Dublin: 10°C Monday 20 September 2021

Explainer: What is hypersensitivity in horses?

We’ve consulted our crack team of veterinary experts…

Lynch rides Lantinus in 2009.
Lynch rides Lantinus in 2009.
Image: PA

YESTERDAY, DENIS LYNCH was withdrawn from Ireland’s equestrian team for next month’s London Olympics. The Tipperary rider’s horse Lantinus was disqualified from the premier fixture in Aachen, Germany, last week after testing positive for hypersensitivity. The 36-year-old Lynch says that the hypersensitivity occurred naturally, but what exactly is it?

What is hypersensitivity?

Every horse has a normal level of sensitivity or nerve sensation, but where this exceeds normal limits, it becomes known as hypersensitivity.

It can occur from an insect sting, or from a self-inflicted injury.

It can, theoretically, be artificially produced to improve the performance of the horses. If a horse is hypersensitive, it is likely to better clear its hurdles in order to not get hurt.

How is it determined?

It is measured by both thermographic x-rays and clinical testing. Thermography measures abnormal heat patterns of the skin by using an imaging camera.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

What happens if hypersensitivity is found?

The front of all four limbs of the horse are examined by the application of pressure. If the condition is found immediately after competition, a further examination will take place later to confirm its persistence.

Evidence will then be presented to a Ground Jury and its decision is final.

Then, the case may move on to a Medication Control Programme, which will determine if doping is involved.

Hypersensitivity as outlined on the FEI website >

Denis Lynch hits out at Horse Sport Ireland after Olympic dream is ended >

About the author:

Read next: