Written all over his face


There is undisputed evidence to show that owners, riders and trainers have a poor ability to recognise signs of pain seen when horses are ridden. As a result, problems are labelled as training-related, rider-related, behavioural, or deemed ‘normal’ for that horse because ‘that’s how he’s always gone’. Unfortunately that means pain-related problems are often disregarded, the horse continues in work, and the problem gets progressively worse.

Recognition of changes in facial expression could potentially save horses from needless suffering and chronic injuries, by enabling owners and trainers to recognise pain sooner, and get these horses the veterinary care that they need. That’s why equine research expert, Dr Sue Dyson, and her team are developing a practical tool for recognising facial expressions, similar to that of a body condition score chart, which could dramatically improve the health and welfare of all horses. Read all about it in our June edition…

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