Repeatability of the Center of Pressure during a six-week shoeing interval.
Hemmen, L. van
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Lameness in the horse is one of the most common equine health problems in the world. Several systems, based on kinetics or kinematics, have been developed to make the observations of the lameness more objective. A new system based on measuring the center of pressure (COP) is using a combination of both. The center of pressure (COP) pathway quantifies the dynamic load distribution under the hoof. From this pattern it is concluded that the repeatability in one day is high. The objective was to investigate the repeatability of this pattern during a six-week shoeing interval. The repeatability of the COP pathway system is also compared with the repeatability of the Qhorse system. A group of six owner- sound horses were used in the study which lasted, due to a period of quarantine of the horses in the middle of the study, 55 days. Measurements took place every other day. For the Qhorse data the horses trotted three on the straight line. Using 3D optical motion capture kinematic data were collected. Symmetry parameters minDiff and maxDiff (difference between the two minima/maxima of the movement) of the head, withers and pelvis were calculated. For the COP data the horses trotted over a pressure plate until four hits per hoof were obtained. In a hoof-bound coordinate system the COP path was determined. An analysis of variance was used for both systems to test for the effect of measurement day and horse or limb, the sum of squares of the between and within subject effects were calculated to access repeatability. The repeatability of the COP pattern during a six- week shoeing cycle was low . The repeatability of the Qhorse system for individual horse was high and values of minDiff and maxDiff for head, withers and pelvis were consistent for an individual. The repeatability of the COP pattern and Qhorse were low (r < 0,4) for measuring the locomotion of a horse every other day during one trimming cycle. Main limitations of the study were the position of the markers, the extended study period and the possible influence of the handler on the measurements. Further research of the repeatability of the COP pattern is required with a system that measures more than one step at the pressure plates. A longer period in which several hoof trimming intervals can be compared is recommended.