IPOS considers scientific research as the cornerstone of the company. We use the fact-based results to develop our products. We also like to share the acquired knowledge with our readers. Our goal is to enable riders to train more effectively and to become more successful. In this blog, we share the results of a study about the relationship between the height of the withers and the preferred rhythm of the horse.
Importance of rhythm
Obtaining control over the horse’s rhythm is an important part of each training. This applies to all disciplines. For example, during a dressage competition, the rhythm in which the horse is moving his legs will be taken into consideration by the judge as well. If the horse moves his legs too fast or too slow, the combination will get fewer points. Riding in the right rhythm is also important during jumping, because it determines the spot where the horse sets off for the jump. If the horse is not positioned well, there is a big chance that beams will fall off.
If you want to influence the rhythm of your horse, you must first determine what the preferred rhythm of your horse is in each gait. This is the rhythm that your horse adopts out of itself. This way of working is common practice for top competition horses, but not always for horses and ponies at the lower levels. But also less advanced riders should know the preferred rhythm of their horses, as it contributes to a better training. In addition to this, knowing the horse’s rhythm is also important to monitor the animal’s health: An abnormal rhythm will be noticed sooner if the rider is familiar with the horse’s normal rhythm. An abnormal rhythm can indicate an injury or another medical problem.
During this research, it was investigated whether there is a connection between the height of the withers and the rhythm of a horse. In other words, whether based on the height of the horse, a statement can be made about the preferred rhythm of a horse.
In this study, ponies and horses where included with different withers heights. Each animal was lunged on a lung circle. Each horse moved around on the circle twice in step, trot and canter while the strides where counted. The time was also recorded. Next the withers height was measured.
The results are plotted in the graph below: The number of steps per 10 seconds is offset against withers height. The wither height is on the horizontal axis and the rhythm on the vertical axis. This is done for step (blue), trot (red) and canter (green).
The results show a linear line. This means that there is a correlation between the withers height and the rhythm: Smaller horses move with a higher rhythm (more steps per minute) than larger horses. This applies to all gaits.
What does this mean for the rider?
The IPOS Rein Sensors show you in every gait what the rhythm of your horse is, at any time during the training. If you have determined what the preferred rhythm of your horse is, you can check with the Rein Sensors whether you are really able to control it. You can also verify whether you can extend the strides while maintaining the same rhythm, or that the horse will move faster instead. This is valuable information because it can help you determine your training goals. IPOS Reins Sensors will make your progress over time visible.
This research is executed by students Applied Biology of the HAS Hogeschool Den Bosch: Jolie Swaan, Desiree van Zon and Chris Zijlmans.
Ball M., DVM (2006). Locomotion.
Barrey E., Elsevier (2002). Methods, Applications and Limitations of Gait Analysis in Horses, 7p
FEI. Dressage. http://www.fei.org/Disciplines/Dressage Geraadpleegd: 26-05-2017