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Project Information

Project Information

A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses

Project Scope:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad hoc committee of equine veterinarians and experts with relevant experience and appropriate professional certifications or academic degrees to review the scientific and veterinary medical literature on hoof and pastern pain and skin/tissue changes on the pastern of horses, and evaluate methods used to identify soreness in horses (as defined in the Horse Protection Act* and the implementing regulations) for their scientific validity and reliability.  In the course of its study, the committee will:

  • examine what is known about the quality and consistency of available methods to identify soreness in horses
  • identify potential new and emerging methods, approaches, and technologies for detecting hoof and pastern pain and its causes
  • identify research and technology needs to improve the reliability of methods to detect soreness

In a consensus report, the committee will describe its conclusions about the validity and reliability of methods, and provide recommendations to improve the efficacy and consistency of approaches to identifying soreness.  The report will also review the Horse Protection Act regulations, including the "scar rule" found at 9. C.F.R. 11.3 and identify changes that would be necessary to implement the findings of the study.

Sore when used to describe a horse means:
(1) An irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally by a person to any limb of a horse,
(2) Any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse,
(3) Any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or
(4) Any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given.

Status: Current


Project Duration (months): 11 month(s)

RSO: Ables, Camilla Yandoc


Biology and Life Sciences

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Membership

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