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Objective—To investigate the effects of early training for jumping by comparing the jumping technique of horses that had received early training with that of horses raised conventionally.
Animals—40 Dutch Warmblood horses.
Procedure—The horses were analyzed kinematically during free jumping at 6 months of age. Subsequently, they were allocated into a control group that was raised conventionally and an experimental group that received 30 months of early training starting at 6 months of age. At 4 years of age, after a period of rest in pasture and a short period of training with a rider, both groups were analyzed kinematically during free jumping. Subsequently, both groups started a 1-year intensive training for jumping, and at 5 years of age, they were again analyzed kinematically during free jumping. In addition, the horses competed in a puissance competition to test maximal performance.
Results—Whereas there were no differences in jumping technique between experimental and control horses at 6 months of age, at 4 years, the experimental horses jumped in a more effective manner than the control horses; they raised their center of gravity less yet cleared more fences successfully than the control horses. However, at 5 years of age, these differences were not detected. Furthermore, the experimental horses did not perform better than the control horses in the puissance competition.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Specific training for jumping of horses at an early age is unnecessary because the effects on jumping technique and jumping capacity are not permanent. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:418–424)
Objective—To quantify variation in the jumping technique within and among young horses with little jumping experience, establish relationships between kinetic and kinematic variables, and identify a limited set of variables characteristic for detecting differences in jumping performance among horses.
Animals—Fifteen 4-year-old Dutch Warmblood horses.
Procedure—The horses were raised under standardized conditions and trained in accordance with a fixed protocol for a short period. Subsequently, horses were analyzed kinematically during free jumping over a fence with a height of 1.05 m.
Results—Within-horse variation in all variables that quantified jumping technique was smaller than variation among horses. However, some horses had less variation than others. Height of the center of gravity (CG) at the apex of the jump ranged from 1.80 to 2.01 m among horses; this variation could be explained by the variation in vertical velocity of the CG at takeoff ( r, 0.78). Horses that had higher vertical velocity at takeoff left the ground and landed again farther from the fence, had shorter push-off phases for the forelimbs and hind limbs, and generated greater vertical acceleration of the CG primarily during the hind limb pushoff. However, all horses cleared the fence successfully, independent of jumping technique.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Each horse had its own jumping technique. Differences among techniques were characterized by variations in the vertical velocity of the CG at takeoff. It must be determined whether jumping performance later in life can be predicted from observing free jumps of young horses. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:938–944)
Objective—To determine whether differences in jumping technique among horses are consistent at various ages.
Animals—12 Dutch Warmblood horses.
Procedure—Kinematics were recorded during free jumps of horses when they were 6 months old (ie, no jumping experience) and 4 years old (ie, the horses had started their training period to become show jumpers). Mean ± SD height of the horses was 1.40 ± 0.04 m at 6 months of age and 1.70 ± 0.05 m at 4 years of age.
Results—Strong correlations were found between values from 6-month-old foals and 4-year-old horses for variables such as peak vertical acceleration generated by the hind limbs ( r, 0.91), peak rate of change of effective energy generated by the hind limbs ( r, 0.71), vertical velocity at takeoff ( r, 0.65), vertical displacement of the center of gravity during the airborne phase ( r, 0.81), and duration of the airborne phase ( r, 0.70).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although there are substantial anatomic and behavioral changes during the growing period, certain characteristics of jumping technique observed in naïve 4-year-olds are already detectable when those horses are foals. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:945–950)