Guide to Australian Endurance Vetting

Physical Parameters

Girth, Back and Withers

  • Girth & Back Examination – deep palpation is not necessary.
  • Skin is the major organ in contact with tack so looking for the effects of ill-fitting tack or of the weight of saddle & rider on the horse. When the horse resents examination to such an extent that it is dangerous for the examiner, it should be eliminated!
    • A = No pain / no lesions
    • B = Tenderness
    • C = Chafe, scald
    • D = Open lesion, marked pain – elimination

Leg Injuries

  • It is not necessary to pick up or palpate the limbs as a visual examination is all that is required.
    • A = None
    • B = Recent superficial cuts, swelling
    • C = Skin wounds, open cuts
    • D = Exuding wound, full depth cuts over joints – elimination

Gait Assessment

  • Must be performed on a good level surface (i.e. grass, sand etc)
  • Must be 40 metres out in length and 40 metres back (MEASURE IT)
  • Good lighting is very important during night loops, or early mornings
  • Attention to the sunset and sunrise should be paid when setting up a vet ring as this can make the assessment difficult
  • The most contentious elimination subject to more questioning by the riders than a metabolic elimination
  • Consistency within the veterinary team and throughout the event is necessary. Veterinarians are not required to provide a diagnosis of an irregular gait
  • Observe the hind quarters for hip hike first then the head for head bob. Suggested criteria for elimination:
    • Consistent irregularity to and from observer
    • Able to identify limb i.e. LF or RH (although not necessary)
      • A = Willing, strong, normal
      • B = Subtle reluctance
      • C = Reluctance, tired, not consistently lame
      • D = Unwilling, no animation, consistently lame – elimination

Forelimb Lameness

TIP:- The saying “down on the sound” can help with recognising the affected limb

Hindlimb Lameness

TIP:- Look for hip hike

Examples of Lameness Video