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Forskningsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Prevalence of vertical movement asymmetries at trot in Standardbred and Swedish Warmblood foals

Zetterberg, Ebba; Leclercq, Anna; Persson-Sjödin, Emma; Lundblad, Johan; Haubro Andersen, Pia; Hernlund, Elin; Rhodin, Marie


Many horses, just before and during their athletic career, show vertical movement asymmetries, to the same degree as clinically lame horses. It is unknown whether these asymmetries are caused by pain or have alternative explanations, such as inherent biological variation. In the latter case, movement asymmetries would be expected to be present at a very young age. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of movement asymmetries in foals. Motion analysis, using an inertial measurement unit-based system (Equinosis), was performed on 54 foals (31 Swedish Warmbloods, 23 Standardbreds) during straight-line trot. The foals were between 4-13 weeks old and considered sound by their owners. Differences between the vertical minimum and maximum values recorded for the head (HDmin, HDmax) and pelvis (PDmin, PDmax) between left and right stance were calculated for each stride and an average was computed for each trial. Thresholds for asymmetry were defined as absolute trial mean >6 mm for HDmin and HDmax, and >3 mm for PDmin and PDmax. These thresholds were exceeded for one or several parameters by 83% of Standardbred foals and 45% of Swedish Warmblood foals, demonstrating surprisingly high prevalence of asymmetries in young foals, although the risk of repetitive strain injuries and cumulative risk of trauma injuries was expected to be low in this age group. Standardbred foals showed similar prevalence of asymmetries to that reported previously for yearling Standardbred trotters, so relatively higher prevalence of movement asymmetries may be expected among trotters as a breed. In general, vertical head and pelvic movement asymmetries can be anticipated among foals considered sound by their owners. A better understanding of the aetiology of asymmetries is needed for correct interpretation of objective symmetry measurements in different populations of horses.


Horses; Pelvis; Pain; Traumatic injury; Traumatic injury risk factors; Body limbs; Sweden; Walking

Publicerad i

2023, Volym: 18, nummer: 4, artikelnummer: e0284105