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Summary

The ground reaction force patterns from 20 clinically sound Dutch Warmblood horses (Group A) were recorded at the normal walk. The data from four to 10 stance phases of each limb were computer averaged after normalisation to the animal's body mass and to the stance time. This analysis method allowed comparison of data from left and right fore- and hind-limbs within and between horses. The left-to-right symmetry in the reaction force peaks of contralateral limbs of one horse exceeded 90 per cent. The time in the stance phase at which the peaks occur were even more symmetrically distributed. A characteristic force-force diagram was constructed by plotting the longitudinal horizontal and the vertical ground reaction forces against each other; in this way the symmetry of loading of contralateral fore- and hindlimbs could be interpreted easily. Force plate tracings were obtained from eight horses (Group B) in three succesive years. The similarity of the tracings from a sound, well-trained horse over that period was better than the differences between horses of the same breed.