Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washed up and discarded

Malcolm has been enjoying the last several days at Horse and Hound vet clinic.  Today he had a detailed exam to determine the nature of his injuries and his future.

He was been diagnosed with a wing fracture in his pelvis, a not uncommon injury in race horses coming out of the starting gate, horses bolting out of stalls, and horses falling over backwards.  What is remarkable is his history

Think for a moment about all the things you do for your equine partner to keep him sound and happy.  Those little SmartPak wells.  Custom made and constantly flocked saddles.  Special shoes.  Ice boots.   Injections.  Chiropractic work and massage and realize that Malcolm was racing for his owners on a fractured pelvis for at least 6 months.

There is no question that he was lame, you can clearly notice the difference in the race videos.  Is this acceptable?  Is it then acceptable for a trainer to dump the horse at an auction instead of spending the money on euthanasia?

There are a few people who have suggested that if they were in the same position they would have left this horse at the auction and picked a better prospect instead of having a rescue waste their money on a lame duck.  I've made that choice many times, been to many auctions, and seen many horses meet their end on a truck to Canada or Mexico.  Horses who had owners like this horse had, more willing to spend the gas money to drop the horse off than to spend money on a vet bill for an animal that served them well.  Is it too much to ask that every now and then we save one horse?  Even if in the end he can't be saved at all?

Does this horse not deserve a proper diagnosis, a belly full of hay, and peppermints?

Someone else suggested that we do not know when this horse was injured, and it's possible nobody knew.  Race videos are a great historical record for your OTTB and these race videos are quite illuminating.  FOF volunteers have observed his race videos and believe they can pinpoint the time of his injury which corresponds with the rate of healing that has happened when he was examined.

From his race record, we suspect that his pelvis was broken at Gulfstream where he stumbled out of the gate 12/8/2013. He then was given some time off and raced again under the owner  / trainer  at Monmouth on 8/10/2014 and again on 8/29/2014, where he looks lame behind from the race videos. 
The trainer then became the owner and the horse was trained under another trainer where he was entered at Thistledown on 10-1-2014, also clearly lame behind in the video. 45 days later the horse was delivered to the IN auction in the morning and left a low body score, still wearing race plates. The rest... is history.

So what's in his future?  The vet is going to personally assist in his rehab at her own home and wants to give him 6 months of turnout (he is not a surgical candidate and surgery is not very effective at this type of injury) and then reevaluate him.  She believes he will at least have a future as a trail horse.  If he appears to be suffering, degrading, or anything besides being a happy pony she will make the right decision.


  1. Thank you for stepping up when his owners didn't. Also, I'm shocked they allowed him to race like that. Not the owners, but the tracks. I know when I worked in the harness racing business, the stewards would scratch any horse that looked off in the warm up! I know admittedly little about TB racing though...

  2. This story makes me so sad and is why I have so many mixed feelings about the racing industry. Thank you for helping him!



 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...