The 35 minute documentary The 24 Behaviors of the Ridden Horse in Pain: Shifting the Paradigm of How We See Lameness captured a Winnie Award in the category of “Educational Film” at this year’s Equus Film and Arts Festival held December 1 to 4 in Sacramento, California.
The 35-minute film is based on world-renowned expert in equine orthopedics Dr Sue Dyson’s groundbreaking work on signs of pain in the ridden horse and her research on how “bad” horse behavior can actually be an early indicator of pain.
A book on how to use and understand the 24 behaviours of the ridden horse in pain is being written and published by Sue Dyson and myself. For more information, and to receive regular free content on horse health and welling, visit www.harmonioushorsemanship.co.uk. In the meantime, I have put together a blog 'Understanding and Using the Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram', which I hope you find useful.
“24 Behaviors” was produced by US-based Padma Video in partnership with Dr. Dyson and the nonprofit Train With Trust Project.
“We were thrilled to be part of the Equus Film and Arts Festival,” said Kathryn Lauritzen, director. “We met so many great horse people and filmmakers. All of us sharing a similar goal; to create enlightening content in furtherance of the welfare of the horse. The intent of our film was to take the science behind Dr. Dyson’s meticulous research on the Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram and present it within the context of an emotional and relatable story.”
“The 24 Behaviors of the Ridden Horse in Pain: Shifting the Paradigm of How We See Lameness” 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.
“For years, sentiment has been building among participants in the horse industry to counteract the traditional ‘ride through it’ approach that normalizes poor performance, and many veterinarians, trainers, and judges agree” said Jody Ambrose, behavior consultant and educator for Train With Trust. “Since its release 3 months ago, the film has already been viewed by over 250,000 people for free on YouTube. It’s opened the eyes of a quarter of a million people, showing them they can systematically identify pain-related behaviors in horses that may not even appear lame. Providing this information in an accessible and relatable way is empowering amateurs and professionals alike to improve equine welfare.”
“Horses are trying to talk to us, “ Dyson said. “And it’s our job to listen.”
More information on the 24 Behaviors is available on the website: 24HorseBehaviors.org
Sue Dyson and I are publishing a book on the subject of recognising pain in ridden horses. Titled 'Harmonious Horsemanship: Use of the Ridden Horse Ethogram to Optimise Potential, Partnership and Performance', it will be available late Spring 2023. There's more information on my website, www.harmonioushorsemanship.co.uk. To keep up to date, and for free content on horse health and wellbeing, visit www.thehorsephysio.co.uk.
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 is a nonprofit striving to make education about animals and the use of evidence-based training and behavior management more accessible, in order to promote productive, trust-based relationships and strengthen the human-animal bond.” www.trainwithtrust.com
Sue Palmer, aka The Horse Physio, is an award-winning ACPAT and RAMP registered Chartered Physiotherapist, an Intelligent Horsemanship Recommended Trainer, and holds an MSc. Formerly a competitive rider and BHSAI, she works full-time treating horses. Through multiple books and articles, Sue shares with you her passion for ethical and harmonious horsemanship.