Change in horse's measurements from age 2-3

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by slc, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    This is a chart based on Secretariat's measurements from Oct age 2 to Oct age 3. So this is a stallion, and one that was racing at age 2.

    The last number is the percentage of change in measurement. The measurements that changed most are marked in bold(changed from around 4% up). The measurements that did not change are marked in red.

    A couple interesting things.

    First, the height at the croup changed MORE than the height at the withers. It changed more than twice as much as the height at withers changed. So much for the idea that horses get more level as they mature.

    Pretty much as expected, the chest and hip broadened.

    The length of back - the point of shoulder to point of hip changed the most. 7%.

    And interestingly, the cannon circumference changed nearly 4%.

    Height (at withers) 64.75 65.5 (2.15)
    Point of shoulder to point of shoulder (chest width) 16 16.5 (4.03)
    Girth (around center of gravity) 74 76 (3.63)
    Withers to point of shoulder 28 28.5 (2.75)
    Elbow to ground (length of leg) 37.5 38.5 (3.6)
    Point of shoulder to point of hip 46 49 (7.12)
    Point of hip to point of hip 25 26 (4.85)

    Point of hip to hock 40 40 (no change)
    Point of hip to buttock 24 24 (no change)
    Poll to withers (neck length) 40 40 (no change)

    Buttock (croup) to ground (height in rear) 53.5 55.5 (4.6)
    Point of shoulder to point of buttock (body length) 68 69.5 (3.16)
    Circumference of cannon under knee 8.25 8.5 (3.94)
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    And Secretariat had something twice as large as the average horse: his heart.

    Interesting info about him; totally irrelevant as reference material.
     
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  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    No. That number "2 1/2 times" is constantly quoted and it's really nonsense.

    The facts are that the size of the heart of an 'average horse' is irrelevant. "Average" horses are much smaller and can be expected to have a much smaller heart.

    But in fact, since much 'heart enlargement' of old horses is unhealthy and involves serious pathology, all heart size differences are not indication of a 'superior animal' or of something that existed when the animal was 2 or 3 and racing.

    Try comparing his heart size to that of Sham's. A similar horse, with a similar life history.

    When Sham died he was also examined.

    Secretariat's heart was 22 lbs, and Sham's was 18 lbs. Secretariat was larger and heavier, though, which would account for most of the difference...but not quite all. Let's say that, if corrected for the difference in size and weight of the two horses, the difference in heart size between the two would only be about 10%.

    The "X factor" involves a race horse having a gene-based edge over other race horses, on a number of measurable traits, including heart size.

    It isn't clear to me that 'heart size' really is a fixed trait, though. When I was in sports I had what was referred to as a 'natural' increase in heart size, and there is a degree of 'healthy' increase in heart size that is an adaptation to exercise.
     
  4. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    But isn't that was Secreteriate's line passes on consisy through his female offspring- a noticeably larger heart?
    Also - Sham was a known member of the "big heart club"as well.
    If he'd just been born in a different year, he would have probably been another Triple ycrown winner....
     
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  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Here's how it works. The books say that Secretariat's heart was '2 1/2 times the size of the average heart'. They ALSO say that Sham's heart was '2 1/2 times the size of the average heart'. Being different sizes, they can't both be '2 1/2 times the size of the average heart'.

    Also, I am not really sure the average heart weight of 8 lbs makes any sense at all. Who cares what the size of a 14.2 horse's heart is when you're looking at a 16.2 horse?

    LOL. In fact, this is said of many a race horse.

    I'm really not entirely sure it means anything at all. As noted, the heart enlarges (normally, hopefully) with exercise, and it's rather larger for taller, larger horses anyway.

    I suppose the original subject of discussion has hopelessly escaped and is now running amok in the village?
     
  6. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Either way @slc, this article has no relevancy to any horse but Secretariat. To compare his growth and say since this is how Secy grew, this is how horses grow, is ludicrous.
    And it's not 2 1/2 times, it's twice the size of the average horse, all light horses included.
     
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  7. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Knowing the difference in measurements from ONE horse certainly is not appliccable to horses as a whole. It isn´t even appliccable to race horses as a whole..
    So what´s the point?
     
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  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Actually I would say that these changes in measurement are not only typical of Thb race horses, but that overall, they are very typical of many horses. And that the pattern would be backed up by a lot of studies on horses and has been backed up for many years by growth plate studies.

    What's the point? Well, if anyone had noticed this thread(or if it wasn't mine, lol), they'd be in here right quick screaming that it's NOT typical of ANY horse (except Secretariat, but maybe they made a lot of mistakes measuring Secretariat, you know how inaccurate those tape measures are) and that it proves NOTHING about equine development overall because it's just an isolated case, and finally, gosh darn it, if they want to break their horse at 18 months they're gonna, and it's never hurt any horse anyway. Ever.

    LOL.

    What it shows is that the horse's back is relatively short at age 2 and that it will increase in length between age 2 and 3. And that an interesting portion of that lengthening is from vertebral growth. On the other hand some parts of the animal appear to have 'finished growing' and other parts are changing only moderately.

    It says that the old saying that the 2 year old has yet to 'box out' (broaden chest and hip) is true.

    It also says that 'bone' (circumference of cannon) is still increasing.

    So I would say that it argues for extreme caution with early riding in the 2-3 yr old, that perhaps other forms of exercise might be safer (ponying, for example), and that bone development is continuing so that may mean that nutrition of the 2 year old is still very important.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017 at 9:24 AM
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  9. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    Different parts of the equine grow at different rates, finish at different ages? Wow, who knew?

    It is a leap though to say this chart argues for "extreme" caution with early riding. Where does it say that anyway? I don't see anything that considers exercise, or the fact that he was racing at 2, to his measurements at 3 or what those measurements say about the fact he was raced at 2.

    His racing history cannot even contribute to the discussion of riding/racing 2 year olds and their long term soundness since he only raced 2 years and retired sound at 3.
     
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  10. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    I am against breaking horses at under 3, 4 years of age. Because I know they still have a lot of growing to do at 18 months or two years.
    I still think that this is not something you can take and say: this bis how horses grow and develop from two to thgree years of age. Secreteriat did. Other horses will have different percentages of growth in different areas.

    If this was meant as a plea for not breaking and working horses that early: you're preaching to the choir with me.
     

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