The association between clinical parameters recorded at vet gates during Fédération Equestre Internationale endurance rides and the imminent risk of elimination

Euan D S Bennet, Tim D H Parkin, Megan Hayes, Laura Friend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Background
Endurance competitions over distances of 80‐160 km are required by Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) rules to be divided into a number of stages between three and six. These stages are also known as “loops”. Veterinary inspections, designed to ensure horse welfare, are conducted at the end of each loop, with details recorded on a separate “vet card” for each horse.

Objectives
To identify risk factors recorded on vet cards that were associated with elimination at subsequent loops.

Study design
Retrospective cohort study.

Methods
Data relating to 3213 horse starts worldwide in international (CEI) events during 2014 were analysed. Univariable logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for potential inclusion in a final multivariable logistic regression model. Models were constructed stepwise using backwards‐removal and assessed using the Bayesian information criterion.

Results
Risk factors were identified, which would allow an “in‐ride” risk profile to be constructed for each horse which evolves as the horse progresses through the ride. Some risk factors such as abnormal gait and high heart rate were found to be repeatedly associated with imminent failure to qualify.

Main limitations
This is a relatively small study in terms of cohort size, based on the data that were available at the time of the study. Although comprehensive ride history data were also available for each horse via the main FEI database, training data were not.

Conclusions
By identifying risk factors observed during the veterinary inspections at the end of a loop that are strongly associated with elimination at the end of the next or subsequent loops, these results provide an evidence‐base for educational initiatives and regulatory changes that will inform the way veterinary delegates use veterinary inspections to help identify horses at risk of imminent FTQ.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-840
Number of pages9
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Volume52
Early online date27 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2020

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