I Found the Optimal Gait for My Horse Through the AMG Muscle Analysis
It started when my horse twisted its right hock at the paddock. It was given joint treatment and box rest, after which I started to re-train my horse very carefully. Over the next 6 months it was only trained from the ground and taken on walks. Thereafter it was very carefully and gradually trained with longeing work and a rider. It was only after an entire year that I started to do some harder works with my horse. It was not lame, but I did not feel that the muscles on the right-side were as well developed as those on the left-side of my horse, despite the very careful re-training program. I had got my horse checked by a chiropractor during the re-training period, but they were not able to do anything further. It was at this point in time that I had the opportunity of having my horse checked out for an AMG (Acoustic MyoGraphy) muscle analysis.
The horse was fitted with AMG-sensors on the back (m. Longissimus dorsi) and was being longed both in a right- and left-handed circle for the three gaits – walk, trot and gallop. The results showed that during walking and trotting, my horse used its muscles on its right side less than on its left side, irrespective of whether it was a right- or left-handed circle. In contrast, it used its muscles evenly on both sides whilst galloping both in a right- and left-handed circle. This was a surprising result for me, as it showed that my horse was less prone to injury whilst galloping, rather than trotting, which one would otherwise use as a gentle form of re-training. After this, I started to train more in the gallop after a period of warming up, both in the arena and in the woods. Gradually, over the next two months I begin to see an improvement in the muscle mass on both the right and left sides, all along the back, the shoulders and the neck. I could also feel an improvement in the stability of the horse during the gallop, with better hind limb action and increased balance. Now it is 3-4 years on, and the injury has not recurred.
I believe that while my horse was ill, it had tried to compensate for the injured side, and had as a result become weaker on that side. However, even after it had recovered and was well again, it continued to use itself in this unbalanced fashion. I really thought that trotting would be the best way of re-training my horse, as it is a more synchronized gait. In fact it was as though my horse communicated with me, through the muscle analysis, as to how best to re-train it. If I had not been given this information then re-training would most likely have resulted in my horse having a crooked body and musculature.
Karoline Vilderiis, Denmark