Objective—To evaluate the locomotor mechanics of the tölt in Icelandic horses.
Animals—10 adult Icelandic horses with no history of lameness.
Procedures—Force platform data were captured for 27 trials for horses ridden at a tölt in a lateral sequence single-foot gait at a steady speed from 0.89 to 5.98 m/s. Simultaneous kinematic data were obtained by tracking retroflective markers overlying the right fore- and hind limbs. These kinetic and kinematic data were combined to evaluate 3 mechanical approaches, duty factor, Froude number, and center of mass (COM) mechanics, and to evaluate the capacity to recover mechanical energies during tölting via inverse pendulum and spring-mass (bouncing) mechanics.
Results—Tölting horses had in-phase fluctuations of gravitational potential and kinetic energies of their COM and a capacity to recover mechanical energy through elastic recoil of spring elements in their limbs. These characteristics, along with Froude numbers exceeding values expected for the walk-run transition, are indicative of bouncing mechanics and, hence, most strongly ally tölting with running. Only the footfall pattern of a lateral sequence single-foot gait and low vertical excursions of the COM are more commonly associated with walking.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At the tölt, horses have unique mechanical characteristics that should be understood for veterinary care. Differences in interlimb coordination between tölting and trotting mask the overall similarities in most other aspects of their locomotor dynamics.
Objective—To develop a method of measuring 3-dimensional kinematics of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in horses chewing sweet feed.
Animals—4 mature horses that had good dental health.
Procedure—Markers attached to the skin over the skull and mandible were tracked by an optical tracking system. Movements of the mandible relative to the skull were described in terms of 3 rotations and 3 translations. A virtual marker was created on the midline between the rami of the mandibles at the level of the rostral end of the facial crest to facilitate observation of mandibular movements.
Results—During the opening stroke, the virtual midline mandibular marker moved ventrally, laterally toward the chewing side, and slightly caudally. During the closing stroke, the marker moved dorsally, medially, and slightly rostrally. During the power stroke, the mandible slid medially and dorsally as the mandibular cheek teeth moved across the occlusal surface of the maxillary cheek teeth. The 4 horses had similar chewing patterns, but the amplitudes varied among horses.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The TMJ allows considerable mobility of the mandible relative to the skull during chewing. The method presented in this report can be used to compare the range of motion of the TMJ among horses with TMJ disease or dental irregularities or within an individual horse before and after dental procedures.
Objective—To identify differences in intersegmental bending angles in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar portions of the vertebral column between the end positions during performance of 3 dynamic mobilization exercises in cervical lateral bending in horses.
Animals—8 nonlame horses.
Procedures—Skin-fixed markers on the head, cervical transverse processes (C1–C6) and spinous processes (T6, T8, T10, T16, L2, L6, S2, and S4) were tracked with a motion analysis system with the horses standing in a neutral position and in 3 lateral bending positions to the left and right sides during chin-to-girth, chin-to-hip, and chin-to-tarsus mobilization exercises. Intersegmental angles for the end positions in the various exercises performed to the left and right sides were compared.
Results—The largest changes in intersegmental angles were at C6, especially for the chin-to-hip and chin-to-tarsus mobilization exercises. These exercises were also associated with greater lateral bending from T6 to S2, compared with the chin-to-girth mobilization or neutral standing position. The angle at C1 revealed considerable bending in the chin-to-girth position but not in the 2 more caudal positions.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The amount of bending in different parts of the cervical vertebral column differed among the dynamic mobilization exercises. As the horse's chin moved further caudally, bending in the caudal cervical and thoracolumbar regions increased, suggesting that the more caudal positions may be particularly effective for activating and strengthening the core musculature that is used to bend and stabilize the horse's back.
Objective—To determine whether body lean angle could be predicted from circle radius and speed in horses during lunging and whether an increase in that angle would decrease the degree of movement symmetry (MS).
Animals—11 medium- to high-level dressage horses in competition training.
Procedures—Body lean angle, head MS, and trunk MS were quantified during trotting while horses were instrumented with a 5-sensor global positioning system–enhanced inertial sensor system and lunged on a soft surface. Speed and circle radius were varied and used to calculate predicted body lean angle. Agreement between observed and predicted values was assessed, and the association between lean angle and MS was determined via least squares linear regression.
Results—162 trials totaling 3,368 strides (mean, 21 strides/trial) representing trotting speeds of 1.5 to 4.7 m/s and circle radii of 1.8 to 11.2 m were conducted in both lunging directions. Differences between observed and predicted lean angles were small (mean ± SD difference, −1.2 ± 2.4°) but significantly greater for circling to the right versus left. Movement symmetry values had a larger spread for the head than for the pelvis, and values of all but 1 MS variable changed with body lean angle.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Body lean angle agreed well with predictions from gravitational and centripetal forces, but differences observed between lunging directions emphasize the need to investigate other factors that might influence this variable. For a fair comparison of MS between directions, body lean angle needs to be controlled for or corrected with the regression equations. Whether the regression equations need to be adapted for lame horses requires additional investigation.