Image by &ndie/courtesy of FlickrNews comes and go. Horses come and go. Every once in a while a story or a horse comes back into the headlines and you say, "I'll be darned..."
Last winter we reported on the jubilation of the veterinary community over the success of the jump racer Knowhere, who came back from tendon surgery to excel again at this most grueling of tests for a front tendon. Knowhere kept running, kept jumping and often, kept winning. I lost track of him after he fell at a fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March, and thought he'd been retired.
But another racing season has just begun in England and a few weeks ago, Knowhere launched into his 2008 campaign...as a ten-year-old. He came home first in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, near Liverpool, five years after bowing and having stem cells from his sternum inserted into the bulging superficial flexor tendon of his right front leg.
The technique used for Knowhere, called VetCell, is different from the normal fat-derived stem cell treatment.
Click here to go back and read about Knowhere's treatment and all the people who will be cheering for him next Saturday in the Hennessy Gold Cup. His tendon will have to hold up over a distance of 3 miles, 2 and a half furlongs and carry him over 21 fences. The race is the oldest commercially sponsored sporting event in Europe, and Knowhere, who is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Paddy Brennan, will face 53 others if they all are fit to run.
There may be plenty of horses racing with bionic parts!
© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing.
Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).
To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.
Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.