Quantification of warm-up patterns in elite showjumping horses over three consecutive days: a descriptive study

C.A. Tranquille, V.A. Walker, D. Hodgins, J. McEwen, C. Roberts, P. Harris, R. Cnockaert, R. Guire, R.C. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


There is very little reported information on warm-up practices in showjumping horses. The objective was to quantify warm-up jumping patterns/duration in a competition (field) environment in showjumping horses. Ten mixed-breed elite showjumping horses were assessed at a three-day training session. Riders warmed-up as they would normally for an elite competition and jumped at least one round of a 15-fence (135-145 cm) course on each day. Fence type/height, number of jumping efforts and lead take-off/landing limbs during warm-up were recorded. Rider global-positioning-system and inertial-motion-sensors recorded speed, time spent in each pace/rein plus stride length and stride duration during warm-up and course. Heart rate (HR) was recorded when the horse was resting in its stable and for the duration of the ridden exercise. Appropriate paired statistical tests were used to compare variables between days, and between warm-up and the round(s). Mean warm-up duration, time in each pace and on each rein did not differ within rider between days, however, there were inter-rider differences (mean warm-up duration = 18 min; range = 12-27 min). Number of jumping efforts and fence type/height did not differ between days. During warm-up, there was no preference in canter lead when approaching fences. However, on departure there was a preferred canter lead, plus jump landing and leaving lead limb asymmetry (left canter lead predominating in all cases). Horses cantered slower, with a shorter stride length and a longer stride duration during warm-up compared to when jumping the round (speed – warm-up: 4.21±0.09 m/s; round: 5.53±0.15 m/s; stride length – warm-up: 2.59±0.06 m; round: 3.16±0.08 m; stride duration – warm-up: 0.62±0.02 s; round: 0.58±0.03 s). Mean resting HR significantly decreased on consecutive study days. Mean, peak and final HR during warm-up did not significantly change between days. Results provide novel information on warm-up patterns in a competition (field) environment for elite horses, and suggest that showjumping horses may be warmed-up asymmetrically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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