This study investigated the prevalence of injuries to the suspensory ligament (SL), the digital flexor tendons and associated structures in relation to the type of athletic use of the horse. The medical records of 1,527 horses referred to the Equine Department, University of Zurich, from 1992 to 2009 because of non-septic tendinitis, desmitis or tendovaginitis were reviewed. The majority of the horses in the study population were used for pleasure riding (23.3%), show jumping (20.4%) and dressage (10.5%). Eventing (3.4 %), driving (2.8%) and endurance horses (1.4%) were less common. The suspensory ligament was the most
frequently affected structure in the overall study population (31.2%); the frequency of SL injuries was 41.6% in dressage horses, 28.6% in show jumpers and 28.1% in pleasure horses. The superficial digital flexor tendon was the most frequently affected structure in eventing horses (50%) and the digital flexor tendon sheath (27.9%) was the most commonly affected structure in driving horses. Injured show jumpers (p<0.001), dressage (p<0.001) and eventing horses (p=0.007) were significantly younger than injured pleasure horses. The type of athletic use of a horse has a direct impact on the prevalence of injuries to the suspensory ligament, flexor tendons and associated structures. This knowledge can be used to improve the veterinary care for horses with different athletic occupations.