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Pressure plate analysis of the locomotion pattern of Warmblood foals in the first 6 weeks after birth

By D.M.E. de Hair


The aim of this study was to analyze the pressure plate data that occur during walking and trotting in foals and how this develops in the first 6 weeks of age. Also the moment when a foal has the same gait pattern and forces like an adult horse has been determined. Nine sound foals were followed for 6 weeks after birth. They had to walk and trot over a pressure plate embedded in a custom-made runway. There is a significant correlation between the front limbs and the hind limbs for the peak vertical force (nPVF), the peak vertical pressure (nPVP) and the vertical impulse (nVI) in trot during the 6 weeks. In walk no significant correlation is found. The asymmetry indices show different significant correlations and gave every week different values for walking and trotting so during the 6 weeks there wasn't a significant correlation between the asymmetry indices. The data were compared to that of adult horses and there is found that the values of the nPVF are somewhat higher despite the decline that is visible at week 1 in the foals at walk and in trot they start the same but in week 6 they are higher than in adult horses, the nPVP starts higher but at week 6 is almost the same at walk and at trot the nPVP is higher than in adult horses, the nVI increases during the 6 weeks in walk and trot and is at week 6 comparable with that of adult horses. The conclusion is that foals at 6 weeks are still a little bit unstable and asymmetrical. The nPVF, nPVP and nVI are around 6 weeks the same or almost the same as in adult horses but the distribution between the 4 limbs changes every week. The fact that the nPVF is higher in week 0 than in week 1 and week 0 is the period in which the foals are the most unstable and uncoordinated, this can be a risk full period to get injuries and develop diseases like OC(D). Also in the weeks after week 1, foals are still unstable and so they are more vulnerable to injuries especially in the pasture were the surface isn't smooth and they run, jump etc

Topics: foal, analysis, instability, pressure, osteochondrosis
Year: 2014
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