People are getting bigger – fact. Sure horses might be big and strong, but how much can they confortably carry? Christa Lesté-Lasserre at The Horse tell us of new Japanese research which has revealed a reliable method for ensuring our horses aren’t getting overloaded.
By measuring gait symmetry—the evenness of a horse’s left steps to its right during various gaits—scientists are able to gather significant information about loading, or the weight horses can carry on their backs. Gaits that get sufficiently out of sync, they say, are a strong indicator of how much is too much.
“We showed a widely applicable and welfare-friendly method to evaluate loading capacity of horses by gait analysis using an accelerometer,” said Akihiro Matsuura, PhD, lecturer in the department of animal science at the Kitasato University School of Veterinary Medicine in Aomori. Scientific analysis of the accelerometer readings revealed certain “peaks” that could be defined as the symmetry of the gait, he added.