Laterality in the gallop gait of horses

N. R. Deuel, L. M. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Bilateral asymmetry in gallop stride limb contact patterns of four Quarter Horse fillies was documented by high-speed cinematography. Horses were filmed with rider by two cameras simultaneously while galloping along a straightaway. Even though signaled for each gallop lead an equivalent number of times, horses frequently switched leads, selecting the left lead nearly twice as often as the right. Velocities and stride lengths were greater for the left lead than the right, but stride frequencies did not differ between leads. Velocity effects were partitioned out in limb contact data analysis to enable the determination of persistent gallop stride asymmetries. The contact duration for the trailing (right) fore limb on the left lead exceeded the contact duration for the trailing (left) fore limb on the right lead. Selecting the right fore limb as the trailing fore limb may have allowed horses to use it to withstand the greater stresses and caused them to preferentially gallop with the left fore limb leading. Laterality may have an important influence on equine gallop motion patterns and thereby influence athletic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-649
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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