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Withers vertical movement asymmetry in dressage horses walking in different head-neck positions with and without riders


Egenvall, Agneta; Byström, Anna; Roepstorff, Lars; Rhodin, Marie; Weishaupt, Michael A; van Weeren, René; Clayton, Hilary M (2020). Withers vertical movement asymmetry in dressage horses walking in different head-neck positions with and without riders. Journal of veterinary behavior, 36:72-83.

Abstract

The superimposed influences of different head and neck positions (HNPs) and rider effects on symmetry in sound horses have not been studied. Our aim was to investigate the effects of HNPs and rider on the symmetry in minimum height of the withers at the walk. Seven high-level dressage horses were studied with and without rider in six HNPs: HNP1, free position; HNP2, dressage competition position; HNP3, flexed poll position; HNP4, over-flexed position; HNP5, extended raised position; and HNP6, forward downward position. Kinematic and vertical ground reaction force data were recorded during 15 s trials on an instrumented treadmill. In mixed models, difference in the minimal height of the withers in early left vs right forelimb stance was modelled as dependent variable. The more restricted HNP3 (T-values 2.62 to 1.98, 118 DF, P = 0.001 to <0.05) and HNP5 (P = 0.002 to <0.05) were generally less symmetrical while unridden and more symmetrical while ridden, compared with the free (HNP1) or forward downward (HNP6) positions. Both with and without rider, when the withers dropped lower in early stance of one forelimb, this was associated with shorter protraction at the start of stance in the ipsilateral hind limb, and shorter stance overlaps between this hind limb and the other limbs during diagonal support, 3-limb support with two forelimbs and one hind limb, and ipsilateral support. HNP effects on withers movement asymmetry differed between unridden and ridden conditions. The considerable variation between horses stresses the need for trainers to use individualized training programs to address horse asymmetry.

Abstract

The superimposed influences of different head and neck positions (HNPs) and rider effects on symmetry in sound horses have not been studied. Our aim was to investigate the effects of HNPs and rider on the symmetry in minimum height of the withers at the walk. Seven high-level dressage horses were studied with and without rider in six HNPs: HNP1, free position; HNP2, dressage competition position; HNP3, flexed poll position; HNP4, over-flexed position; HNP5, extended raised position; and HNP6, forward downward position. Kinematic and vertical ground reaction force data were recorded during 15 s trials on an instrumented treadmill. In mixed models, difference in the minimal height of the withers in early left vs right forelimb stance was modelled as dependent variable. The more restricted HNP3 (T-values 2.62 to 1.98, 118 DF, P = 0.001 to <0.05) and HNP5 (P = 0.002 to <0.05) were generally less symmetrical while unridden and more symmetrical while ridden, compared with the free (HNP1) or forward downward (HNP6) positions. Both with and without rider, when the withers dropped lower in early stance of one forelimb, this was associated with shorter protraction at the start of stance in the ipsilateral hind limb, and shorter stance overlaps between this hind limb and the other limbs during diagonal support, 3-limb support with two forelimbs and one hind limb, and ipsilateral support. HNP effects on withers movement asymmetry differed between unridden and ridden conditions. The considerable variation between horses stresses the need for trainers to use individualized training programs to address horse asymmetry.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Equine Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > General Veterinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Veterinary
Language:English
Date:1 March 2020
Deposited On:04 Dec 2020 10:37
Last Modified:05 Dec 2020 21:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1558-7878
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2019.10.010

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