New study on endurance horses – diagnosis and causes of lameness in endurance horses in the United Kingdom
Researchers at the Animal Health Trust are collecting data to investigate the incidence of various causes of lameness in endurance horses in the United Kingdom (UK), diagnosed by veterinarians in first opinion practice. Data is also being collected on how this diagnosis was achieved.
It has been shown in a recent study that 80% of endurance horses had been lame at least once in their career and over 50% had been lame at least once in the past 12 months. Unfortunately a great proportion of these lameness episodes do not get investigated by a veterinarian. The aims of the current study are to learn more about causes of lameness in endurance horses in the UK and also to raise awareness of the number of undiagnosed lameness episodes that may result in more serious injury and/or recurrent lameness. By sharing the results with veterinarians and the endurance community, we are hoping that we can increase the proportion of lame horses that undergo veterinary investigation and therefore appropriate treatment and rehabilitation, which gives horses the best chance to return to full athletic function.
Horses eligible to participate: any horse undergoing endurance training and/or competition.
Veterinarians eligible to participate: any veterinarian who is the first veterinarian to investigate the lameness.
An online questionnaire has been designed, which takes approximately five minutes to complete and is anonymous; there is no way to identify who submits a questionnaire. We do ask for the owner’s (or trainer's or rider's) email address in order to obtain their consent for participation in this study. This is compulsory for any research project. Owners will not be contacted directly for any other reason and the email database will be deleted at the end of the study. To minimise recall bias, the questionnaire has to be collected within 72 hours of the lameness investigation.
Data will be collected for two years (September 2016 - August 2018). A complete questionnaire on at least 200 lameness episodes is required for meaningful results. Regular reminders will be sent throughout the study period.
To open the questionnaire please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/endurancelameness
We would be very grateful if you could contribute to this project.
Thank you for taking time to fill in this questionnaire and for providing this information. We are very grateful for your contribution to this project.
If you have any queries please contact Dr Annamaria Nagy on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07930 986690.
Previous Research Results
Key findings of the study entitled ‘Descriptive epidemiology and risk predictors for eliminations and completion at international endurance rides’
- This study provides the largest scale descriptive data on FEI endurance rides (30,741 horse starts were assessed) and the most detailed risk-factor (predictor) investigation for elimination for lameness, elimination for metabolic reasons and likelihood of completion; and is the first study to obtain data from endurance competitors
- The percentage of eliminated horses and wining speed at all endurance rides worldwide of 100-160 km distance did not increase between 2008 and 2011
- When all countries were assessed, eliminations due to both lameness and metabolic reasons were associated with the geographical region where the ride was held
- Despite investigation of 33 venue, horse, rider, and environment-related variables in a convenience sample of 24 FEI rides, only few were found to be significantly associated with elimination due to lameness (venue, horse’s experience at greater distance, time since last FEI ride) or metabolic reasons (venue, number of started horses, deep sand or soil)
- This study showed the first evidence of increasing speed decreasing the likelihood of completion. However, the study was unable to detect an association between speed and specific reasons for elimination
- Less frequent racing schedules (>90 days since the last competition) were associated with a decreased risk of elimination for lameness
- Knowledge of variables that affect the likelihood of completion contributes to our understanding of what makes horses successful or unsuccessful at endurance rides
- Data obtained from riders was exposed to bias; female, older and less experienced riders were more likely to complete the questionnaires
- The questionnaire study showed preliminary evidence of association between riders’ predictions and outcome of the ride; riders aiming for achieving the best possible results or qualification were less likely to complete the ride than riders aiming for training; riders who judged the course more difficult after than before the ride were less likely to complete
Nagy, A., Dyson, S. and Murray, J. (2012) A veterinary review of endurance riding as an international competitive sport. Vet J. 194, 288-293.
Nagy, A., Murray, J. and Dyson, S. (2013) Descriptive epidemiology and risk factors for eliminations from Fédération Equestre International endurance rides due to lameness and metabolic reasons (2008-2011). Equine vet. J. Published online. DOI: 10.1111/evj.12069