Movement Asymmetry in Working Polo Ponies Evaluated

Polo ponies showed a high degree of movement asymmetry, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the animal is lame or in pain.

No account yet? Register


From starting and stopping to turning and galloping, the repetitive movements of polo ponies place demands on their muscoluskeletal system that could predispose them to injury and lameness. Researchers recently determined that, compared with performance horses in other disciplines, polo ponies display a high degree of movement asymmetry, though this doesn’t always mean the animal is lame or in pain.

To take a closer look at this movement asymmetry, Thilo Pfau, PhD, a senior lecturer in bio-engineering at The Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom, evaluated 60 polo horses using inertial measurement units (IMUs) and compared the results to two established thresholds for movement symmetry. The current thresholds are based on slightly different approaches.

“One commonly used and cited threshold is 3 mm asymmetry for pelvic movement and 6 mm asymmetry for head movement,” he explained.

The other system, which Pfau used in his study, results in slightly higher asymmetry values. “The threshold for pelvic movement in our system is more like a 4 to 5 mm threshold and for head movement it’s more like 8 to 9 mm, but we accounted for the difference,” he said

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you begin to prepare/stock up on products/purchase products for these skin issues?
100 votes · 100 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!