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Thursday, May 12, 2022Contact: Gary Falter (859) 224-2803
Virtual Owner Conference Panel Offers Veterinary Insights

The 2022 Thoroughbred Owner Conference held the third session of its virtual series May 10 with a panel of veterinarians who presented on health topics that commonly affect racehorses. The series is hosted by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine, and Stoll Keenon Ogden.

Tuesday’s panel was sponsored by Mersant International LTD and OCD Pellets and moderated by Mike Penna of Horse Racing Radio Network. The presenting veterinarians were Dr. Larry Bramlage, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Lisa Fortier, Cornell University; and Dr. Steve Reed, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

Fortier led off the discussion with a presentation on joint injections, their use, and potential alternatives. Fortier noted that while steroids are potent and easily available, negatives associated with steroid joint injections include that steroids could show up in a post-race drug test and that steroid injections do not protect the joint from additional damage.

Fortier promoted the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP) in treating joint issues, noting that PRP has regenerative properties and “works better and longer” than steroids. However, she emphasized that PRP, a type of biologic, is not a miracle cure and that horses’ joints must be treated before they are severely damaged.

Reed focused his presentation on neurologic issues in horses, including cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). He reviewed symptoms and treatment options for these diseases and stated the ideal characteristics of a hypothetical effective EHV-1 vaccine.

Bramlage described different conformation flaws that can affect a horse’s future soundness and efficiency. He reviewed videos of young horses with various conformational defects and discussed how they could negatively affect the horse as an adult. He also highlighted that “good” conformation in foals and yearlings is different from what should be considered desirable in an adult horse due to how a horse’s structure changes as it grows.

While Bramlage noted that many conformation defects can be corrected surgically if necessary, others will be self-correct with natural growth.

“Most horses aren’t perfect, but most horses that are successful have reasonable conformation,” he said. 

The virtual owner conference will return September 6 with a panel of Thoroughbred owners. Six virtual panels are scheduled in 2022, and sessions are recorded for registrants to view at their convenience if they cannot watch live.

This year, OwnerView is also hosting an in-person conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, on July 25-26. Registration information for both the in-person and virtual conferences can be found at

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.