A special “virtual” issue of the Equine Veterinary Journal focusing on gait analysis is being made available online, with 15 articles provided.
There is free access to this special virtual issue up to October 4, 2020.
Current research shows that equine gait analysis has many practical applications beyond lameness assessment, to help support and improve equine health and performance.
Co-editor of the issue, Dr Constanza Gómez Álvarez, said “Today, objective, quantitative gait analysis in the horse has outgrown the laboratory and is infiltrating all horse-related activities.”
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.
Co-editor Professor René van Weeren said science has now reached the stage where technical developments have permitted the introduction of user-friendly quantitative gait analysis techniques in clinical practice.
“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,” van Weeren said.
The virtual issue includes studies on an array of aspects, such as the influence of expertise and fatigue on riding strategy and combinations in endurance races, stride detection measurements in warmbloods, a comparison of limb kinematics between collected and lengthened trots in dressage horses on different surfaces, and head and pelvic movement asymmetry during lungeing horses.
Equine Veterinary Journal editor Professor Celia Marr said the breadth and substance of the research showed 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.”
A special focus section on biomechanics is also to be published this month, and most of the papers will be free to view.
The virtual issue can be viewed here.