Lacing And Patching Cracks: Still Getting Horses Back Into Competition

Decades after Ian McKinlay patched his first crack, the New Jersey farrier still has success with the practice when the case dictates

Growing up in Ontario, Ian McKinlay learned crack repair from his father J.C., a pioneer in the practice. J.C. McKinlay started repairing cracks in Ontario in the 1960s, primarily with Standardbreds at Toronto’s Greenwood Mohawk Racetrack and his farm. The younger McKinlay told attendees of the March Razerhorse clinic in Denton, Texas, that his late father would be amazed at how farriers have adapted his work in lacing and patching cracks.

As a teenager in 1972, Ian McKinlay laced and patched his first horse — he had to fill in for his father who was suffering from a sore back. He learned by observing while helping his father at work. When it came time to pay after this job, the elder McKinlay told the client to make the $250 check out to his son. The experience was a great payday — especially for a farm kid who was used to working for free — and helped hook Ian for life on crack repair.

Since those early days, there have been some important changes. McKinlay tends to work more with racing Thoroughbreds than Standardbreds these days. The material for patching has changed and stainless steel sutures are used rather than copper. However, the general principles of lacing and patching remain the same and, as McKinlay explains, the practice is still effective in helping horses with crack issues return to competition.

“Of course, the glue is improved over the last 25 years,” he says. “Really, I haven’t changed anything that I do…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern is the former Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is president of American Horse Publications.

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