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KER President Speaks About the Growing ThoroughbredBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 17, 2015

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) president Joe Pagan, Ph.D., presented some surprising facts about the growing racehorse at the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association annual seminar, held recently in the United Kingdom.

A horse has reached 85 percent of its mature weight and 95 percent of its mature height by the time it turns two years old, according to Pagan, who has collected and collated growth data in Thoroughbreds worldwide for over a decade. Foals achieved 50 percent of that growth during their first four months of life. 

“I think height is 100 percent determined by genetics,” said Pagan. “I don’t believe that maximal size can be manipulated. I think how quickly you get to genetic maximal potential and whether you get to maximal size are the two questions. “

Pagan believes that farm managers can control the rate at which the horse reaches certain growth thresholds through manipulation of a horse’s environment.  The issue for these managers is balancing the desire for impressive growth with the risk of developmental orthopedic diseases.

Read a summary of the presentation in The Paulick Report

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