Horse Gait Analysis: Eight-Point Sensor System Shows Promise

Horse gait analysis is getting more advanced: A recently developed and tested comprehensive motion sensor system can simultaneously record and analyze data remotely from eight parts of a moving horse body, researchers say.
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horse gait analysis
Far from being limited to lameness evaluations, system could also help improve breeding programs by providing objective data about natural gaits in individuals, Bragança said, snd it could even lead to improved health monitoring in a practical setting. | Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

Horse gait analysis is getting more advanced: A recently developed and tested comprehensive motion sensor system can simultaneously record and analyze data remotely from eight parts of a moving horse body.

The strategically placed inertial measurement units (IMUs) on the horse can help evaluate gait and movement in a variety of situations, said Filipe Serra Bragança, DVM, a PhD candidate in equine musculoskeletal biology at Utrecht University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Department of Equine Sciences, in The Netherlands.

By collecting kinematic movement data wirelessly from the horse’s poll, withers, sacrum, sternum (underside of the barrel), and each leg, veterinarians and even judges could complement their visual assessments of horses in motion, he said. Such a system could give critical information about lameness, neurological disorders, performance, and natural gaits

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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