A new equine documentary focuses on performance indicators in the ridden horse
A compelling documentary has been released based on ground-breaking research on performance indicators in the ridden horse.
The 35-minute film features world-renowned expert in equine orthopaedics, Dr. Sue Dyson, and her research on how ‘bad’ horse behaviour can actually be an early indicator of poor performance.
The film educates horse lovers on how to spot the early signs of discomfort. It takes 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 the ridden horse’s behaviours.
“We are conditioned to think that many horse behaviours are normal, when they are not.” says Dr. Dyson. “We need to appreciate that what we call a ‘naughty horse’ may be a reflection of underlying musculoskeletal problems.”
The film follows Dr. Jim Myers of Gold Coast Equine Veterinary Clinic, as he examines and diagnoses show jumper Lauren McMahon’s beloved mare Galina. The mare seemed increasingly unhappy under saddle. Lauren had “tried everything” to figure out what was wrong, including ulcer treatments, multiple joint injections and specialised shoeing, but Galina only became more resistant while being ridden.
Galina’s story is not uncommon: often horses such as these are labelled as ‘resistant’, ‘lazy’ or ‘explosive’. Trainers often tell riders to ‘push them through it’. The documentary clearly explains how wrong this approach usually is.
Mary King MBE, an Olympic eventing medallist who has represented Great Britain 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 behaviour can tell us that something may be wrong. Early recognition of this, followed by appropriate investigation and management may improve the horse's performance and welfare along with enhanced rideability.”
Dr. Laurie Goodrich, an equine orthopaedic surgeon specialising in lameness said: “This video makes me want to stand up and cheer! Finally, we are getting somewhere in interpreting horses’ signs of emotion to reflect discomfort. This careful and quality research is getting at the heart of what horses have been trying to tell us for centuries.”