What is ‘Crossfire’?
Crossfire is the term in racing used to describe when a horse’s opposing legs strike each other and cause friction, potentially causing the horse to fall. Cross-firing can be the result of the horse’s natural body shape and running style, in which case the horse may learn to adapt as it runs and improve its stability while running. However, cross-firing can also indicate that something is wrong with the horse, so it should always be looked at by a veterinary professional.
‘Crossfire’ is a term commonly heard in video gaming, particularly in first-person shooter games. Crossfire in virtual and real worlds usually means gunfire from more than one source at the same time – and this is where we get the phrase ‘caught in the crossfire’ from, meaning to be caught between two warring parties.
In the world of horse racing, however, ‘crossfire’ has a different meaning. It refers to the condition where a racing horse finds its leg strikes another, sometimes causing the horse to stumble and other times leading to general wear of the legs and joints. Cross-firing can be corrected in some horses, while in others it is a serious medical problem.
Cross-firing occurs when opposing diagonal legs of the horses meet during fast-paced sprinting. Sometimes the problem can be fixed simply, such as by adjusting weight with a different saddle style. Alternatively, reducing the chance of cross-firing will take months of training and physiotherapy. Frequent cross-firing can be career ending for a race horse, but withdrawal from competitive sport is sometimes necessary to prevent pain and suffering in the animal. Gamblers who like to bet on horses will want to be aware of any history of cross-firing in previous events, as this can affect a horses chances in the coming race.