Moments and power generated by the horse (Equus caballus) hind limb during jumping.

Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768, USA.
Journal of Experimental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.24). 03/2004; 207(Pt 4):667-74. DOI:10.1242/jeb.00808
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The ability to jump over an obstacle depends upon the generation of work across the joints of the propelling limb(s). The total work generated by one hind limb of a horse and the contribution to the total work by four joints of the hind limb were determined for a jump. It was hypothesized that the hip and ankle joints would have extensor moments performing positive work, while the knee would have a flexor moment and perform negative work during the jump. Ground reaction forces and sagittal plane kinematics were simultaneously recorded during each jumping trial. Joint moment, power and work were determined for the metatarsophalangeal (MP), tarsal (ankle), tibiofemoral (knee) and coxofemoral (hip) joints. The hip, knee and ankle all flexed and then extended and the MP extended and then flexed during ground contact. Consistent with our hypothesis, large extensor moments were observed at the hip and ankle joints and large flexor moments at the knee and MP joints throughout ground contact of the hind limb. Peak moments tended to occur earlier in stance in the proximal joints but peak power generation of the hind limb joints occurred at similar times except for the MP joint, with the hip and ankle peaking first followed by the MP joint. During the first portion of ground contact (approximately 40%), the net result of the joint powers was the absorption of power. During the remainder of the contact period, the hind limb generated power. This pattern of power absorption followed by power generation paralleled the power profiles of the hip, ankle and MP joints. The total work performed by one hind limb was 0.71 J kg(-1). Surprisingly, the knee produced 85% of the work (0.60 J kg(-1)) done by the hind limb, and the positive work performed by the knee occurred during the first 40% of the take-off. There is little net work generated by the other three joints over the entire take-off. Velocity of the tuber coxae (a landmark on the pelvis of the animal) was negative (downward) during the first 40% of stance, which perhaps reflects the negative work performed to decrease the potential energy during the first 40% of contact. During the final 60% of contact, the hip, ankle and MP joints generate positive work, which is reflected in the increase of the animal's potential energy.

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