Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Effect of Speed and Surface Type on Individual Rein and Combined Left-Right Circle Movement Asymmetry in Horses on the Lunge

Pfau, Thilo; Persson-Sjodin, Emma; Gardner, Harriet; Orssten, Olivia; Hernlund, Elin; Rhodin, Marie;


Differences in movement asymmetry between surfaces and with increasing speed increase the complexity of incorporating gait analysis measurements from lunging into clinical decision making. This observational study sets out to quantify by means of quantitative gait analysis the influence of surface and speed on individual-rein movement asymmetry measurements and their averages across reins (average-rein measurements). Head, withers, and pelvic movement asymmetry was quantified in 27 horses, identified previously as presenting with considerable movement asymmetries on the straight, during trot in hand and on the lunge on two surfaces at two speeds. Mixed linear models (p < 0.05) with horse as the random factor and surface and speed category (and direction) as fixed factors analyzed the effects on 11 individual-rein and average-rein asymmetry measures. Limits of agreement quantified differences between individual-rein and average-rein measurements. A higher number of individual-rein asymmetry variables-particularly when the limb that contributed to movement asymmetry on the straight was on the inside of the circle-were affected by speed (nine variables, all p <= 0.047) and surface (three variables, all p <= 0.037) compared with average-rein asymmetry variables (two for speed, all p <= 0.003; two for surface, all p <= 0.046). Six variables were significantly different between straight-line and average-rein assessments (all p <= 0.031), and asymmetry values were smaller for average-rein assessments. Limits of agreement bias varied between +0.4 and +4.0 mm with standard deviations between 3.2 and 12.9 mm. Fewer average-rein variables were affected by speed highlighting the benefit of comparing left and right rein measurements. Only one asymmetry variable showed a surface difference for individual-rein and average-rein data, emphasizing the benefit of assessing surface differences on each rein individually. Variability in straight-line vs. average-rein measurements across horses and exercise conditions highlight the potential for average-rein measurements during the diagnostic process; further studies after diagnostic analgesia are needed.


horse; movement symmetry; lunge; surface; speed

Published in

Frontiers in Veterinary Science

2021, volume: 8, article number: 692031

Authors' information

Pfau, Thilo
University of London
Persson Sjödin, Emma (Persson-Sjödin, Emma)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Gardner, Harriet
University of London
Orssten, Olivia
University of London
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)

UKÄ Subject classification

Medical Bioscience

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)