Ipos Technology considers scientific research as the cornerstone of the company. We use fact-based results to develop our products. We also like to share 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 with which the horse moves its legs is taken into consideration by the judge. If the horse moves its legs too fast or too slow, the combination will receive fewer points. Riding in the right rhythm is also essential during jumping, because it determines the spot where the horse takes off for the jump. If the horse is not positioned well, there is a big chance that it will hit the fence.
To influence the rhythm of the horse, you must first determine what the preferred rhythm of the horse is in each gait. This is the rhythm that the horse adopts by itself. This way of working is common practice for top competition horses, but not always for horses and ponies at lower levels. In addition, less advanced riders should know the preferred rhythm of their horses, as this contributes to better training. Importantly, knowing the horse’s rhythm is also important to monitor the animal’s health: An abnormal rhythm can 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 a connection between the height of the withers and the rhythm of a horse was investigated. In other words, if a statement can be made about the preferred rhythm of a horse based on the height of the horse.
The study included ponies and horses with different wither heights. Each animal was lunged on a lunge circle. Each horse moved around the circle twice in walk, trot and canter, and the strides of each horse were counted. The time was also recorded. Next, the height at the withers was measured.
The results are plotted in the graph below. The number of steps per 10 seconds is offset against height at the withers. The height at the withers is on the horizontal axis, and the rhythm on the vertical axis. This was completed for walk (blue), trot (red) and canter(green).
The results show a linear line. This means that there is a correlation between the height at the withers and 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?
Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors show what the rhythm of your horse is, in any gait, and at any time during the training. Once you have determined what the preferred rhythm of your horse is, you can check with the Rein Sensors if you are able to influence it further. You can also verify if you can extend the strides, while maintaining the same rhythm, or if the horse will move faster instead. This is valuable information, because it can help you determine your training goals. Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors will make your progress over time visible.
This research was carried out by students Applied Biology of the HAS Hogeschool (University of Applied Sciences) Den Bosch in the Netherlands, including 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