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Equine Posture Analysis: Development of a Simple Tool to Record Equine Thoracolumbar Posture

Tabor, Gillian, Elliott, Ami, Mann, Natacha, Williams, Jane
Journal of equine veterinary science 2019 v.73 pp. 81-83
cameras, horses, photographs, posture, spine (bones), surface area
Musculoskeletal assessment of horses includes assessment of conformation, symmetry, and postural alignment of the equine spine; however, objective methods to analyse the spine have high costs and are logistically complex. This study aimed to assess the intrarater and interrater reliability of simple methods designed to objectively measure thoracolumbar (TL) posture from photographs. A sample of horses (n = 190) were photographed with a digital camera in two positions of stance, and also a static image was captured from video at the toe off phase of the right hind in walk. Measurements of TL angle, depth, and area of lordosis were tested for intrarater and interrater reliability. Repeated measures of TL angle showed no significant differences between measurements taken by one observer, but TL depth and surface area measures were not found to be consistently reliable. Interrater reliability was poor for all measurements across three observers. TL angle method of recording thoracolumbar posture in horses has the potential to be used to gain an objective measure of posture when standardized positioning is applied by a single experimenter or clinician.