Visually Assessing Equine Quality of Movement: A Survey to Identify Key Movements and Patient-Specific Measures

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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


Outcome measures are essential for monitoring treatment efficacy. The lack of measures for quality of movement in equine physiotherapy and rehabilitation impairs evidence-based practice. To develop a new field-based outcome measure, it is necessary to determine movements most frequently observed during assessment of rehabilitation and performance management cases. An online survey of 81 equine sports medicine veterinarians and equine allied-health clinicians was conducted. The key movements identified included walk and trot on both firm and soft surfaces in a straight line and on a small circle, plus step back, hind leg cross-over, transitions and lunging at walk, trot and canter. The main barriers to observing some movements are access to suitable surfaces and the training level of the horse and handler. Subjective visual assessment of live or videoed horses was the most common method used to track progress of complex movements. The majority (82%) of survey participants agreed or strongly agreed that a modified Patient-Specific Functional Scale would be useful for measuring complex movements. Comments from all professions show a desire to have outcome measures relevant to their needs. This survey identified 24 in-hand movements, which can be used to form the foundation of a simple field-based outcome measure for quality of movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2822
Number of pages1
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2023


  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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