsequent offenses. Of course, if the first

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Riders (abuse, limit exceeded)

65

34

66

87

65

72

74

Riders (above the shoulder)

0

0

36

18

23

9

3

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| WHIPS IN RACING |

COUNTRY

WHIP STROKE LIMIT

AUSTRALIA

5 (up to the 100m marker before the wire)

6 in flat races (4 in races for 2 year olds and debuting horses); 8 in jumping races

I’M NOT FOR OVERUSING THE WHIP, BUT I’D RATHER GO IN A RACE WITHOUT PANTS THAN WITHOUT A WHIP.”

DENMARK

3

SWEDISH JOCKEY PER-ANDERS GRÅBERG

FRANCE

5

GERMANY

5

AUSTRIA

5

BELGIUM

5

CHANNEL ISLANDS CYPRUS CZECH REPUBLIC

GREAT BRITAIN GREECE HONG KONG

7 in flat races; 8 in jumps races No limit

7 in flat races; 8 in jumps races 10 No limit

HUNGARY

4

IRELAND

8

ITALY

No limit

JAPAN

No limit

MOROCCO

10

NETHERLANDS

3

NORWAY

0

POLAND

6 on the final straight

PORTUGAL

12

SINGAPORE

No limit

SLOVAKIA

4 (2 in races for 2 year olds)

SOUTH AFRICA

3

SPAIN

6

SWEDEN

3

SWITZERLAND

3

TURKEY

7

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

12

USA

Depends on the state; from various limits to no limits

or second violation of the rules was significant, then the Stewards may impose a suspension of the license; this is at the discretion of the Racing Commission. There is a gradation of penalties to give the rider a chance for improvement. As soon as the Stewards perceive the stroke limit has been exceeded, together with raising the hand with the whip above the shoulder, the financial penalties are combined. It should be noted that the punishment is also supposed to have an educational purpose. An important voice in the described case is that of the riders. Swedish rider Per-Anders Gråberg said, ‘I’m not for overusing the whip, but I’d rather go in a race without pants than without a whip’. Why? Because he had a serious accident in Norway several years ago in a collision with a horse of which its rider couldn’t manage. As a reminder, in Norway, racing law stipulates that only in races for 2 year old horses, or jump races, riders can have a whip, which is used only for correcting the path of the horse’s movement. In flat races for older horses, riders do not have a whip. Everything seems clear and legitimate... but what about during training? This hasn’t been regulated. ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| OPINION |

| WHIPS IN RACING |

BUT ELSEWHERE...

Below are just some high-profile examples of whip abuse in racing and decisions that have been made... or not.

Germany, Hamburg 2016 In the IDEE 147th Deutsches Derby (Gr1), Isfahan (GER) under Dario Vargiu won, followed by Savoir Vivre (IRE) under Frederic Tylicki and Dschingis Secret (GER) under Martin Seidl. The lengths between the first horses were ‘a head and neck’. The Stewards’ decision: The riders committed whip abuse and therefore appropriate penalties were imposed: Vargiu was fined € 2000; Tylicki was banned for four racing days. Additionally, both riders were penalized with a loss of 75% of their place bonus. As a reminder, the prize pool in the race is € 650,000 (€ 390,000; € 130,000; € 78,000; € 39,000; € 13,000). The owner of Dschingis Secret, dissatisfied with the result of the race, lodged a protest that the win was not ‘fair’ and demanded verification. As the racing authorities rejected the protest, the owner went to court. The case had its final hearing on 30 October 2019, which was three years after the race. However, the court in Cologne dismissed the protest of Dschingis Secret’s owner, citing German racing rules regarding penalties for offenses related to whip use.

France, Chantilly 2016 Al Mourtajez (FR) under Julien Auge won by 41/2 lengths in the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1). The jockey hit the horse five times with a whip (three times in a row) over the last 300 metres while having an advantage over the other horses. The French Stewards did not find any violation of the rules.

Poland, Warsaw 2017 Habil Mammadov riding Lady Dahess violated the rules on the use of the whip on the finishing straight by exceeding the limit of 20 strokes, hitting in front of the saddle after letting go of the reins, hitting when the horse was weakening. The judges suspended the rider’s license for all offenses for a period of 70 days.

Italy, Milan 2018 Fazza Al Khalediah (FR) won Premio Milan President of The UAE Cup. Rider Pierantonio Convertino uses the whip 22 times, no reaction from the Stewards.

Australia, Melbourne Cup 2018 Cross Counter (IRE) wins under Kerrin McEvoy, but everyone’s attention is drawn to the Stewards’ decision after announcing the results of the race. Michael Walker was fined AUD 400; Kerrin McEvoy - AUD 3,000; Regan Bayliss - AUD 1,500; Dwayne Dunn - AUD 800; and Damian Lane - AUD 800 all for abusing the whip in the race. The infamous record holder of this race was Hugh Bowman, second at the wire atop Marmelo (GB), who ‘earned’ 35 days of license suspension—of which eight were for exceeding the limit of strokes in the race, with the rest for careless riding and weighing in overweight. Where there is fault, there is punishment.

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England, Ascot 2019 Thanks Be (GB) under Hayley Turner won The Sandringham Stakes. For exceeding the strokes limit, Turner was suspended for nine days and fined £1,600. This was where the winning horse’s trainer came in by informing everyone that Ms Turner broke the racing rules, and the penalty was disproportionate to the offense; thus, the winning horse (trained by him) should be disqualified. He crossed the wire first but not in a fair manner.

France, ParisLongchamp 2019 Szczepan Mazur riding Salam Al Khalediah (FR) in the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1) exceeded the set limit of strokes. The judges imposed a penalty of € 150.

United Arab Emirates, Meydan 2019 Pierantonio Convertino received a fine of AED 2,000 for his ride on Fazza Al Khalediah (FR) during the Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1), using the whip in front of the saddle while not holding the reins with both hands. In the same race, TimothyPaul O’Shea received a license suspension for one racing day and was fined AED 5,000 for 13 strokes of the whip and the fact that it was his fourth offense of the season. He was additionally fined AED 2,000 for a double whip in front of the saddle. When determining the penalty, the judges took into account that it was a Gp1 race.


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| OPINION |

| WHIPS IN RACING |

Saudi Arabia 2020 Jockey Mike Smith ‘earned’ a nine-day suspension of his license and the loss of 60% (about USD $210,000) of his share of the purse for 14 strokes of Midnight Bisou (USA) in the inaugural Saudi Cup. The jockey appealed, but the Stewards dismissed it, maintaining the fine and the suspension of the license.

France, Chantilly 2020 French Derby - Prix du Jockey Club (Gr1). Jamie Heffernan riding Order of Australia (IRE) placed seventh. The Stewards counted 11 strokes of the whip. The decision was to suspend the rider’s license for 22 days.

Australia, Melbourne Cup 2020 Twilight Payment (IRE) won under Jye McNeil. Tiger Moth (IRE) was second under Kerrin McEvoy. By the decision of the Stewards, McEvoy was fined AUD 50,000 and suspended from riding for 13 racing days for exceeding the permitted stroke limit. The Racing Commission counted 21 strokes to Tiger Moth (the allowed number is 5). Attentive fans could see that the winning rider also exceeded the limit of strokes (11 times). But here, the judges found no violation of the rules. Why? Well, McNeil only hit the horse four times before the 100m marker to the wire, and the rest followed later. Whereas, McEvoy hit 13 times before the 100m marker, and another eight after passing it. Australian racing law clearly states that the whip can be used 5 times before the 100m marker to the wire, and after passing it (i.e., on the last metres), the rider may use the whip as deemed necessary. ‘In the final 100 metres of a race, official trial or jump-out a rider may use his whip at his discretion’. AR.137A(5)(b).

Poland, Wroclaw 2020 A jumps race was won by Nevado (POL), trained by Pavel Polesa with Czech rider Jan Odlozil in the irons. After tackling all jumps and covering 3,200 metres, Nevado won with ease. The number of whip strokes did not exceed the statutory six. However, after the race, the Racing Commission penalised Odlozil with a fine of 1000 PLN for abuse of the whip. As it turned out, after crossing the wire and stopping the horse, Odlozil ‘thanked’ the horse for his effort and victory with two solid whips for no reason. Due to the nature of the offense, it is strange that the Stewards did not make use of a much more severe penalty. And last but not least, here is an example of another rider. Christophe Soumillon regularly rides in France, where the whip limit was very low: six (now five). In 2018 and 2019 he rode, among others, Thunder Snow (IRE) in the USA and the UAE. He won the 2019 Dubai World Cup 2019, striking his mount 13 times. The Stewards fined him AED 25,000 (about $7,000). The horse he rode won $7,200,000. In turn, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic 2018, Soumillon used his whip on 16 occasions, but the horse did not improve and did not react to subsequent whip strokes. Eventually he finished 3rd. The behaviour of the Belgian was criticised by the European racing community, while the American

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IN ADDITION TO THE WHIP, WE HAVE A BRAIN. NOT JUST THE RIDERS, BUT WE ALL SHOULD LEARN AND KNOW THE RULES, AND BE ABLE TO INTERPRET AND APPLY THEM.” Stewards saw nothing wrong with it. There was no punishment. These examples show a great dispersion in the approach to the problem of whip use, despite rather consistent regulations worldwide. The whip was, is and will be an indispensable attribute of horse racing. However, it is important to remember what it is for and how it is to be used: punishment, education, encouragement and guidance. If we want to play the ‘race game’, let’s play; but let’s do it in a responsible (also to maintain a good image) and safe manner, not only for the horses but also for the riders. In addition to the whip, we have a brain. Not just the riders, but we all should learn and know the rules, and be able to interpret and apply them. Above all, however, we should be aware that in the event of breaching the rules, there will be a penalty, sometimes more severe than just financial.


Photo: Hesteguiden.com

COME, SEE AND CONQUER THE NORTH Situated in the outskirts of the capital Oslo, Øvrevoll is the only racecourse in Norway. This season, we hope you will consider our pattern races for your horses. We wish to welcome owners and trainers to experience Norwegian horse racing and hospitality on our biggest race day. Sunday August 22nd, to close on June 21st THE MARIT SVEAAS MINNELOP (Group 3) 1800 meters (1m1f), total value NOK 1.200.000 (€ 114.614) THE POLAR CUP (Listed) 1370 meters (6f185y), total value NOK 500.000 (€ 47.756) LANWADES STUD STAKES (Listed). For fillies and mares, 1600 meters (1 m), total value NOK 300.000 (€ 28.654)

For each horse trained outside Scandinavia participating in Group races, travel allowances will be subject to agreements. Please note that jockeys are not allowed to carry a whip in races for 3-years old and upwards. For further information, please contact Liv Kristiansen: liv.kristiansen@rikstoto.no International Racing Bureau Newmarket, UK + 44 1638 66 8881 Max Pimlott: max@irbracing.com

ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| INDUSTRY |

COULD EUROPEAN RACI NG IMPROVE ITS T E C H N I Q U E S FO R C O U R T I N G ST U D E N T S ? acing is not alone in its desire to encourage greater interest amongst the younger generations. For decades, we have bemoaned our ‘ageing demographic’ and, while there may be little evidence of anything more than an aged demographic (raising the suspicion that it was ever thus), we, like so many others, are constantly seeking the key to attracting youth to our sport in all capacities: punters, racegoers, careerists. For advice on this, who better to turn to, we reasoned, than to students themselves? Enter the European Student Horseracing Federation (ESHF)—a fledgling organisation whose members are University Racing Societies. Founding Chairman Robert Dargan explains: ‘The ESHF was established in May 2020 when I was elected chairman of Trinity College Horse Racing

R

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Society. It was founded to help racing societies to promote their presence and activities in their respective Universities. As I was fearful they may not survive the effects of COVID—given the fact that their normal events—visiting breeding operations, training facilities and going to the races could no longer take place due to restrictions. I thought it was very important to keep the societies active, to help promote the sport of horse racing to students, who are the next generation of supporters, participants and owners. I also wanted to have a central place for student horse racing enthusiasts to share their passion with other like-minded students from other universities and countries. I felt such an organisation did not exist for these purposes.’ Together, we began the search for a Fellowship Observer—a competitive process open to ESHF members where the winner would win an expenses-paid trip to Warsaw, and where, COVID


Dr Paull Khan

INPHO/Morgan Treacy, Future Ticketing 

permitting, we will hold the EMHF’s General Assembly in October, alongside racing at Poland’s premier racetrack, Sluzewiec. Students were invited to distil into 500 words their thoughts on what European racing administrators might best do to encourage youth participation. Entries were received from racing and equestrian societies of Universities across Ireland and Britain, including Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Cambridge and University of Nottingham. Ciara Dineen, a first-year equine business student at Maynooth University, emerged as the winner. Ciara hails from a racing background—her father was both a jockey and trainer in his day, and she now dovetails her studies with working at John Joseph Murphy’s yard in Cork. Like several of the competition entrants, she feels that more could usefully be done to organise and foster the direct involvement of students in various aspects of the sport. From the organisation of student ownership syndicates to an enhancement of the ‘student raceday’ concept, which would see the addition of stable visits in the days leading up to the race, allowing the students ‘up close and personal’ access to one or two of the runners on the day—whom they can then cheer on, come the raceday, bonded by their newfound acquaintanceship. The student ownership syndicate is not an entirely new idea. There are two variants: syndicates for alumni of schools or colleges and those for current members of college Racing Societies. Pierce Dargan, brother to Robert, and better known as CEO of Equine Medirecord, has been a trailblazer in this area. Pierce founded the Blackrock Racing Syndicate, made up of alumni of Blackrock College, a well-known school in Ireland, at the end of 2018. The syndicate got off to a dream start, with its first horse, Arthurian Fame, winning at the first time of asking. Exultant Blackrock members, decked out in the school’s blue and white colours, memorably hoisted trainer Joseph O’Brien aloft and into the winner’s enclosure. The success didn’t stop there, with the syndicate going on to win the Microsoft Cup at Leopardstown, where the power of the concept could really be seen. Over 200 alumni of Blackrock turned up to see the ‘the Fame’ win at the local track for the school, which is less than a 20-minute drive away. Even though most were not directly involved, Pierce describes how having the syndicate being part of an already existing identity really helped drive interest, not only to join the syndicate but also to grab the attention of the wider past and present pupils of the school and its extended community. ‘I think syndicators work very hard to establish a unique identity for their racing club or syndicate to help draw interest from potential members. This can be quite difficult, but when you are able to use the name and sports colours of the university or school, it really makes that draw for potential members much easier, as they are already part of that community. Also, educational institutions are always very anxious to engage and build strong ties with past students, and a syndicate or racing club is a perfect way to do that. I know personally it has helped me stay connected with friends to whom I had not spoken since leaving school; and it was the perfect reason to meet and share a great day out with them. And when the horses are doing well, it brings excitement not only to the members but the whole community, as shown by the number of people who came to watch Arthurian Fame run at Leopardstown. I also think it is the perfect way to build a path for young enthusiasts to become new owners in the sport.

| EMHF |

ABOVE: EMHF Fellowship Observer Competition winner Ciara Dineen.

‘Our generation want to be involved. We’re not content to be spectators any more.’ Robert Dargan has picked up the baton in creating a syndicate structured to include current students. ‘The first example of Student Racing Societies owning horses occurred with the creation of the Trinity Racing Club,’ he recalls. ‘The structure allowed for different entry levels for students and alumni, meaning that students were able to buy a smaller percentage of the horse than alumni to enter the syndicate, making it affordable to them. We have since helped one of our ESHF board members—Jack Fogarty Chairman of University College Cork (UCC) Horse Racing society—to replicate this format; and they now have the UCC Racing Club with their first horse owned by students, alumni and staff from the university. It is great to see the idea is starting to catch on following the success of other similar syndicates.’ Ireland has also been at the forefront in the development of student race days, with the likes of Leopardstown, Cork, Galway, and Limerick racetracks having conducted the events for a decade or so. Robert Dargan again: ‘Tickets are typically at a premium, with the days being sold out quite quickly. Student race days are organised foremost by the racetrack and the student societies. I believe racing authorities could help organise pre-student race day events, as suggested by our competition winner Ciara Dineen, to help give students even greater insight into the sport and how much work is done by so many people to help make the event they then attend be possible.’ Clearly, student racing societies are able to take root more easily in countries like Great Britain and, especially Ireland, where horseracing is an important part of the culture. The EMHF’s General Assembly will allow discussion of the applicability of these ideas to racing nations across Europe and the Mediterranean, and to the extent of which racing authorities might play an active part in their development and uptake.

SCAN THE QR CODE TO READ A SELECTION OF THE EMHF FELLOWSHIP OBSERVER COMPETITION ENTRIES. ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| INDUSTRY |

HOW WILL INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION SURVIVE COVID AND BREXIT?

I

t is a sad and blatant truth that racing across our region looks very different today from just a year or so ago. In some jurisdictions, no fixtures at all have been staged since the pandemic first bit. Throughout the continent, crowds have been largely absent and, even though we have seen many determined and enterprising trainers continue to make raids across national borders, travel restrictions have undoubtedly depleted such journeys. A large percentage of cross-border racing movements in Europe have historically involved Great Britain. British-trained runners are not only a familiar sight in neighbouring Ireland and France, but also frequently find their way onto racecourses across the EU—in countries such as Spain, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Similarly, there are few British racecourses which would not entertain an EU-trained runner in the course of a normal year. But, in a world where ‘COVID’ and ‘Brexit’ are two of the most Googled words, will normality return? Today, now that the United Kingdom is no longer an EU member state, it is clear—from the experiences of those who have braved moving horses between Britain and the EU in the early months of 2021—that the process now involves considerably more planning, paperwork and cost. Now, when moving horses even temporarily between the two blocs, one is faced with the need for fresh transporter authorisations, vehicle approvals and certificates of competence for those in the horsebox; customs registration; customs documentation for both the outbound and the return journey; lodgement of security to cover VAT on the horses’ value; blood tests; pre-notification of the details of the movement; inspection by an official vet who will authorise the dauntingly lengthy Export Health Certificates; use of specific Border Control Posts through which to enter the EU, etc. The combined effect of COVID and Brexit has been profound. Weatherbys’ figures show that international runners crossing the sea to or from Britain in the first two months of the year slumped by 87%—from 159 to 20. Since most of the extra costs are fixed, there is a disproportionate burden on the more lowly animals, travelling for more modest prize money. At the top end, one would expect behaviour to be less affected, and indeed this was borne out by the experience of the

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flagship Cheltenham Festival. True, there were 12% fewer Irishor French-trained runners this year than last, but the field sizes in general were down in similar proportion. The percentage of runners, which crossed a sea to participate, was just as high as it had been in 2020, at 38%. There are sound reasons to believe that the extent of the fall in international competition will lessen over time. We should not forget that British racing issued strong advice not to attempt to travel in the first few weeks of the year, so a barren spell was only to be expected. The new requirements of hauliers have largely now been addressed. Once the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK has eventually been signed off, the planned ‘Trade Specialised Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures’ can start its work, looking to address and alleviate points of friction. Racing is data rich and has sophisticated systems in all countries; integration of these data with governmental systems such as Customs would streamline the processes. On VAT, there is some wiggle room for individual governments in laying down their exact requirements for the security for temporary movements—there must be hope that pragmatic solutions can be found. And, of course, people will generally get more accustomed to the new rules and better at coping with them. We have, as international racing administrators, worked so hard to ‘oil the wheels’ of international competition, encouraging travel to other countries to race. And not just the racing administrators— the International Racing Bureau have played a fantastic role over many decades now; and the shippers have built up a wealth of specialist expertise, which has meant that such travel is commonpace and no longer exotic. It would be lamentable if we now saw this trend put into reverse. Movement of runners across borders is the only way that our global ratings system can work—it relies on domestic form being validated by international comparison. And, at all levels, foreign runners undeniably bring significant interest and colour to a race meeting. We at EMHF will be looking closely, once we emerge from the pandemic, on any lasting damage it may have caused on the level of international competition. And, more particularly and locally, on the impact of Brexit in that regard.


| EMHF |

CAN ‘SMART TICKETING’ HELP POWER RACING’S POST-COVID RECOVERY?

I

n our first such commercial venture, the EMHF has teamed up with Irish-based Future Ticketing (www.futureticketing.co.uk) as our official ticketing partner. While Future Ticketing serves a range of sports—including football, rugby and basketball, as well as shows and events and visitor attractions—its pedigree is very much in racing. Its CEO and co-founder is Liam Holton, who was commercial director at Punchestown; while Peter McNeile, who held the same position at Cheltenham, is its international sales director. Future Ticketing provides digital software ticketing solutions to over 300 customers in Ireland, the UK and the USA, including over 30 racetracks. With the racing industry across Europe—like so many economic sectors—reeling from the effects of COVID, it is important for all the sport’s participants that its racecourses bounce back once they are no longer starved of the oxygen of live spectators. What can smart ticketing technology do to help speed up and strengthen this recovery? One basic fact is that where tickets are sold in advance, rather than through cash admission at the gate, it affords the venue the opportunity to glean so much more about their racegoers, in turn, enabling the tracks to cater better for their needs and preferences. ‘Racecourses have made great strides in the past 15 years toward a lower dependency on cash admissions, by selling in advance,’ explains McNeile. ‘However, an average weekend fixture in the Irish or UK market would still achieve no more than 35-40% of admissions in advance.’ ‘Of course, the relevance of a ticketing solution doesn’t merely apply to big courses with well attended fixtures. Across the entire spectrum, from modestly attended point-to-points to festival fixtures at Galway and Punchestown, Future Ticketing software is enabling racecourses to monetise their websites through engaging visitors to buy, collecting their personal information in a simple intuitive user experience, and managing capacity not just overall, but through individual ticket types. Not just that, but they are also using the ticket purchase process to allow sale of other items.’ How, I wondered, do such solutions cope with that current scourge of the hospitality sector—the need to socially distance? ‘A racecourse crowd is a dynamic one, moving from paddock to

stand to bookmaker and so on,’ responds McNeile. ‘Wherever there are static positions, our seating plans can be configured to allow for social distancing, whether this is a seated grandstand or hospitality area.’ ‘More simply, however, our software is being used to identify every attendee on the course, to protect a racecourse’s integrity through a home-grown track & trace process. This has been working very well for point-to-points, whether for paid or complimentary admission, and has given these fixtures a hitherto unknown and granular insight into their audience. Advance booking means entry to the course is swifter—reducing queues, lowering cash handling and, in some instances, allowing venues to move to cashless admission, lowering the opportunity for fraudulent or erroneous reconciliation.’ And what new opportunities does McNeile believe smart ticketing technologies may bring about, COVID aside? ‘There is nothing to prevent racecourses from working with media and other partners to grow admissions through multiple new channels, either rewarding those partners directly with a bounty per transaction or in value in kind. In European markets where racing is far from the mainstream, I can see this as an attractive pay-as-you-earn opportunity for racecourses and media. ‘There is nothing more valuable to a racecourse than intelligence on its customers’ buying habits. Future Ticketing provides access to all manner of measurement techniques, from Google Analytics to pixel tracking. And at its simplest, where racecourses have loyal memberships attending on a regular basis, identifying which days they frequent gives first-hand knowledge around which to finesse membership types to reflect demand. ‘Our systems enable the racecourse to adopt other independently owned software and integrate it into the purchase process, whether for efficiency savings or for revenue growth. This could extend to third-party managed merchandise, travel or accommodation. Imagine being able to buy your S-Bahn ticket and admission to Hoppegarten in one transaction, or Metro travel to Auteuil. This is manageable. It opens up a new vista of opportunity for partnerships and dialogue with organisations that can be vested in racecourse success.’ ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| PRODUCT FOCUS |

DON’T WAIT FOR POOR PERFORMANCE TO HIT Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is a debilitating condition. In order to achieve the calorific energy demands the horses’ diet has changed from a high forage grass-based diet to a

BEFORE

AFTER

supplementation with GNF

supplementation with GNF

starch (carbohydrate) energy dense diet made from grains. This has led to a fundamental change in the horses’ digestive system, with a decrease in the stomach pH leading to a more acidic environment in the horses’ stomach. This is one of the key contributing factors leading to Equine gastric Ulcers. EGUS is a debilitating condition which has been increasingly

Clinically proven to reduce mild to moderate gastric ulcers*

recognized in recent years as the reason for poor performance in racehorses. EGUS has been found to be widely prevalent, up to 93% of racehorses have been found to suffer from ulceration after

GNF differs from other feed supplements

endoscopic examination. The reasons for the high prevalence of

on the market in 2 significant ways:

gastric ulcers can be attributed to high concentrate/low forage

1

diets, stall confinement and exercise induced stress.

with EGUS; race horses supplemented with GNF for six weeks

Signs of EGUS include: • Decreased performance • Poor condition including dull coat • Poor or ‘picky’ appetite Proper nutritional support and environmental management are vital components in ensuring that horses maintain a healthy digestive system whilst in training. With this in mind TRM have

GNF is clinically proven as a nutritional adjunct for horses

showed significant (P<0.05) reduction in overall ulcer score.

2

GNF does not contain any prohibited substance, does not

have a withdrawal period and is safe to use right up to race day when the horse is most at risk of developing ulcers due to intense training and stress. GNF offers a 4-point target approach to the maintenance of normal digestive function.

1

Anti-Acids - Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Hydroxide

developed a unique dietary

which stabilise and increase the pH of the gastric fluids.

supplement, GNF which

2

is suitable for feeding as a nutritional adjunct to maintain normal digestive tract function.

Stomach coating - Seaweed Extract (Laminaria Hyperborea)

which can protect the non-glandular portion of the stomach from acid splash.

3

Regrowth – Amino acids, Threonine to support mucin

production and Glutamine to assist the repair and maintenance of epithelial cells.

“At Greg Eurell Thoroughbred Racing we feed GNF as it ensures our horses are well from the inside out. Our horses are eating up happily, keeping condition better, and are overall much brighter and more relaxed when on the GNF. The GNF keeps the entire digestive system in top condition. We would highly recommend GNF to anyone with performance horses – it works!” - Greg Eurell

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TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 73

4

Prebiotics - Fructo-Oligosaccharides which form a food

substrate for the beneficial bacteria in the hind gut.

To find out more about how GNF can support your horses, or to order a GNF FREE TRIAL (Trial pack only available in the UK) please contact a member of the Farm & Stable Supplies team today on +44 (0)1730 815800 or visit www.farmstable.com * Hatton, Hale & Hemmings 2006


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100 years since “the spotted wonder” stood his first season at stud

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Training with technology

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The new jockeys on the block

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Does a young horse’s diet determine longevity on the racecourse

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DIGESTIVE TRACT HEALTH IN FOCUS

HOW EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS VIEW RACING’S WORKFORCE

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JESSICA HARR ARRI RINGTON I A trainer for all seasons

MARKUS KLUG

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THE

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Life smells good for Cologne’s leading trainer

BREXIT SPECIAL

How high are racing’s stakes?

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THE RISE OF ALL-WEATHER RACING

WHY RACING IS LOOKING AFTER ITS TRAINERS

EQUINE ULCERS – WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR HORSE

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Norway’s leading lady

Making tracks for French-bred success

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From an Australian perspective but with worldwide implications

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DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN EUROPEAN RACING

BLEEDERS – THE FACTS, FICTION AND FUTURE DIRECTION

“I actually had no aspirations to be a trainer whatsoever”

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THE IMPACT SADDLES HAVE ON PERFORMANCE


| PRODUCT FOCUS |

THE RED MILLS CARE RANGE We are delighted to announce that our most popular and nutritionally advanced RED MILLS Care Range has been enhanced with the addition of new ultra-low starch Horse Care ULTRA Cubes. Horse Care ULTRA Cubes have been formulated by our expert team of nutritionists to be cereal-grain free and exceptionally low in starch. This nutritionally advanced formulation has a starch content of just 4%; one of the lowest starch feeds on the market. Horse Care ULTRA Cubes contain the same tried, tested, and trusted RED MILLS Nutrition Care package which has been specifically formulated to provide the horse with optimum nutritional support.

• Why the RED MILLS Nutrition Care Package? The modern-day horse faces many challenges – the physical and mental stresses of training, frequent travel and the tremendous

Hindgut Care

demands of the breeding season. Key body systems including the

Maintaining a healthy and efficient hindgut in high performing

digestive system, musculoskeletal system and immune systems

competition and stud horses can be challenging. The RED MILLS

are tested daily. Our expert nutrition team have developed the

Care package includes fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), mannan-

RED MILLS Care package for a scientifically advanced range of

oligosaccharides (MOS), and live yeast, all of which help to

feeds, that have been specifically formulated to provide the horse

promote a healthy hindgut environment.

with optimum nutritional support the Care packages includes:

Stomach Care

Skeletal Care The RED MILLS Care package has been formulated to help

A variety of factors place the performance horse at risk of gastric

promote bone strength and correct limb development by

ulceration, caused by gastric acid erosion of the epithelial lining

providing quality protein, vitamins A, D and K, plus essential

of the stomach wall. The RED MILLS Care package has been

micronutrients such as elements calcium and phosphorus.

specifically designed to help support and maintain normal stomach

Chelated copper and zinc are also included for improved

health. All RED MILLS Care products are low in starch and

availability. All the feeds in the RED MILLS Care range have also

contain a slow releasing, natural gastric buffer to help to buffer

been designed to provide controlled levels of starch to help

excess acid thereby helping to maintain a healthy stomach pH.

reduce excessive glycaemic response after feeding.

Muscle Care

Hoof Care

Precise nutritional care is needed to support muscle development,

Horse hoof health is determined by several factors including

growth and post-exercise recovery. The RED MILLS Care package is

genetics, environment, and nutrition. The RED MILLS Care

formulated to provide high quality protein, rich in essential amino

package contains elevated levels of biotin to help support

acids. A comprehensive, unique antioxidant package combining

improved hoof quality, plus quality protein, a source of sulphur-

Vitamin E, organic Selenium and Vitamin C is also included to

containing amino acids, chelated zinc and copper all of which

effectively support cellular function and muscle recovery.

play important roles in maintaining hoof health.

www.redmills.com 86

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 73


| PRODUCT FOCUS |

WHAT OIL SHOULD I FEED MY HORSE? When discussing oils, you will hear the term Omega-3 and Omega-6 a lot; these fatty acids are important inclusions in the horse’s diet. While Omega-3 fatty acids aid the anti-inflammatory response in the body and have positive health benefits, Omega-6 fatty acids aid the pro-inflammatory processes. Some human medical research suggests that excessive levels of Omega-6, relative to Omega-3, may increase the probability of a number of diseases. Therefore, it is advisable that while shopping for an oil suitable for your horse you look for one with at least twice as much Omega-3 as Omega-6.

Joint Health – there are multiple studies in both human and

There are many advantages to feeding oil to horses. The energy

diet to help with joint inflammation.

content of oils is greater than that of cereals. Therefore, for those horses that are in hard work, have reduced appetite or need

animal promoting the inclusion of a balanced omega oil in the

Fertility – the inclusion of Omega-3 in the diet for both mares

additional calories may benefit from an inclusion of oil in the diet.

and stallions is of benefit for reproductive health.

• Advantages to feeding an oil

Linseed oil is a great source of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 and

Skin and Coat – feeding an oil is excellent for skin and coat condition, it is advisable for an oil to be fed to horses who suffer from conditions such as dry, flaky skin or a dull coat. Omega-3 supplementation is thought to be beneficial with some allergy related conditions such as sweet itch, while the oil helps to avoid the irritated skin from drying out.

Respiratory Health – research proved favourable for the inclusion of Omega-3 in the diet for horses who suffer from inflammatory airway disease. The additional benefit of adding an oil to the feed resulted in the feed being coated by the oil

in the correct ratio; the omega balance in linseed oil is 4:1, which is the same ratio as in fresh pasture grass. This natural balance of omega oils is different in preserved forages such as hay, where Omega-6 levels are higher. In stabled horses supplementing with linseed oil helps redress the omega 3:6 imbalance associated with reduced pasture turnout. Foran Equine Kentucky Karron Oil is a high-quality linseed emulsion, emulsification improves the bioavailability of the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This increase in bioavailability allows for better absorption and utilization within the body.

reducing the inhalation of excess dust.

Digestive Health and Gastric Ulcers – including an oil in a horses diet is not only of benefit to help digestive transit digestive transit, but it may also prove helpful for horses who suffer from gastric ulcers, where a total diet low in starch and high in oil is advised.

Tying Up – recommendations for feeding horses who suffer from Tying -Up/PPSM include a low starch high oil diet, the inclusion of an oil in the ration of these horses can help in the management of these conditions without having to reduce calorie intake for performance horses.

To find out more contact a member of our team: T +353 (0) 1 6268058 E info@foranequine.com W www.foranequine.com ISSUE 73 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| PRODUCT FOCUS |

THE BENEFITS OF USING LOW STARCH PERFORMANCE CUBES Achieving optimal performance in the horse entails a variety of factors including management practices, training skills and techniques and nutritional influences. The performance horse has been associated in several studies with a higher prevalence of equine gastric ulcers, trying up and hindgut acidosis. Nutrition plays a vital role in the management of these horses, providing energy sources, supporting muscle development, maintaining health and wellbeing and supporting recovery. A diet should be based around good quality forage, from this, the additional energy, protein, vitamin and mineral requirements can be met through fortified feeds suitable for the horses workload. High cereal diets are often associated with performance horse

reducing the risk of equine gastric ulcers or trying up. The low starch content of only 15% helps to prevent the gastric pH

feeds, the cereals are digested and utilised within the body as a

dropping to a level that can lead to these health implications

main source of energy. However, this results in higher starch and

occurring. Additional support is provided through the inclusion

sugar levels which can have detrimental impacts on health and

of marine-derived calcium (MDC), that has been recently added

performance if fed in large quantities with limited fibre.

to the Bluegrass Race Horse Cube. Recent research has shown

Horses are natural grazers, eating little and often. The production of saliva contains a natural acidic buffer, and therefore the more

MDC to have three benefits; support gut and gastric health by acting as an acidic buffer to gastric pH, and increase bone density*.

fibre consumed, the more protection provided to the gut from

Fibre digestion occurs in the hindgut of the horse via a process

low pH levels. Sometimes this is referred to as the “fibre mat”

called fermentation. This involves a population of micro-organisms

and often encouraged as a management practise to ensure the

known as microbiome that break down the fibre components

horse has consumed fibre before exercise and to avoid long

for absorption and utilisation through the body tissues. The

periods without forage.

microbiome population requires a healthy balance of bacteria,

Bluegrass Race Horse Cubes was developed specifically to

protozoa and fungi that work together to benefit the host animal.

support horses during their racing season and training, providing

However this population can be negatively impacted by various

highly digestible energy sources, supporting quick recovery and

influences such as stress, changes in diet, parasitic infections or medications. Bluegrass Race Horse cubes contains pro-biotics, a

Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner Minella Indo

collection of unique live yeast cultures that support the microbiome to encourage growth and enhance digestion of fibre and utilisation of nutrients. Bluegrass Horse Feeds is a balanced partner of Kentucky Equine Research. All Bluegrass products are formulated with scientific background to ensure optimal nutrition is provided to their customers. Contact the Bluegrass Horse Feed nutritional helpline for advice, quotes or non-commitment digital consultation.

For further information on any of our products please visit www.bluegrasshorsefeed.com or call +44 (0)28 3754 8276 88

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 73

* KER research on three benefits of marine-derived calcium – Ker.com/bonehealth/triacton


Want to know what to feed your horses? This invaluable and easy-to-use reference guide to supplements and feeds is purposely designed with trainers and breeders in mind, with products categorised by their areas of application.

Do you have a product to include? Call +44 (0)1380 816777 by 25th May or email ads@anderson-co.com

anderson-co.com/fng

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FEED YOUR DESIRE TO WIN

HORSE CARE ULTRA CUBES A cereal grain-free, ultra-low starch conditioning cube with added RED MILLS NUTRITION CARE PACKAGE HORSE CARE ULTRA CUBES have been formulated to be cerealgrain free and exceptionally low in starch. This nutritionally advanced formulation has a starch content of just 4%; one of the lowest starch, conditioning feeds on the market.

HORSE CARE ULTRA CUBES ARE IDEAL FOR: • Horsesthatsufferfromchronic,recurrenttyingup • Horsesthatsufferfrompersistentgastriculcers • Horsespronetomusclesoreness • Horsesthatareeasilystressedortemperamental Contact our expert Thoroughbred team below for more information on the RED MILLS Care Range.

THE RED MILLS

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