Veterinary Care for the Sport Horse

The goal for sport horses, from prepurchase exams through their careers, is to extend the time to retirement.
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Veterinary Care for the Sport Horse
The goal for sport horses, from prepurchase exams through their careers, is to extend the time to retirement. | Photo: Erica Larson
From the start of his career to the end, an upper-level equine athlete is constantly exposed to stressors that could negatively impact his health, including strenuous exercise and long-distance travel. But starting even before you purchase your next sport horse, there are steps you can start taking to ensure he has a long and healthy career.

During the Nov. 1 sport horse symposium held in conjunction with the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show, Chris Newton, DVM, a partner and ambulatory practitioner at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., presented about veterinary care for the modern equine athlete.

During his lecture, Newton discussed the prepurchase exam, how to develop a long-term fitness program, the importance of identifying injuries early, how and why to treat injuries for the long-term, and how we can extend the time until horses ultimately retire.

The Prepurchase Exam

“Doing a very investigative prepurchase exam is exquisitely important,” Newton said. “Gathering information at that point in time is one of the best things you can do when you’re purchasing a horse for competition

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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