Check out the heat patterns on this horse while performing a variety of dressage movements.
The horse’s body surface emits infrared radiation that can be detected by an infrared camera, which is both easy and inexpensive to use. The camera produces a coloured image that shows the variation in surface temperature across the area investigated. The temperature is directly related to the presence of blood vessels near the skin. Science Daily.
I’ve seen thermal imaging used as a way to diagnose lameneness (Thermal Imaging as a Diagnostic Tool) and I even had Freedom scanned as a test horse by a vet. Obviously, in this case, the thermal imaging shows the muscles that are working the hardest and creating the most heat, not as a way to pinpont a problem.
While thermal imaging has some skeptics, a study by the Clinical Unit of Equine Surgery at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, together with colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) and with Adrian Ion at the Vienna University of Technology. show that the results are highly reproducible and less sensitive to variations in camera position and angle than might be expected. However, the technology is very sensitive to wind. Even a breeze so light as to barely cause the leaves on a tree to move can cause a significant drop in temperature.
To use as a diagnostic tool thermal imaging should be used in a closed, draft free room. But to enjoy some insight into the way muscles work in a moving dressage horse, just sit back and enjoy.