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Quarter horses are the predominant breed in the barrel racing world because of their ability to turn on a sixpence and to accellerate like a rocket. Quarter Horses can’t be beaten over a short distance!  One of the most famous sleepy little critters that can unwind like lightning was Scamper, foaled in 1977, he won ten World Championships in his ten year career and earned over a US$1 million in prize money. Sadly forelimb lameness in barrel-racing horses can be a problem. Affecting the right more often than the left simply because the cloverleaf pattern is entered predominantly by rounding the right barrel first. Lightning bursts of speed followed by 45˚ slanted, 360˚ turns that place great stress on the forelimb. Front foot navicular pain is the most prevalent injury in barrel horses, with arthritis of the lower hock joints (bone spavin) being the second commonest problem. Barrel racing horses often require joint supplements to stay at the top of their game. None better than our 1 sachet a day sprinkled over feed and we are proud to help barrel-racing yards with Aloeride.

How does Aloeride help barrel racing

  • Improves your horse’s natural ability to manage local inflammation and swelling around the navicular bone (periosteum, joint capsule, ligaments, tendons) and it is competition rules (FEI, BHA) compatible.
  • It feeds a better uptake of nutrients from your feedmix plus the additional and unique nutrients in Aloeride itself. This enables your horse to build stronger structures: tendons more robust against friction, bones more robust against fracture.
  • Aloeride is widely reported to improve the fluidity of gait and motion. Great addition to the flexor muscle stretches that will be done on your barrel horse already. As you know, less strides equals fastest time. Comfortable long stride length requires a comfortable digestive system. Power needs lean muscle mass. Aloeride promotes all of this.
  • Aloeride greatly improves performance in veteran horses (i.e. horses with degenerative changes in their musculoskeletal system) and it gives the same muscle, tendon and skeletal help in younger horses competing

Mobility and navicular lameness

In forelimb lameness in barrel-racing horses think about the two different gaits that human runners have: toestrike and heel strike. Sprinters toestrike and marathon runners heel strike and roll off. It’s the same in horses. For Quarter Horses to accellerate like a rocket they must toestrike. Toe striking gives certain foot structures extra workload, let’s go though this. As you know, a healthy navicular bone (N) is a small canoe-shaped structure that acts as a fulcrum for the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) so it can exert greater power. The navicular bone hangs in a ligamentous sling on the palmar aspect of P3. It articulates with P3 via a narrow, distal articular surface that may run the full width of the coffin joint (P2-P3). Caudodistal to this articular surface is a narrow ridge where the impar ligament attaches across to P3. The main articulation of the navicular bone, however, is with P2, on the palmar region of the distal articular surface of P2. The entire dorsal surface of the navicular bone is dedicated to this ‘yielding’ articulation.

Forelimb lameness in Barrel-Racing Horses navicular bone articulations

Such articulation implies a freedom to move…

When interphalangeal joints and sesamoids don’t rock, roll and slide as much as they ought to, changed biomechanics open a door to injury… to tendon, to bursa, to ligament, to bone itself. Can you feed to improve the circulation to and the innate strength of these podotrochlear structures? Yes you can as a preventative in training and competition. Competition compatible, Aloeride feeds for improved structural strength, it feeds for circulation, it feeds for mobility, it feeds for control of (micro)inflammation. Plenty of reasons why American barrel horse owners like it. The 20% discounted six-cartons comes with freepost to your stables… 180 servings made from 72 litres proven-best organic aloe vera at a price that’s often better than you get in America itself.

Toe striking greatly contributes to forelimb lameness in barrel-racing horses and, when the DDFT (or navicular bursa, ligaments or bone) is affected, in order to alleviate pressure on the navicular bone area, horses point the foot. Because, as you know, the greatest amount of friction between the navicular bone and the DDFT occurs not when the navicular bone yields under the weight of the animal when the foot comes in contact with the ground but when the bone returns to its normal position. This was confirmed by Major General Sir Frederick Smith KCMG, CB, FRCVS when he discovered that the fibers of eroded deep flexor tendons on navicular horses were stripped upward instead of downward. This makes sense as the greatest amount of force against the bone would occur when the deep flexor tendon is flexing.

Diagnosing forelimb lameness

If you find that your horse isn’t performing right, then trot your horse in ever smaller circles down to ‘barrel size’. You may not spot soreness or lameness trotting in straight runs, so it would be a mistake of not checking circling.

Barrel-racing-course Underperforming barrel horses should be circled, because in a stright line you may well miss the first signs of lameness. The clover leaf pattern in barrel-racing never changes except for variations in ground and arena size. The right forelimb takes the majority of the weight during slanted right turns (48% injury dominance vs 43% left). Left hind limb lameness affects 31% of horses, right hind limb lameness only 21%. Occasionally both hind limbs are affected. Sesamoiditis affects 70% of barrel-racing horses (inflammation of the sesamoid bones). Villonodular synovitis affects 56% of barrel-racing horses (inflammation/scarring of the synovial pad on the front of the fetlock due to extreme extension during the turns). Osteoarthritis with bone spurs affects 36% of barrel-racing horses.

Of course not all barrel-racing competitors turn right. In 2014, Fallon Taylor riding Babyflo became the third world champions to win a title who start by going to the left barrel rather than the right barrel. Ardith Bruce riding Red won going to the left in 1964, Lindsay Sears riding Martha won twice in 2008 and 2011 going to the left… So in 2020, Hailey Kinsel on Sister, scored 170.95 seconds on 10 runs, winning the average and finishing with a third world title in as many years, going right! So far for direction…


Forelimb lameness in barrel-racing horses happens because enormous forces overwhelm anatomical structures. Pressure and friction cause inflammation and sadly, if not seen to timely and adequately, permanent damage can occur. Because barrel racing is turning on a sixpence and accellerating like a rocket, it is right to remember that the momentum of an object is equal to the mass of the object times the velocity of the object. One variable in momentum is the rider’s weight… In the National Health Service I often had to explain weight per surface area: every pound of weight on your pelvis = 4 pounds of weight on your knee = 10 pounds of weight on your ankle. Thus 20 lbs overweight = 80 lbs extra on your knee per step, 200 lbs extra on your ankle per step and, via stirrups or saddle, 200+ lbs extra on your horse’s P2, P3, DDFT per step.  As your horse and you are a team, it is sensible for you to stand naked in front of a mirror and be brutally honest with yourself. If you are overweight, do not diet but change your lifestyle: implement the advice in this book: Eat Rich, Live Long: Mastering the Low-Carb & Keto Spectrum for Weight Loss and Longevity by Ivor Cummings and Jeffry Gerber MD FAAFP (a board-certified family physician). It is failsafe! It will help your blood lipids too (only one of many cardio-metabolic markers).