Honors Projects


Equestrian sports have the highest rates of injury across all sports with traumatic brain injury rates twice as high as those in football. The goal of this project is to make our university Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) athletes safer by creating an easy-to-use tool that athletes can apply to evaluate new horses they ride at competitions. The tool guides team members through evaluation techniques by providing important safety dimensions and scoring guidelines. An undergraduate majoring in biology with an interest in Veterinarian specialization developed the diagnostic tool. The tool allows evaluation of movement/quality of gaits, jumping ability, equine personality, equipment fit, conformation, and rider’s affect. Three different methods assess usefulness of this tool and suggest refinements. The first method is qualitative face-to-face interviews with equine professionals who will provide expert information about the perceived usefulness of the diagnostic tool. The second method is qualitative face-to-face interviews with English BGSU Equestrian Team (BGET) members to study the personal techniques used when evaluating unfamiliar horses at shows. Finally, BGET English members use the tool to evaluate horses at their training facility, assessing reliability and validity, followed by an online quantitative survey about the tool’s performance and usefulness. This project contributes to equestrian safety by creating a quick, simple tool to evaluate factors that affect competition on unfamiliar horses.


Honors Program



First Advisor

Dr. Laura Sanchez

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Dr. Lee Meserve

Second Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Publication Date

Spring 4-30-2015