Dr. Sue Dyson Features in New Equine Documentary on the 24 Behaviors of the Ridden Horse in Pain

Dr Sue Dyson watching a hose being walked ot for signs of pain and lameness.
Dr Sue Dyson watching a hose being walked ot for signs of pain and lameness. Caroline Hegarty

Newsdate: Monday, October 3, 2022, 10:00 am

A compelling documentary has been released based on Dr. Sue Dyson’s groundbreaking work on signs of pain in the ridden horse. The 24 Behaviors of the Ridden Horse in Pain: Shifting the Paradigm of How We See Lameness  has been produced by US-based Padma Video in partnership with the Train With Trust Project.

A horse named Chico being trotted out as part of a lameness test

A horse named Chico being trotted out as part of a lameness test

Dr. Dyson and colleagues developed The Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram (RHpE), a tool to reliably predict lameness before the condition worsens into limping and other obvious signs of injuries.
© 2012 by Mark Sellers New window.

The 35-minute film features world-renowned expert in equine orthopedics, Dr. Sue Dyson, and her research on how ‘bad’ horse behavior can actually be an early indicator of pain.

The full film is available to stream for free at  https://youtu.be/hrZgtrqbMVI

The film educates horse lovers on how to spot the early signs of pain while taking viewers on an emotional ride through the eyes of a young girl who loves her horse and will stop at nothing to try to figure out how to make her comfortable.  It dares to challenge the way we look at horses’ behaviors and promotes the notion that lameness doesn’t start at the head bob.

“We are conditioned that many horse behaviors are normal, when they are not.” says Dr. Dyson. “We need to appreciate that what we call ‘naughty horses’ are often a reflection of underlying musculoskeletal pain.”

Through a six-phase study, spanning three years, and over 400 horses, Dr. Dyson and colleagues developed The Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram (RHpE), a tool to reliably predict lameness before the condition worsens into limping and other obvious signs of injuries. The Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram is a catalogue of 24 behaviors, which scientific studies have demonstrated can be associated with pain in the ridden horse. The majority of these behaviors are at least ten times more likely to be seen in lame horses compared with non-lame horses.

The film follows Dr. Dyson and Dr. Jim Myers of Gold Coast Equine, as they examine and diagnose show jumper Lauren McMahon’s beloved mare Galina. The mare was not obviously lame yet seemed increasingly unhappy under saddle. Lauren had “tried everything” to figure out what was wrong, including ulcer treatments, multiple joint injections and specialized shoeing, but Galina only became more resistant while being ridden.

Galina’s story is not uncommon for horses that do not present with an obvious head-bobbing lameness. Often these horses are labelled as ‘resistant’ or ‘lazy’, and for horses that buck or rear from pain, ‘explosive’. Trainers often tell riders to ‘push them through it’. The documentary clearly explains how wrong this approach usually is.

Mary King, the Olympic Silver medalist and MBE who has represented Great Britain in eventing at six Olympics said: “After all that these wonderful animals do for us, the least we can do is to make sure they are truly comfortable. Performance problems are so often blamed on the horse or rider, without consideration of the possibility of underlying discomfort.

The horse’s behavior may be telling us that even in the absence of overt lameness something may be wrong. Early recognition of this, appropriate investigation and treatment may improve the horse’s performance, welfare and enhance rideability.”

Dr. Laurie Goodrich, Director of the Orthopedic Research Center at Colorado State University’s C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute and an equine surgeon specializing in orthopedic surgery and lameness said: “This video makes me want to stand up and CHEER and say – finally!! we are getting somewhere interpreting horses’ signs of emotion to reflect pain!! 

Careful and quality research performed by one of the most experienced and world-renowned clinicians and her team is getting at the heart of what horses have been trying to tell us for centuries!”

Watch the full film for free here https://youtu.be/hrZgtrqbMVI

Further information from: Kathryn Lauritzen, Padma Video 925-457-5812 PadmaVideo@gmail.com

Website: 24HorseBehaviors.org

About Sue Dyson: Dr. Sue Dyson specializes in equine orthopedics, with a focus on lameness and poor performance in sports horses. She lectures internationally and is known both for her clinical work and extensive research having published over 370 peer-reviewed papers on lameness and diagnostic imaging in scientific journals. She also co-authored several veterinary textbooks, as well as training and competing at National level in both eventing and show jumping.

About Padma Video: Padma Video creates educational, marketing and documentary films specializing in the human-animal bond. Padma Video seeks to illuminate the strong, beautiful and complicated relationship between humans and animals. We humbly serve with an open mind; asking the question during all phases of video production… how can we make the world better for them?  www.PadmaVideo.com

About The Train with Trust Project: The Train with Trust Project strives to educate people about animals and the use of evidence-based training and behavior methods to promote productive, trust-based relationships between them. https://trainwithtrust.com/


Press release by Kathryn Lauritzen

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This news article is a press release received by the organization or person noted above. Press releases from recognized horse health companies and individuals are frequently posted on EquiMed as a service to our visitors. Please contact the author of the press release directly for additional information.

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