How to Create an Equine Lameness Evaluation Video
With more than 25 years in practice and as a hospital who has veterinarians whose practices specialize in sports medicine, Mid-Rivers Equine Centre has seen its share of movement evaluation videos. Some video clips make it easy for our veterinarians to give an opinion on lameness with the necessary footage while others do not. (Download Lameness Checklist)
If you are sending a video to your veterinarian in hopes of getting an opinion on a lameness or suspected lameness, here are some helpful video taking tips. Sending a video with these recommended elements will give your veterinarian the best views for evaluation. Of course, it is always best to have your veterinarian perform a lameness exam in person, but when that is not possible, or you are unsure a full lameness exam is warranted, a video can be a good option.
What Your Videos Will Need:
When filming an equine lameness evaluation video, you will need to include these two important clips:
When longing your horse you will need to film your horse longing at least one full circle at all three gaits. When making the longe line portion of the video make sure to show all upward and downward transitions, when possible. If a horse is unable to make transitions to the trot and/or lope, we recommend you make an appointment as soon as possible.
Your veterinarian will need to see your horse trotting straight lines in order to make an assessment. You will need two views—one of the horse trotting away from you and another of the horse trotting toward you. You will only need to have your horse trot about 20-30 yards, so there is no need to trot all the way down your 200 foot arena.
Avoid These Common Pitfalls
Sometimes what not to do can be just as important as what to do when filming a lameness evaluation video. Common mistakes to avoid include:
Trotting in front of your horse. When a horse is being trotted toward the camera in a straight line, make sure the handler stays clear of the horse’s legs and feet for easy viewing.
Trotting in crooked lines. Crooked trotting makes it difficult to evaluate a horse’s gait when it is moving away or towards the camera. It may help to give the handler a target to run towards like a cone to encourage straight trotting.
Filming without help. It is nearly impossible to produce a good evaluation video when you are handling the horse and trying to take video at the same time. Keeping an eye on the horse and your screen can be difficult, and often results in videos where the horse runs past (off) the screen or the recording device bounces around so much, it’s hard to view the horse’s movement. Having your horse free trot away from you and back rarely results in the straight line trot needed for evaluation. Always film with help for a good evaluation video.
Using an obstructed surface. Trying to take a lameness video in a pasture where the grass is 8” high obstructs the view of the movement. Trim the grass down low before making your video. Likewise, taking your clips in an area where footing is so deep the foot gets lost in the sand makes it difficult to evaluate.
No back lighting. Never film in an area with poor lighting. For example, if you’re in a dark arena and the horse is running past a fully open arena door with the sun pouring in, your recording device will close the aperture to let less light in. The video will then appear dark, making it difficult to see the horse.
Filming on a hill. If you are taking your clips in pasture, select an area that is level. Filming on a hill makes it difficult to analyze the horse’s gait.
Delivering Your Videos
When you have filmed your equine lameness evaluation video, you will need to send it to your veterinarian. Emailing large video clips is often difficult since emails tend to have a cap on file sizes. However, there are other easy ways to deliver your clips to your veterinarian quickly and for free:
Free cloud storage services like Dropbox are a good way to deliver large video clips quickly. After creating an account, simply upload your video clips and email a link to the files to your veterinarian.
Facebook messaging may also be a good way to send clips. Facebook will allow you to send a message with a video clip that is as large as 1.75 MB, or approximately 45 minutes in length.
YouTube is also a good option. After creating your free YouTube account, upload your video to the account and mark it to display only to those people you share the link with. Just copy and paste the YouTube link into an email to your veterinarian.