Thursday, October 07, 2010

Horses must endure at the FEI World Games. - Full Article

Tuesday, October 05, 2010 By Mary Chesnut

When Kentuckians think of horse racing, they think of the most famous two minutes in sports, the Derby. The horses fly past with impossible speed. But there is a new kind of race in Lexington that is much more extreme.

The World Equestrian Games have arrived, including the Endurance Competition, which sends horses racing along a 100 mile long course. The endurance competitors start at seven in the morning, riding all day long and into the night. Three hundred glow sticks were used to light the path after sunset. The race involves four types of terrain, mostly grass trails and pastures with three miles of paved road, two miles of gravel, and some dirt trails. Due to the extreme conditions of the competition, horses have to be checked by a team of equine vets six times during the race, each round leading to several disqualifications.

“They check for almost everything: capillary refill, jugular refill, skin tinting for dehydration, gut sounds in all quadrants, muscle tone, tack and leg area for injuries, and heart rate for regularity,” Jack Weber, one of the vets working in the competition, said.

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