Loss of performance in a competition horse can occur for many reasons. These may include low grade lameness, back soreness or other musculoskeletal issues; medical problems (eg. anaemia, viral infection, post-viral syndrome, gastric ulceration or respiratory disease); gynaecological problems (particularly in mares); dental or bitting issues or may be due to ill-fitting tack, rider or training issues, temperament problems or may be because a horse is being asked to compete at a level out with its natural ability. A combination of these issues often contributes to poor performance or a loss of performance.
Investigation of poor performance can be challenging and involved and may take several days. At The Liphook Equine Hospital we take a multi-discipline team approach to investigation of poor performance or loss of performance. The specialist surgeons and medics have complementary areas of expertise and interest and work together to ensure that every body system can be assessed. Furthermore we have a number of experienced competition riders who can ride and assess the horse in the large menage. Specialist equipment including telemetric ECG, overland endoscopy as well as the state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment is available at the hospital and often necessary for these investigations. The on-site specialist equine laboratory means that instant analysis and same-day results are attainable for blood and other samples.
Horses that are referred to the hospital for investigation of poor performance are usually required to stay in for several days. It is important that the horse’s normal tack is brought in and where possible, that the horse’s usual rider is available at the time of initial consultation to ride the horse.