Key movements to observe when assessing quality of movement in horses

Annette G. Bowen, Hayley Randle, Raphael Labens, Gillian Tabor

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

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Aim: Outcome measures for movement tasks are lacking in equine physiotherapy. Creating a new outcome
measure for quality of movement will improve the ability to monitor treatment efficacy, therefore enhancing
evidence-based practice. This study asks, what are the most commonly observed in-hand movements during
assessment of horses for performance management and rehabilitation, and how are complex functional
movements currently being measured?
Design: Online survey of equine sports medicine veterinarians, physiotherapists and equine allied health
Method: A survey, distributed by professional associations, gained responses from 81 equine clinicians.
Descriptive statistics, chi square analysis and ANOVA along with thematic analysis of free-text responses was
Results: Twenty-four in-hand movements were identified as being used more frequently than others. The
movements chosen were based on the individual case presentation. Barriers include access to facilities and
the training level of the horse and handler. To measure complex functional movements 81.6% agree or
strongly agree a modified Patient-Specific Functional Scale would be useful.
Conclusion: Despite challenges in the field, a key group of in-hand movements are routinely used to observe
equine quality of movement. Equine clinicians do their best to record changes in movement and have a
strong desire for more relevant outcome measures.
Key Practice Points:
 There is a strong desire for outcome measures relevant to equine clinicians’ needs.
 Challenges to assessment include facilities, handlers and horses training level.
 Equine professionals identified key in-hand movements which will be included in a new outcome
measure for quality of movement.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
EventIGNITE 2023 Physiotherapy Conference - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 5 Jul 20237 Oct 2023


ConferenceIGNITE 2023 Physiotherapy Conference


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