A study to investigate the health of endurance horses in Britain has been launched by the Animal Health Trust and Endurance GB (EGB).
In 2015, 1,209 horses were registered with EGB, however, no objective information is available on the general health status or specific veterinary problems of British endurance horses.
The study, led by Dr Annamaria Nagy, a senior orthopaedic clinician at the AHT, was set up to “establish the prevalence of veterinary problems and to investigate whether horse, rider or management-related risk factors are associated with specific problems”.
EGB members are urged to complete a questionnaire for their horse.
“We will take information about the horse and tack that is used, as well as practical things such as shoeing, feeding and then the horse’s competition record and its general health in the past 12 months,” Dr Nagy told H&H.
Riders are only allowed to submit information about two horses.
“We’ve already had responses about 200 horses, but the more the better,” she added.
“From what I’ve seen in practice is there is a prevalence of lameness in endurance horses. We want to find out more. Sometimes horses are lame after a long distance ride. They then improve over shorter distances but the lameness returns when they tackle longer distances. There is currently no veterinary information available for endurance horses in the UK. We aim to identify the risk factors for the issues we find.”
She added that they will also look at respiratory conditions and colic, among others.
“The welfare of horses taking part in Endurance GB rides is absolutely paramount. We believe any study which helps broaden our knowledge of potential issues is worthy of our support,” said Harry Ingram from EGB.
“We look forward to reading the full results and encourage all of our members to take part in the survey. We are hopeful the results of the study will help Endurance GB further improve on an already excellent welfare record in the UK.”