Protection and Recovery in Competitive Horse Racing- Mastery's Story

With the Kentucky Derby taking place this weekend, it is important to keep in mind the fragility of these competitive horses that we’ll be watching and the need for protection.
Horse leg wraps or bandages play a key role in the protection of these racehorses. Veterinary and equine medical professionals, trainers, and others in the industry work to help protect these horses so they can perform at the highest level, before, during, and after the race. 

Sometimes, however, no amount of protection and preparation can prevent against injury, as in the case of Mastery. That’s when the use of veterinary tapes and wraps for recovery comes into play.  

We wanted to share excerpts of a recent New York Times story by Joe Drape about Mastery.

“On May 3, 2014, the foal that would become Mastery wriggled out of the mare Steady Course, wet, wobbly and eager to find his legs. His father, Candy Ride, was bred in Argentina and retired undefeated after winning the 2003 Pacific Classic at the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. He had already sired three champions and, for the past three years, his offspring were successful enough to keep Candy Ride ranked in the top five of American stallions. A year later, Mastery had grown into an athlete.”

Mastery started his career off strong, as one of only 8,523 horses in that 2014 crop to race as a 2-year-old, winning all three of his races last year, including the Grade I Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity, and earning $511,200. His success was due, in part, to his genetics and the expertise of his trainers.  Then came the race that changed everything as told by Dr. Ryan Carpenter, Mastery’s doctor.

Carpenter watched Mastery shoot out of the starting gate like a missile in this March race and knew he was going to win. Heck, he was going to prevail in this year’s 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, which will be held on Saturday.

“I had him in hand and powered him down the last 16th of a mile,” said Mike Smith, Mastery’s jockey. “Then just past the finish line, he took a funny step, rolled his ankle or something. I got off of him quick as I could.”

Mastery had a complete displaced condylar fracture, or a broken ankle. The only certainty was that he would not be racing in the Kentucky Derby, a race he was expected to be a favorite to win. The hours following his injury became all about caution and recovery, and were critical to Mastery’s future in racing.

For Mastery, the keys to well-being were a clean, comfortable bandage on his injured leg, antibiotics and Carpenter’s keen attention to the colt’s basic functions and temperament.

“The fast ones are more prone to injury because they give so much,” he said. “I’m a half-full-glass kind of guy. I got to see Mastery run four times, and four times he was absolutely brilliant. I will always cherish that memory.”

While Mastery is no longer able to compete in races, he is recovering well.  The New York Times article notes that one of the keys to Mastery’s well-being post-injury was a clean, comfortable bandage. As we reflect on the story, it’s important to note the importance of high quality cohesive and adhesive tapes and wraps, not only for protection but for recovery for animals, as well.

Here at Arrowhead Animal Health, we design and manufacture premium tapes and wraps for those who provide care to all animals. Our quality tapes and wraps offer the best protection to keep horses at the highest of levels protected and safe, and also help with recovery. 


Find the full story here:


To experience Arrowhead Animal Health’s line of cohesive and adhesive tapes and wraps for the well-being of all animals, request a free sample pack by clicking here.

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