Tacking up: Being a pain or in pain? What your horse’s behaviour could be telling you - Veterinary Practice
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Tacking up: Being a pain or in pain? What your horse’s behaviour could be telling you

Join World Horse Welfare and internationally renowned equine vet Sue Dyson on 14 April for the latest free-to-watch webinar

Join World Horse Welfare and internationally renowned equine vet Sue Dyson on Wednesday 14 April at 7pm for the latest free-to-watch webinar to find out what we can learn from some of the things that horses do when we tack up and mount. With presentation of research that has only just been published and lots of time for a live Q and A session with the speakers, this webinar will provide us all with lots of food for thought.

We have probably all encountered uncooperative horses during tacking up, or ones that refuse to stand at the mounting block. We may hear “Oh, he always does that” or “She’s just being naughty” but is that really the case? We would probably all recognise that if a horse kicks or bites it is unhappy about a situation but many horses show more passive behaviours, including during tacking up, that some of us might not notice – things like fidgeting, chomping on the bit, having the ears behind the vertical, or developing an intense stare. We may have seen horses behave like this so often that we regard these behaviours as normal.

Are these horses anticipating pain because their mouths hurt, having tack on hurts or being ridden hurts? As Sue Dyson will show us many of the things that horses do when they are being tacking up are more common in those that are lame, have an ill-fitting saddle or a sore back, or where the rider sits too far back in the saddle.

For the Question and Answer session we are also joined by Adam Cummins, Centre Manager at World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Lancashire. Do join us to enjoy an evening in the company of Sue Dyson and Adam Cummins, as they help us to understand what our horses are trying to tell us. With lots of time to take your questions you can be assured of an informative evening.

By registering for the webinar through Zoom, you will be able to take part in the various polls, ask questions during the Q and A and enjoy an interactive experience. If you are keen to be part of the conversation, then please join.

The fortnightly webinars are free to attend, and if you are unable to attend via Zoom they can also be viewed as a Facebook Live session. If you have missed any if the previous webinars – which have tackled subjects as fascinating and diverse as keeping animals fit, weight management, euthanasia, biosecurity and travelling – they are all available to watch on the World Horse Welfare YouTube channel.

More about the presenters

Sue Dyson qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1980 and then completed an Internship in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at New Bolton Centre. She then spent a year in private equine practice in Pennsylvania, before returning to Great Britain to take a position in clinical orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust – running a clinical referral service for lameness and poor performance, attracting clients from all over the United Kingdom, Ireland and continental Europe for 37 years. From 2019 she has worked as an independent consultant. Sue’s key interests are improving the diagnosis of lameness and poor performance and maximising the opportunity for horses to fulfil their athletic potential at whatever level. She was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) for a thesis entitled “The Differential Diagnosis of Shoulder Lameness in the Horse” and the RCVS Diploma in Equine Orthopaedics by examination and was awarded a PhD by the University of Helsinki and is recognised as a Specialist in Equine Orthopaedics by the RCVS. Sue is an Associate of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging and a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Sue is also a rider and has produced horses to top national level in both eventing and show jumping.

Most recently, Sue’s research has focussed on identifying equine behaviours that may reflect underlying musculoskeletal pain when the horse is ridden (the “Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram”) and during tacking up.

Adam Cummins joined World Horse Welfare as Centre Manager at Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in 2019. Prior to that, Adam spent 17 years as an equine instructor at one of the UK’s leading colleges, and this provided him with a broad range of knowledge of horse care, riding, and teaching. Adam has competed in affiliated Dressage up to and including Prix St Georges level. He has also trained riders for affiliated and unaffiliated dressage competitions from prelim to advanced level, both regionally and nationally.

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