Dr Euan Bennet
- Research Associate (Equine Clinical Sciences )
I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Division of Equine Clinical Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine. I started my career as a theoretical astrophysicist, qualifying from the University of Glasgow with an MSci in Astronomy and Physics (2008) before graduating with a PhD on plasma physics in the early Universe (2012). Following that I worked as a postdoc in the Astronomy and Astrophysics research group in the School of Physics and Astronomy (2013-2015), before being recruited for my current role as the number one [only] horse physicist in the world.
Since November 2015 I have been performing in-depth epidemiological analysis of the Global Equine Injuries Study for the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) – the world governing body for equestrian sports. Initially my focus was on the sport of Endurance (long-distance riding over distances of 80km-160km) with data from every international-level event worldwide since 2010 – covering over 90,000 horse starts. In November 2017 the project was extended for a further two years, and expanded to include Eventing, which as an Olympic sport is more well-known than Endurance.
In November 2019 I expanded my research to include horse racing, with 40% of my time spent on racing data from North America and the other 60% of my time continuing the FEI project with equestrian data. My FEI work has been extended to cover Endurance, Eventing, and Show Jumping.
My work has provided scientific evidence of risk factors that lead to lameness or metabolic problems for horses riding in Endurance events. This has informed policy and protocol for future FEI Endurance events, and has now even changed the rules of this international sport. Major findings have included evidence of the negative impact of high riding speeds and short rest periods between events. In November 2017 my results were a crucial part of the evidence behind changes to Endurance rules which came into effect in January 2019 (see also: http://inside.fei.org/news/fei-extends-global-equine-injuries-research-agreement-glasgow-university-further-two-years). In 2019 my results fed directly in to the FEI temporary endurance committee and my work influence almost every part of further rules changes, amounting to a near-total rewrite of the Endurance rulebook.
Statistical/Epidemiological analysis including:
- Multivariable logistic regression - to understand the impact for horses exposed to many risk factors at once.
- Data mining - to understand the root causes of risk and extract as much information as possible from a data set.
- Predictive modelling – given the data from past events, it’s possible to predict which horses are amongst those exposed to the greatest risk before their next event.
- Survival analysis - following horses through their careers to understand how their risk level evolves over time.
Current projects include:
- Endurance - developing a predictive model to use “live” during events.
- Eventing - building horse-, rider-, event-, and fence-level models to understand risk factors leading to horse and rider fatalities.
- Show Jumping - modelling to understand the reasons for some horses' careers being cut short.
- Horse racing - large-scale modelling of racing in North America to predict each horse's risk level of fatality.
- General - analysing the impact of weather conditions (temperature and humidity) as a significant contributing factor to metabolic problems across racing and equestrian events.
I teach the statistics part of the module “Professional Skills 4” within the BSc Honours Veterinary Bioscience degree.