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Equestrian Biomechanics and the Use of Technology

June 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 218

Anyone who goes to the gym has no doubt seen or heard of gait analysis being used to make sure we've got the right gym shoes for support and to minimise injury. On face value this may seem like some kind of a marketing scam to get us to buy the most expensive pair of trainers on the high street!

However, there is a massive amount of knowledge on a sports science level that can be gained from studying biomechanics and gait analysis. Sports scientists can gain a wholly objective view of how an individual moves and where they stand in relation to 'normal' gait patterns. When relating this to horses, such as when diagnosing lameness for example, results of an equine gait analysis can give us an incredibly accurate picture of how that individual moves and also highlighting where he may be compensating for pain elsewhere in his body.

Studying equine biomechanics is a relatively new phenomenon but there is a lot of research on horse's gaits being done using biomechanical methods, in a fantastically non-invasive way. More interestingly, steps are being made to make it possible to perform gait analysis in a more 'natural' situation as opposed to the foreign setting of a high speed treadmill as found at a therapy centre.

Natural situations can be environments that your horse encounters daily such as an indoor school, a course of jumps or the gallops - you can imagine the application of this to modern day sport if advancements reach this point. Much like the recent buzz in sports media about the need for goal line technology in high profile football games, there are suggestions within the industry that biomechanical gait analysis could be utilised to assist in judging dressage. Could we now be looking at applying objective qualities in a horse, such as expression within a pace in terms of carpal flexion angles and using this to score a test?

This would signal a whole new era of equestrian activity with technology being brought into the assessment stages. In various sports, we have seen technology utilised to correct where people may make errors and it is only football, where those who have the power have tried to prevent this from taking place. In terms of the equestrian field, it may be of benefit but with any major changes being introduced, opinion will always be divided with some favouring it, whilst others long for tradition.

For further information on similar topics, visit Anything Equine who are experts in the equestrian field. They provide a range of Anything Equine behavioural articles, which offer equestrian advice and tips for those who are interested.

Source: EzineArticles
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