FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions we  have heard about in the past. If you have a question, please send it through our contact form and we will add it.

To play through all four modules and watch the video explanations will on average take less than two hours. You might of course decide to practice repeatedly to further improve and maintain your skills and we recommend to do so. You can always slip in half an hour here and there to sharpen your discrimination skills especially for Module 3 or to practice in Module 4. 

It will be worth keeping a note or screenshot of your performance in the game, as you will improve over time and will be amazed how good you can get.

Learning lameness assessment with animations is a little different to looking at real horses. There are many positives, but of course there are also limitations.

POSITIVES

– Lameness severity is tightly controlled and you learn to spot the ‘easy’ cases first before lameness gets progressively more subtle. You progressively learn to detect the key features of lameness with all the ‘noise’ removed.

– Animations do not have stride-to-stride variation that you would have in real horses, making it easier to learn the fundamental change in movement associated with lameness without distraction.

– An animated horse does not trot away from you, again making it easier to focus on learning to see the lameness pointers.

– You can look at animations as often as you want.

– For animations there is a definite right or wrong to your answer. In real horses, there can often be uncertainty about the true state of affairs, because there are a lot more things going on that may lead veterinarians to conclude that lameness is present or not. Again, this makes it harder to learn what to look for.

LIMITATIONS

– Lameness assessment of real horses is harder, as they trot away from / towards you, movement changes stride to stride, they may have asymmetrical conformation and viewing conditions may be poor. Hence, even if you might learn to reliably classify horses with 10% movement asymmetry in this game, you might not be able to perform at this level in the real world. We are going to find out about that.

– This game does not teach the broad range of potential observations that could supplement your assessment. While the game gives you a massive head start on getting things right, there is more to study!

The animations are very accurate. The trot cycle is driven by the moment of a real horse. Lameness adaptations are based on scientific data. The camera field of view and positioning is based on an average person’s height and field of view. It can’t get much more accurate than this 🙂

Head and pelvic movement asymmetry have been found to be the most consistent predictor of lameness in the biomechanics literature. Hence, looking at them will give you a really good chance at spotting lameness.

Of course there is always a but. Lameness comes in all shapes and forms, and horses may present for lameness where there is no notable movement asymmetry when you assess head and pelvis movement. A horse could for example be bilaterally lame (lame in the left and right limb) and hence move symmetrically while being in pain. You would pick up on that through other indicators such as a change in behaviour and willingness to work.

It is hence important to realise that there is more to lameness assessment than just quantifying movement asymmetry. The thickness of the key books on the subject will make that obvious. But it’s like the 80/20 rule for many things: if you learn the perceptual skills we teach here, you already got 80% of a correct assessment under your belt at 20% effort. The remaining 20% will require 80% effort and skilful observation, learning, comparison and record keeping and years of careful analysis and review of your own judgement.

Yes there are. While the game is based on decades of scientific research, we are of course eager to evaluate it properly.

In its early stages, we published and presented the work at BSAS/AVTRW which even won the BSAS’s president’s prize for best theatre presentation: Starke, S.D., Miles, G., Channon, S.B. and May, S.A. (2015): Instant expert: development and evaluation of an intelligent, interactive 3D computer game for teaching visual lameness assessment skills through deliberate practice.

The animations have since been used to get an idea about baseline performance of equine veterinarians. This was published in the Veterinary Record. You can view it here:

>> Reliability of equine visual lameness classification as a function of expertise, lameness severity and rater confidence

An evaluation of learning effects when using this game is currently under review. More publications are in preparation.

If you are interested in running a study, please just get in touch.

The game was developed for Google Chrome on PC.

We know that the game might work with other browsers and often works OK in Chrome on tablet. If the game loads but the horse does not trot, you can make a random guess and submit your decision, on some devices that makes the game work. You are free to experiment, but we can’t help if things don’t work.

If you use Chrome on PC and have issues with the game, please do let us know so that we can fix it.