Horses susceptible to injury in Rebecca Farm cross-country course


KALISPELL, Mont. - Today the elite riders in The Event at Rebecca Farm competed in cross-country. It's a four mile course that involves jumping over fences and wooden barriers. It's the most challenging event of the weekend and the most dangerous, for both the horse and the rider.

To learn more about the risks, NBC Montana talked to the person in charge of injury prevention and aid.

It's a course that tests combines speed and endurance with the challenge of jumping. All of which translate into a fair share of danger

"Cross-country is the event horses are most likely to get hurt," Dr. Bob Genovese said.

Dr. Genovese is one of the treating veterinarians at Rebecca Farm and is familiar with the hazards of Saturday's cross-country course.

"The only thing we get worried about are wounds and injuries with cross-country and jumping over fences," Dr. Genovese said.

Before the horses are cleared for the course, they need to pass an inspection. The veterinarians, doing the inspections, look for any type of condition where the horse fails to trot or walk in a regular manner.

"The biggest concern they have is lameness problems because if they have a horse with a lameness issue, then the rider is at risk on the cross-country course and over jumps," said Dr. Genovese.

However, it is not just the courses that can cause injury. Dr. Genovese says that he sees more sick horses than injured ones because of the travel it takes to get to the event.

One horse wasn't feeling well because he was stuck in a trailer all the way from Washington D.C., a long trip for anyone.

"Horses can develop colic and gastrointestinal issues with weather changes and stress, also changes in some of the feeding," he said.

To treat the abdominal pain and stress, the veterinarians on site use anti-inflammatory medicines and fluids.

"We try to reduce the stress down. I guess it depends on the nature of what's causing it, but basically fluid therapy is the most important thing," Dr. Genovese said.

All to make sure the horses are ready for competition.

The last day of this year's event is Sunday, July 27 th . It's the show jumping phase for all remaining levels, along with an awards ceremony at the end of each division.