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A recent study by Mark Martinelli indicates toe grabs do not appear to have any adverse impact on catastrophic racing injuries among Quarter Horses. This result is different from several previous Thoroughbred research studies that indicate toe grabs are associated with catastrophic injury, says the equine veterinarian at California Equine Orthopedics in San Marcos, Calif.
As a result of earlier studies that demonstrated that Thoroughbreds shod with a longer toe grab were up to 3.5 times more likely to suffer a fatal musculoskeletal injury, rules limiting toe grab length to 2 millimeters or less have been adopted by many racing jurisdictions on the 2008 recommendation of The Jockey Club.
Since toe grab issues with racing Quarter Horses have not been adequately addressed in the past, racing agencies have leaned on the Thoroughbred data when considering rule changes regarding toe grabs.
For this study, Martinelli collected shoeing data from Quarter Horses that suffered a catastrophic injury over a 2-year period from a track where both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses race during the year.
During the first year of the study, the length of the toe grabs was recorded by consulting the shoeing records of the trainer. In the second year, toe grab length was measured and recorded by track personnel at the time of euthanasia.
To establish a control group for the type of horseshoes worn by Quarter Horses at this…