Assessing static postural types in sport horses

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


Postural assessment, within equine physiotherapeutic assessment, provides information about clinical condition, however, evidence-based methods to identify horses’ postural type are scarce. Horses’ postural type (sway-backed, straight-backed, or S-backed) is associated with features such as spinal alignment, muscle balance and movement (dys)functions. This study aimed to develop an Equine Postural Assessment Tool (EPAT) and to evaluate its inter-rater agreement. An EPAT template, guidance document and video were developed to support evaluation of horses’ static postural type based on 25 possible observations in six body zones. The EPAT was used to evaluate 21 sport horses’ postural type based on side-view standing photographs. The inter-rater agreement for EPAT scores was evaluated between seven ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapists (P1-P7) using Kappa-agreement coefficients. P2 and P3 received verbal training from P1 about how to score horses’ postural type using the EPAT, after which the EPAT was updated with the complementary guidelines. P4-P7 received these guidelines only to score horses’ postural type using the EPAT. Excellent agreement (average κ=0.893, P<0.001) were obtained between P1, P2, P3 scoring horses’ postural types using the EPAT, whilst fair-to-good levels of agreement were found between all evaluators (P1-P7) (average κ=0.519, P<0.05). The EPAT was found reliable to evaluate horses’ postural type from side-view standing photographs. The tool is a simple and promising tool to assess horses’ static postural type, which could support practitioners in their clinical reasoning and decision making. Further research is warranted to establish the EPAT intra-rater reliability, reliability in live horses, and its association with horses’ movement (dys)functions.
PeriodAug 2023
Event title9th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion
Event typeConference
LocationUtrecht, NetherlandsShow on map