Saluting Our Exceptional Customers
Equinosis is proud to play a small part in helping our incredible customers transform the way care is provided to the equine community, whether they are producing exceptional data-driven research, caring for pleasure horses, or managing world class equine athletes.
Over the last few months, we have watched with excitement as customers reached new heights in performance and welfare in the racing industry here in the United States. While, overseas, our customers in Hong Kong and Singapore set new standards for care of the race horses competing at their tracks.
In this article, we spotlight the exceptional efforts of customers Dr. Allison Foil, veterinarian of trainer Mark Casse, and the veterinary staffs at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Singapore Turf Club.
Dr. Allison Foil and Mark Casse Set New Heights in Racing
Ocala, FL – Equinosis is pleased to celebrate the success of Dr. Allison “Alli” Foil and her client Mark Casse – trainer of both the Preakness and Belmont winning horses.
In addition, perhaps you recall Mark’s Preakness winner, War of Will, was also on his way to the front of the Kentucky Derby field, when he was fouled and, amazingly, avoided what surely would have been numerous fatalities of horses, and potentially riders? But what is most exceptional to us, is not just the success on the track, but the way Dr. Foil and Mark are caring for and managing their athletes.
Dr. Foil is the on-site veterinarian at Ocala-based Casse Racing and has worked with Mark for over 20 years. Last year, Dr. Foil and Casse Racing added objective lameness measurement to their routine care.
“We are getting more things done for the horses,” Dr. Foil offered. “With the [Equinosis Q] measurements, we can quickly decide what actions we will take – or choose not to take. Mark has confidence in the data. So, we can intervene where and when we need to.”
In the early spring of 2018, Mark saw an objective lameness evaluation when Peterson & Smith veterinarian Dr. Nathan Mitts brought an Equinosis Q to the Casse Racing stables to help Dr. Foil localize a tough case. Mark immediately knew he wanted all his horses to have access to this technology.
“Mark is brilliant,” Dr. Foil added. “And he knows his horses.”
If Triple Crown race wins are any indicator, the objective evidence is mounting that that assessment is correct.
Singapore Turf Club and Hong Kong Jockey Club Set the Pace for Care and Welfare of Their Equine Athletes
HONG KONG & SINGAPORE – Although the Equinosis Q is just recently picking up steam in the US racing market, the Q has been a mainstay of care at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and the Singapore Turf Club (STC) for over 3 & 4 years respectively.
Both clubs are responsible for the veterinary care of their athletes and both have sold the virtues of objective measures to the trainers and owners racing there and are currently investigating how best to apply this data in the regulation of the competitors.
“All our trainers are used to electronic systems of gait assessment,” Head of the STC Veterinary Department Dr. Koos van den Berg stated. “And we have a very high uptake on its use in a clinical setting for nerve blocks, etc.”
At the HKJC, objective measures are already used during regulation when the trainer and regulatory veterinarian disagree.
According to HKJC Regulator Dr. Peter Curl, “If a trainer disputes a regulatory decision, it is extremely helpful for regulators to justify that decision using a highly sensitive and scientifically proven objective measurement device that confirms the diagnosis.”
“Objective gait assessment is a great tool for settling arguments with trainers,” Dr. van den Berg agreed.
The HKJC team also uses lameness measurement to monitor the condition of horses recognized as having a ‘poor’ or restricted gait that have been shown to race and recover well.
“We want to satisfy ourselves that there has been no deterioration in the horse’s action from the previous pre-race examination and demonstrate that there is no deterioration in movement for having raced (i.e. to safeguard horse and jockey safety and welfare),” Dr. Curl said.
In order to support the withdrawal of a horse if or when it is shown that the action has deteriorated, the HKJC team uses objective measurements to confirm these decisions.
“In our environment, this helps to minimize conflict with trainers, who might say ‘You know this horse’s action! The last time he looked exactly the same and won; so, why do you have an issue with him this time around?’,” Dr. Curl emphasized. “The LL is useful to confirm a decline in the quality of movement and defend a regulatory decision.”
“We often put LL ‘workup’ requirements on horses in training that have been recorded or found to be lame as part of their suitability to return to training,” Dr. Curl continued. “We also use the LL to support the enforcement of the compulsory retirement of horses with pathology that may compromise welfare.”
Now the next frontier…how to deploy these measurements in the pre-race regulation of all competitors?
If it was a simple endeavor, both clubs would already be there. But much works lies ahead to resolve what amount of asymmetry or, more likely, what amount of change in asymmetry is unacceptable for world-class Thoroughbred athletes?
If a champion human runner wasn’t allowed to train or compete with musculoskeletal soreness or discomfort, there would be no legitimate champions.
Fortunately, humans can discern and communicate when discomfort becomes pain and soreness becomes an injury.
Horses need someone – and something – to communicate for them. At the Singapore Turf Club and Hong Kong Jockey Club, their forward-thinking veterinary staffs do that with the help of the Equinosis Q.
Our hats are off to these exceptional customers we are honored to support.