The effect of the sternum lift and different head and neck positions on thoracolumbar posture

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


The sternum lift (StL) exercise aims to raise the sternum and withers within the thoracic sling. This study compared thoracolumbar posture induced by a StL and different head and neck positions (HNPs). Fourteen clinically normal sport horses (163±8 cm) were measured with nose level with shoulder joint (HNP1), carpus (HNP2) and withers (HNP3) and during a StL whilst in HNP1. Skin-fixated markers on spinous processes of T6, T10, T13, T17, L3; mid-tuber sacrale (MTS) and sternum: cranial (S1), mid (S2) and caudal (S3) were tracked with nine motion capture cameras (100 Hz). Differences in dorsoventral displacement of markers and distance T6 to MTS (TLSD) between HNP1-StL, HNP1-HNP2 and HNP1-HNP3 were compared using paired t-tests (significance level P<0.05). Relative to HNP1 dorsal displacement was greatest in StL at T10, T13, T17, S1 and S3 (means: +5.61±1.56 cm (P=0.000); +6.20±1.65 cm (P=0.000); +5.30±1.79 cm (P=0.000); +6.05±1.78 cm (P=0.175); +5.92±2.44 cm (P=0.171); and higher in StL compared to HNP2 in relation to withers height (mean +2.29%, P=0.001). In HNP2, there was greatest dorsal movement at T10, T13 and S3 (means: +1.29±1.02 cm (P=0.001); +0.96±1.07 cm (P=0.007); +1.34±1.45 cm (P=0.008), with other markers having ventral movement: T6, S1 and S2 (means: -0.97±1.09 cm (P=0.007); -5.48±2.72 cm (P=0.000); -1.89±1.50 cm (P=0.001)). HNP3 resulted in a mean ventral movement of all spinal markers (-0.22±1.18 cm). HNP2 had a significant longer TLSD (mean: +4.70±1.91 cm) compared to the StL (mean +2.62±1.95 cm) (P=0.006). The StL creates dorsal movement of the thoracic sling, while ventral movement occurs when lowering the head. This supports using StL as part of core strengthening exercises for horses
Period30 Aug 2023
Event title9th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion
Event typeConference
LocationUtrecht, NetherlandsShow on map