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|Horses are fragile creatures that will find ways to get hurt no matter how carefully you care for them. Though there are many things that contribute to injuries, you can never avoid all chance of injury. However, if you take care to avoid the largest contributors toward injuries, as explained below, you will greatly reduce how often your horses are injured and will avoid catastrophic injuries almost entirely.|
|Risk||Risk, as a trait, is something you should pay attention to because it will impact your horse any time they race. You will get a race note any time your horse is racing with 40% or higher Risk, so it's easy enough to catch and fix even if you can't see it. Risk is covered in more detail below.|
|Misentry||Perhaps the #1 cause of injury, especially among new stables, is incorrectly entering horses. You should always pay close attention to what distances and what surface a horse is trained for and only enter races that match a horse's distance and surface preferences. You should look for a horse to have at least 80% (green) training for a distance or surface before entering a race with those parameters.|
|Energy||Entering a horse with lower Energy is another common cause of injuries. To avoid chance of injury, horses should only be entered when they have 100% Energy at the time the race runs. This means you should take care not to do extra training (or certain feeding) after entering a horse in a race. You should also never enter a horse in multiple races unless you are willing to risk an injury.|
|Condition||Condition is another leading cause of injuries. Your horse does not need to be at 100% Condition to race, but they do need to be at least 50% to be reasonably safe. For best practices, higher Condition is always better.|
|Soundness||Declining Soundness means a horse's body is no longer as strong and stable as it once was. This means they are more susceptible to injury. While it's common to enter horses with slightly low Soundness, the lower Soundness declines the more likely a horse is to suffer injury. Extremely low Soundness is a major cause of catastrophic injuries.|
|Maturity||Low Maturity contributes two-fold toward injuries. First, any horse with low Maturity has a chance to be hurt in races. Second, entering a horse with anything under 80% Maturity will cause them to gain Risk. Always check Maturity on your young horses before they begin racing.|
|Mud||Muddy tracks (any that have a raining or storming weather icon) can be dangerous and may lead to injury. A horse's bias toward Mud determines how much they are impacted by this. 'Low' Mud rating means a horse will not only perform worse but be a high risk of injury when racing on wet tracks. 'High' Mud, on the other hand, can race on wet tracks with little to no additional risk.|
There are two severity classifications for injuries: minor or major. Minor injuries are the most common types of injuries. They may heal immediately upon being treated by a vet and often only require one or two sessions of rehabilitation. Minor injuries may occasionally require stall rest, but this is rare.
Major injuries are much more severe and will almost always require a period of stall rest followed by another period of rehabilitation. Some major injuries will require surgery. This will happen immediately upon veterinary examination and can be quite expensive. If this happens, it will be noted in the message you see when your horse is examined by the vet. Major injuries can, very rarely, cause a horse to need to be retired or even euthanized. All in all, major injuries are something you want to do your best to avoid. Thankfully, major injuries are very uncommon as long as you care for and race your horses correctly.
As already mentioned, Risk is an important factor in determining how hardy your horse is. Horses with high Risk are much more likely to be accident prone and will likely suffer frequent injuries, so you should take time to evaluate a horse's Risk and reduce it if necessary. It is determined at birth based loosely upon Conformation genes. Horses with Fair or Poor Conformation are more likely to have higher Risk - but not always.
In addition, a horse's Risk can (and likely will) fluctuate throughout their life. Risk may increase for a number of reasons, including: feeding Hype, entering a 3yo in 10+ furlong races, training and/or racing horses with low Maturity, suffering a major injury.
A horse will receive a race note any time they have Risk greater than 40%. They will receive a different race note if Risk is dangerously high, which should serve as a red flag that you need to do something.
There are two ways you can evaluate Risk before a horse ever enters their first race. The first, and easiest, is to look at their Risk trait if you have Forever Pro. If you do not have Forever Pro, fear not! You can also check Risk by attempting to feed a horse Defend. If you can successfully feed a horse Defend, you know their risk was above 30%.
|The best way to prevent injury is to maintain good training and racing practices within your barns. This means doing everything you can to mitigate the chances of being injured as outlined above. However, if you make a mistake and increase a horse's Risk or simply have a horse that needs a little "bubble wrap", there are a number of things you can do to further decrease your chance of injuries.|
|Basic Wraps||If there is only one thing you take away from this page, let it be this. Always keep wraps on all of your racing horses. Basic Wraps can be purchased for a nominal fee in the Tack Shop. They can also be obtained for free through various seasonal events. Basic Wraps will reduce your horse's chance of injury by 25%, meaning if you have them on every horse you will see approximately 25% fewer injuries.|
|Ultra Wraps||Ultra Wraps are a step up from Basic Wraps. They can also be purchased from the Tack Shop - though they cost more (PC), they have infinite uses and improved benefits. First, Ultra Wraps will reduce chances of injury by 50%. In addition, they have a chance to reduce a horse's Risk each time they train while wearing Ultra Wraps. If you have a horse with high Risk, this is an excellent way to bring it down.|
|Defend||Defend is a standard type of feed available in the Feed Shop which is used to reduce Risk. A horse can be fed Defend any time their Risk is 30% or higher - if they refuse to eat it, their Risk is below 30%. Defend does consume some Energy (making a horse lethargic) so you'll have to carefully plan when to feed it around a horse's racing schedule. Typically, Defend is fed to yearlings or early 2 year olds, otherwise it's best reserved for off season.|
|Mineral Blocks||Mineral Blocks are a supplement available in Rumpled Packages from the Rusty Recycler. They will greatly reduce Risk instantly and also increase Longevity. A horse can only have Mineral Blocks 3 times during their lifetime, so it's often best to wait and use it after a horse's Risk has dropped down to 30%.|
|Bundle of TLC||Bundle of TLC is an item you can craft in the workshop. By increasing a variety of "rested gains", it has many benefits that make it a great choice for horses struggling with injuries. Most importantly, Bundle of TLC will reduce Risk and increase Condition, which are two of the leading causes of injury.|
|Grandma's Sampler||Grandma's Samplers have numerous uses. As far as injuries go, you can use them to reduce the severity and recovery time of an injury or you can use them to reduce Risk. Grandma's Samplers can be crafted in the Workshop with items that fall in January. As they are rarer than some of the above options, they're best reserved for cases where those items won't work or aren't available.|
|Zenspired Jockey||Zenspired is one of the skills you can give your custom jockeys. While it only provides average benefits to racing performance, this skill may be sought after by people who have many horse with higher risk or who just want to reduce their overall number of injuries. Zenspired jockeys will decrease your horse's chance of being injured in races and may also decrease their Risk stat.|
|Rehabilitation Facility||Once you have the 8th star in Business skills, you have the option to open up an equine therapy center or rehabilitation facility for your barn. This is a very expensive addition to your farm, but can save a lot of time and money in the long run. If you have these facilities, all rehabilitation training will work twice as well, meaning your horses will recover from injuries in half the normal time. This can save you from using Samplers and can also help get horses back on the track (earning money) faster.|
|Ice Wraps||Ice Wraps are available in the Pro Shop, and these will gradually decrease Risk, Injury Severity and also increase Soundness over a period of 4 months. These could be used both reactively and proactively.|
|Treatment & Rehabilitation|
As already mentioned, no matter what you do your horses will occasionally be injured in races. Sooner or later you'll check your results to see 'Returned sore' or 'Pulled up'. If you don't check your notes, you'll still be able to tell a horse is injured by the icon on your stable page.
The first thing you need to do with an injured horse is visit the Veterinarian, where you can have an injury evaluation done for your horse. The cost of this exam will vary depending upon injury severity, ranging from a couple thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. (The expense is also reduced for lower rank members, as newbies often have a few injuries before they figure everything out.)
Rather than charging your account directly, the cost of all veterinary services will be added to your vet bill. This will ensure that you can always get your horses examined and treated right away, even if they require an expensive surgery. Rather than worrying about your bank falling into the negative or having to wait to check/fix an injured horse, you can pay the vet whenever it's convenient for you.
To pay the vet, go the the Veterinarian page under the Services tab. There will be a Vet Bills section, which will display the current amount you owe. Keep in mind that a 5% interest will be added to the bill at the end of each month if you have not payed your bill. Also, if/when your bill reaches $250,000, you will be unable to purchase horses from the Horse Trader. If your bill reaches $1,000,000, you will be unable to use any veterinary services.
Whenever a horse is currently injured they may not participate in normal training or enter races. Instead, a different set of exercise options will show up on their Exercise page, including information about their current injury. This will state the type of injury, prognosis, and severity. Severity is especially important to pay attention to because this will change as the horse recovers - which works hand in hand with recovery time. Most minor injuries will have a severity under 20-30%. More common major injuries will be under 70%. Very high severity injuries (into the 90% range) are quite rare.
The severity of your injury will determine what types of rehabilitation exercises your horse can perform. Superficial injuries (lacerations, bruises, dehydration) will often only require a little first aid before the horse can get back to regular training. Horses who are just coming out of surgery or have an otherwise serious injury may require stall rest for several months. After stall rest they may begin very casual exercises such as physiotherapy (stretches and light work) or hydrotherapy. Horses who are on the road to recovery may begin hand walking or using a hot walker. Finally, horses who are just about ready to hit the track again can do reconditioning workouts, similar to long gallops, to start getting back into racing shape.
Unlike regular exercises, you can only do one rehabilitation session per month regardless of your horse's Energy. However, you can still complete rehabilitation even if the horse has already performed other training in that month. For example, if a horse trains and races in April A is injured, they can still do rehab in April B.