Interesting article c6-c7 malformation

this would be so much more meaningful if they identified which bloodline[s] they found the malformation in.

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Agreed. I think there are legal concerns

I guess I’m confused. If you can say HYPP can be traced back to Impressive, why can’t you say this can be traced back to X, Y and Z horses?

At least that way you understand if your horse should receive further diagnostics (like Impressive decedents).

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legal issues. money is a powerful motivating factor.

perhaps they threatened to pull funding for the research.

Sorry. Yes. I was clear on what that.

I guess I’m just trying to understand, if there’s precedent for calling out a bloodline based disorder, why this time is different? There’s big money in QH’s too. Were there slander cases or something around HYPP? And how can factual data be attacked by money? It took some 10-odd years, but eventually AQHA decided that H/H horses could no longer be registered at all.

And to play devil’s advocate, what happens if a horse falling results in a rider/jockey death and can be directly linked to this? Couldn’t the estate of the rider go after the breeders/sellers for literally selling a horse with a dangerous defect? Or perhaps it would take an event of that gravity to cause change in the industry.

I guess I just don’t see why, if the following sentences are correct, what the harm is?: “A common question is whether it’s known which TB lines predominantly carry this problem. The answer is: Yes. However, it is now so disseminated amongst the modern equine population beyond TBs, that it is of little help to identify them.”

It’s so widespread that all sporthorses should be radiographed? Should it be part of registration like the 5-panel in QH; or just part of stallion/mare approvals like other Xrays and graphs?

I just seems far too easy to say they didn’t want to name names because they wouldn’t get paid. Maybe it is that simple, but it certainly seems like saying, “a lot of sport horses have this terrible thing and it’s hard to get a handle on it while the animal is alive. Okay, best of luck that you don’t have one or breed one!”

I read that passage as they’ve tracked it back to a horse that is very prominent in all TB pedigrees, like Phalaris. One that’s so prominent that naming the line is all but useless. But count me in as super curious as to what they really mean by that statement, and which TB lines really have this risk.


I think this points at the answer:

A common question is whether it’s known which TB lines predominantly carry this problem. The answer is: Yes. However, it is now so disseminated amongst the modern equine population beyond TBs, that it is of little help to identify them.

If it is Mr. P (there’s where my money lies) that is of no use whatsoever, especially if it is really Native Dancer. I mean that’s an incredibly diluted genetic code.

And the HYPP thing when it was first out, did face a lot of “don’t say the name” pressure from well, everyone. Unlike this issue which probably goes back 10-20 generations, HYPP was being identified within 2 generations and was much easier to trace back to one individual. But for those of us who were showing in the breed world in the 70’s/80’s, the struggle to name the name was real.

It was an interesting article. I have a 10 year old TB that I bought as a yearling who is officially retired. When I saw him canter as a 15 month old, I commented that I could see the distance to his first fence already. When I started him, he was the easiest horse to start, had the most amazing trot, was well above average over fences and just had the most amazing natural rhythm you ever saw. He wasn’t perfect, in all fairness, his go to move was an amazingly athletic spin, but by and large, he was a player. You asked, he tried and succeeded. You could ride him every day or skip a week and come right back to where you left off.

Then about when he was 5, I noticed he seemed to be getting a bit cold backed when you tightened that girth. Not bad, didn’t slow us down since I had a long walk to the arena so he was fine by the time we got there. He also started cribbing. AT FIVE. Did I mention he lived outside all night and had a run in attached to his stall with a slow feeder to he had hay whenever he didn’t have grass? And when scoped the vet declared it to be the cleanest stomach ever seen? So something was up, but there was nothing … definitive.

Between 6-7 I noticed it was getting worse. Things came to a head when I jumped him around one day, got off, raised up all the jumps, hopped back on and picked up a canter to the first fence. In just 10 minutes of walking around as I raised jumps, he went from soft and happy to… having a hump in his back. Because I am stupid, I felt said hump and rather than canter around the ring a few times I kept on track to the first fence. His front feet hadn’t landed over that fence before he was bucking me off. Things pretty much spiraled down from there. It also had about ZERO to do with the saddle, since saddle fit was OK and it happened with multiple saddles, not to mention he was actually worse in a surcingle. It was/is something with tightening the girth/girth pressure. He still trotted and cantered like a hack winner though.

During this time we had been playing around with chiro (C6/C7 were trouble spots, but so was the left hip), some back injections and stifle injections/adequan series, thinking maybe it would be solved by fitness/proper muscling, but after that point I took him in for a full eval. Passed all flexions beautifully, a tiny tiny bit neurologic in presenting slight weakness to one side in an exhaustive exam, but nothing alarming, just duly noted. He was really sensitive mid thoracic, but at this point he was hurting everywhere. The optiosn were diagnostics followed by treatment or just treatment. The problem with diagnostics (bone scan) is it sometimes tells you something is wrong but so very often something else lights up, or all or none of the things light up. And at the end of the day, your treatment options are the same. So I spent the $$$$ on treatment: C6/7 articular injections and back injections in one session followed by mesotherapy and oshpos a week later. There was no guarantee any of it would work, or work for any length of time, it might need repeat treatment and that treatment may reduce in efficacy. Or it could be the awesome thing he needed to get back on track

Man oh man, did my old horse come back with a vengeance. He was soft, floaty, awesome, relaxed, not spooky. You don’t realize how much has slipped away until it comes back overnight. It also put to rest any lingering doubts I had about behavioral issues (if you didn’t know almost 100% of his history, you would be forgiven for thinking it was behavioral, when otherwise sound, healthy horses behave badly, it is a consideration).

It also didn’t last more than 6 months, and when the pain returned, it returned with a vengeance. two winters ago I gave him a couple months off, when I tacked him up for the first time he was so cold backed it took him 6,864 steps to go 100 feet. I was only planning on lunging him and after 15-20 minutes he was cantering around looking moderately relaxed and comfortable, when there was a bit of a sound in the nearby woods. A sound that makes a horse pick up his head, not in alarm, but general interest. He went from relaxed cantering to full on bronc, presumably from the pain raising his head while tacked caused. There’s your sign. One day you will be on him when he does this. And you will be badly hurt because there is no warning. He doesn’t even know it is coming.

But dreams die hard. The next day I tacked him up in the arena. He made it one step, bunched up, buckled, bunched up, buckled. Fell over. I got him up and let him walk around with the tack still on until he at least relaxed and only took 10 mincing steps instead of 80 to cover a short distance. Pulled the tack off and he was able to w/t/c just fine, stretching out and reaching under himself. That was and is the last time tack goes on him until (if) a diagnosis and cure ever comes around.

I’ve always felt (for mostly unscientific/unvalidated reasons) that the C6/7 is the core issue. Everything about that article lines up with my (admittedly non-medical professional) experience, especially the sternum
muscle attachment/first rib isssues with a C7. It’s a weak argument, but it sure seems like that ties in (har har) with a horse who has specific and progressively extreme reactions to something tightening around his girth. It was interesting about the x-ray dx. I may take him in and have that done but it’s idle curiosity at this point. Knowing isn’t Fixing.


That is very sad. I am sorry for you and your gelding as that is heartbreaking. Do you mind disclosing his pedigree?

If we are playing a guessing game, I’d think it might be further back than Mr P, though Mr P sure has saturated the pool. I would put a guess that it is someone in between Phalaris and Nearctic. This is conducive with horses that were used in WB breeding, as Mr P has not been to my knowledge, used in WB breeding — but the Nearco sire line certainly has, to a great extent. Nearco’s more prominent male descendants include Nasrullah, who has been used in WB breeding, as has Royal Charger and Bold Ruler…

The other thing to do is pay close attention to which studs (TB) are making it into “old age” without significant help. That is not something that is often disclosed, but there should be in the interest of the Thoroughbred breed.

Honestly, if you asked me to make a semi-educated guess, I’d wonder if it started with Nearco or his son Nearctic. He is tail mail to Phalaris and that sire line did not enjoy longevity, from an age standpoint. Pharos was 17, Nearco 22, Nearctic 19, Phalaris was 18…

Compare that to other greats of the same era… Hyperion lived to be 30, Gainsborough 30, Admiral’s Voyage 30…

I’ve said it before, but someone needs to be paying attention to these things, especially how these supersires “Age”.


I agree with your premise but I wonder about the aging process in commercial stallions. So many are put down in their early twenties. I assume that is not just because of health issues but because after their breeding life is over, there is no point to keeping them around too long. That is another issue I suppose, but my point is that there might be a lot more stallions with a long-life potential than what we see.

For the amount of public flack that the racing industry gets, IMHO, they are not going to put down their prized multiple graded stakes winner/supersire stallion just because he is pensioned. A lot of these connections do very well by their horses after they retire. Some are sent to Old Friends, some enjoy retirement in their racing or breeding stable.

I think that a lot of the big stables do everything in their power to ensure that those greats, like AP Indy, enjoy a long-lived retirement. He has been pensioned for what, six years? Still enjoying the good old life. Same went for Storm Cat (now deceased) and many others.

The bigger killer seems to be laminitis and complications from laminitis.

Of course, there are hundreds that do not do well by their horses – but they’re very rarely the Top breeding/racing connections…


pedigree is Lido Palace (Mr. P through Forty Niner) X Cox’s Ridge X Graustark (Ribot) so a little conventional and a whole lot of not conventional. It sucks for me, but Mr.r Early Retirement Plan is rather enjoying life these days AND is an easy keeper, so there is that…

(emphasis mine)

The number of sires who made any kind of genetic impact on the breed and were put down because they were pensioned approaches zero. Nobody does that to a prominent sire. Or mare. This is an industry that cherishes their icons. I’m not saying they cherish all TBs, but their icons? Hell yes.


I read this article a few months ago, and I have a mare we are trying to figure out what’s up with her, and even though the vets don’t seem excited about this possibility, I can’t get it out of my mind. Hmmmmm.

Very interesting indeed. wish WikiLeaks would hack into her research and publish the stolen data for the benefit of the horse world and maybe save some human lives.
I believe this could be much more prevalent than we want to believe.

I think it’s worthwhile to recall that Seattle Slew had at least two (IIRC) surgeries to stabilize his neck. Here’s an article about both:…essful-surgery

They fused C6/C7 first, then C5/C6.


That is interesting. My Seattle Slew son (the original Bay With Chrome) also had neck arthritis. He had a good race career and good show career but retired a little earlier than I would have liked. It did not show up until later for him but sometimes I wondered if it was always there and explained why collection was so hard for him.

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Saint Balladoo also had surgery, actually you probably would (or not) be surprised at the number of horses who quietly went off and had that surgery in the early days of the procedure.

Didn’t know that! Here’s an article about it for those interested in the specifics:…-euthanized-13

Eta: also Indian Charlie:…cle-mo-dies-16

Here’s another, Jet Master:

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Very interesting. Thank you.