The stance phase is used for the determination of many parameters in motion analysis. In this technical note the authors present a new kinematical method for determination of stance phase. From the high-speed video data, the speed distribution of the horizontal motion of the distal limb is calculated. The speed with the maximum occurrence within the motion cycle defines the stance phase, and this speed is used as threshold for beginning and end of the stance phase. In seven horses the results obtained with the presented method were compared to synchronous stance phase determination using a force plate integrated in a hard track. The mean difference between the results was 10.8 ms, equalling 1.44% of mean stance phase duration. As a test, the presented method was applied to a horse trotting on the treadmill, and to a human walking on concrete. This article describes an easy and safe method for stance phase determination in continuous kinematic data and proves the reliability of the method by comparing it to kinetic stance phase detection. This method may be applied in several species and all gaits, on the treadmill and on firm ground. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.