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Conservative update: We need a full diagnosis to be sure

15 Dec 2022
We have a vet coming into the yard later this week to do a full clinical diagnosis on Conservative. This will involve a camera going up his nose and down into his windpipe, and I just want to do this so we can rule out any problems with his breathing. It’s a perfectly normal procedure for a horse, and won’t cause them anything more than maybe some minor discomfort at the time. Normally you would do that with a horse who is making a noise, whether that be a whistle, gargling or choking, but that is not the case with Conservative. However, there is something not quite right. I just can’t seem to diagnose what it is, so we need to get this extra veterinary help. 

When his work rider Dale Swift rode him in a piece of work last week, he said he was reaching forward with his head, and making what he could only describe as a sort of grunting noise. I’ve never had this before in my time as a trainer. Once we get the full results of the clinical diagnosis, I will report them back to you. In a way, you want them to find something which isn’t serious, as then you know what the problem is and it can be treated. If the results come back all clear, I will be left scratching my head.

All we have been doing with him at home in the meantime is working him at a steady pace to keep up his basic fitness levels. We don’t want to be pushing him hard until we find out what the problem is.

The weather has taken a real turn over the last few days, as I am sure you will have seen with all the racing which has been abandoned, particularly over the jumps. We are used to temperatures dropping below freezing point. Fortunately, the all-weather gallops help during this time of the year. Hopefully, temperatures will start climbing again soon as we don’t want to miss out on too much racing.

Scott Dixon

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