Horse ambulance proves invaluable for well-bred filly

The connections of three-year-old Sportswriter filly, Keisha are counting their lucky stars that they still have their precious horse with them today. A week prior to lockdown, during a race at Addington Raceway, Keisha faltered and went off stride at the 1300m point in the home straight.

Keisha was diagnosed by the on-course vet with a serious injury to the near hind leg, with x-rays subsequently revealing a non-displaced fracture of the tibia.

“This type of injury can be catastrophic when it occurs mid-race, as with further weight bearing, this type of fracture often propagates into a displaced fracture,” said Dr Bill Bishop, equine veterinary surgeon.

In this instance quick thinking by driver, Korbyn Newman in pulling the horse up immediately, and the use of the horse ambulance to transport the horse with minimal stress to the Canterbury Equine Clinic, meant the fracture remained intact.

One of the advantages of the horse ambulance is its hydraulic system that lowers the float to the ground. It means that if a horse is injured and cannot walk up a ramp it can enter at ground level, which also minimises further injury.

With supervised box rest over the next 12 weeks or so the fracture should heal with Keisha returning to full soundness. She has won two from 10 starts.   

The New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust is playing a vital role in horse welfare. Its primary aim is to give horses like Keisha, who are injured on the racetrack or in training the best potential outcome for recovery.

There are now eight mobile units in operation, which are based in Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, Canterbury and Otago/Southland. An ambulance is now on track at every thoroughbred race meeting in NZ, most thoroughbred trials and all principal harness race meetings. A further two ambulances will complete the fleet ensuring presence at all thoroughbred and harness race meetings, and will also benefit other equestrian sports such as eventing and show jumping.

The horse ambulances, designed and custom-built here in NZ are a world class asset and have helped highlight the importance of equine welfare in our community. This proactive initiative has resulted in growing appreciation by the community that tangible steps are being taken to ensure that the welfare of horse is paramount.

Story - courtesy of the Horse Ambulance Trust. 

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