Participant Information Statement

You are invited to participate in a study that aims to develop an outcome measure to assess horses’ quality of movement.

This research is being conducted by Annette Bowen, PhD student, and an international multidisciplinary team including Physiotherapists, a Veterinarian and an Equine Scientist:
     Annette Bowen, PhD student
     School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences
     Charles Sturt University

     Assoc. Professor Hayley Randle
     School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences
     Charles Sturt University

     Assoc. Professor Raphael Labens
     School of Agriculture, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences
     Charles Sturt University

     Dr Gillian Tabor
     Senior Lecturer, Equine Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy
     Hartpury University
     United Kingdom

Before you decide whether or not you wish to participate in this study, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve.  Please take the time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish.

What is the purpose of this study?
This survey is part 2 of a project aiming to develop an outcome measure to assess horses’ quality of movement (see figure 1). The purpose of the survey is to determine what functional movement tests equine clinicians think are most useful to include in the outcome measure. Your opinion will also be sought on modifying an existing human physiotherapy outcome measure for use with horses.

Your input is vital to this study.

Question Title

The proposed outcome measure is a battery of movement tests for use in the field, to monitor movement status in response to interventions.  Rather than a global score, as in a traditional lameness trot-up, each movement test will be scored individually to more precisely convey where gains or losses are occurring.  The outcome measure may be used independently, in conjunction with, or to complement screening with objective quantitative technology.

The outcome measure is for use by equine clinicians working with horses undergoing rehabilitation or managing performance issues.  Such horses may present with movement dysfunction, motion asymmetry, inconsistent, subtle or mild lameness (e.g. AAEP <2 Lameness that is difficult to observe at a walk or trot in a straight line but is present under certain circumstances). The battery will be confined to active in-hand movement tests, to avoid additional tack and rider related factors, and tests involving manual pressure (such as provoking balance reactions or stimulating muscular reflexes) are more difficult to standardise. Whilst acknowledging that pain, behaviour, asymmetry, lameness and performance are inter-related constructs, this outcome measure will focus on movement, and in particular quality of movement or movement dysfunction.

Why have I been invited to participate in this study?
We are seeking equine clinicians experienced in the areas of rehabilitation and performance.  Professional associations of Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Veterinarians, Animal/Veterinary/Equine Physiotherapists and Animal Biomechanical Professionals (Chiropractors, Osteopaths) have therefore been approached to distribute the survey link to their members.

If you do not have at least an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, you are unfortunately not eligible to participate.  This requirement is to try to retain similarity in clinical reasoning and assessment processes.
What does this study involve?
If you agree to participate you will be asked to give your consent at the beginning of the short questionnaire.  The questionnaire has questions divided into 3 parts: 1st - demographics to record your training and experience, 2nd - rating the usefulness of movement tests and 3rd - your opinion of an already existing functional scale.

It is estimated the questions will take 10-15 minutes to answer. The survey will be open until Monday 4th July.

Are there risks and benefits to me in taking part in this study?
There are no foreseen risks to participation.  We cannot promise you any direct benefits from participating in this survey.  You may opt-in to receive a summary of the results and links to any future papers published by emailing  An outcome measure to monitor equine movement dysfunction will support equine welfare, by assisting clinicians improve treatment efficacy in the field and build evidence for treatment techniques.  Your assistance now will help shape the outcome measure to be relevant to your clinical needs by informing which core movement tests to include.

How is this study being paid for?
This project is supported by an Australian Government Research and Training Scholarship.  This organisation will have no input to the research results.

Will taking part in this study cost me anything, and will I be paid?
There are no costs or payments for participating in this survey and your participation is voluntary.  You may choose to take part as the social exchange of research.

What if I don’t want to take part in this study?
Participation in this research is entirely your choice.  Only those people who give their informed consent will be included. Whether or not you decide to participate is your decision and not doing so will not disadvantage you in any way.

What if I participate and want to withdraw later?
You may choose to stop participating at any point.  Responses are recorded as you move through the questions.  However, as data are collected anonymously, once you have submitted an answer your responses cannot be withdrawn.
How will confidentiality be protected?
The survey is anonymous and it will not be possible to identify you from your answers.  Data will be retained for up to 5 years and held securely on the secured servers at Charles Sturt University.  Only the lead researcher and primary supervisor will have access to the data.  The data will also be stored within the SurveyMonkey© platform according to their Privacy Policy and Security Statement. The list of email addresses to send summary results to will be stored in a separate password protected file and not shared or sold on to any third party. After a 5 year period the file of email addresses will be deleted.

What will happen to the information that I give you?
The data collected will be analysed and the findings used to inform development of the proposed outcome measure. Summary demographic data about profession and experience will be reported. Individuals will not be identified. A summary of results will be returned to participants who request it. The results will be submitted as part of Annette Bowen’s PhD thesis. Further to this, the research findings may be presented at conferences or published as articles in peer-reviewed journals.

What should I do if I want to discuss this study further before I decide?
If you would like further information, please contact Annette Bowen via email: 

Who should I contact if I have concerns about the conduct of this study?
Charles Sturt University’s Human Research Ethics Committee has approved this project [Protocol Number: H22082].  If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this project, you may contact the Committee through the Ethics and Compliance Unit via the following contact details:
     The Presiding Officer
     Human Research Ethics Committee
     Ethics and Compliance Unit
     Locked Bag 588
     Wagga Wagga NSW 2678
     Phone: (02) 6933 4213

Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated fully and you will be informed of the outcome.

Please print this information sheet if you wish to keep a copy for your records (use the Print option from the browser File menu).