Risk factors for lameness elimination in British Endurance riding

Fiona Bloom, Steve Draper, Euan Bennet, David J Marlin, J. M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Horse welfare is a priority in the equine sport of endurance riding. Identification and reduction of risk factors associated with elimination and lameness has been the focus of research to date, however this has centred on international competition. National federations recognise there is a need to consider risk factors for elimination at a more local level.
Objectives: Determine current risk factors associated with horse eliminations, specifically lameness eliminations within British endurance.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study using the Endurance GB database, for open and advanced horses, competing in rides >64 km in the 2017 and 2018 competitive seasons.
Methods: Variables were analysed via univariable models which informed subsequent multivariable binary logistic regression modelling. Two models were completed, A: horse eliminated versus not eliminated and B: horse lame versus not lame.
Results: 1747 competitive starts were analysed; 542 horses were eliminated. Lameness accounted for 56.1 % (n = 304) of eliminations. Multivariable analysis identified decreased odds of lameness in graded rides compared with race rides (Adjusted Odds Ratio, OR 0.6; 95% Confidence Interval, CI 0.4-0.8). There were increased odds of elimination (OR 4.7, CI 3.5-6.5) and increased odds of lameness (OR 1.9, CI 1.2-3.06) when competing in FEI competitions of 2* and above, compared to rides run under national rules. Horses and riders who had not competed as a combination previously had increased odds of elimination (OR 2.2, CI 1.5-3.02).
Main Limitations: Variables which can influence performance such as speed, environmental and topographical conditions were not recorded in the data set. Only two seasons of data were analysed.
Conclusions: Competitive history of horses, including the number of previous starts, previous eliminations and the category of ride entered are significant in establishing the likelihood of an elimination and more specifically a lameness elimination in British national endurance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Aug 2022

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