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In the United Kingdom, researchers examined movement asymmetry in-hand at the trot in 60 polo horses using wireless inertial measurement devices attached to the poll and pelvis. The horses were selected from those actively in training at three different operations. Measurements obtained were compared with perfect symmetry and a range of published values for normal horses. Horses were considered lame when head or pelvis movement asymmetry was outside the range of published normal values, and these values were compared between left and right limb lame horses.
Based on two published asymmetry thresholds for lameness, about 30 to 50% of the horses were outside the normal range in their head or pelvic movements, resulting in 64% of the horses being classified as lame. The asymmetries were evenly distributed between left and right sides, and none of the measured parameters were associated with age. The authors concluded that since more than 50% of polo horses exhibit gait asymmetries consistent with lameness, more work should be done to see how these asymmetries may be related to painful conditions, as this could impact the animal’s performance and well-being.
— Pfau et al. EVJ 2016;48:517-523
Retraining racehorses for a new career after their racing career is over has always been an important part of equestrian sports. This prospective cohort study examined behavioral characteristics of retired Thoroughbred racehorses to identify those associated with success after they had been “repurposed” for a new equestrian sport. Twenty-five 2-year-old mares and…