New connected tendon boots can detect horses’ lameness

A tendon boot with a built-in sensor that can detect lameness is being brought to market by a French technology company.

The Ekico boot differs from other systems that detect gait anomalies, as rather than looking at asymmetry of stride, it compares the fetlock extension/loading of the front legs.

Using the wireless sensors and an app, the boots only need to record around 15 strides to provide an immediate analysis of the horse’s locomotion.

Morgane Gerout-Juban, a rider and jumping coach who co-founded the start-up with computer science engineer Stéphane Juban, explained that existing products usually analyse the asymmetry between the diagonals via an accelerometer.

“In our case we give the charge repartition between the forelimb left and the forelimb right by relying on the fetlock extension,” she said. “According to Roger Smith (professor at the Royal Veterinary College) the fetlock function is key to most soft tissue injuries of the palmar metacarpus and pastern, so this information could be very interesting for the vet.”

The Normandy-based company recently attended the World Congress of Equine Veterinarians in Beijing (20-23 April), where they presented vets with the results of their scientific study into the boots, conducted by Professor Jean-Michel Vandeweerd from the University of Namur.

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