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Quantitative Methods for the Analysis of Equine Locomotion and Their Applications to Other Species

MARC H. RATZLAFF
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/29.1.267 267-285 First published online: 1 February 1989

Abstract

SYNOPSIS. Although the methods discussed in this report have been applied to biomechanical studies on horses, these techniques have broad applications to locomotor research on all species. Cinematography has been and will continue to be the most widely applied of these methods. Recent advances in video imaging will complement, but not completely replace, this technique. Electrogoniometry has been primarily restricted to use on human beings and horses. This method has far broader kinematic applications and its use should be seriously investigated by researchers studying other species. Force plates have been used widely, and with the advances in research technology, even broader applications of this technique will be available. The technology used in the development of the instrumented shoes can be used to develop instrumentation for investigations in other species. Substantial modifications including the miniaturization of electrical components will be necessary.

The references cited in this discussion, although in no way all-inclusive, indicate that a vast amount of research using a variety of methods has been conducted on the locomotion of animals. We have just begun to define and understand the complex interactions of the musculoskeletal system with other body systems. Students of locomotion must use their imagination and ingenuity in refining and adapting these techniques, and in developing new methods to solve the many unanswered questions.

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