Importance of Equine Biomechanics in Thoroughbreds

Importance of Equine Biomechanics in Thoroughbreds

If you think one Thoroughbred is the same as the next, think again. The latest technology involving the use of digital video and computer modeling programs in an evolving science known as equine biomechanics will certainly prove you wrong. Defined as the study of biomechanics as it applies to horses, equine biomechanics analyzes the physical structure, conformation and gait of a particular horse to determine its weaknesses and strengths. This becomes a subject that holds much interest especially when applied to race horses such as Thoroughbreds.

Horse racing Thoroughbreds has always been a sport that depends on the speed of a horse. What makes a horse run faster than another? Surely, the answer must lie in the physique of the horse itself. True, a horse’s pedigree gives a clue, but it has never been an exact science. With equine biomechanics, the performance of a Thoroughbred is assessed by looking at their biological fuel and mechanical systems.

Because subtle differences in motion and gait are impossible to see with the naked eye, horse specialists who devote their time in the study of equine biomechanics, make use of high speed video to film thoroughbred horses at racing speeds. This enables them to see the minute details that are missed even by regular videos. In such high detail, various elements become obvious. Factors such as the length of a horse’s stride, angles of the leg, positions of the shoulder, neck as it relates to other body parts, even the movement of the hooves serve as the basis for detailed inspection and scrutiny. Even such minor but crucial details as head tossing, hollowed back and uneven strides that are the early signs of a Thoroughbred’s developing lameness become evident.

Analyses of these factors through the use of high-advanced imaging equipment have made it possible to answer the age old question of horse racing: What makes one horse run faster than the other? Instead of depending on such changeable dynamics as pedigree to determine the winnability of a horse on the race track, a more precise science that looks at the physiological aspect of the Thoroughbred is finally available for serious horse racers. With equine biomechanics, fresh and relevant insights on the performance of the horse are gleaned and used not only to improve its winning percentage but to improve the sport through the fielding of better, faster horses.

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