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Analysing Equine Gait

Quintic Case Study : Quintic Biomechanics to Analyse Equine Gait.
Mr Russell Guire, Centaur Biomechanics

Equine_1
Background:
Douglas, an advanced dressage horse sustained a left fore injury in January 2016 during training. After a six-week period of rest followed by a rehabilitation programme Douglas was back in full work mid summer of 2016 and is looking to do a competition later this year.

How Quintic Biomechanics was used: When Douglas became injured, the owner wanted to objectively track his progress throughout his treatment and rehabilitation. A full 2D motion capture biomechanical high speed (400fps) analysis was undertaken. The data was objectively looked at for the whole horse locomotion but particular focus was made to the fore limb kinematics. As well as the angular data, high speed motion analysis was undertaken focusing on his foot balance and loading patterns.

During each screening phase of Douglas, a minimum of 6 walks (both left and right) were filmed at 400 fps using a Quintic 4MP camera and automatically digitised using Quintic Biomechanics software. The following marker template was used for all sessions to enable consistent, repeatable data to be analysed in Quintic and within the Equine Report. Further details and example reports can be viewed here: https://www.quinticsports.com/equine/

Equine_2Anatomical Marking: 19mm reflective markers were positioned on
the following anatomical landmarks

 

From the initial assessment, Douglas showed a significant asymmetry between his left and right fore fetlock. The left fetlock had reduced hyperextension during the loading phase. Fetlock hyperextension has been shown to be a reliable indicator of the amount of ground reaction forces exposed to the horse. Given that Douglas had injured his left fore, it would be expected that the left fetlock would display a reduced amount of hyperextension. The aim of doing the motion capture was to determine objectively to what extent the fetlock was loaded under different conditions and enable comparisons throughout the treatment and rehabilitation phase of his programme. It was also interesting to note how the change in gait pattern influenced other parameters, such as stride length, knee, elbow and shoulder angles.

Equine_3
Working with the farrier and physio, Douglas underwent an extensive rehabilitation programme, during which repeated biomechanical analysis was carried out to determine if the asymmetries seen at the beginning of the treatment had altered and reduced. Pleasingly, the difference observed following the six month programme highlighted Douglas was equally weighting his left and right fetlock along with flexing his left and right carpus equally.

 

Equine_4
Angular Analysis – Quintic Biomechanics

Equine_5
Quintic Animation – Fore Limb (400fps)

Douglas is now assessed every three months to note any changes either positive or in some cases, negative. If negative, the owner can liaise with the vet, physio and farrier discussing if there is anything collectively that can be done to prevent a long term negative change. One of the main benefits of the Quintic motion capture is that the system can pick up any small changes which the human eye cannot see. It is these changes which could later manifest themselves into injury. Therefore, early detection is crucial to help prevent further injury and maintain performance.

Equine Biomechanics | Quintic Sports