Objective—To compare effects of 4 types of stimulation devices attached to the hind feet on hoof flight, joint angles, and net joint powers of trotting horses.
Animals—8 clinically normal horses.
Procedures—Horses were evaluated under 5 conditions in random order: no stimulators, loose straps (10 g), lightweight tactile stimulators (55 g), limb weights (700 g), and limb weights with tactile stimulators (700 g). Reflective markers on the hind limbs were tracked during the swing phase of 6 trotting trials performed at consistent speed to determine peak hoof heights and flexion angles of the hip, stifle, tarsal, and metatarsophalangeal joints. Inverse dynamic analysis was used to calculate net joint energies. Comparisons among stimulators were made.
Results—Peak hoof height was lowest for no stimulators (mean ± SD, 5.42 ± 1.38 cm) and loose straps (6.72 ± 2.19 cm), intermediate for tactile stimulators (14.13 ± 7.33 cm) and limb weights (16.86 ± 15.93 cm), and highest for limb weights plus tactile stimulators (24.35 ± 13.06 cm). Compared with no stimulators, net tarsal energy generation increased for tactile stimulators, limb weights, and limb weights plus tactile stimulators, but only the weighted conditions increased net energy generation across the hip joint.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The type and weight of foot stimulators affected the magnitude of the kinematic and kinetic responses and the joints affected. These findings suggest that different types of foot stimulators are appropriate for rehabilitation of specific hind limb gait deficits, such as toe dragging and a short stride.
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.