Asymmetrical limb patterns in show jumpers

  • Baby, R. (Speaker)
  • A. Northrop (Speaker)
  • L Birkbeck (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


Asymmetrical footfall preferences in horses when jumping could influence limb loading patterns but have yet to be characterised. Footfall patterns were characterised in horses loose jumping. It was hypothesised horses would show asymmetrical lead limb preferences. Eight show jumpers (4 mares and 4 geldings) fitted with anatomical markers, loose jumped a grid exercise of three fences. Two cross poles framed a vertical fence (0.8-1 m), two strides separating each fence. The vertical jump was video recorded (1,920×1,080, 60 Hz) and kinematic data extracted using Dartfish software®. At take-off and landing, leading fore and hindlimb were identified. The distance between trailing and leading limbs was measured at take-off. Laterality indexes ((R-L)/(R+L)) characterised limb patterns. The data met assumptions for normality and variance. Pearson’s correlations investigated relationships between forelimbs and hindlimbs patterns. Two-sided ttests assessed population bias and sex differences. 50% of horses displayed significant laterality indexes (Z-score>1.96) indicating a strong lead leg bias. No correlations were found between fore and hindlimb preferences, nor between take-off and landing patterns (P>0.10). The mean (± SD) distance between leading and trailing forelimb at take-off was 0.87±0.24) m. Hindlimbs were asymmetrical in 75% of take-offs, with a mean distance of 0.25±0.23 m between leading and trailing hindlimb. At take-off, mares favoured a left hindlimb lead significantly more than geldings (mean ± SD 64.5±11% of take-offs vs 38.5±16%; P<0.05). Limb patterns suggest high inter-individual variability in show jumper technique and biomechanics that may reflect individual preferences.Back flexion-extension in free jumping warmbloodsL. Roepstorff1, Y. Mellbin1, C. Roepstorff1 and D. Marlin21Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, BOX 7011, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden, 2Ergon Equine Ltd, The Estate Office, Whittingehame, EH41 4QA, East Lothian, United Kingdom; lars.roepstorff@slu.seThe purpose of the study was to define baseline values for back movement with high spatial resolution in the saddle region of free jumping horses. 8 horses (4-6 years) were equipped with 49 spherical reflective markers covering the back in what would be a normal saddle position plus a section of the area (appr 10 cm) in front of and behind this position. Markers were arranged in columns and rows spaced 10 cm apart with T6 spinous process as anatomical reference. Each horse were jumped successively up to their training level (120-140 cm) on an oxer and an upright fence while recorded at 120 frames per second with a 30 camera Qualisys locomotion analysis system. Flexion-extension angles were calculated over three sequential markers along the back (rows of markers) in (para-)sagittal planes. For this study, flexion-extension of the back was quantified using the markers in the first rows on the left and right side of the horse (positioned approx.10 cm from and parallel to the midline) in the form of 6 angles representing flexion-extension at approximately T8, T10, T12, T14, T16 and T18. There were no statistical significant difference between left and right side angles. Lateral bending and axial rotation were also calculated. These data supply baseline values with a resolution that can be important when developing saddle constructions that would allow movement freedom for horses during jumping.
PeriodAug 2023
Event title9th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion
Event typeConference
LocationUtrecht, NetherlandsShow on map