Validation of an equine inertial measurement unit system in clinically normal horses during walking and trotting

Valerie J. Moorman, DVM, MS; Raoul F. Reiser II, PhD; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc; Chris E. Kawcak, DVM, PhD
American Journal of Veterinary Research
August 2012

Objective—To validate an equine inertial measurement unit (IMU) system rigidly attached to a hoof against a 3-D optical kinematics system in horses during walking and trotting.

Animals—5 clinically normal horses.

Procedures—5 swing phases of the hooves of the right forelimb and hind limb were collected via both 3-D optical and IMU systems from 5 horses during walking and trotting. Linear and angular positions, velocities, and accelerations were compared between the 2 systems.

Results—Of the 55 variables compared between the 2 systems, 25 had high correlations (r > 0.8) and 18 had moderate correlations (r > 0.5). Root mean squared errors were lowest in the sagittal plane and orientation (1.1 to 4.4 cm over a range of 1.5 to 1.9 m in the cranial-caudal direction and 2.5° to 3.5° over a range of 88° to 110° rotating around the medial-lateral axis). There were more differences between the 2 systems during small changes in motion, such as in the medial-lateral and proximal-distal directions and in the angular measures around the cranial-caudal and proximal-distal axes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The equine IMU system may be appropriate for rigid attachment to a hoof of a horse and use in examination of linear and angular motion in the sagittal plane of the hoof during the swing phase while walking and trotting. Although promising in many respects, the IMU system cannot currently be considered clinically useful for lameness evaluation because of limitations in accuracy, attachment method, and lack of stance phase evaluation.

Large animal: