The University of Tennessee Department of Animal Science is initiating a study of the biomechanics of the Tennessee Walking Horse. To our knowledge, this is the first time that three-dimensional state-of-the-art approach has been taken to analyze the famous "running walk" of the Tennessee Walking Horse in relation to conformation.
   The 3D analysis of the running walk will utilize high-speed recording equipment and newly developed computer software designed specifically for the horse. This project is being conducted by Dr. Cheryl Kojima and Mr. Paul Roberson in the University of Tennessee Department of Animal Science, with collaboration from Dr. Steve Adair, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Songning Zhang, Department of Exercise, Sport and Leisure Studies.
   The UT Department of Animal Science is requesting volunteers from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry to assist with this study. Owners or trainers can ride their own horses to participate in this study. Horses will be ridden on a dirt footing in the enclosed Brehm Animal Science arena, Knoxville, which is 160 feet long by 60 feet wide.
   The entire procedure is non-invasive as horses are only fitted with small round markers affixed to key joint and skeletal points. Horses will be recorded standing still with markers, and as they pass a series of high-speed video cameras.
   Computer software will detail each horse¹s movements and mathematically describe the horse¹s motion in relation to its conformation.
   All data and recorded footage for each horse will remain strictly confidential between the owner/trainer and the researchers.
   Each owner or trainer that participates will be given a copy of the gait and conformation analysis of their horse(s), along with a comparison to the average of all participating horses.
   Dates available for participation are July 18- Aug. 5, 2005. Interested individuals can contact Dr. Cheryl Kojima or Paul Roberson at 865-974-5597 or 865-974-3157.
   This study is part of a larger Tennessee Walking Horse Research/Extension Initiative of the UT Department of Animal Science. Currently, six Tennessee Walking Horse breeding farms are cooperating in another phase of this program.