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Variation in free jumping technique within and among horses with little experience in show jumping

Susana SantamaríaDepartment of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 12, NL-3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Maarten F. BobbertInstitute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, van der Boechorstraat 9, NL-1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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Willem BackDepartment of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 12, NL-3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Ab BarneveldDepartment of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 12, NL-3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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P. René van WeerenDepartment of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 12, NL-3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Abstract

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)

Abstract

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)