Reasons for performing study: Clinical history and examination are important features in diagnosis of equine back dysfunction. However, interpretation is subjective and therefore may vary substantially.
Objectives: To establish a clinical tool to objectively evaluate the function of the equine back, in the form of a database on the kinematics of the back at the walk and trot in fully functioning riding horses.
Methods: Thirty-three fully functioning riding horses walked and trotted on a treadmill. Morphometrics and kinematics were tested for correlations to age, height, weight and stride length, and differences between gender (geldings and mares) and use (dressage and showjumping).
Results: A database for range of movement and symmetry of movement for extension and flexion, lateral bending, lateral excursion and axial rotation was presented. Symmetry values were very high for all variables. Significant differences were observed in use and gender. Age was negatively correlated to extension and flexion of the thoracolumbar junction.
Conclusions: Interrelationships between use, gender and age to conformation and movement were established.
Potential relevance: The database provides a basis for objective reference for diagnosis, therapy and rehabilitation of clinical cases of back dysfunction.