Show jumping causes physical and physiological stress on horses’ musculoskeletal structures, which can lead to decreased performance and injury. Appropriate warm-ups can enhance performance, decrease injury risk, as well as increase oxygen kinetics for better efficiency. Despite this, little is known for how warm-up routines affect show jumping performance. Forty-five warm-up routines of show jumpers preparing to enter the show ring were recorded and analysed. Kruskal Wallis analyses with post-hoc Mann Whitney U tests identified if the number of classes combinations completed, types of jumps attempted, warm-up duration, and time spent in each gait during the warm-up varied with rider and horse sex and age, and faults. Spearman correlations assessed if relationships occurred between warm-up duration and content, and the number of faults in the show ring, and horse age. Warm-up ranged from 3:51 to 62:46 min (median 15:09 min) and included at least two jumps (range 2-15). Walk was the most common gait, while upright fences were jumped the most. Knocking down or refusing a fence when warming up did not affect performance. Male riders jumped uprights twice as much as female riders (P<0.03) but this did not impact their performances. Jumping a class prior to the 1.30 affected warm-up, competitors spent longer on the flat before jumping in they had competed earlier in the day (P<0.05) and had fewer jump attempts if they had competed in the class just prior to the 1.30 m (P<0.007). Even though no significant differences were detected, combinations which accumulated >8 faults spent less time warming up. These results suggest warm-up tactics, riders and horses’ age and sex did not influence significantly fault accumulation in the show ring, however warm up routines were influenced by rider decision making and horse age.
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physiology (medical)
- Veterinary (miscalleneous)