Jane Williams

Jane Williams
Hartpury College

Doctor of Philosophy

About

112
Publications
27,186
Reads
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556
Citations
Citations since 2017
80 Research Items
522 Citations
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Introduction
I aim through my work to utilise the principles of sports performance analysis, equitation science and evidence-informed practice to create positive horse and rider partnerships that promote equine wellbeing and superior performance, and enhance the modern horse’s quality of life through promoting positive partnerships between horses and their riders, owners and trainers, to secure a future for equestrian sports.

Publications

Publications (112)
Conference Paper
Research on human-animal interactions has established that numerous benefits can result from human relationships with diverse companion animal species in the domains of physical, social and psychological outcomes. Therefore, numerous animal-attachment scales have been developed to measure the extent of individual human’s attachment to their compani...
Article
Horse welfare is a priority in the equine sport of endurance riding. Identification and reduction of risk factors associated with elimination and lameness have been the focus of research to date, however, this has centred on international competition. National federations recognise there is a need to consider risk factors for elimination at a more...
Article
Full-text available
Equestrianism is part of a global industry influenced by a rich history of over 4000 years of culture and tradition. As the only interspecies Olympic event, equestrianism is facing negative public perceptions of competition performance and traditional coaching practices. In this position paper, we propose a constraints-led approach as a framework f...
Article
Full-text available
Equestrianism is part of a global industry influenced by a rich history of over 4000 years of culture and tradition. As the only interspecies Olympic event, equestrianism is facing negative public perceptions of competition performance and traditional coaching practices. In this position paper, we propose a constraints-led approach as a framework f...
Article
Veterinary eliminations within the equestrian sport of endurance have predominantly been evaluated based on data from international competitions. However, in order to take part in international competition, each horse and rider must qualify by completing rides under their national federation. The aim of this study was to analyse the competitive dat...
Article
It is in the horse racing industry’s interest to understand all factors that impact performance to maintain the integrity of the sport. There is some evidence that the start of flat races can affect racehorse performance. However, limited research exists on the explicit effect that waiting at the start and inside starting stalls (also known as star...
Article
Full-text available
Occupational health is a key priority for the horseracing industry, yet little research on occupational injuries exists. This study investigated the prevalence and the effect of injury in British horseracing staff during a 12-month period. An online retrospective survey was answered by 352 participants, identifying self-reported injury prevalence,...
Article
Equestrian equipment is often used to maintain control of horses while riding, training or handling them and therefore to optimize human and horse safety. However, equipment that has been incorrectly selected or inappropriately used may result in horses exhibiting conflict-related behavior. Characterising associations between apparatus use and unwe...
Conference Paper
he racing careers of thoroughbreds are short and facilitate potential post-retirement second careers in alternative equestrian disciplines subject to individual horses’ suitability for these. A range of organisations specialise in racehorse rehoming such as Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) supported by industry initiatives to safeguard racehorse welf...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the usefulness of salivary cortisol (SC) and eye temperature measured by infrared thermography (IRTET) as biomarkers to manage competitions more effectively and monitor horse welfare in endurance competitions. Based on previous studies, it was hypothesised that pre-exercise baseline SC and I...
Article
The popularity of equestrian sports provides an increasing market for horse gear or tack. While manufacturers have launched new designs to enhance the safety, comfort, effectiveness and aesthetics of their products, few items of tack have been evaluated quantitatively. Nosebands are not an essential component of a bridle, but are widely used across...
Article
The British horseracing industry is committed to safeguarding the welfare of racehorses throughout their racing careers and beyond. Former racehorses who do not retire to a stud career and are suitable for second careers are often retrained to compete in other equestrian sports. Horseball is a growing discipline, which proactively supports retraini...
Article
Horse riders in the UK have a legal responsibility for the welfare of the horses in their care, outlined by the Animal Welfare Act (2006). Understanding weight management factors that influence rider: horse bodyweight (RHBW) ratio is key to safeguarding horse welfare as human obesity rates increase. Recent high-profile incidents have seen riders be...
Article
The equine transeva technique (ETT), is a novel electrotherapy, which utilises pulsating current electrotherapy to target sensory and motor neurons. The technique may facilitate increased circulation and correction of musculoskeletal issues and injuries, such as tendon and ligament tears and muscle atrophy. Despite the importance of understanding t...
Article
A recent survey by the authors of the present study indicated that headcollar (halter, USA) related incidents resulting in horse injuries may be common. From the survey, 134 incidents involving horse fractures and 167 fatalities were reported. Headcollar design and materials vary markedly from traditional leather to “safety” headcollars and safety...
Article
Full-text available
As a first step in achieving an evidence-based classification system for the sport of Para Dressage, there is a clear need to define elite dressage performance. Previous studies have attempted to quantify performance with able-bodied riders using scientific methods; however, definitive measures have yet to be established for the horse and/or the ri...
Article
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is dedicated to empowering registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) and ensuring that they are valued members of the workforce within the United Kingdom. However, this is not always reflected by the RVNs themselves, who state that although they derive satisfaction from working with animals and within a profession...
Article
Studies have investigated the kinematics of the healthy canine thoracic limb (TL), but there is currently no research to the authors’ knowledge investigating the influence of the working harness on TL kinematics. The aim of this study was to compare the TL stride length (SL) and shoulder, elbow and carpal joint range of movement (ROM) of assistance...
Article
Happiness is a subjective feeling and associated with positive affective states that can indicate good welfare. It is becoming increasingly agreed that equestrians’ ability to recognise indicators of positive emotions has the potential to enhance overall horse wellbeing, but research in this area is limited. Therefore, this study investigated eques...
Article
Full-text available
Headcollars (halters, US) are one of the most commonly used pieces of equestrian ‘tack’. Despite this, there appears to be minimal information on their use, or more importantly, risk factors for injury of horses/handlers. To explore headcollar use and safety in equestrians. Quantitative cross‐sectional survey. An online survey (19 questions) explor...
Article
Horseracing stable staff have a multifaceted role, acting as care givers, skilled athletes and equine experts, resulting in inherent high emotional, physical and mental demands. Despite these demands, and reports of significant injury risk to those working in racing at ground level, there has been no research investigating the psychological risk fa...
Article
Stirrups aid the rider to stabilise their lower leg allowing it to be used effectively for communication and in maintaining their position in the saddle. Relatively few studies have investigated stirrup forces and to the best our knowledge no studies have reported stirrup forces in jumping. The aim of the present study was to measure stirrup forces...
Article
The impact of head and neck position (HNP) on horse welfare has received much attention in the scientific literature within the last two decades. Studies have identified physiological and behavioral signs of distress in horses ridden for prolonged time in an HNP with their noseline behind the vertical (BTV), which may compromise their welfare. The...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective quantification of effort and distress during endurance rides through biomarkers could help manage competitions more effectively and monitor horse welfare through an evidence-based approach. This study aimed to determine if salivary cortisol (SC) and ocular temperature measured by infrared thermography (IRT OT ) are related to the outcome...
Article
Full-text available
The use of training aids within equine training programmes is well established with professional, amateur and recreational riders, and horse owners. However, the claims of training aid manufacturers that the aids promote equine muscle development, gait characteristics, proprioception and the horse's biomechanics have not been evaluated scientifical...
Article
Full-text available
Due to COVID-19, horseracing was required to cease all activity in March 2020; however, little is known about the pandemic’s impact on staff working practices. This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 on staff working practices during the initial lockdown phases. An online survey about working conditions during lockdown was answered by 287 pa...
Article
Full-text available
The Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) was developed to obtain quantitative data on the domestic equine triad: training, management and behaviour. It can be taken repeatedly, thus collecting longitudinal data to enable evaluation of how changes in a horse's training and management are reflected in that horse's behaviour...
Article
Full-text available
Equestrian sports such as dressage and show jumping cause physical and physiological stress on the horses’ musculoskeletal structures, which can lead to decreased performance and injury. Warming-up prior to intense exercise can increase utilisation of the aerobic pathway, increase performance and decrease injury risk. Whilst duration of equestrian...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020; the United Kingdom (UK) implemented quarantine measures shortly afterward, resulting in rapid changes in how owners managed and interacted with their horses. This study provides a rapid analysis of the initial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the management of UK leisure and competition ho...
Article
Show jumping causes physical and physiological stress on horses’ musculoskeletal structures, which can lead to decreased performance and injury. Appropriate warm-ups can enhance performance, decrease injury risk, as well as increase oxygen kinetics for better efficiency. Despite this, little is known for how warm-up routines affect show jumping per...
Article
The British Horseracing Industry has been experiencing a labour shortage since the 1970’s and despite recent improvements reported in staff retainment, the industry still reports high staff turnover. We investigated staffing challenges experienced by UK horseracing employers and employees, to formulate strategic targets to address any issues identi...
Article
Endurance is one of the fastest growing equestrian disciplines worldwide. Races are long distance competitions (40-160 km), organised into loops, over variable terrain usually within one day. Horse and rider combinations in endurance races have to complete the course in good condition whilst also aiming to win. Horse welfare is paramount within the...
Article
Behavioral problems in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) increase the likelihood of the dog being rehomed or relinquished to a rescue shelter. Problem behaviors that result in relinquishment include unwanted elimination, destructive behavior and excessive vocalization when owners are absent. Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) is currently marketed via...
Article
Directionality of limb and facial asymmetries in non-elite equine populations has been previously reported with results indicating strong similarities to those reported in racehorses. This investigation aimed to consider the relationship between the magnitude of the asymmetries presented within the general equine population, and their previously re...
Article
The cardiac recovery index (CRI) is currently a key component of veterinary inspections to assess endurance horses metabolic status and fitness. Originally published by Ridgeway, it instructs veterinarians to subtract from the first heart rate (HR 1 ), collected when the horse is initially presented for examination, a second HR (HR 2 ), taken 1 min...
Article
Full-text available
As a first step in achieving an evidence-based classification system for the sport of Para Dressage, there is a clear need to define elite dressage performance. Previous studies have attempted to quantify performance with able-bodied riders using scientific methods; however, definitive measures have yet to be established for the horse and/or the ri...
Article
Performance analysis (PA) involves the systematic observation and analysis of factors identified to enhance performance to improve athlete decision-making in a specific sport. PA is commonplace in human sports, yet despite potential advantages, its application remains limited in equestrianism. This study aimed to evaluate if factors anecdotally ass...
Article
Objective measurement should be incorporated into all areas of physiotherapy including within the assessment and treatment of horses, as there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment intervention objectively. Whilst objective measures are available in a research laboratory setting it appears that in clinical practice mostly subjective...
Article
Full-text available
Outcome measures (OMs) are a requirement of professional practice standards in human and canine physiotherapy practice for measurement of health status. Measures such as pain and functional capacity of specific regions are used to track treatment impact and can be used to develop optimal management strategies. To achieve comparable patient care in...
Article
Horse racing as a high-risk sport can pose a significant risk to equine welfare. There have been limited epidemiological reviews of fall risk specific to point-to-point racing. This study aimed to identify horse and jockey level risk factors associated with horse falls and compare these to published findings for Hurdle and Steeplechase racing. The...
Article
Back pain is a significant factor for horses and is challenging for professionals to diagnose, with assessment frequently using subjective tools such as manual palpation. Reliable and valid objective measures are required and use of a pressure algometer (PA) has been investigated as an assessment tool; however, it has limitations, and other more re...
Article
Full-text available
Most stallions within breeding programmes are expected to breed and compete concurrently. The exercising of stallions with regards to training regimes during the breeding season is a controversial subject. Daily exercise at low intensities is important for the mental and reproductive well-being of the stallion, however higher intensities of exercis...
Article
Whilst equestrian sport science research has expanded over recent years, and technologies to positively impact training and performance have been developed, long-standing traditions and experiential learning in the racing industry still appear to impede the integration of sport science knowledge. This study used semi-structured interviews to invest...
Article
Despite the likelihood that a horse's mass influences hoof morphology, empirical evidence is lacking. A clearer understanding of factors influencing hoof shape could enable prevention, or better treatment, of foot-based disorders; common causes of equine lameness. The study's aim was to investigate the relationship between horse body size, in terms...
Article
Manual therapy techniques are commonly used by physiotherapists in the management of back pain to restore a pain-free range of motion and function in humans. However, there is a lack of research to support the proposed kinematic effects of manual therapy in the horse. This study investigated the kinematic effects of craniocaudal spinal mobilisation...
Article
Musculoskeletal assessment of horses includes assessment of conformation, symmetry, and postural alignment of the equine spine; however, objective methods to analyse the spine have high costs and are logistically complex. This study aimed to assess the intrarater and interrater reliability of simple methods designed to objectively measure thoracolu...
Article
Quantitative assessment of racehorse workload and fitness levels can be achieved through heart rate monitoring (HRM), an established reliable indicator of workload. Using HRM can aid trainers in formulating evidence-based training regimes and evaluating individual horses’ progress during training. Despite this, HRM is not used consistently within r...
Article
The main functions of a saddle are to improve rider stability and comfort, with the stirrups providing support for the rider’s legs. The criteria upon which riders base their choice of stirrup length for different equestrian disciplines does not appear to have been reported. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the factors that play a...
Article
Although stirrups may be considered an essential part of equestrian equipment, there is little research describing their use and function. The aim of the present study was to compare stirrup lengths chosen for flatwork by novice and experienced riders, and to measure the associated leg position and knee angles. Ten novice and ten experienced riders...
Article
Background The ideal goal of equine rehabilitation following injury or surgery is to return the horse to a level of function that either meets or exceeds the previous performance level, and monitoring progress is important within rehabilitation. Outcome measures (OM) are used extensively in human practice and research, especially patient reported o...
Article
Evidence-informed practice is currently lacking in canine hydrotherapy. This study aimed to investigate if the estimated workload of the gluteus medius (GM) and longissimus dorsi (LD) increased in dogs at different water depths when walking on a water treadmill. Seven dogs were walked for 2 min continuously on a water treadmill at depths of no subm...
Article
Horseracing as a high-risk sport can pose a significant risk to equine welfare. To date no epidemiological reviews of fall risk in horseracing have investigated the risks specific to point-to-point (PTP) racing. This study aimed to identify the main race level risk factors associated with horse falls in Irish PTP and to compare these to published f...
Article
The use of pressure via a bit in the horse's mouth is part of training methods throughout equine disciplines. Rein tension refers to the force exerted on the reins between the horse and human during ridden and in-hand training. Understanding the effects of these forces has the potential to inform both rider performance and equine welfare research....
Article
Race pace strategy has been extensively studied in human sports such as running, cycling and swimming. In contrast, pacing strategy appears to have been virtually ignored in equestrian sport despite its potential to contribute to performance optimisation. Previously we have demonstrated that there are significant differences in pacing strategy betw...
Article
Aim: Owners often underestimate the management needs of pet rabbits. Determining rabbit owners' health management practices, and where they gain healthcare information, will facilitate veterinary professionals in providing advice to rabbit owners. Method: Rabbit owners in the UK (n=202) completed an online questionnaire providing information on he...
Article
Race pace strategy has been extensively studied in human sports, such as running, cycling and swimming. In contrast, pacing strategy appears to have been virtually ignored in equestrian sport despite the potential for contributing to performance optimisation. The aim of the present study was to analyse data available in the public domain for electr...
Article
OBJECTIVE To compare the kinematics of the thoracic limb of healthy dogs during descent of stairs and a ramp with those during a trot across a flat surface (control). ANIMALS 8 privately owned dogs. PROCEDURES For each dog, the left thoracic limb was instrumented with 5 anatomic markers to facilitate collection of 2-D kinematic data during each of...
Article
Limited research has evaluated the kinematics of agility dogs over different equipment despite the growing popularity of recreational and competitive agility. A-frames are associated with a higher risk of injury; these risks could be related to how dogs approach the equipment. We hypothesised that forelimb (FL) and spinal kinematics would differ th...
Poster
Canine rehabilitation is a rapidly developing area of veterinary medicine with an increasing range of techniques such as physical therapy, massage and hydrotherapy becoming widely available. The aim of these therapies is to restore animals to full health post-operatively, manage long-term conditions and promote fitness. Equine and canine kinematic...
Article
Many donkeys are kept as companions in the UK and are not ridden or work, therefore dental pain can often go unnoticed by owners. Donkeys suffer from an increased frequency of dental pathology compared to horses and require regular dental treatment (rasping) to optimise their welfare. Faecal fibre length (FFL) has been suggested as a non-invasive m...
Article
Full-text available
Variation in equine hoof conformation between farriery interventions lacks research, despite associations with distal limb injuries. This study aimed to determine linear and angular hoof variations pre- and post-farriery within a four to six week shoeing/trimming interval. Seventeen hoof and distal limb measurements were drawn from lateral and ante...
Article
Full-text available
Chemotherapy is a commonly integrated treatment option within human and animal oncology regimes. Limited research has investigated pet owners’ treatment decision-making in animals diagnosed with malignant neoplasia. Dog and cat owners were asked to complete an online questionnaire to elucidate factors which are key to the decision making process. S...
Article
Exercise therapy is a key component in rehabilitation in both human and equine physiotherapy, however in relation to the equine athlete only limited evidence is available for the use of exercises in rehabilitation. The aim of this review is to analyse studies that have evaluated trunk and hindlimb muscle activation and therefore provide an evidence...
Article
Equine performance research to date has focussed on cardiorespiratory and biomechanical assessment of the horse neglecting the role of muscles. This review considers electromyography (EMG) in the horse, with a specific focus on the role of surface electromyography (sEMG) as a tool to analyse muscle activity in the sports-horse. Three themes have be...
Article
Equestrianism is popular worldwide, with millions of horses and riders participating in competitive horse sports and non-competitive leisure riding. Riders have a duty of care or responsibility for their horses and should aim to optimise their health and welfare. Despite this, limited research has explored the effectiveness and impact of equitation...
Article
Stereotypical behavior (STB) has been observed in a wide range of species regardless of its classification. Despite extensive research into factors which contribute to the aetiology of STB and/or influence the expression of STB, few studies have explicitly evaluated if relationships exist between stereotypical behavior and performance variables in...
Article
Background: Surgical site infections are common in veterinary practice; their prevention is based on the preoperative use of topical antimicrobials at the surgical site to reduce resident bacteria to sub-pathogenic levels. Aim Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) and povidone iodine (PI) are the most popular options for preoperative skin preparation in v...
Article
Full-text available
Eight international riders from Olympic equestrian disciplines, participated in semi-structured interviews investigating developmental factors which they felt had helped them achieve and retain elite status. Key factors were present across the variable rider journeys to elite status. Riders demonstrated a natural aptitude for horse sports, a desire...
Article
Personality has been shown to affect the way individuals think, feel and act, and could impact on the way people behave and perform in a wide variety of activities. Anecdotal evidence suggests that differences in personality exist between equestrians participating in different disciplines and at different levels, but empirical evidence is limited....
Article
Prior research has studied risk factors associated with horse-falls during racing but is now dated. This study investigated if risk factors associated with Class 1 steeplechase race horse-falls concur with those in prior research, and related these to current prophylactics strategies designed to enhance racehorse welfare. Factors associated with ho...
Article
Full-text available
Many consider the English Derby on Epsom Downs to be ‘The Blue Riband of the Turf’. The Epsom Derby has been run annually since 1780 and the colt Diomed was the first winner. Today the Epsom Derby, run over 1.5 miles, is one of five classic races and is the second leg of the English Triple Crown, preceded by the 2,000 Guineas and followed by the St...
Article
Limited knowledge of how routine dental treatment (rasping) alters the mastication cycle exists. To our knowledge, Masseter and Temporalis muscle activity after rasping has not been previously evaluated. A descriptive, experimental study compared muscle activity pre- and post-routine dental treatment using surface electromyography (sEMG) to investi...
Article
Polo is a popular equestrian sport; matches comprise of 4-6 periods or chukkas. Players commonly change ponies between chukkas, but can also change ponies within a chukka, known as ‘half-chukkering’, anecdotally believed to ‘save’ the horse by preventing fatigue and facilitating recovery. The current study aimed to test this hypothesis and evaluate...
Article
Reaction time is defined as the time between the onset of a sensory stimulus and the subsequent behavioral response. This study aimed to investigate reaction times of members of the horse riding population, testing for variables in subject lifestyles which affect reaction time. Fifty-three subjects completed questionnaires including personal detail...
Article
Background: Within equestrian sports, training is commonly based on historic and anecdotal good practice. Telemetric surface electromyography (sEMG) systems facilitate assessment of muscle recruitment including mean motor unit action potential (mM-UAP). Mean EMG frequency (mEMGF) provides an objective measure of fitness levels while a shift in the...
Article
Background: The domestic horse is utilised as a companion or competition animal, subsequently many horses are exposed to management regimens which can limit mastication opportunities often resulting in the development of pathology requiring prophylactic dental treatment (routine floating). To date, limited research has undertaken evaluation of the...
Article
Full-text available
To date epidemiological reviews of fall risk in horse racing have applied a general approach to analysis integrating different grades, type of race and various racetracks. This study aimed to investigate if increasing specificity in analysis (one course and type of race) would expose the same risk factors for horse falls. The purpose of the study w...