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PhD candidate Charles Sturt University
School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences 

With qualifications in Physiotherapy and Veterinary Physiotherapy, I enjoy helping horses and riders to move well. Physiotherapists predominantly deal with cases of movement dysfunction rather than overt lameness. What constitutes 'moving well' is subjective. Through my PhD research I am developing field-based outcome measures for equine physiotherapy and rehabilitation, that focus on quality of movement and assist practitioners to monitor and improve treatment efficacy. 

Over the last couple of years we have surveyed equine clinicians to determine the most frequently used movements when assessing quality of movement in horses - you can read all about it in the journal Animals: 

   Visually Assessing Equine Quality of Movement: A Survey to Identify Key Movement and Patient-Specific Measures

   Annette G. Bowen; Gillian Tabor; Raphael Labens; Hayley Randle.

   Animals 2023, Volume 13, Issue 18, 2822

We then used a Delphi process (repeated surveys of an expert panel) to create a scoring system and directives to guide scoring. Discussion groups suggested further improvements such as ways to standardise the movements transforming them into movement tests. The outcome measure was then pilot tested and approved for reliability and validity trials. The results of both those trials are currently being analysed and we hope to be able to publish some new journal articles about the Equine Quality of Movement Score (EQoMS) soon. 

Featured in Four Front, the magazine of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy, pages 27,28,29. 

  • My masters research project investigated girthy behaviour in horses and the presence of myofascial trigger points in their pectoral muscles. 


- Myofascial trigger points are common in the transverse and posterior pectoral muscles.

- Horses with an owner-reported history of girth-aversion behaviour had more reactive myofascial trigger points on palpation.

- Knowledge of the presence and location of myofascial trigger points will assist in the development of prevention and management strategies.


​Watch this short video summary on my Youtube channel.

Where I take you through my research project and discuss some options for reducing

girthy behaviour in your horse.

If you are interested in reading the full journal article please email me.


Girthy cover.jpg

Citations of my research paper by:


- Esther Millares & Sarah S. Le Jeune in Girthiness: Retrospective Study of 37 Horses (2004–2016) Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 79(August 2019):100-104

DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2019.05.025


- Sandra Kunhne in Horse's laterality: methods of determination, genetic aspects, interaction with human handedness and the influence on horse-rider communication, horse's muscle status, sport success and risk of injury. May 2020 Thesis.

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.19216.02564


- Maria Calatayud & Maria Resano in Myopain seminars, Equine Dry Needling Courses.


- Nadia Yuri Shimosaka Sato, Bárbara Buff Blumer Bastos, Marco Aurélio Amador Pereira, Karina D’Angelo Campos & Denise Tabacchi Fantoni in Myofascial Pain Syndrome, myofascial trigger points and trigger points in Veterinary Medicine. July 2020, Braz J Vet Res Anim Sci. DOI: 10.11606/issn.1678-4456.bjvras.2020.164351

- Sue Dyson, Anne Bondi, J. Routh, D. Pollard & J. H. Kydd in An investigation of behaviour during tacking‐up and mounting in ridden sports and leisure horses Jan 2021, Equine Veterinary Education. DOI: 10.1111/eve.13432


- Sue Dyson, Anne Bondi, J. Routh & D. Pollard in An investigation into the relationship between equine behaviour when tacked‐up and mounted and epaxial muscle hypertonicity or pain, girth region hypersensitivity, saddle‐fit, rider position and balance, and lameness Feb 2021, Equine Veterinary Education. DOI: 10.1111/eve.13440


- Sue Dyson & K. Thomson in The recognition of pain and learned behaviour in horses which buck Mar 202, Equine Veterinary Education. DOI: 10.1111/eve.13466


- Sue Dyson, Anne Bondi, J. Routh, D. Pollard & J. Kydd in Do owners recognise abnormal equine behaviour when tacking‐up and mounting? A comparison between responses to a questionnaire and real‐time observations Mar 2021, Equine Veterinary Education. DOI: 10.1111/eve.13471

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