Two-dimensional kinematics of the flat-walking Tennessee Walking Horse yearling

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Abstract

Gaited horse research is limited, with the majority of the research focusing on the measurement of the temporal variables of adult-gaited horses. The objective was to measure the fore and hind limb kinematics of the flat-walking Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) yearling. Four TWH yearlings were filmed at 60 Hz being led at a consistent flat walk that followed breed standards. Reflective markers attached along palpation points of the joint centres of the fore and hind limbs were tracked for five strides for each yearling. During stance, the elbow (154±3°), carpal (185±3°), fore (222±9 and 221±9°) and hind fetlocks (216±11°), hip (111±3°), stifle (157±4°) and tarsal (167±9°) joints demonstrated peak extension with the forelimb fetlock joint having double peaks of extension. During swing, the same joints demonstrated peak flexion with the elbow (109±3°) and hip (88±6°) peak flexion occurring later in the swing phase. The carpal (54±4°) joint demonstrated a greater range of motion than the tarsus (40±9°) with less vertical displacement. The hind fetlock (60±10°) had greater range of joint motion compared with the forelimb fetlock (45±8°), but lacked the double peak of extension during swing. Kinematic measurements will assist in objectively defining the gait for both clinical and performance applications.

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