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Journal of Biomechanics 35 (2002) 563571 Fetlock joint kinematics differ with age in thoroughbred racehorses

Summary: Journal of Biomechanics 35 (2002) 563571
Fetlock joint kinematics differ with age in thoroughbred racehorses
Michael T. Butcher, M.A. Ashley-Ross*
Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, P.O. Box 7325, Winston-Salem, NC-27109, USA
Accepted 23 November 2001
Fetlock joint kinematics during galloping in 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old Thoroughbreds in race training were quantified to determine
if differences due to age could account for the observation that 2-year old Thoroughbred racehorses incur a high number of injuries
to the bones and soft tissues in the distal forelimbs during training and at the outset of racing. Twelve Thoroughbred racehorses
were videotaped in the sagittal plane at 250 frames/s during their daily galloping workout on a 7/8 mile sand-surface training track.
Four galloping strides were recorded for each horse and subsequently digitized to determine fetlock joint angles of the leading
forelimb during the limb support period of a stride. Four kinematic variables were measured from each stride's angular profile: angle
of fetlock joint dorsi-flexion at mid-stance, negative angular velocity, positive angular velocity and time from hoof impact to mid-
stance phase of limb support. The 2-year old Thoroughbreds had significantly quicker rates of dorsi-flexion of their fetlock joints
than 3- (p 0:01), 4- (p 0:01), and 5-year old (po0:01) Thoroughbreds following impact of the leading forelimb during moderate
galloping (avg. 14 m/s). Higher rates of dorsi-flexion in young Thoroughbreds may reflect immaturity (lack of stiffness) of the
suspensory apparatus tissues. r 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Horse; Galloping; Fetlock joint; Suspensory apparatus; Kinematics; Dorsi-flexion
1. Introduction
As a result of the evolution of the hoof, horses possess


Source: Ashley-Ross, Miriam A. - Department of Biology, Wake Forest University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine