Equestrian.ca - Full Article
6 November 2019
An endurance race can last from sunup to sundown, with horses traveling up to 160km in a single day. Amongst the throng of horses, athletes, grooms and crew members constantly milling about race headquarters, there’s one figure who’s always easy to find in the crowd: the veterinarian.
In addition to a pre- and post-inspection, FEI endurance races include at least one compulsory hold of 40 minutes with an additional vet check. Arthur B. King, DVM of Fort Erie, ON, is an FEI 3* Endurance Official Veterinarian and 3* Endurance Veterinary Treatment Official, and he took us through what goes on behind the scenes to keep horses healthy throughout the day of competition.
Read on to get the inside scoop from Arthur!
Equestrian Canada: What are the components of an endurance vet check?
Arthur King: It’s very simple, really. The main thing is to make sure the horse is reasonably sound. It’s just like marathon runners: If you watch them, a lot of them have odd ways of going and part of it is the way they’re put together – confirmation as opposed to an unsoundness that’s painful. But if the horse has a consistent gate aberration, something abnormal that they didn’t start with, then it gets eliminated.
The other important thing is to make sure that the horse is metabolically stable, so if it’s eating alright and that its heart rate is coming down. Obviously, horses have a high heart rate when they’re on the trail, but when they come into the vet check they should recover down to 64bpm in a matter of minutes and probably 48bpm or less by the time they’re going out on the trail again...
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