Saturday, February 29, 2020

KER: Study Links Foal Growth, Radiograph Data to Sales and Racing Performance

Kentucky Equine Research has just released the results of a pilot study of growth and skeletal disease in horses. Their study specifically studied Thoroughbreds, but it's very possible that the results are applicable across breeds.

The pilot study involved 318 foals, and tracked growth in body weight and also radiographic data, and correlated them. "Of particular interest to the researchers was the incidence of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) and sesamoiditis." One goal was to determine the optimal rate of growth for prevention of OCD and other bone diseases. "The study showed that extremes in body weight and height, either too big or too small, are not ideal for racetrack performance."

The study also correlated the weight of young Thoroughbreds at the sales with how well they sold. Unfortunately, it turns out that "greater body weight and height are rewarded at sales by higher sale prices." This leads to people feeding to get the best price, rather than feeding for bone health.

Also interesting was that the month the foal was born "proved a critical factor in how foals grow and may play an important role in the development of both OCD and sesamoiditis."

To read the KER article, click here.

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