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TOPIC: Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses!

RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 31 Jul 2009 22:19 #16

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Mike Ferrara in gray

Did the ban on toe grabs result in a significant decrease in catastrophic breakdowns?

As far as I know, no follow up comparisons have ever been done. Personally, I'd love to see a comparison of the incidence of bucked shins and chip fractures between grabs and no grabs, but I doubt if any data has ever been collected as these are common race horse injuries and not considered "catastrophic."

I have personal knowledge of the incidence of bucked shins and chip fractures in a group of 14 Moon Spot It QH colts I trimmed and plated from birth thoughout their two-year-old years for a breeder/owner/trainer. Training on 1/2" Fe half rounds fronts at the farm's training track, every one was worked from the gates, worked in company, and was asked to run. There were no bucked shins or chips at the farm. Before they ran at the races, I was instructed to nail QH grabs on all but one of the colts - the trainer didn't think much of him and said I could "play" with him because he didn't have much of a momma.

Running with Al plates with the grabs ground off in front and Fe hinds and a take-no-prisoners QH toe that ran from toe nail to toe nail, the baby with no momma won a futurity, placed in another, and qualified for two others. Of the other, supposedly better bred colts, one was stakes placed, two qualified for futurities, and ALL of them either bucked shins or chipped in their two-year-old year.

I realize the sample is too small to be a pimple on a scientific butt, but it made a believer outa me. Since then, I've seen a helluva bunch of nice colts train sound in training plates, then come up crippled as a bygod the first time they're let down after some brilliant trainer has insisted on nailing grabs on fronts.

YMMV.
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 31 Jul 2009 23:02 #17

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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George Geist in gray

Re: Has the ban on grabs on fronts reduced the incidence of catastrophic breakdowns?

Unfortunately No

There's been no valid comparison.

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/51896/six-catastrophic-breakdowns-at-del-mar

Changed track from dirt to synthetic, did not compare grabs to no grabs on fronts.

http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2009/January/26/Two-more-breakdowns-occur-at-Fair-Grounds.aspx

Hind leg injuries cited. IIRC, grabs are legal on hinds in LA. Did not compare grabs to no grabs on fronts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/sports/othersports/20rhoden.html?_r=1

Cited incidences of medicated horses; did not compare grabs to no grabs on fronts.

We most certainly agree on the medication issue. I've heard all of the excuses and arguments, but as far as I'm concerned, no horse needs to run or train on medication of ANY sort and any trainer administering a banned substance a third time should get life on the bench. But, if you really want to root out the cause, you need to look at the cash hungry state legislatures and the SRCs who allow the stuff to go on. I can remember when the NYRA had arguably the best racing in the world - and no medications.

What the hell has happened to racing?

Somewhere along the way, the tail went to wagging the dog and racing has damn sure suffered. When it comes to race horses' well being, grabs on fronts are really a non-starter when compared to the routine use of drugs to train/run sore horses - and anyone who thinks the racing industry, from the top down, gives a rat's arse about the horses that comprise the backbone of the industry is living in a dream world. Nobody cares.

Right now, maiden races are running with short fields and quite a few folks see racing as a diversion from the video games. For me, it's damned sad, and it'll take a helluva lot more than banning grabs from plates to fix racing.
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 01 Aug 2009 01:01 #18

  • dave murray
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Tom in my many years of plateingTB's i have done a few mental tests of my own . i shoe for a coulpe of outfits that go through a lot of babies(2yr olds). and i must say that i really paid attention to wether or not the bucked shins , splints,shin splints , knee and ankle chips, osslets ect, decreased when we quit useing toe grabs. i have to say that the bucked shins are about the same. knee and ankle chips or fractures, about the same. however very rarely now do i ever see shin splints or osslets.i'am not saying that i am for toe grabs,i'am not i dont carry them in my truck at all. i just think there are so many reasons horses have soundness problems that it's impossible to pin it on any one thing. the trainers of today are much different then the older trainers. the old time trainer would put sixty day's of galloping in a horse before he would even think of breezing them. nowadays these kids train a horse a coulpe weeks on a machine,bring them to to the track and work them and tell the rider to get into them. they don't put the foundation under these horses today. everybodys in a hurry.
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 01 Aug 2009 12:57 #19

  • Failboat
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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
Failboat in gray

Toe grabs should have never been banned.

They haven't been banned on hinds here in Texas.

It boils down to each states racing commissions and stewards kissing liberal ass

Balderdah! The SRCs that have banned grabs on fronts have done so primarily on the basis of several university studies that compared the statistical incidence of catastrophic breakdowns of horses running with grabs vs running without garbs. Once banned, how much ass smooching do you feel is involved in the concept of, "Fair for one, fair for all?"

and bowing down to PETA

Ingrid, "a boy is a rat", Newkirk and the lunatic fringe who comprise PETA were/are against all animal use: livestock growing, hunting, racing, horse shows, rodeos, circuses, horses, zoos, etc. In reality, PETA didn't have damn-all to do with banning grabs on fronts, you'll have to blame that on common sense, dead Greeks and live scientists.

and other self proclaimed crusaders...

I sincerely hope I had some small part in getting grabs on fronts banned. I've been lecturing vets and vet students, preaching to trainers, grinding off grabs and in general crusading against grabs on fronts since the early 1980s, simply because there's no reason for them - other than bowing to the incredibly foolish daddydiditthataway mentality that seems to infect many trainers. Once forward motion is established, the carpus is locked, the front hoof is weight supporting immediately on impact and remains loaded through the fetlock descending and fetlock ascending phases of motion, at which time the shoulder has passed over the hoof; in other words, front end DOES NOT pull, the horse is strictly a rear wheel drive model. Inertia, not the front end's "pull," maintains forward motion. The physics are inescapable.

Since you appear to be a proponent of grabs on fronts of race horses, I've got to ask: Have you ever seen an ultra slow motion video or movie of a race horse in motion? [Extra credit: Why is this germane?]

The only time a runner pulls with his fronts is away from the gates, and that's only for a few strides. If you feel there's ever a viable reason for grabs on fronts, please share it with this forum - but please don't say anything silly like, "A horse pulls with his front end while he's running."

I call bull*hit. Every major change in any rule or regulation comes from pressure somewhere. I was toning that for an example. A proponent? Not at all. I don't think they are gamebreaking or limbbreaking. If these horses were running on a wood or asphalt surface, yeah big problem. Not dirt. As for viable you just answered your own question to me.

Ultra slow motion? No, but I've viewed a slow motion one. It's germane in question because you want a view of the stride and each foot come into contact with the ground. So you can view how the limb works.

The foolish daddydiditthatway.......So since the horse has had limited evoulution in the past few hundred years you're telling me that our forefathers were wrong? It's funny how ancient horseman principles are still used today. Science is good/bad. The horse is not a machine. No matter how hard you try to make.


Oh almost forgot..Mr Stovall I ejoyed your write up on the 4 point trim. Maybe this won't place a huge rift and I can learn something from you.
A.W. Hinson, Jr.
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 01 Aug 2009 13:22 #20

  • Mike Ferrara
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I haven't had much involvement in racing and the experience I do have was many years ago, so I'm just asking questions.

What about speed? Do horses (or some horses on some surfaces) go faster with grabs on the front? While they might not do much pulling with the front, they sure seem to push with the front once the front end gets over center, don't they?

Along the same lines, what about stability? On surfaces where traction is needed to keep the horses chin out of the dirt, don't we often add traction to both ends?
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 02 Aug 2009 03:24 #21

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Failboat in gray, stuff deleted

I call bull*hit.


Hot diggety, a player! Fire away.

Every major change in any rule or regulation comes from pressure somewhere. I was toning that for an example.

Oh? Funny, it looked to me like you were attempting to denigrate the conclusions of university scientists who compared the incidences of grabs vs no grabs in catastrophic breakdowns by putting the Cal-Poly observations and PETA in the same boat. Pressure? Where was the "pressure" that first determined grabs on fronts was a GOOD thing?

A proponent? Not at all. I don't think they are gamebreaking or limbbreaking. If these horses were running on a wood or asphalt surface, yeah big problem. Not dirt.

I wouldn't know you from Adam's off ox, but if you've plated runners in different parts of the country, you'd know that racing surfaces can range from being as hard as a brickbat to sand so loose you'd think it'd take a horse a week to get his foot turned over - in other words, grabs on fronts damn sure make a difference in how a runner handles impact, loading, and turnover and it varies according to the track surface.

As for viable you just answered your own question to me.

Under ordinary circumstances, there is no viable reason for a grab on a front; if you think there is, please share it.

Ultra slow motion? No, but I've viewed a slow motion one. It's germane in question because you want a view of the stride and each foot come into contact with the ground. So you can view how the limb works.

Bingo, you go to the head of the class! Watch a few ultra slow motion videos, then get back to me on the advisability of grabs on fronts.

The foolish daddydiditthatway.......So since the horse has had limited evoulution in the past few hundred years you're telling me that our forefathers were wrong?


I dunno about your forefathers, but several generations of mine who shod runners were dead wrong because, as nearly as I can tell from the stuff they left, they shod runners like pulling horses.

It's funny how ancient horseman principles are still used today.


I dunno squat about Kikkulus the Hittite (c2,000 BC, who first mentioned hooves in print), but I do know a little something about Archimedes and Newton - and if you ain't paying attention to them, you're peeing into the wind and trying to keep dry.

Science is good/bad. The horse is not a machine. No matter how hard you try to make.

Science doesn't give a damn, but physical law is difficult to overcome. :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 02 Aug 2009 12:28 #22

  • Failboat
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Just so everyone knows we are not arguing. I'm not trying to disrespect Mr. Stovall in any way.

I realize track conditions vary widely depending on weather and maintenance. Grabs on the front still are not striking me as bad. Even with the incredible amount of torque, just no. Sometimes unfortunate events happen during races. Crazy things that leave you in a stupor. Toe grabs on the front are not the culprit. Impact on the foot changes every time it touches the ground. It all changes with every step. Wouldn't you see more evidence of it in the clinches? Wouldn't you be losing way more shoes?

When the gates open the pulling is happening. Does it make a huge difference? No, simply being the horse is only as athletic as God made him. Nothing I can do besides a collect call to heaven will ever change that. You keep pinning me as a proponent. I am not. I don't see them as bad. All I saw was money that got flushed.

Thanks for the debate.
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 02 Aug 2009 12:51 #23

  • George Geist
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I haven't had much involvement in racing and the experience I do have was many years ago, so I'm just asking questions.

What about speed? Do horses (or some horses on some surfaces) go faster with grabs on the front? While they might not do much pulling with the front, they sure seem to push with the front once the front end gets over center, don't they?

Along the same lines, what about stability? On surfaces where traction is needed to keep the horses chin out of the dirt, don't we often add traction to both ends?
In an effort to bring everybody up to speed:

Years ago back when Mr Stovall was still swaging steel and shoeing for Travis and Crockett;) The 4mm grab now known as the low or more recently California toe was then known as the regular toe. The 2mm or XLT was then known as the low toe. Follow so far? Good.

Enter into the picture the Louisiana Grab. This thing was used mostly in QH racing. When many former QH trainers made the transition to TBs they brought this thing with them. I will agree with Mr Stovall that the LA grab is ridiculous and never should have been allowed on any horse anywhere

What manufacturers did when tooling up to produce these things was to split the difference between a LA grab and a regular. Thus, this new in between size (which was still too big) became the regular toe. The regular then became the low and so forth.

Essentially all the original JC recommendations were trying to do was to get things back to the way they ought to be. California as always dove headfirst into it in banning anything bigger than 4mm on front. JC at last minute changed their recommendation to nothing higher than 2mm. Unintended consequence was CA having biggest grabs in country when they tried to have lowest. Go figure. It is unclear to anybody why JC decided on 2mm last minute like that but they have now reversed themselves on it due to I suspect cheating with outer rims, or in case of Delaware whining from one influential trainer.

Proper use of front toe grabs involves a young horse being shod with them immediately, being brought along slowly and conditioned to them from the beginning keeping close attention paid to Wolff's Law
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolff's_law

Train a horse without grabs then suddendly put them on when he's working fast and sure as God wrote it on a rock you'll have leg problems for sure.

Like anything else it's a tool. It must be understood and used properly. Is too much to ask of most contemporary hot walker turned trainers unfortunately.

As far as making the horse run faster I don't know. Yes Secretariat wore them but around the backside we often say "horses don't set speed records track superintendents do". There are entirely too many variables to consider.

I will venture to say that the synthetic surfaces are a miserable failure as far as increased safety goes. It made a financial killing for the individuals who pushed the stuff though. Thankfully no more tracks are considering changing over to it anymore to my knowledge anyway.

In addition to what Mr Stovall said about the drugs I'll add this- Claiming races by their very nature are an insurmountable problem as well. If a decent trainer decides to do right by a horse, usually he'll be doing it for someone else's benefit. This is one of the reasons so many horses are running hurt.
George
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 02 Aug 2009 13:25 #24

  • George Geist
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Failboat wrote:
Just so everyone knows we are not arguing. I'm not trying to disrespect Mr. Stovall in any way.

I realize track conditions vary widely depending on weather and maintenance.
Absolutely yes.

Sometimes they need traction sometimes they don't. Important thing to remember is that racehorse injuries occur with decelerating forces. 'Nuther words the landing phase of the stride. This is what breaks bones and tears soft tissue.

Anything that increases the snow-plowing effect has potential to be harmful. Thus, in accordance with the square toe mania fad that the shoeing trade is immersed in right now, we are seeing more knee problems on horses wearing speed toes. Is interesting stuff.
George
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 02 Aug 2009 17:03 #25

  • Rick Burten
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George Geist wrote:
keeping close attention paid to Wolff's Law
Which may well explain why so many people, after continually bumping up against knowledge, end up with such thick skulls, which, in effect, reduces the amount of space available for cranial matter and further leads to the application of such terms as "bone headed" when said individuals are required to use more than a minimum number of gray matter cells in the pursuit of their everyday existance. YMMV.
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."
."


Je pense donc je suis
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 03 Aug 2009 02:07 #26

  • unbridled
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Should result in more dead legs for all of you to dissect in front of the horse loving public....
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 03 Aug 2009 12:36 #27

  • George Geist
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unbridled wrote:
Should result in more dead legs for all of you to dissect in front of the horse loving public....
You mean there's been a shortage of those recently???????:confused:
George
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 09 Aug 2009 01:50 #28

  • unbridled
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Do you know something the rest of don't???:confused::cool:
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 15 Aug 2009 11:41 #29

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unbridled wrote:
Do you know something the rest of don't???:confused::cool:
Refer you to previous posts. Notably #3, #15, and #23

Being a Thoroughbred racing person might you have any opinion about the reprehensible use and abuse of drugs in the sport? Or will you merely look to scapegoat something you have little to no understanding of?
George
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RE:Return of the toe grabs on TB racehorses! 22 Aug 2009 20:39 #30

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In my opinion, horses that NEED to race on drugs should NOT be racing. Allowing the use of drugs is simply treating the sympton NOT the problem in the thoroughbred industry. The root of the industry's problems lie in overbreeding for sales instead of selective breeding for longevity and durability. As far as I am concerned the industry needs an overhaul in that respect, if you care to read my blog you will see exactly where I am at and why I feel the same way about toe grabs and snythetic surfaces as I do about drugs...http://UnbridledRacing.BlogSpot.com
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