Across all sports we see that the older competitors get, the more prone they are to injuries and they occur more frequently. The same applies to racehorses; as they come to the end of their careers and retirement is on the horizon, they start to pick up more injuries which can be really frustrating for them, their connections and caretakers.

A lot of people aren’t actually aware of the different types of injuries they encounter and why sometimes they can be forced into early retirement. In this article, we’re going to look into the most common injuries for older racehorses and how these injuries affect them.

If you are a frequent horse racing punter, you may want to read up on these injuries and also the injuries the horses you want to back have had in the past as it may just affect their performance. You can take a look at the best horse racing betting UK sites and place your bets now.

Most Common Injuries

Bone chip

One of the leading injuries for older racehorses are bone chips. These are chip fractures within the joints, they can be both big or small. Sometimes they might not be noticeable at first but can have a serious effect on the horses, including bad performances on the track and they will become noticeably slow. If the chip is big, then as you would expect, it can cause serious pain for the horse. It isn’t always the case that it happens in older horses either, it can occur in younger horses who may be born with joint problems.

Bone spavin

Bone spavin is a type of arthritis in horses and like humans, it can be difficult to treat. The aim for vets when treating horses for this is just to try and reduce the inflammation for the movement of the joint. Of course, this can be a huge problem for horses and can force race horses into retirement if it is that bad.

It isn’t always the case that it will end badly though; some horses respond well to treatment and medicine, allowing them to continue their racing career.

Bowed tendon

This injury refers to tendon swelling that can appear in the tendon of the horse’s leg. An injury itself can cause this or chronic stress. There are treatments for this which is a positive, which normally includes rest, medicine and physiotherapy for the horse, to ease them back into racing. Only if this injury isn’t treated early or properly can it become something really serious.

Bucked shins

As humans, we often refer to bucked shins as shin splints. If you have ever had shin splints before, you understand how painful they can be. Well, horses experience the same pain when they get them. Like you would take lots of rest if you had it, horses need to do the same.

It can cause lots of swelling and stress on the horse. If this would become a repetitive injury for the horse then it may be time for the trainers to consider retiring the horse.


Curb in horses is normally caused by an injury. It involves the swelling of tissue behind the hock joint, just like a sprain, for example. Racing can cause these injuries to occur and it can be extremely uncomfortable for the horse. It isn’t something that can affect a horse’s career forever, but still not something they want.


A Carpal Hygroma is a really stressful and painful knee injury for horses which is more often than not caused from racing over jumps. This injury can occur from a repeated trauma, like hitting one or both knees on fences when racing. Fences aren’t the only possibility that may bring on this injury but it is certainly common in jumping race horses. A horse that experiences this injury will experience symptoms like swelling or fluid in the knees.

More Injuries

The list doesn’t end there, we just haven’t got all day. There are actually a number of other injuries that racehorses can experience as they get older, these include grabbed quarter, OCD, joint effusion, osselets, fractures, cracks and many more.