Stave Off Rehab Setbacks With An Equine Motion Sensor

When an injury requires a horse to be on stall rest, the owner often has more time to fawn and fuss over it. Even the most devoted owner, however, cannot monitor her horse 24/7, and this means subtle changes in movement that could indicate a potential setback during recovery might go unnoticed. An inertial measurement unit (IMU) can help owners track the movement of stall-bound horses and help owners recognize when a complication might be looming.

“An IMU consists of small, wearable sensors that record information about a horse’s movement, particularly the type, speed, and step count,” explained Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a Kentucky Equine Research nutritionist. For many injuries, successful rehabilitation depends on a certain amount of movement. “Bearing weight during rehabilitation promotes circulation by delivering nutrients and oxygen to the injured tissues,” Whitehouse said.

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Decreased mobility of an injured horse during stall confinement could be an early indication of poorly managed pain or a potentially life-threatening complication. If identified early, specific interventions can be implemented, such as improved pain management and alterations in the rehabilitation protocol.

To assess the validity of a commercial IMU, a Canadian veterinary team recruited six horses.* Sensors were placed at three different locations on the same horse (withers, right forelimb, and right hindlimb), and the horse’s movements measured on the IMU were compared to direct observation.

“The data showed that the limb sensors accurately counted steps in stalled horses,” Whitehouse said. “The IMU proved itself a valuable tool in the early detection of movement reduction that could signal pain or complications and ultimately improve patient outcome.”

Another way to support horses during layup is by offering a nutritional supplement designed to support the skeletal system.

*Steinke, S.L., J.B. Montgomery, and J.M. Barden. 2021. Accelerometry-based step count validation for horse movement analysis during stall confinement. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8:681213.

Article reprinted courtesy of Kentucky Equine Research (KER). Visit for the latest in equine nutrition and management, and subscribe to The Weekly Feed to receive these articles directly (   

The post Stave Off Rehab Setbacks With An Equine Motion Sensor appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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