As time goes by: Monitoring of motion symmetry in young horses during training

Last changed: 07 March 2019

Researchers have noted that many horses that train and compete move with an asymmetric movement pattern. Today, we do not know whether such asymmetries are pain-triggered and caused by the exercise or if they can be a natural variation.

This research project is funded by the Swedish-Norwegian Foundation for Equine Research and is a collaborative project between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and its Norwegian counterpart, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). At SLU, the project is led by Marie Rhodin, associate professor and senior lecturer. Other key persons are Pia Haubro Andersen, Elin Hernlund, Marie Hammarberg and Agneta Egenvall.


The collaboration project aims to initiate three longitudinal studies where changes in the movement pattern are observed over a two-year time period in riding and trotting horses. There will be two different groups of horses for which we will study the occurrence and degree of asymmetries: young horses that have not been trained and riding horses that compete on an elite level.


This is a unique opportunity to study and gather important knowledge about when asymmetries occur and how they develop over time. If horses can have a mild asymmetry that does not change over time with different types of exercise, it may indicate that it is more of a natural variation than lameness.


Finally, this research can also give us important background information for future training studies where one would want to identify risk factors that contribute to equine pathologies.


Marie Rhodin
Researcher, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)                                                       
Telephone: 018-672194