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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Pilot-study of ridden walk on the circle - effects of progressive collection and lateral exercises

Egenvall, A.; Engstrom, H.; Bystrom, A.


When collecting the horse, the rider influences stride length, forehand/hindquarters balance, and head-neck position. The study aim was to describe the vertical excursion of the withers and croup, and the sagittal cannon angles during collection and lateral exercises. Ten horses were ridden by five riders during 14 trials (1-5 per rider) on 10 m circles. Each trial included free walk, four degrees of increasing collection, and haunches-in and shoulderin. Inertial measurement units (100 Hz) were positioned on the withers, the first sacral vertebra (Si) and laterally on the cannons. Data for each exercise were stride-split. Range of motion (ROM), minima and maxima were studied in mixed models, controlling for stride duration. S1 vertical ROM ranged between 30-32 mm (highest degree of collection) and S1 mm (free walk), significantly smaller with increasing collection. S1 ROM during the inside hind limb step was smaller in haunches-in and shoulder-in compared to at the lowest degree of collection. Withers ROM ranged between 12 mm (lowest degree of collection) and 16-18 mm (highest degree of collection). Fore cannon protraction-retraction ROM ranged between 57 degrees (highest degree of collection) and 63 degrees (free walk). Hind cannon protraction-retraction ROM ranged between 47-50 degrees (highest degree of collection) and 51-56 degrees (free walk). All limbs had significantly smaller ROM at the highest degree of collection. Cannon ROMs were smaller for the outer limbs in haunches-in, and all limbs but the outer fore in shoulder-in, compared to the lowest degree of collection. Progressively decreasing ROM for fore- and hind limb cannons and S1 suggest that the riders achieved a shortening of the gait at higher degrees of collection. In shoulder-in and haunches-in, the diagonal oriented in the direction of motion showed decreased hind limb cannon ROM while forelimb cannon ROM was maintained, which could suggest increased shoulder freedom and collection of the targeted diagonal.


equine; kinematics; horse-rider interaction; haunches-in; shoulder-in

Published in

Comparative Exercise Physiology
2022, Volume: 18, number: 2, pages: 101-116