Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Thank God for Tri-Zone

Sunday saw me spending quite a long time behind the wheel because I went to Plumpton via Folkestone and then came home from Plumpton via Folkestone. If that sounds insane it probably was, but there was method in the madness as Alcalde (seen walking very perkily around the parade ring in eager anticipation of the forthcoming action) ran in the first race at Plumpton and Kadouchski (seen walking in, very tired, after the race as dusk falls on a truly midwinterly heavy racetrack) ran in the last race at Folkestone. Still, the 380 or so miles which I drove could have been worse: at least it was a Sunday during a Bank Holiday weekend in the depths of winter, so there wasn't too much traffic on the road, even if I did spend much of the Folkestone-Plumpton leg contemplating the fact that the caricature of the Sunday morning driver is indeed based on fact. The travelling wasn't really worthwhile as neither horse ran particularly well, but that's par for the course: one knows from the outset that at least half the times one goes to the races one will find oneself coming home with an unplaced runner, so when one comes home with a horse who has run unsuccessfully but safely it certainly hasn't been a bad day. That's what happened in both cases, even if Alcalde had a nasty scare at the fourth hurdle and poor Kadouchski (and I) both found cause to reflect that running a little horse with a massive weight (11 stone 11lb) on his back in bottomless ground, even against ordinary opposition, really is asking rather too much.

However, Alcalde's experience, although he has come home safe and only slightly damaged, was one to make one reflect that 'there but for the grace of God goes our horse'. Alcalde, who had always schooled really well and who put in a faultless round of jumping on his hurdles' debut, did something at the fourth hurdle which he had to do sooner or later: he made his first jumping mistake. He met the hurdle wrong, stood off too far and landed on it, cleverly managing not to fall but landing in what one might describe as a heap. Nineteen times out of twenty when a horse lands in a heap, he merely does that and no harm is done - but once in a while the result is that the horse's back hoof slams into the back of the front leg, which is still in the ground as the horse is getting himself in a muddle - and the consequences of this can be fatal. A severed tendon in itself isn't fatal, but it is an irreparable injury, and it is a sad fact of life that a horse whose main tendon has been severed and will never heal is one who has no life whatsoever to look forward to. Alcalde's back foot slammed into the back of his off-fore tendon as he landed over the fourth flight on Sunday - but thank God he was wearing a pair of the best boots that have ever been made, ie Tri-Zone's most up-to-date boots which have a lightweight titanium strip down the back. This strip is pretty much uncuttable and that has saved our horse from what would very likely have been at best a career-ending injury. Traditional boots have disappointingly little effect in preventing a severed tendon - the hoof can cut through the boot as easily as it can cut through the leg - so many trainers don't even use any boots on their jumpers, while the majority of those who do, use boots which really don't offer much protection at all. But I've spent the past couple of days thanking God that we use Tri-Zone boots: I genuinely believe that this boot (seen above, showing that the rubber has been sliced open but with the titanium strip undamaged inside) has at the very least saved Alcalde's racing career, and I would urge anyone reading this who has jumping horses to use this boot on their horses any time their animals are jumping. Of course, 999 times out of 1,000 that the horse jumps it will make no difference at all: but one time out of a thousand it could save your horse's life. So the sun set on Sunday evening with Kadouchski slogging his way around the mud of Folkestone (pictured) and Alcalde safely on his way home - but it could have been very and tragically different but for Trizone.


racingfan said...

thanks for the update John, Pleased that both horses have came back sound,

Any plans for any future entries,



Nathan said...

Great Story John. Glad to hear Alcalde is safe and sound for all involved; i've been involved with a mare whose racing career was ended by injury and it's heartbreaking. Thankfully Supreme Lass was retired to paddock and has bred a winner since :-)