Musculoskeletal injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses: A study of three large training yards in Newmarket, UK (2005–2007)

Peter H.L. Ramzan, Lorraine Palmer
The Veterinary Journal
March 2011

Musculoskeletal injury is the most common cause of lost training days in the young Thoroughbred horse in flat race training. To date, there has been little investigation of the regional patterns of injury frequently observed by clinicians in racehorse practice. The present study was conducted to determine incidence of musculoskeletal injuries in Thoroughbreds in training in Newmarket, United Kingdom. Veterinary records for all horses resident in three large (>100 horse) training yards were assessed for occurrence of significant musculoskeletal injury.

A total of 248 injuries were recorded in 217 individual horses, from a total population of 616 individual horses; fractures of the tibia (20.7%) and proximal phalanx (14.5%) were the most common. Overall injury rates were similar between yards (23–26%/year), with seasonal patterns noted for some injury types. Incidence of certain injuries (P1, metacarpal/metatarsal condylar, pelvic fractures, and superficial digital flexor tendonitis) varied between yards. The majority of carpal, P1 fracture and SDF tendonitis cases were right-sided.