Current research shows that equine gait analysis has many practical applications beyond lameness assessment, to help support and improve equine health and performance. The Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) is giving equine vets access to the latest knowledge on equine locomotion with the online publication of a quantitative gait analysis virtual issue in October 2019. A special focus section on biomechanics is also in the pipeline for publication in November. Most of the papers will be free to view.
The exceptional capacity of the horse’s locomotor system largely led to its domestication as a working, sport and leisure animal. It has resulted in a continuing fascination with equine performance, whether physiologically in terms of footfall patterns in different gaits or pathologically, when locomotion may be impaired.
Gait evaluation now involves much more than subjective assessment by eye. Quantitative gait analysis involves the use of electronic sensors, enabling the assignment of numerical values to motion, with the application of kinetics and kinematics.
“We have now reached a stage in which technical developments have permitted the introduction of user-friendly quantitative gait analysis techniques in clinical practice,” says Professor René van Weeren, who jointly edited the collections with Dr. Constanza Gómez Álvarez. “Accuracy and reliability of these techniques have increased to improve our performance in the assessment and monitoring of equine locomotor performance. However, these developments also urge us to reconsider out position as clinicians and pose new challenges in terms of interpretation of the data that are generated.”
Practical uses of quantitative gait analysis is a substantial collection of 15 of the latest research papers on gait analysis. This virtual issue will be free access for a year from 4 October 2019. With editorials from Professor van Weeren and Dr. Constanza Gómez Álvarez the virtual issue explores:
- Combined influence of expertise and fatigue on riding strategy and horse-rider coupling during the time course of endurance races
- Head and pelvic movement asymmetry during lungeing horses with symmetrical movement on the straight
- Determination of vertebral range of motion using inertial measurement units in 27 Franches-Montagnes stallions and comparison between conditions and with a mixed population
- Evaluation of a wireless activity monitoring system to quantify locomotor activity in horses in experimental settings
- Objective assessment of gait in xylazine-induced ataxic horses
- Validation of distal limb mounted inertial measurement sensors for stride detection in Warmblood horses in walk and trot
- Does ‘hacking’ surface type affect equine forelimb foot placement, movement symmetry or hoof impact deceleration during ridden walk and trot exercise?
- Comparison of limb kinematics between collected and lengthened trots in two groups of dressage horses on two different surfaces
- A simple method for equine kinematic gait event detection
- Head, withers and pelvic movement asymmetry and their relative timing in trot in racing Thoroughbreds in training
- Kinematic discrimination of ataxia in horses facilitated by blindfolding
- Validation of biplane high-speed fluoroscopy combined with two different non -invasive tracking methodologies for measuring in vivo distal limb kinematics of the horse
- Quantification of the effect of instrumentation error in objective gait assessment in the horse on hindlimb symmetry parameters
- Repeatability of gait analysis measurements in Thoroughbreds in training
- Vertical movement symmetry of the withers in horses with induced forelimb and hindlimb lameness in trot
The special focus on biomechanics, to be published in the November issue, includes four new papers:
- Research trends in equine movement analysis, future opportunities and potential barriers in the digital age: a scoping review from 1998-2018
- A kinematic comparison of the locomotor pattern of horses sedated with detomidine alone and in combination with low doses of butorphanol
- Variation in gait parameters used for objective lameness assessment in sound horses at the trot, on the straight line and the lunge (open access)
- Accelerometer activity tracking in horses and the effect of pasture management on time budget
Professor Celia Marr, Editor of the EVJ said: “The breadth and substance of this research shows how far we have advanced with equine quantitative gait analysis. It has moved far beyond solely being a tool for objective lameness assessment and continues to develop as an exciting method for the support of equine welfare and performance.”
Dr. Constanza Gómez Álvarez continued: “Today, objective, quantitative gait analysis in the horse has outgrown the laboratory and is infiltrating all horse-related activities.”
The Virtual issue can be downloaded here .