Biomex is our equine gait analysis assessment, in which we use some of the latest technologies to track and measure your horses locomotion. The data collected from our Biomex assessment is accurate, objective and reliable. The technologies used are non-invasive, portable and designed for 'in the field' use, and have been specifically developed to address the need for equine lameness diagnosis, treatment monitoring and performance enhancement.
Currently, the assessment of equine locomotion and lameness is carried out visually and cannot be accurately, reliably or consistently quantified or communicated. By using high speed video cameras, equine biomechanical software, and inertia measuring sensors (IMU's), we can accurately measure and evaluate the horses locomotion, individual joint flexions and stride patterns. As a consequence, we obtain a large base of usable and quantified data from each assessment, the results of which can be communicated easily and objectively. Due to the consistency of these assessments they can be easily replicated, allowing for the comparison of data between past, current and future evaluations. This plays an important role in lameness prevention, treatment monitoring and maintaining performance in the modern sport horse.
Progressive Equine use two data based technologies, either separately or in conjunction with each other, to accurately track and monitor your horses locomotion.
Quintic is our 2D video based gait analysis system. This involves the attachment of light
weight foam spherical markers to joint centers of the limbs, using double sided tape.
We then capture footage of your horse trotting, either in hand or under saddle, using a specially developed high speed video camera (300fps). The data gathered is then analysed using Quintic's equine biomechanical software. The results of the analysis include accurate and objective measures of individual join flexion's, hyperextension's and stride patterns.
EquiGait is a fully wireless 'multi sensor technology' that allows for the assessment
of equine locomotion in any gait in hand, on the lunge, or under saddle. Our system
consists of 5 wireless inertia measuring units, or IMU's, which are strategically placed
on the body of the horse (poll, wither, sacroiliac and both tuba coxae). The sensors record and provide data on the symmetry of the horses movement. Unlike most systems, EquiGait offers primary versus compensatory gait asymmetry measures, allowing us to identify the actual limb most responsible for any issue with performance.
EquiGait IMU sensors, which are attached to the poll, wither, sacroilliac and left and right tuba coxae
The data gathered from our Biomex assessments is analysed and a detailed report is prepared and forwarded to the owner. We recommend our clients schedule an appointment to discuss the results of their report with us over the phone.
It's well known that all horses move somewhat asymmetrically. But it's also well known that horses that consistently load one side of the body more than the other, outside their range of 'normal variation,' could either have a problem or are likely to develop a problem without some kind of intervention.
Although these technologies do not distinguish between 'pain related' & 'non-pain related' asymmetries, the results of our Biomex assessment can assist the owner to better understand the immediate needs of their horse. This can result in the need for further investigation, or not. Further investigation could involve your vet for lameness diagnostics, saddle fitter, farrier or body worker, through to discussions with your riding instructor involving some strength, conditioning and flexibility training.
Baseline Assessment: A Biomex baseline assessment is conducted when your horse is 'perceived sound.' This is highly recommended for all performance horses. As there is no 'industry standard' for equine locomotion, this initial assessment gathers valuable information on your horses individual symmetry of movement, joint flexion's and hyperextension's, and stride pattern. A baseline assessment is an important part of the process, as any future assessments can be compared to the horses 'base line' results. This allows for accurate comparison and evaluation for the purposes of lameness detection, injury rehabilitation and/or performance purposes.
Lameness: Although we cannot and do not diagnose lameness, our equipment can be used to gather important and useful data for the purposes of lameness detection and during the diagnostic process along side your vet. Our Biomex assessments often show measures well outside the range of 'natural variation,' and as such we regularly recommend vet intervention. On the day of the lameness assessment we play the part of 'data collectors' to the vet. Using our equipment to gather accurate, objective and quantifiable data can assist in the diagnosis process.
On the day of the lameness work up, our job is to conduct a baseline assessment prior to the vet evaluating the horse. We then gather further data after each nerve block and trot out, or whatever the vet feels is needed. The information is passed on to the vet, which enables them to compare quantified measures of change to the horses gait between nerve blocks and our original baseline assessment. The information can then be used to guide the vet in the direction they feel is best for the horse. Once the information is forwarded onto the vet, and they are comfortable to move into the next stage of the diagnosis, we play no further part in the process.
Equipment Testing: Objectively assessing the effect that equipment has upon locomotion, through the gathering of accurate and quantifiable data, is an important service that we offer. We have found that changes in saddles, and/or girths, can impact comfort, and as such, locomotion and performance.
Russell Guire from Centaur Biomechanics used Quintic Gait Analysis equipment to conduct independent research into the impact of the Fairfax girth on equine locomotion. This research was then used by the British National Dressage Team in their decision to use the Fairfax girth in the 2012 London Olympics. The result being a team gold medal!
Hoof Care: Hoof care has a significant impact upon the horse's comfort, soundness and performance. A change in foot balance and alignment, and/or shoeing package, can create a change to your horse. Like much of the industry, measuring the effect of farriery on locomotion is done visually and is not accurate nor reliable.
We often use our equipment to evaluate locomotion of performance horses after a change in shoe or shoeing package. We are also able to measure the changes a shoeing package has on the locomotion of horses with lameness. By using quantified data to measure these changes, we can be assured that what we are doing as farriers/trimmers is meeting the immediate needs of the horse.
Case Study: This case study showcases how our Biomex
assessments can work in detecting asymmetries, assisting vets
with diagnosis, and quantifying differences due to a change in
foot balance, alignment and shoeing package.
The horse in the case study was what is termed NQR (not quite
right). The owner was a little unsure of the problem and had a
vet assess the horse. Whilst not visibly lame to the eye, the vet
agreed something was slightly off, but could not determine the
cause or its origin.
The client contacted us and asked if we could complete a full
Biomex assessment on her horse. It was hoped that we could
determine where the issue was coming from. The result of our assessment showed a differential in Poll asymmetry indicating the horse was loading its RF less than the LF.
A couple of days later we attended the property again to gather
data for the vet, who was going to evaluate the RF based upon
the results of our initial Biomex assessment. We first conducted
a baseline assessment, which showed a poll asymmetry of 38R
in 97% of strides measured. These numbers were almost identical to our first assessment a few days before.
The vet then assessed the horse and determined there was
some heel pain in the right front foot. A nerve block to the RF
(Palmar Digital) was administered by the vet to block out the
foot. After waiting for the block to take effect, the horse was trot
out for evaluation. The result was a change in poll symmetry, with the measures going from 38R in 97% of strides measured in the baseline assessment, down to 28R in 97% of strides measured. This indicated that the horse was now more comfortable loading the RF than it was in the initial baseline assessment.
Baseline Assessment showing significant poll asymmetry of 38R, indicating less load is being placed upon the RF
First nerve block evaluation showing a decreased measure in poll asymmetry, indicating an improvement in loading of the RF
Second nerve block evaluation showing a further decrease in poll asymmetry, indicating further improvement in loading of the RF
Photo and Radiograph of the RF prior to the change in shoeing package.
Photo and Radiograph of the RF after the change in shoeing package. It can be seen there is an improvement in phalangeal alignmen
Post shoeing package assessment showing a Poll asymmetry measure much less than the original baseline, and in line with the measures seen after the 2 nerve blocks a week earlier
As the measures were still well outside the range of 'natural variation' the vet then administered a second nerve block (Abaxial Sesamoid) to block out the foot and pastern. The result of this trot out was another improvement in RF measures, which came down to 20R in 95% of strides measured, from the original baseline measure of 38R in 97% of strides measured.
Although there was still a significant Poll asymmetry the vet decided to stop the evaluation there. We were asked to re-shoe the horse with a wedge pad to improve alignment and reduce shock into the foot at our earliest convenience. We were also asked if we could use our Biomex equipment to re-evaluate the horse 'post shoeing' and forward all photos, radiographs and assessments to the vet for further evaluation and their record keeping.
Two days later we were able to x-ray and re-shoe the horse as requested by the vet. We used a rolled toe shoe with breakover placed at or about the tip of P3, and a 3deg wedge pad and dental impression material (DIM) between the foot and the pad. The pads we used were from Advanced Equine Comfort in the USA, as these pads have been independently tested to be the most shock absorbing wedge pads available in the industry. This improved phalangeal alignment and reduced the length of the foot, from the heels of the shoe to the point of breakover, which can be seen in the photos and radiographs.
Although we did not quite achieve alignment with this horse, its conformation is a little 'over at the knee' and we felt the need to guard against elevating PA too much and creating a different problem. This was especially so with breakover being placed so close to the tip of P3.
We waited another 5 days before re assessing the horse. This was to ensure the horse had 'fully adapted to the change in shoeing package. The measures from the trot outs for the post shoeing evaluation, without any nerve unaesthetic, showed significant improvement in poll symmetry when compared to the baseline assessment of a week earlier. The post shoeing
measures showed a poll asymmetry of 18R in 89% of strides measured, which compared to the original 'baseline measures' of 38R in 97% of strides measured. This was a similar measure to the week before 'post nerve blocks' where the horses poll asymmetry was 20R in 95% of strides measured.
The biggest positives showcased in this case study, and many more like it that we have been involved in, is that we can now use 'in the field' technology to gather accurate and usable data. These objective measures of lameness, and changes in locomotion, have been the missing pieces of critical information needed to make key decisions related to equine health and performance in the past.
To view a copy of a Biomex assessment click the PDF link:
To view HoofScan Inclusions, Requirements and Costs click the PDF link: