​Lameness Evaluation

Our board-certified clinical team at New Bolton Center's Equine Performance Clinic specializes in pre-purchase examinations and the evaluation of horses with lameness.

Clinicians have expertise in the evaluation of horses with complex lamenesses including neck and back pain. 

Working with our on-site farrier, shoeing solutions can be devised for your horse’s problem.  

Equine Performance Evaluation Facility

Contact Us

Appointments: 610-925-6490

For all routine appointments, which may be made by the owner, trainer or referring veterinarian.

Emergencies: 610-444-5800

If you have an emergency, please call us. We are open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year.

Lameness Evaluation

  • Lameness evaluations include a physical exam, lameness evaluation and diagnostic analgesia (nerve blocks). The newly constructed Equine Performance and Evaluation Facility Equine Evaluation, New Bolton Center(indoor arena) provides a safe place to evaluate horses while lunging or being ridden. The lameness clinicians are assisted by skilled sports medicine technicians that are experts in horse handling and restraint, alleviating the clients of the need to jog their horses for evaluation.
  • Gait analysis (Lameness Locator®) system is available which objectively assesses the horse’s movement. Small, wireless body-mounted sensors are applied to the head, leg and pelvis.  Data is analyzed quickly and helps to determine severity of lameness. 
  • After localization of lameness, a variety of imaging modalities can be utilized, including digital MRI, equine, New Bolton Center Imagingradiography, ultrasonography, nuclear scintigraphy (bone scan), CT and MRI. Corrective shoeing, if indicated as a component of therapy, is available from the farrier service.  Horses with complex lameness problems may also need neurological, surgical, and behavioral consultations which are readily available in the hospital.
  • Please visit our Imaging Service for a full description of capabilities.

Estimated time for completion of service

  • Simple uncomplicated lameness examinations may be performed on an outpatient basis and the typical appointment is 3-5 hours. Complex or complicated lameness examinations require hospitalization and a typical hospital stay is 2-4 days.


  • When available, please bring previous imaging (radiographs, ultrasound images, MRI, etc.), details of previous lameness examinations and treatments with you to the appointment.


Pre-Purchase/Performance Examinations


  • The equine performance clinic performs pre-purchase evaluations, which include a thorough physical andPurchase Evaluation, New Bolton Center soundness examination with the horse in motion in hand and in harness or under tack, when appropriate for age and training. Digital radiography, ultrasonography, upper airway endoscopy and cardiology are routinely performed when indicated.  Drug screens for forbidden substances are available as well.

Estimated time for completion of service

  • Pre-purchase evaluation can be performed on an outpatient basis and the typical appointment lasts 4-5 hours.


  • If evaluation of the horse includes work under tack or in harness, appropriate equipment as well as a rider or driver must accompany the horse.  Protective headgear is required for all riders.

To schedule an appointment please contact Kathryn Minacci at (610) 925-6490 or via email at sportmed@vet.upenn.edu.

  • Appointments may be made by the owner, trainer or referring veterinarian.

Jeffords High-Speed Treadmill

Determination of the cause of an abnormal upper respiratory noise associated with poor performance may be difficult to diagnose during routine examination.  Comprehensive evaluation of the horse while exercising on the Jeffords high speed treadmill facilitates dynamic analysis of multiple body systems. 

Types of testing available include:

  • Resting and exercising upper airway endoscopy
  • Resting and exercising electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Resting and immediate post-exercising echocardiogram
  • Exercising arterial blood gas analysis including acid-base analysis, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
  • Post-exercising lower airway endoscopy and cytology (bronchoalveolar lavage - BAL)
  • Pre- and post-exercising muscle enzyme values

Estimated time for completion of service

High-speed treadmill evaluation can be completed on an outpatient basis and the typical appointment lasts 5-8 hours. Laboratory data may require several days for completion.


Horses should be sound and fit, preferably training at the level during which the performance problem occurs.  To exercise on the treadmill, horses must be shod with four flat shoes (no toe grabs, heel caulks, borium, etc.).  Where appropriate, please bring your horse’s harness or other tack.  Please bring details of previous examinations, imaging and treatments with you to the appointment.

Appointment / Referral information

Referral by your veterinarian is recommended but not required.

For information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Kathryn Minacci at (610) 925-6490 or via email at sportmed@vet.upenn.edu.

Care of the equine athlete demands specialized facilities in whEquine Performance Evaluation Facility, New Bolton Centerich to evaluate performance, diagnose subtle lameness and detect musculoskeletal problems using sophisticated equipment in conjunction with our clinicians’ clinical experience.

The new Ilona English Equine Performance and Evaluation Facility (EPEF), an enclosed arena, provides a comfortable, indoor setting in which to conduct lameness examinations, perform diagnostics and other critical tests in a safe environment, conducive to accurate and reliable assessments of a horse’s mobility.

The EPEF provides superior footing, optimal lighting and a dedicated space protected from the elements.  This facility is a real advantage to the entire treatment team: clinicians, clients, students and of course, our patients.