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Vet Q. 1994 May;16 Suppl 2:S87-90.

Kinematics of treadmill versus overground locomotion in horses.

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  • 1Department of General and Large Animal Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


A kinematic analysis was carried out to compare treadmill and overground locomotion in horses at the trot. Stride variables and limb and trunk movements of 10 Dutch Warmblood horses were measured using the CODA-3 gait analysis system. Overground recordings were made on a rubber ground surface and on an asphalt track. Treadmill recordings were taken after a controlled habituation programme and at the same velocities as measured overground. On asphalt, a shorthened stride duration and a decreased vertical displacement of the withers were found compared with those on rubber ground. On the treadmill, stance duration of the forelimbs was longer than for either overground condition. Correspondingly, the hind limbs were placed earlier than the forelimbs in making diagonal ground contact in overground locomotion, but this changed to preceding forelimbs on the treadmill. Both forelimbs and hind limbs were moved more caudally during the retraction phase on the treadmill, while no differences were found in the protraction angle. The vertical movement of the hooves as well as the withers was smaller on the treadmill than on rubber ground. Treadmill belt velocity decreased by 9% during the stance phase. This is supposed to be an important reason for the differences in biomechanics and kinematics between treadmill and overground locomotion, which must be kept in mind when data obtained during treadmill locomotion have to be extrapolated to overground conditions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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