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Clinicians and researchers in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden used lameness exams and quantitative measures of gait asymmetry to describe a series of cases that included 98 horses presenting for prepurchase exams (84 with minor and 14 with major veterinary concerns) and horses presenting for a single limb lameness. Six different clinicians performed the examinations while vertical movement asymmetry was measured using video motion capture.
Most (96%) were warmbloods with two-thirds used for dressage and most of the others for show jumping. Age and sports discipline had no association with asymmetry. Individually, none of the measured asymmetry variables identified prepurchase horses with minor or major veterinary concerns. However, a forelimb lameness pattern that included multiple measures of asymmetry did distinguish these two groups. Horses that presented for lameness were more asymmetrical than the prepurchase exam horses. Unfortunately, while it was hoped that the overall symmetry score would distinguish horses that were unfit for competition from those that were fit for competition, this was not the case.