Scientists Study Facial Expressions of Pain in Ridden Horses
British researchers say identifying the facial expressions of pain in mounted horses requires a whole new set of observation skills. And their research group is working to produce just that.
“I have used these observations of behavior for years, and they really help me determine when musculoskeletal pain is the underlying cause of poor performance,” said Sue Dyson, MA, Vet MB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, Head of Clinical Orthopedics at the Animal Health Trust Centre for Equine Studies, in Newmarket, United Kingdom.
In this first of a four-part study, Dyson and colleagues developed an ethogram—a behavior observation “checklist”—for recognizing facial expressions in ridden horses. They based their ethogram on published descriptions of facial behaviors and studying photographs of 150 lame and sound ridden horses, she
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