Horse sports are recognised as high-risk activities for the horses and human participating in them. Equestrian practice is multifaceted and to achieve optimum management due consideration of appropriate nutrition, housing, expression of normal behaviour, the application of ethical riding and training practices, as well as ensuring the horse is sufficiently prepared in terms of fitness and skills development to meet the demands of the workload or competition expected is required to achieve optimum performance. Recognising risk factors that increase the chance of horse injury and using this knowledge to adapt management and training regimes to safeguard against future injury is a key skill that will support improved health and career longevity in the equine athlete. This session will focus on key equestrian disciplines, reviewing the most common types of injury, risk factors for these and discuss potential strategies for how to avoid them.
Dr Jane M Williams is an Associate Professor and Head of Research at Hartpury University. She is an experienced researcher, with a passion for enhancing equine performance and wellbeing through industry-informed, real-world research that generates change. Jane qualified as a Veterinary Nurse then gained her Masters in Equine Science before completing her doctorate exploring the application of surface electromyography as a tool to assess muscle adaptation during training in racehorses and sport horses. Her main areas of professional interest include scientific evaluation of equestrian performance, training and wellbeing, rider impacts on equitation, reliability assessment across equestrian science, and human-animal interaction. Jane co-edited and authored ‘Training for Equestrian Performance’, to showcase how science and research can be applied practically to improve performance for horses and their riders, and has published over 100 research articles as well as regularly presenting at international equine conferences. Jane works across the equine sector to promote the application of objective research and scientific practice to improve the welfare of horses, through her work with the Sporthorse Welfare Foundation and International Society for Equitation Science.