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Forskningsartikel2018Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Effect of different head and neck positions on kinematics of elite dressage horses ridden at walk on treadmill

Rhodin, M.; Bystrom, A.; Roepstorff, L.; Hernlund, E.; Van Weeren, P. R.; Weishaupt, M. A.; Egenvall, A.


The debate on proper head and neck positions (HNP) in horse training is lively, but little is known about the biomechanical effects of various HNPs in horses ridden at walk. The aim was to quantify the influence of different HNPs on the kinematics of horses ridden at walk. The standard competition position (HNP2) was compared to a free, unrestrained position (HNP1), more flexed positions (HNP3, HNP4), a raised extended position (HNP5) and a forward-downward extended position (HNP6). An experimental study in seven high-level dressage horses ridden at walk on a treadmill was designed. Kinetic and kinematic measurements were obtained with different HNPs. HNP2 was used as a speed-matched reference. Kinematics were measured from skin-fixed markers recorded by high-speed video cameras. The kinetics of the limbs were measured by the force-measuring instrumentation of the treadmill. In HNP1, compared to HNP2, the lumbar back and the pelvis were more horizontally positioned (more extended), and fore- and hindlimb pro- and retraction increased, with increased caudal rotation of the femur during the second half of hindlimb stance. HNP6 induced similar changes as HNP1, but caused larger increases in forelimb pro- and retraction. In HNP3, HNP4 and HNP5 the pelvis was more angled (less extended) compared to HNP2 at hindlimb midstance, and in HNP3 and HNP4 also in early hindlimb stance. All three HNPs caused increased maximum flexion of the tarsus, stifle and metatarsophalangeal joint during the swing phase. HNP3 and HNP5, but not HNP4, had a decreasing influence on fore- and hindlimb pro- and retraction, and decreased caudal rotation of the femur during the second half of hindlimb stance.The main limitation was that horses were not ridden overground and the number of horses was small. Our conclusion was that changes in head and neck position can markedly affect the horse’s movement pattern at walk.


equine; kinematics; back; rider

Publicerad i

Comparative Exercise Physiology
2018, Volym: 14, nummer: 2, sidor: 69-78