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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The Development of a Standardized Protocol for Quantifying Equestrian Eventing Cross-Country Ground

Graydon, R.; Northrop, A.J.; Martin, J.H.; Lucey, M.; Schramel, J.P.; Peham, C.; Roepstorff, L.; Sinclair, J.; Hobbs, S.J.


The ground has long been cited as a key contributing factor for injury risk in the cross-country phase of eventing. The current study aimed to develop a practically useful standardized protocol for measuring eventing cross country ground. Data collection was split into three phases: Phase 1 (Validation), Phase 2 (Expansion of data set), and Phase 3 (Threshold establishment). During Phase 1, data from nine event courses were collected using an Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester (OBST), Vienna Surface Tester (VST), Lang Penetrometer, Going Stick, and moisture meter. Using linear regression, 80% of the variability in cushioning measured with the OBST was predicted from moisture and VST measurements (p < 0.001). In Phase 2, objective data from 81 event courses and subjective assessments from 180 event riders were collected. In Phase 3, k-means cluster analysis was used to classify the courses into ten clusters based on average course measurements of moisture, cushioning, firmness, stiffness, depth, and coefficient of restitution. Based on cluster membership, course average subjective data (16 courses) were compared using a General Linear Model. Significant differences (p < 0.05) in subjective impact firmness (p = 0.038) and subjective cushioning (p = 0.010) were found between clusters. These data and cluster thresholds provide an event course baseline for future comparisons.


cushioning; equine; eventing; firmness; injury risk; moisture; soil; surface measurement; surface stiffness; turf

Published in

Biomechanics (Switzerland)
2023, Volume: 3, number: 3, pages: 343-361
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Sport and Fitness Sciences
    Medical Bioscience

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