Validation of an equine inertial measurement unit system in clinically normal horses during walking and trotting

Valerie J. Moorman Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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 DVM, MS
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Raoul F. Reiser II Department of Health and Exercise Science, College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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C. Wayne McIlwraith Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Chris E. Kawcak Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Abstract

Objective—To validate an equine inertial measurement unit (IMU) system rigidly attached to a hoof against a 3-D optical kinematics system in horses during walking and trotting.

Animals—5 clinically normal horses.

Procedures—5 swing phases of the hooves of the right forelimb and hind limb were collected via both 3-D optical and IMU systems from 5 horses during walking and trotting. Linear and angular positions, velocities, and accelerations were compared between the 2 systems.

Results—Of the 55 variables compared between the 2 systems, 25 had high correlations (r > 0.8) and 18 had moderate correlations (r > 0.5). Root mean squared errors were lowest in the sagittal plane and orientation (1.1 to 4.4 cm over a range of 1.5 to 1.9 m in the cranial-caudal direction and 2.5° to 3.5° over a range of 88° to 110° rotating around the medial-lateral axis). There were more differences between the 2 systems during small changes in motion, such as in the medial-lateral and proximal-distal directions and in the angular measures around the cranial-caudal and proximal-distal axes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The equine IMU system may be appropriate for rigid attachment to a hoof of a horse and use in examination of linear and angular motion in the sagittal plane of the hoof during the swing phase while walking and trotting. Although promising in many respects, the IMU system cannot currently be considered clinically useful for lameness evaluation because of limitations in accuracy, attachment method, and lack of stance phase evaluation.

Abstract

Objective—To validate an equine inertial measurement unit (IMU) system rigidly attached to a hoof against a 3-D optical kinematics system in horses during walking and trotting.

Animals—5 clinically normal horses.

Procedures—5 swing phases of the hooves of the right forelimb and hind limb were collected via both 3-D optical and IMU systems from 5 horses during walking and trotting. Linear and angular positions, velocities, and accelerations were compared between the 2 systems.

Results—Of the 55 variables compared between the 2 systems, 25 had high correlations (r > 0.8) and 18 had moderate correlations (r > 0.5). Root mean squared errors were lowest in the sagittal plane and orientation (1.1 to 4.4 cm over a range of 1.5 to 1.9 m in the cranial-caudal direction and 2.5° to 3.5° over a range of 88° to 110° rotating around the medial-lateral axis). There were more differences between the 2 systems during small changes in motion, such as in the medial-lateral and proximal-distal directions and in the angular measures around the cranial-caudal and proximal-distal axes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The equine IMU system may be appropriate for rigid attachment to a hoof of a horse and use in examination of linear and angular motion in the sagittal plane of the hoof during the swing phase while walking and trotting. Although promising in many respects, the IMU system cannot currently be considered clinically useful for lameness evaluation because of limitations in accuracy, attachment method, and lack of stance phase evaluation.

Contributor Notes

Supported by EquuSys Inc.

The authors thank Henri Bernstein, Michael Davies, and Matt Hodgson for assistance with collection and extraction of data.

Address correspondence to Dr. Kawcak (ckawcak@colostate.edu).
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