Listen: How to avoid racehorses' injuries while maximising performance

In this Dean’s Research Seminar, Professor Chris Whitton discussed research led by his team at the U-Vet Equine Centre to develop world-first training guidelines for Thoroughbreds that reduce the risk of injuries and improve detection of issues that may lead to an injury and loss of performance.

The racing Thoroughbred is a supreme athlete.

Weighing half a tonne and capable of speeds of around 70 km/h, racehorses subject their skeletons to extreme loads when galloping.

Horses are therefore at risk of bone injuries which are a result of damage that accumulates with repeated galloping sessions. Injuries mostly appear suddenly, but because they are coming on over time, they have the potential to affect performance before they are recognised.

Successful training of horses is therefore a balance between maximising fitness while avoiding injuries that inhibit performance. Training to minimise injury risk and early detection of horses that are developing injuries are critical to success.

In this online seminar, "Avoiding injuries and maximising performance in racehorses", Professor Whitton discussed findings from his team's applied research to understand how horses adapt during training, and their work towards a model for racehorse training that reduces injuries.

You can watch or listen to his online seminar below.

About Professor Chris Whitton

Professor Whitton leads the Equine Limb Injury Prevention Program at the University of Melbourne’s Equine Centre, a multidisciplinary research program funded by Racing Victoria, the Victorian State Government and the University. It combines microstructural analysis, histopathology, biomechanics, epidemiology and mathematical modelling to develop preventative training and management protocols for racehorses.

He has published 58 peer reviewed papers and contributed to 12 book chapters. He has been awarded $6.5 million in research grants. He regularly presents educational lectures on injury prevention to trainers in Australia and has also presented to trainers and racing veterinarians in England, Ireland, Wales, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Brazil, and Uruguay.

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