Movement symmetry of the head and pelvis are used to measure lameness in horses in trot. Although head, pelvis and limb movements have been described, less is known about the temporal relationships between them. This information is needed to understand how the movements change with lameness. This is particularly relevant in gaited horses, such as the Icelandic horse that perform gaits such as tölt and pace, which are challenging to evaluate.
This study used inertial measurement units to investigate head, withers and pelvis motion relative to limb movements in Icelandic, Warmblood and Iberian horses. Limb movements, together with vertical movements and lowest/highest positions of the head, withers and pelvis were calculated, and the relative timing of the events was compared across breeds. Additionally, data for tölt and pace were collected and evaluated in ridden Icelandic horses.
For all gaits except walk and pace, the lowest/highest positions of the head/withers/pelvis were closely temporally related to midstance and hoof-off, respectively. Pelvic and withers total range of motion differed between all breeds. The Icelandic horses showed shorter stride duration and smaller movements of the upper body than the other breeds at trot, which may explain why lameness evaluation in this breed is challenging.
Link to the publication
Rhodin M, Smit IH, Persson-Sjodin E, Pfau T, Gunnarsson V, Björnsdóttir S, Zetterberg E, Clayton HM, Hobbs SJ, Serra Bragança F, Hernlund E. Timing of Vertical Head, Withers and Pelvis Movements Relative to the Footfalls in Different Equine Gaits and Breeds. Animals (Basel). 2022 Nov 7;12(21):3053. doi: 10.3390/ani12213053. PMID: 36359178; PMCID: PMC9657284.