The high-tech alternative to the flexicurve – New research , assessing equine back shape and symmetry using 3D scanning
David and I are really pleased to share that we have had a research paper published this month. We looked to see if we could use a new method of measuring the shape of horses’ backs and if it was a repeatable technique.
The tool used was a Skanect 3D scanner mounted on an iPad which was used to capture the trunk shape of 10 endurance horses. This was then analysed using computer software to create measurements of each horse’s profile at the withers and at the 18th thoracic (T18) vertebra.
This process was repeated multiple times for different scans on each of the horses, and by three people, not knowing which scans were from the same horse. When the codes of the scans were revealed, we discovered our measurements were accurate and repeatable and that there were some interesting findings.
The main point of interest was that all the horses were asymmetrical at the withers (70% larger on the left compared with the right) and although not statistically significant, all were different at T18.
We really like this 3D light scanning tool as it is objective and also a non-invasive method; compared to the flexicurve ruler you do not need to touch the horses.
We think it is a useful way to record size, shape and symmetry of the thoracic/back region in horses and warrants further testing against current measurement methods, as well as over longer time periods in the same horses to see how well it can track changes.
Tabor, G.F., Marlin, D.J. and Williams, J.M. (2022) Use and repeatability of 3D light scanning to measure transverse dorsal profile size and symmetry in the thoracic region in horses. Comp Ex Phys (Online), Pages 1-8.
You can read the abstract HERE.