Equine Biomechanics research is supported by Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through the project, “Equine biomechanics: kinematic and dynamometric analysis of the normal equine locomotion and comparison of the effect of different conformations and orthopaedic treatments.”
This project is the first approach in Portugal to this area. The Principal Investigator is João Abrantes, Professor of Biomechanics. It’s is first work on the area of Veterinary despite his experience on biomechanics applied methodologies. J. Abrantes is affiliated to MovLab/CICANT. The veterinary knowledge will be provided by Manuel Pequito and Maria Gaivão, Veterinary Masters and they are affiliated to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias and CICV. As soon as possible the project will rely on the contribution of internships, with a master degree, in order to support the applied methodologies on the relation horses / data acquisition of pressure plates and 2D kinematic and the development of 3D kinematic models developed based on Vicon system following by study of applied inverse dynamic.
The biomechanical assessments can be helpful to objectively assess a horse’s potential aptitudes, identify the areas that need focusing in the study of different treatments of specific orthopaedic pathologies and in the training of both horse and rider. This is where we pretend to focus and will have a great economical impact in the global horse industry.
Some baseline elements to studied using biomechanical models related the horse conformation with balance, symmetry, efficiency, power and coordination. The factors that can be analyzed are: the symmetry of gait and inter-limb coordination; the center of gravity position, its displacement and velocity; the stride length, its frequency and speed; the joint angles associated to joint stability; the power generation in the joints, the angular momentum on the ground, the rider posture and the rider influence.
Using the data obtained through the biomechanical analysis it is now possible of developing studies about the motor pattern behavior and its components, such as the coefficient of variation of data kinematics (linear and angular, displacements, velocities and accelerations), data kinetics (ground reaction forces) and data dynamics (joints moments, joint power) of the performance.