The effect of rider position on the stride and step length of the horse at canter

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  • was recommencing work after recovering from laminitis).All experienced horses showed consistent changes in both

    Hayley Randle*, Hayley Edwards, Lorna ButtonDuchy College, Stoke Climsland, Callington, Cornwall,

    Abstracts 219days with one hoof showing no change in 2 horses and a0.5 mm decrease in the 3rd, while their contralateral hoofincreased by 1, 2 or 2.5 mm. In contrast the two inexperi-enced horses showed different changes in the left hoofbetween the 2 days ranging from a decrease of 1 mm to anincrease of 2 mm while the right hoof showed a consistent1 to 2 mm increase in one horse and 1 mm decrease in theother. The recovered laminitic horse showed a decrease of1 and 2 mm in his front hooves the first day and an increaseof 2 and 3 mm on the 2nd day. These differences suggestthat the inexperienced horses changed the loading on theirleft front hooves between different work sessions, and thehorse that had recovered from laminitis changed the loadingin both front hooves between subsequent work sessions.

    Key words: proximal hoof circumference; training

    HORSE MISBEHAVIOR AS A CAUSE OF POORPERFORMANCEP. Buckley1,*, J. Morton2, D.J. Buckley3, G.T. Coleman21School of Animal and Veterinary Science, Boorooma St,Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2678,Australia2School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland,St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia3Greater Southern Area Health Service, Johnston St,Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia*Corresponding author:

    The role of behavior in horse performance has not beendescribed in the veterinary literature. The aim was to defineand profile the performance of Pony Club horses in twophases.An exploratory survey revealed horse misbehavior as acause of poor performance. Risk factor analysis forCHANGES IN THE PROXIMAL HOOF CIRCUMFERENCEIN RESPONSE TO RIDDEN WORK IN EXPERIENCED VERSUSINEXPERIENCED HORSESHelen M.S. Davies*Faculty of Veterinary Science, The Universityof Melbourne, Vic 3010, Australia*Corresponding author:

    Hoof shape measurements may help tailor training to indi-viduals. This pilot experiment investigated the hypothesisthat experienced horseswouldmaintain a consistent responsein proximal hoof circumference compared with inexperi-enced horses or horses recovering from a condition affectingfront hoof loading. Front hoof proximal circumference wasmeasured using a plastic measuring tape and a standardizedmethod in three experienced riding horses before and afterridden work on 2 consecutive days, and a further three unfithorses (twowere starting their first ridden work, and the thirdUnited Kingdom, PL17 8PB*Corresponding author:

    Although rider position (RP) is used to maximise horseperformance, objective data have yet to be published. Thispilot study investigated the effect of RP on horses canterstride and step lengths asmeasures of performance. Six horse-and-rider combinationsmatched for ability and standard werevideoed in aworking canter on the left rein down the 40 msideof an indoor school. Each combination was recorded threetimes in the normal deep seat and three times in the lightseat. Canter stride length (CSL), forelimb step length (FSL)and hindlimb step length (HSL) (m) data were derived usingDartfish movement analysis software. CSL was significantlylonger (ANOVA: F5 61.4; d.f.5 1,24, P, 0.0001) whenridden in the light- (3.446 0.16 m) compared to the normal-seat (3.156 0.22 m). While FSL was not significantlyinfluenced by RP, horses ridden in the light seat exhibiteda significantly shorter (ANOVA: F5 4.6; d.f.5 1,24,P, 0.05) HSL (1.106 0.09 m) than in the normal seat(1.126 0.09 m). CSL, FSL and HSL were all significantlyinfluenced by horse-and-rider combination (ANOVA:F5 9.79; F5 55.2; and F5 49.7; all d.f.5 5,24,P, 0.000, respectively). RP and horse-and-rider combina-tion have an interactive effect on CSL (ANOVA: F5 6.21;misbehavior involved collecting daily exercise and misbe-havior data over 13 months using monthly visits to 84 PonyClub horses and owner-kept diaries.Horses were generally exercised infrequently and for shortperiods, with a median of six exercise days and 10 hours,respectively each horse-month. The daily incidence risk ofmisbehavior was 4.1%. The incidence risk was highest dur-ing schooling and competition (both 5.4%) - likely reflectinga challenge to horses - and lowest during pleasure riding(2.5%). More than half of all misbehavior events were classi-fied as dangerous (high risk of injury). Risk factors for mis-behavior included horse height (135-143.75 cm, IRR 4.98and 95% CI 1.56, 15.90), rider age (.14-19 yr, IRR 5.0,95% CI 1.27, 19.40), and horse breed, with Ponies (IRR 7.595% and CI 1.54, 36.45), cross bred horses (IRR 6.3, 95%CI2.25, 17.74) and other horse breeds (IRR 5.79, 95% CI 1.56,21.5) having incidence rate ratios (IRR) of misbehavior con-siderably higher than Thoroughbreds. We were unable todemonstrate a link between back pain and misbehavior.We defined horse performance as a horse meeting riderexpectation. The combination of tall ponies challenged byteenage riders carried the highest misbehavior risk.

    Key words: horse; performance; misbehavior; pony club;pleasure horse


  • d.f. 5 5,24, P, 0.0001) and FSL (ANOVA: F5 3.3; d.f. 55,24, P, 0.05) but not HSL (P. 0.05). This study demon-strated that RP has a direct affect on stride and step lengthsat canter and a differential effect on FSL and HSL. Appropri-ate application of RP within different disciplines could

    enhance the performance of individual horses, and also helpto assure their welfare. Understanding the affect of RP isclearly an important consideration in an ethical approach toequitation.

    Key words: horse; performance; rider position; stride; step

    220 Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Vol 5, No 4, July/August 2010


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