Topical Collection "Equine Training and Rehabilitation"

A topical collection in Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This collection belongs to the section "Equids".

Editors

Dr. Jane M. Williams
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Head of Research, Hartpury University, Gloucester GL19 3BE, UK
Interests: training methods in equine sport; horse and rider performance; equine sports medicine; sports performance analysis; horseracing; epidemiological analysis of injury risk and disease; equine quality of life; horse-rider interactions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Ms. Gillian Tabor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Programme Manager Veterinary Physiotherapy, Hartpury University, Gloucester GL19 3BE, UK
Interests: physiotherapy; rehabilitation; outcome measurement; therapeutic interventions; exercise prescription; equine training; horse and rider performance

Topical Collection Information

Equestrianism is popular worldwide, with millions of horses and riders participating in competitive horse sports and non-competitive leisure riding. Horse riders, owners, and trainers are responsible for the management of their horses and have a duty of care to engage in practices which optimize equine health and welfare in addition to promoting ethical equitation practices. Equestrian practice is multifaceted, and to achieve optimum management, the application of ethical and evidence-based training and rehabilitation practices are essential to ensure equine athletes are sufficiently prepared to meet the demands of the workload or competition expected by riders and trainers. Despite this, there is a paucity of research which goes beyond anecdotal opinion which can be used to support evidence-informed practice. This Special Issue aims to showcase emerging practices in this field.

Original manuscripts, in the form of research or review papers, that relate to any aspects of equine training and performance, equine rehabilitation, the effects of treatment interventions in the horse, or which consider the dynamic relationship between horses and riders are all welcomed for this Special Issue.

Topics of interest include evidence-based studies of equine training methods, performance analysis of equestrian sport, management of injury or aspects related to the welfare of the sports horse or racehorse in training/competition are welcomed, including applied studies. Alongside this, we invite studies relating to treatments of common musculoskeletal conditions, therapeutic intervention studies, and critical reviews of frequently used approaches within equine physiotherapy and rehabilitation practice. All studies must use objective measurement to ensure reliable and valid evaluation of outcomes.

Dr. Jane M. Williams
Dr. Gillian Tabor
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • equine training
  • rehabilitation
  • physiotherapy
  • equine performance
  • equine therapy
  • water treadmill
  • equine sport
  • horseracing
  • rider performance
  • welfare

Published Papers (17 papers)

2022

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Article
Does Carrying a Rider Change Motor and Sensory Laterality in Horses?
Animals 2022, 12(8), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12080992 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 587
Abstract
Laterality in horses has been studied in recent decades. Although most horses are kept for riding purposes, there has been almost no research on how laterality may be affected by carrying a rider. In this study, 23 horses were tested for lateral preferences, [...] Read more.
Laterality in horses has been studied in recent decades. Although most horses are kept for riding purposes, there has been almost no research on how laterality may be affected by carrying a rider. In this study, 23 horses were tested for lateral preferences, both with and without a rider, in three different experiments. The rider gave minimal aids and rode on a long rein to allow the horse free choice. Firstly, motor laterality was assessed by observing forelimb preference when stepping over a pole. Secondly, sensory laterality was assessed by observing perceptual side preferences when the horse was confronted with (a) an unfamiliar person or (b) a novel object. After applying a generalised linear model, this preliminary study found that a rider increased the strength of motor laterality (p = 0.01) but did not affect sensory laterality (p = 0.8). This suggests that carrying a rider who is as passive as possible does not have an adverse effect on a horse’s stress levels and mental state. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2022, 2020

Review
Equine Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review of the Literature
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061508 - 22 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3416
Abstract
Injuries to the locomotor system are a common problem in athletic horses. Veterinarians address these injuries using appropriate medical, surgical, and pharmacological treatments. During or after recovery from the initial injury, horses may be treated for functional locomotor deficits using specific rehabilitation techniques [...] Read more.
Injuries to the locomotor system are a common problem in athletic horses. Veterinarians address these injuries using appropriate medical, surgical, and pharmacological treatments. During or after recovery from the initial injury, horses may be treated for functional locomotor deficits using specific rehabilitation techniques aimed at restoring full athletic performance. This study reviews the literature to identify which rehabilitative techniques have been used most frequently in horses over the past 20 years, the protocols that were used, and the outcomes of the treatments in naturally occurring injuries and diseases. Publications were identified using keyword selection (Equine Athlete OR Equine OR Horse) AND (Rehabilitation OR Physiotherapy OR Physical Therapy). After removing duplicates and screening papers for suitability, 49 manuscripts were included in the study. The majority of publications that met the inclusion criteria were narrative reviews (49%) in which the authors cited the relatively small number of published evidence-based studies supplemented by personal experience. Observational/descriptive studies were also popular (35%). Randomized control trials accounted for only 10%. The most frequently reported rehabilitation techniques were exercise, electrotherapy, and hydrotherapy. The findings highlight the need for further information regarding type of intervention, parameterization, and outcomes of equine rehabilitation in clinical practice. Full article
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Article
Symbiosis or Sporting Tool? Competition and the Horse-Rider Relationship in Elite Equestrian Sports
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051352 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1506
Abstract
The horse-rider relationship is fundamental to ethical equestrianism wherein equine health and welfare are prioritized as core dimensions of sporting success. Equestrianism represents a unique and important form of interspecies activity in which relationships are commonly idealized as central to sporting performance but [...] Read more.
The horse-rider relationship is fundamental to ethical equestrianism wherein equine health and welfare are prioritized as core dimensions of sporting success. Equestrianism represents a unique and important form of interspecies activity in which relationships are commonly idealized as central to sporting performance but have been largely unexplored in the sport psychology literature. Horse-rider relationships warrant particular consideration in the elite sporting context, given the tension between constructions of “partnership” between horse and rider, and the pragmatic pressures of elite sport on horse and rider and their relationship. The current study examined the link between sporting performance and the horse-rider relationship in an elite equestrian sporting context. Thirty-six international elite riders from eight countries and six equestrian disciplines participated in a single in-depth interview. A social constructionist, grounded theory methodology was used to analyze this data. The horse-rider relationship was positioned in three different ways in relation to elite sporting outcomes: as pivotal to success; non-essential to success; or as antithetical to success. Participants shifted between these positions, expressing nuanced, ambivalent attitudes that reflected their sporting discipline and their personal orientation to equestrianism. Competitive success was also defined in fluid terms, with participants differentiating between intrinsic and extrinsic markers of success. These findings suggest a complex and multifaceted connection between interspecies performance and relationships in elite sport. Where strong horse-rider relationships are antithetical to performance, a threat to the welfare and ethics of equestrian sport exists. Relevant sporting governing bodies must attend to this problem to ensure the centrality of animal welfare, wellbeing, and performance longevity to equestrian sports. Full article
Article
Speed and Blood Parameters Differ between Arabian and Žemaitukai Horses during Endurance Racing
Animals 2021, 11(4), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040995 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has described equine endurance racing as the second largest discipline in the world, above which is only show jumping. The Žemaitukai is an ancient indigenous Lithuanian horse breed known since the 6th or 7th century. The Arabian horse breed [...] Read more.
Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has described equine endurance racing as the second largest discipline in the world, above which is only show jumping. The Žemaitukai is an ancient indigenous Lithuanian horse breed known since the 6th or 7th century. The Arabian horse breed is one of the oldest human-developed horse breeds in the world. Compared with other race horse breeds, the muscle tissue of Arabian horses is characterized by significant differences in structure—a predominance of oxidative fiber type I is observed in Arabians, making them the prevailing breed in endurance racing. The Arabian horses are recognized as the leading breed in endurance competitions. Speed, pace, and total time in the race strategy have been extensively studied in human sports, and in contrast, this strategy appears to have been virtually ignored in equestrian sport, despite the potential for contributing to performance optimization. In relation to speed and total time in the race, there are limited data on postrace physical, biochemical, and blood gas parameters of endurance horses. Thus, this study was carried out to investigate the effects of speed on the blood parameters of the Arabian and Žemaitukai horses during an endurance race. Blood samples were taken before and immediately after the exercise. Biochemical and blood gas indicators were analyzed. The study showed significant increases in mean blood gasometrical indicators, such as partial carbon dioxide pressure (8.09–15.18%, p < 0.001); base excess in the extracellular fluid (14.01%, p < 0.001 in the Arabian horses and 172.01% in the Žemaitukai breed, p = 0.006); decreases of the blood electrolyte ionized calcium (4.38–8.72%, p < 0.001) and the hematocrit and hemoglobin values (20.05–20.12%, p < 0.001 in the Arabian horses and 6.22–6.23% in the Žemaitukai breed, p = 0.003–0.004); and decreases in the base excess in the blood values (29.24–39.38%, p < 0.001) and lactate (13.45–31.97%, p < 0.001) in the blood of both breeds in the post-competition horses. Significant increases after competition were determined for the values of creatinine (21.34–30.82%, p = 0.001–0.004), total bilirubin (50.84–56.24%, PH < 0.001), and albumin (2.63–4.48%, p = 0.048–0.001) for both breeds. For the faster Arabian horse breed, recovering after racing took half the time that the local Žemaitukai breed did. Full article
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Article
Mechanical Effect of Performance Pressure Boots on Cadaveric Equine Hindlimb Fetlock Biomechanics
Animals 2021, 11(4), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040958 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 818
Abstract
Pressure boots are applied to hind limbs of showjumping horses with the intent to enhance jumping form. Manufacturers claim acupressure points enhance proprioception of hind limbs. With this increased awareness, horses are expected to retract their hind limbs to clear jump rails. This [...] Read more.
Pressure boots are applied to hind limbs of showjumping horses with the intent to enhance jumping form. Manufacturers claim acupressure points enhance proprioception of hind limbs. With this increased awareness, horses are expected to retract their hind limbs to clear jump rails. This research aimed to investigate a more direct, mechanical effect of pressure boots on hind limb biomechanics. Cadaveric hind limbs (n = 6) were mechanically loaded in axial compression (3 cycles at 0.25 Hz, displacement control ~3300 N) with (2 trials) and without (2 trials) a pressure boot applied. During mechanical loading, fetlock angle was measured using bone fixed pins with retroreflective markers (30 Hz). Changes in limb load and fetlock angle between unloaded and loaded states, as well as average fetlock joint stiffness, were compared between trials with and without the pressure boot via ANOVA. Differences in measured loads between trials with and without the boot were observed in both unloaded (Δ = 6 N, p = 0.05) and loaded states (Δ = 25 N, p = 0.002). Trials with the boot had greater average fetlock stiffness (Δ = 3 N/degree, p = 0.001). Differences in loads with and without boots may increase with greater fetlock angles when cantering and jumping. These mechanical effects of pressure boots may contribute to greater tensile loading of palmar tendons and ligaments, and likelihood of musculoskeletal injury that can be related to animal welfare issues. Full article
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Article
Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability of Amateur Show Jumping Horses Competing on Different Levels
Animals 2021, 11(3), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030693 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
Heart rate is one of the gold standards used to assess the workload level and fitness of horses. However, when slight differences need to be detected, it is not sensitive enough. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the effect of [...] Read more.
Heart rate is one of the gold standards used to assess the workload level and fitness of horses. However, when slight differences need to be detected, it is not sensitive enough. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the effect of competition level and phase of exercise on the heart rate and heart rate variability parameters in show jumpers. Fourteen horses were examined competing on three different levels: 100 cm (n = 4), 120 cm (n = 6), and 130 cm (n = 4). The length of work (min); average and maximum heart rate; average, maximum and minimum RR intervals (ms); SD1 and SD2 (ms); RMSSD (ms) and pNN50 (%); VLF, LF, HF (%) were analyzed. The measurement was divided into four phases: warm-up, resting period, show jumping course riding, and cool-down. The level of the course had no significant effect on average and maximum heart rates throughout the entire exercise. The maximum RR interval, RMSSD, pNN50, SD1, and %VLF values were significantly different (p < 0.05) in horses competing at 100 cm height from those competing in the 120 cm group. The SD1 value was sensitive for the level of competition, while the SD2 parameter was sensitive for detecting exercise phases. In conclusion, heart rate variability parameters are more sensitive for detecting smaller differences in workload than heart rate alone in lower-level show jumpers. Full article
Article
Ground Reaction Forces of Dressage Horses Performing the Piaffe
Animals 2021, 11(2), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020436 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1211
Abstract
The piaffe is an artificial, diagonally coordinated movement performed in the highest levels of dressage competition. The ground reaction forces (GRFs) of horses performing the piaffe do not appear to have been reported. Therefore, the objective of this study was to describe three-dimensional [...] Read more.
The piaffe is an artificial, diagonally coordinated movement performed in the highest levels of dressage competition. The ground reaction forces (GRFs) of horses performing the piaffe do not appear to have been reported. Therefore, the objective of this study was to describe three-dimensional GRFs in ridden dressage horses performing the piaffe. In-ground force plates were used to capture fore and hindlimb GRF data from seven well-trained dressage horses. Peak vertical GRF was significantly higher in forelimbs than in the hindlimbs (7.39 ± 0.99 N/kg vs. 6.41 ± 0.64 N/kg; p < 0.001) with vertical impulse showing a trend toward higher forelimb values. Peak longitudinal forces were small with no difference in the magnitude of braking or propulsive forces between fore and hindlimbs. Peak transverse forces were similar in magnitude to longitudinal forces and were mostly directed medially in the hindlimbs. Both the intra- and inter-individual variability of longitudinal and transverse GRFs were high (coefficient of variation 25–68%). Compared with the other diagonal gaits of dressage horses, the vertical GRF somewhat shifted toward the hindlimbs. The high step-to-step variability of the horizontal GRF components is thought to reflect the challenge of balancing on one diagonal pair of limbs with no forward momentum. Full article
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Review
Equine Cervical Pain and Dysfunction: Pathology, Diagnosis and Treatment
Animals 2021, 11(2), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020422 - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2586
Abstract
Interest in the cervical spine as a cause of pain or dysfunction is increasingly becoming the focus of many equine practitioners. Many affected horses are presented for poor performance, while others will present with dramatic, sometimes dangerous behavior. Understanding and distinguishing the different [...] Read more.
Interest in the cervical spine as a cause of pain or dysfunction is increasingly becoming the focus of many equine practitioners. Many affected horses are presented for poor performance, while others will present with dramatic, sometimes dangerous behavior. Understanding and distinguishing the different types of neck pain is a starting point to comprehending how the clinical presentations can vary so greatly. There are many steps needed to systematically evaluate the various tissues of the cervical spine to determine which components are contributing to cervical pain and dysfunction. Osseous structures, soft tissues and the central and the peripheral nervous system may all play a role in these various clinical presentations. After completing the clinical evaluation, several imaging modalities may be implemented to help determine the underlying pathologic processes. There are multiple treatment options available and each must be carefully chosen for an individual horse. Provided is a synopsis of the current knowledge as to different disease processes that can result in cervical pain and dysfunction, diagnostic approaches and treatment strategies. Improving the knowledge in these areas will ideally help to return horses to a state of well-being that can be maintained over time and through the rigors of their job or athletic endeavors. Full article
Article
Muscle Function and Kinematics during Submaximal Equine Jumping: What Can Objective Outcomes Tell Us about Athletic Performance Indicators?
Animals 2021, 11(2), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020414 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1678
Abstract
Selection and training practices for jumping horses have not yet been validated using objective performance analyses. This study aimed to quantify the differences and relationships between movement and muscle activation strategies in horses with varying jump technique to identify objective jumping performance indicators. [...] Read more.
Selection and training practices for jumping horses have not yet been validated using objective performance analyses. This study aimed to quantify the differences and relationships between movement and muscle activation strategies in horses with varying jump technique to identify objective jumping performance indicators. Surface electromyography (sEMG) and three-dimensional kinematic data were collected from horses executing a submaximal jump. Kinematic variables were calculated based on equestrian-derived performance indicators relating to impulsion, engagement and joint articulation. Horses were grouped using an objective performance indicator—center of mass (CM) elevation during jump suspension (ZCM). Between-group differences in kinematic variables and muscle activation timings, calculated from sEMG data, were analyzed using one-way ANOVA. Statistical parametric mapping (SPM) evaluated between-group differences in time and amplitude-normalized sEMG waveforms. Relationships between movement and muscle activation were evaluated using Pearson correlation coefficients. Horses with the greatest ZCM displayed significantly (p < 0.05) shorter gluteal contractions at take-off, which were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) with a faster approach and more rapid hindlimb shortening and CM vertical displacement and velocity, as well as shorter hindlimb stance duration at take-off. Findings provide objective support for prioritizing equestrian-derived performance indicators related to the generation of engagement, impulsion and hindlimb muscle power when selecting or training jumping horses. Full article
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Communication
Consensus for the General Use of Equine Water Treadmills for Healthy Horses
Animals 2021, 11(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020305 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2357
Abstract
Water treadmill exercise has become popular in recent years for the training and rehabilitation of equine athletes. In 2019, an equine hydrotherapy working group was formed to establish what was commonly considered to be best practice in the use of the modality. This [...] Read more.
Water treadmill exercise has become popular in recent years for the training and rehabilitation of equine athletes. In 2019, an equine hydrotherapy working group was formed to establish what was commonly considered to be best practice in the use of the modality. This article describes the process by which general guidelines for the application of water treadmill exercise in training and rehabilitation programmes were produced by the working group. The guidelines describe the consensus reached to date on (1) the potential benefits of water treadmill exercise, (2) general good practice in water treadmill exercise, (3) introduction of horses to the exercise, (4) factors influencing selection of belt speed, water depth and duration of exercise, and (5) monitoring movement on the water treadmill. The long-term goal is to reach a consensus on the optimal use of the modality within a training or rehabilitation programme. Collaboration between clinicians, researchers and experienced users is needed to develop research programmes and further guidelines regarding the most appropriate application of the modality for specific veterinary conditions. Full article
Review
Regenerative Medicine for Equine Musculoskeletal Diseases
Animals 2021, 11(1), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010234 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2124
Abstract
Musculoskeletal injuries and chronic degenerative diseases commonly affect both athletic and sedentary horses and can entail the end of their athletic careers. The ensuing repair processes frequently do not yield fully functional regeneration of the injured tissues but biomechanically inferior scar or replacement [...] Read more.
Musculoskeletal injuries and chronic degenerative diseases commonly affect both athletic and sedentary horses and can entail the end of their athletic careers. The ensuing repair processes frequently do not yield fully functional regeneration of the injured tissues but biomechanically inferior scar or replacement tissue, causing high reinjury rates, degenerative disease progression and chronic morbidity. Regenerative medicine is an emerging, rapidly evolving branch of translational medicine that aims to replace or regenerate cells, tissues, or organs to restore or establish normal function. It includes tissue engineering but also cell-based and cell-free stimulation of endogenous self-repair mechanisms. Some regenerative medicine therapies have made their way into equine clinical practice mainly to treat tendon injures, tendinopathies, cartilage injuries and degenerative joint disorders with promising results. However, the qualitative and quantitative spatiotemporal requirements for specific bioactive factors to trigger tissue regeneration in the injury response are still unknown, and consequently, therapeutic approaches and treatment results are diverse. To exploit the full potential of this burgeoning field of medicine, further research will be required and is ongoing. This review summarises the current knowledge of commonly used regenerative medicine treatments in equine patients and critically discusses their use. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2022, 2021

Article
Concurrent Validity of Equine Joint Range of Motion Measurement: A Novel Digital Goniometer versus Universal Goniometer
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2436; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122436 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1319
Abstract
Goniometry is the measurement of joint angles with a conventional universal goniometer (UG) or a digital goniometer (DG). The UG is validated for use in dogs and cats. However, it demands both of the user’s hands when measuring. To avoid this, a novel [...] Read more.
Goniometry is the measurement of joint angles with a conventional universal goniometer (UG) or a digital goniometer (DG). The UG is validated for use in dogs and cats. However, it demands both of the user’s hands when measuring. To avoid this, a novel type of DG has been developed, simplifying measurement by offering single-hand usage. The objective of this study is to examine the concurrent validity of the DG. The study consists of measurement with the DG and UG for flexion of the carpus and fetlock on ten horses, and with the DG in flexion and neutral positioning of the fetlock on a sedated horse and corresponding radiographs, intra- and inter-tester reliability and a survey on user-friendliness. The data were analyzed with ANOVA and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), with a significance of p < 0.05. The study showed significant differences in range of motion for the carpus and fetlock joint, a 2–3° difference comparing measurements on a sedated horse with corresponding radiographs, a “fair” to “excellent” inter-tester reliability and a “fair” to “almost perfect” intra-tester reliability, and the DG was easier to use than the UG. In conclusion, the novel DG may serve as a simple tool for measuring joint motion in equine rehabilitation patients. Full article
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Article
Accelerometric Changes before and after Capacitive Resistive Electric Transfer Therapy in Horses with Thoracolumbar Pain Compared to a SHAM Procedure
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122305 - 05 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
Capacitive resistive electric transfer (CRET), a radiofrequency at 448 kHz, increases flexibility in quadricep muscles of human athletes. To assess whether CRET would result in clinical and biomechanical improvements in horses with thoracolumbar pain, 18 sport horses were divided into two groups: CRET [...] Read more.
Capacitive resistive electric transfer (CRET), a radiofrequency at 448 kHz, increases flexibility in quadricep muscles of human athletes. To assess whether CRET would result in clinical and biomechanical improvements in horses with thoracolumbar pain, 18 sport horses were divided into two groups: CRET (n = 9), subjected to four CRET sessions, during two consecutive weeks, and SHAM (n = 9), subjected to the same procedure with the device off. Clinical examination and accelerometry were performed before and after the four sessions. During the study, horses were in training and in active competition, and did not receive any other treatment. Mann-Whitney and a Wilcoxon matched pair tests were used to compare between the SHAM and CRET groups and before and after the intervention, respectively. CRET horses showed increased dorsoventral (p < 0.002), mediolateral and total power (p < 0.01) after the intervention, suggesting increased back flexibility. SHAM horses did not show any of these modifications after the intervention. No changes were found in the dorsoventral displacement of the gravity center in either group. Thoracolumbar pain decreased one degree after CRET (p = 0.002), and it did not change after SHAM. Epaxial muscle pain decreased two degrees after CRET (p = 0.03) and one degree after SHAM (p = 0.01). These results reflected that CRET therapy would increase back flexibility and decrease thoracolumbar and epaxial pain. Full article
Article
The Effect of a Physiotherapy Intervention on Thoracolumbar Posture in Horses
Animals 2020, 10(11), 1977; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10111977 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2475
Abstract
Dynamic mobilisation exercises (DME) are often used as part of a physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. Whilst immediate kinematic effects have been measured, the change in posture is anecdotally reported to have a longer duration. This study aimed to test the reliability of a simple [...] Read more.
Dynamic mobilisation exercises (DME) are often used as part of a physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. Whilst immediate kinematic effects have been measured, the change in posture is anecdotally reported to have a longer duration. This study aimed to test the reliability of a simple objective measurement method, suitable for use in clinical practice, and to objectively measure equine thoracolumbar posture, before and after DME. A single investigator took triplicate measurements of the sagittal thoracolumbar shape using a flexicurve ruler (FCR) then triplicate measurements of the thoracolumbar shape using an adapted FCR (aFCR) in 37 horses. Subsequently, the thoracolumbar shape of 12 horses was measured using the aFCR before random allocation into two groups. Six horses acted as a control group and six horses underwent a series of DME, which included cervical flexion and lateral flexion baited stretches. Measurements were repeated prior to DME, at thirty minutes, one hour and at twenty-four hours after DME to assess thoracolumbar posture. The aFCR ruler had excellent intra-rater reliability compared to a standard FCR (aFCR: p = 0.146; intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) 0.971; FCR: p = 0.0001; ICC 0.979). Significant increases in flexion occurred in the thoracolumbar region at 30 min (p = 0.027) and one hour (p = 0.046) after DME, but not at 24 h (p > 0.05) with no significant differences in the control group (p > 0.05) between baseline and subsequent times. The results suggest DME create a short-term postural change, determined by using an aFCR, which supports their use as part of a veterinary physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. Full article
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Article
Effects of Pre-Cooling on Thermophysiological Responses in Elite Eventing Horses
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091664 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3035
Abstract
In this study, we examined the effects of pre-cooling on thermophysiological responses in horses exercising in moderate environmental conditions (average wet bulb globe temperature: 18.5 ± 3.8 °C). Ten international eventing horses performed moderate intensity canter training on two separate days, and were [...] Read more.
In this study, we examined the effects of pre-cooling on thermophysiological responses in horses exercising in moderate environmental conditions (average wet bulb globe temperature: 18.5 ± 3.8 °C). Ten international eventing horses performed moderate intensity canter training on two separate days, and were either pre-cooled with cold-water rinsing (5–9 °C for 8 ± 3 min; cooling) or were not pre-cooled (control). We determined velocity (V), heart rate (HR), rectal temperature (Tre,), shoulder and rump skin temperature (Tshoulder and Trump), plasma lactate concentration (LA), gross sweat loss (GSL), and local sweat rate (LSR), as well as sweat sodium, chloride and potassium concentrations. The effect of pre-cooling on Tre was dependent on time; after 20 min of exercise the effect was the largest (estimate: 0.990, 95% likelihood confidence intervals (95% CI): 0.987, 0.993) compared to the control condition, resulting in a lower median Tre of 0.3 °C. Skin temperature was also affected by pre-cooling compared to the control condition (Tshoulder: −3.30 °C, 95% CI: −3.739, −2.867; Trump: −2.31 °C, 95% CI: −2.661, −1.967). V, HR, LA, GSL, LSR and sweat composition were not affected by pre-cooling. In conclusion, pre-cooling by cold-water rinsing could increase the margin for heat storage, allowing a longer exercise time before a critical Tre is reached and, therefore, could potentially improve equine welfare during competition. Full article
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Case Report
Oral Supplementation with Ultramicronized Palmitoylethanolamide for Joint Disease and Lameness Management in Four Jumping Horses: A Case Report
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091469 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1578
Abstract
Background: Four show jumping horses were evaluated for non-responsive lameness, which caused their withdrawal from show jumping competitions. The clinical evaluation was performed by radiographic examination, flexion tests, diagnostic anesthesia and lameness evaluation using the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) scale. The [...] Read more.
Background: Four show jumping horses were evaluated for non-responsive lameness, which caused their withdrawal from show jumping competitions. The clinical evaluation was performed by radiographic examination, flexion tests, diagnostic anesthesia and lameness evaluation using the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) scale. The diagnoses were a case of navicular syndrome, a complicated case of chronic navicular syndrome and arthrosis of the distal interphalangeal joint of the right anterior limb and two cases of distal intertarsal joint arthritis. Nutraceuticals are often an important management strategy or coadjutant of pharmacological therapies in joint disease. Ultramicronized Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA-um) is an endogenous fatty acid amide that is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic proprieties widely used in human medicine and small animal veterinary medicine. Although it includes a small number of cases, our study describes for the first time the efficacy of the use of PEA-um in horses. The four horses with non-responsive lameness and significant impairment in athletic performance were daily treated with PEA-um into their normal diet. After four months of PEA-um supplementation, all horses showed remissions of lameness that led to their reintroduction into showjumping competitions without disease recurrence. Therefore, despite the small number of cases included in this study, these observations suggest a good prospective for developing a controlled experiment to test PEA in a larger cohort of horses. Full article
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Article
Effects of High Intensity Laser Therapy in the Treatment of Tendon and Ligament Injuries in Performance Horses
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081327 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2891
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of high intensity laser therapy (HILT) on tendon and ligament injury treatment in horses. Twenty six horses with tendinopathies were randomly assigned to a HILT treated or to a non-treated group. Each horse [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of high intensity laser therapy (HILT) on tendon and ligament injury treatment in horses. Twenty six horses with tendinopathies were randomly assigned to a HILT treated or to a non-treated group. Each horse was subjected to the same rehabilitation programme. Horses from the treatment group underwent a series of fifteen HILT treatments with the same parameters. Clinical and ultrasound assessments were performed by the same veterinarian and were carried out before (day 0), during (day 13–15) and after treatment (day 38–40). Clinical evaluation included: pain, swelling and lameness of the affected limb. The ultrasound examination evaluated lesion echogenicity and lesion percentage. After the treatment, pain, swelling and lameness were significantly improved by HILT compared with the control group (p = 0.023, 0.008 and 0.044, respectively). No significant changes were found in lesion echogenicity degree between both groups in measurements taken during treatment (p = 0.188) and after treatment (p = 0.070). For lesion percentage reduction, the statistical modelling showed a significant improvement in the HILT group compared with the control group during (p = 0.038) and after treatment (p = 0.019). In conclusion, HILT promoted analgesic and anti-oedema effects, with visual lameness reduction in horses with tendon and ligament injuries, and reduced lesion percentage but did not influence change in lesion echogenicity. Full article
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