Your Thoughts Please...
I watch both British and American racing for nearly 10 years now (longer for the UK racing)….And this is one of the things that I’ve noticed.
When US horses breakdown, there seems to be a higher occurrence of them falling. In the UK, if a horse breaks down on the flat, it is rare that they fall. It normally leads to the horse bobbling and then pulling up. The US horses that I’ve seen fall, in some cases almost somersault forwards as well, presumably due to the speed that they’re travelling at coupled with the sudden catastrophic distal limb failure.
But I was thinking about why this could occur. They’re both racing over the same type of distances so its not like when a jumps horse breakdown in a bumper (national hunt flat) where the distances is longer and could then look more at the fatigue effect / stress-related bone injuries. Of course, this is also relevant for our flat horses but still.
So is it down to tactics or how the races are run - looking again at fatigue and how the pressures on the horse is based very much on the riding styles employed by both countries?
Is it the racecourse design - whilst there are gradients / slopes (transition curves) on the US tracks, there is not as much variation as found on the UK turf courses where the tracks have hills and cambers. But then surely, this lack of sure-footing in the case of a breakdown, would lead to a higher risk of falling?
Surfaces? Shoeing? Type of injury? The actual mechanism of the catastrophic injury?
There isn’t any vet research about the differences in the actual fall mechanism after a breakdown that has been published. There is evidence about the differences in injury types so it may be that is a highly relevant factor in this discussion but not on the fall rate. Again, there is so research on jockey / horse falls resulting from injury in the US but it doesn’t really look at why these falls occur - again, I’m presuming it is associated with the type of injury that was sustained. There are also papers on spontaneous spinal fractures in Quarter Horses (side note - this is a fascinating subject!).
So for now, I’m working on the theory that it possibly more related to the injury that is sustained more than anything else…
So your thoughts please?