what is mtp in horse racing

MTP, or “made to the post,” refers to a situation in horse racing where a horse is declared to have started the race but fails to make it to the starting line or stalls. In these instances, the horse is still considered an official starter and its bettors may receive a refund or partial payment. The MTP designation helps ensure fairness in betting and prevents confusion regarding the actual number of horses that participated in the race.

Overview of Metatarsal-Phalangeal (MTP) Joint in Horses

The Metatarso-Phalangeal (MTP) joint is the crucial articulation between the cannon bone (third metacarpal bone) and the proximal phalanx (long pastern bone) in a horse’s leg. This intricate joint plays a vital role in weight-bearing, shock absorption, and propulsion during movement.

The MTP joint consists of two distinct joints: the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint and the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. The PIP joint is the primary weight-bearing joint, while the DIP joint provides additional stability and flexibility. The joint is stabilized by a network of ligaments, tendons, and muscles, which work together to maintain joint integrity and facilitate movement.

The MTP joint in horses is a complex structure that is subject to various injuries and conditions. Understanding the anatomy and function of this joint is essential for maintaining the overall health and performance of the horse.

  • PIP Joint: The primary weight-bearing joint, located between the cannon bone and the proximal phalanx.
  • DIP Joint: A smaller joint located between the proximal phalanx and the middle phalanx, providing additional stability.
  • Ligaments: Strong connective tissues that stabilize the joint and prevent excessive movement, including the collateral ligaments and the suspensory ligament.
  • Tendons: Tough, fibrous cords that connect muscles to bones, such as the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons.
  • Muscles: Muscles surrounding the joint that control movement and provide stability, such as the gastrocnemius and digital flexor muscles.
Ligaments of the MTP Joint
Medial Collateral LigamentPrevents excessive outward movement of the joint
Lateral Collateral LigamentPrevents excessive inward movement of the joint
Suspensory LigamentSupports the fetlock joint and prevents the cannon bone from sinking

Causes and Symptoms of MTP Injuries

Metatarsophalangeal (MTP) injuries are common in racehorses. The MTP joint is the joint that connects the pastern bone to the coffin bone. The joint is stabilized by a number of ligaments and tendons. MTP injuries can occur when these ligaments or tendons are overstretched or torn.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to MTP injuries in racehorses, including:

  • Hard track surfaces
  • Inadequate warm-up
  • Overtraining
  • Poor conformation
  • Previous MTP injuries

The symptoms of MTP injuries can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some common symptoms include:

  • Lameness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Pain
  • Reluctance to move

If your horse is showing any of the symptoms of an MTP injury, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately.

The following table summarizes the causes and symptoms of MTP injuries in racehorses:

Hard track surfacesLameness, swelling, heat, pain
Inadequate warm-upLameness, reluctance to move
OvertrainingLameness, swelling, heat, pain
Poor conformationLameness, increased risk of MTP injuries
Previous MTP injuriesIncreased risk of future MTP injuries

MTP in Horse Racing

Mediolateral patellar ligament (MTP) desmitis, commonly known as MTP, is a common injury in horses, particularly those involved in racing or jumping. The MTP ligament connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone), stabilizing the stifle joint. When this ligament is inflamed or torn, it can lead to lameness and decreased performance.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options for MTP Issues


* Physical examination: Observing lameness, swelling, and pain in the stifle area.
* X-rays: To rule out fractures or other bony abnormalities.
* Ultrasound: To assess the severity of ligament damage.

Treatment Options

* Conservative Management:
* Rest: Giving the horse time to recover.
* Cold therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area to reduce inflammation.
* Anti-inflammatory medications: To control pain and swelling.
* Physiotherapy: Exercises to strengthen the stifle and improve mobility.

* Surgical Management:
* Arthroscopy: A minimally invasive procedure to examine and repair the ligament.
* Open surgery: Performed in more severe cases to remove damaged tissue and stabilize the joint.

Severity of MTP Desmitis
Grade 1Mild lameness, slight swelling
Grade 2Moderate lameness, palpable swelling
Grade 3Severe lameness, significant swelling, possible ligament rupture

Additional Tips

* Early detection and treatment are crucial for successful outcomes.
* Horses with MTP injuries require a gradual return to training and competition.
* Regular maintenance, including proper hoof care and weight management, can help prevent MTP issues.

Medial Patellar Tendon (MTP) Problems in Horses

Medial patellar tendon (MTP) problems are a common cause of lameness in horses, particularly in performance horses. The MTP is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). It is responsible for extending the stifle joint.

Causes of MTP Problems

There are several factors that can contribute to MTP problems, including:

  • Trauma, such as a direct blow to the stifle
  • Overuse or excessive strain on the MTP
  • Poor conformation, such as having a straight stifle or excessive toe-in
  • Underlying metabolic or nutritional disorders
  • Age-related degeneration

Symptoms of MTP Problems

The severity of symptoms can vary depending on the extent of the damage to the MTP. Common symptoms include:

  • Lameness that is worse with flexion or extension of the stifle
  • Swelling and heat in the stifle area
  • Crepitus (a crackling sound) when the stifle is flexed or extended
  • Reduced range of motion in the stifle

Diagnosis of MTP Problems

A veterinarian will typically diagnose MTP problems based on a physical examination and the horse’s history. X-rays may be taken to confirm the diagnosis and to assess the extent of the damage.

Prevention and Management of MTP Problems

There are a number of things that can be done to prevent and manage MTP problems, including:

  1. Providing the horse with adequate rest and recovery time
  2. Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of exercise
  3. Properly warming up and cooling down the horse before and after exercise
  4. Maintaining the horse at a healthy weight
  5. Addressing any underlying metabolic or nutritional disorders
  6. Using appropriate hoof care and farriery
  7. Providing the horse with a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants
  8. Administering anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling
  9. Applying cold packs to the stifle area to reduce inflammation
  10. Performing physical therapy to improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding the stifle
  11. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged MTP

By following these tips, you can help to prevent and manage MTP problems in your horse.

Grade of MTP InjurySymptomsTreatment
Grade 1Mild swelling, heat, and painRest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications
Grade 2Moderate swelling, heat, pain, and lamenessRest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy
Grade 3Severe swelling, heat, pain, and lamenessRest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and surgery

Well, there you have it, folks! Now you’re no longer in the dark when you hear the term “MTP” at the racetrack. As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing your passion for the ponies with me. If you have any more burning questions about the wonderful world of horse racing, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’ll be here, eagerly waiting to dish out more knowledge and hopefully win a few races along the way. Until next time, may the odds be ever in your favor!