Sunday, May 25, 2008

Big Brown Really Does Have a Quarter Crack This Time

According to Ian McKinlay on Sunday night, this horse's crack would be similar to the one that Big Brown has.

It's 12 days to the deciding race of the Triple Crown. We are on the verge of possibly the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. How wonderful it would be to have a new racehorse hero.

But...reports coming out of Belmont Park tell us that Big Brown has developed a quarter crack that is being disinfected and will be patched by specialist Ian McKinlay later this week when it is dry.

Hoofcare and Lameness received verification this evening from Ian McKinlay that the news is correct. Ian has posted some photos of the type of minor crack that Big Brown has on his web site for his Yasha shoes.

The irony here is that it was reported back in the winter months that Big Brown was suffering from quarter cracks on both front feet, when he actually had wall separations. This time, he really does have a quarter crack, apparently.

There are all sorts of hoof cracks and some quarter cracks are much worse than others. Some are painful for the horse while others are not.

A true quarter crack is a fracture in the hoof wall, much life a painful vertical split in your fingernail. Imagine how painful that split would be if you had to bear your weight on it!

The word "patch" or "repair" in conjunction with a quarter crack is a bit of a misnomer. The word "stabilize" would be more apt. The goal is to prevent shearing movement between the two parts of the hoof separated by the crack. Some people lace the crack to stay open a small bit so the coronet (hair line) stays at its normal angle while others lace it up very tightly to prevent any movement at all. Most decisions are based on two factors: the severity of the crack and the risk of infection.

In all cases, the horse is evaluated for its individual suitability to treatment. Some horses are very sensitive to hoof pain. Some have damage to the coronary band. Some have old chronic cracks that reappear. And some have infected quarter cracks, which cannot be patched until the infection is gone and the fissure is "dry". The age of the horse also affects the treatment plan.

Big Brown is in good hands and we all know that some horses have run--and won--with quarter cracks patched as little as a week before a big race.

Remember: Ferdinand won the 1987 Breeders Cup Classic with his foot patched for a quarter crack. He slipped by Alysheba to win.

Scroll down the blog to read some past stories about Big Brown and his special shoes and his famous wall separation problems.

And stand by for more news.

1 comment:

Mrs. Mom said...

Looking forward to hearing what you find out Fran. Sure hope this big horse can hold up and win the Triple Crown.... I am sure though, that in Ian's hands, all will be well! ;)