During the Sport Horse Practice (Jumpers) Table Topic at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Meeting, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, attendees discussed the numerous issues veterinarians who treat jumper horses encounter.
One of the more interesting discussions concerned the horse’s overall work program, assessment, and conditioning strategies. At this time, the veterinarian tends to be integrally involved with exercise programs following injury. However, overall conditioning and training strategies in the absence of injury tend to be determined more by the trainer. Conditioning and training programs would likely benefit from more interaction between trainer and a knowledgeable veterinarian. Specifically, a veterinarian could recommend integrating the discipline training with cross training, alternative conditioning such as aqua tread, walking programs, and annual down time for the horse’s physical and mental recovery. The down time could include pasture turnout and light activity.
Attendees also discussed dealing with injury to the collateral ligament of the coffin joint. Diagnosis is not always straightforward, and ultrasonography can be misleading in some instances. They discussed therapeutic shoeing and injection techniques.
Stifle issues were also mentioned, but the central topic involved subclinical stifle pain and its management. Alternative strategies were discussed to relieve inflammation as well as to stabilize the joint. Specifically, injuries to the patellar ligaments were discussed.
Additionally, the group discussed suspensory ligament injuries and how veterinarians are diagno