Relative Age and Sex Effect in Equestrian Sports across the Olympic disciplines and FEI Endurance at all age group competition

Kate Wilkinson, Emma Davies, G Brackenbury, A. Ferguson, Darcy Bornemann

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Abstract

Relative age effect (RAE) has been established in many sports, but there is no evidence known in equestrian sports. Equestrian sports do not have a consistent or traditional model of youth development. The aim of the study was to establish whether RAE is evident in equestrian sport and to identify whether rider sex has an effect on ranking. Data were collected from FEI results pages for Endurance, Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping. Birth date and quartile was compared at U18, U21, U25 and Senior in each sport. Chi-squared and Kruskal Wallis were used to identify any RAE and whether there was a ranking difference between quartiles. A Mann Whitney U test identified any ranking difference between sexes. No RAE was found in any sport or age category, however there were differences identified in sex for both ranking and participation. Males were shown to rank higher in jumping sports (senior) whereas females were ranked higher in Dressage and Endurance (all age categories). Further studies are required to evaluate the psychosocial factors and development structures in equestrian sport development can affect success. Results question whether a sex difference exists that requires further research into the sex-integration of all equestrian sport.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Mar 2024

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