Limb loading activity of adult horses confined to box stalls in an equine hospital barn

Laurie A. McDuffee, Susan M Stover, Kim Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine a range of limb loading activity for healthy adult horses confined to box stalls in an equine veterinary teaching hospital and determine the effects of hospital environmental factors on load rates and daily limb loading patterns. Animals - 6 mature healthy horses of various ages, breeds, and sexes, and 1 horse with a repaired metatarsal fracture. Procedure - Step monitors were placed on 2 limbs of adult horses confined to box stalls. Relocation steps and weight shifts were recorded, as loading events, for 24 hours. Influence of forelimb versus hind limb and environmental factors on load rate (loading events per hour) were assessed with repeated-measures ANOVA. Results - Loading activity was greater for the forelimb than the hind limb and was greater during the day than the night. Loading activity differences were not associated with daytime environmental factors. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Horses with normal locomotor activity appear to have higher load rates for forelimbs compared with hind limbs and higher load rates during the day compared with night. Knowledge of influence of environmental factors and mechanical restraint on limb loading activity may be useful in management of horses with musculoskeletal disorders. This information may also be used for in vitro simulation of in vivo loading of limbs during cyclic biomechanical investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-237
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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