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Rein tension in 8 professional riders during regular training sessions

Eisersiö, Marie; Rhodin, Marie; Roepstorff, Lars; Egenvall, Agneta


Rein tension signals are commonly used to communicate the intended speed, direction, and head carriage to the horse during horseback riding. Rein tension has previously been recorded relative to gait, exercises, and turning maneuvers. The aim of this study was to target the between-gait and between-exercise variation in rein tension, controlling for riders and horses within riders, the between-rein variation, and the general within-gait or exercise variation, during entire riding sessions. Eight riders with 3 horses each were included in the study and each horse was fitted with a custom-made rein tension meter fastened on leather reins. Rein tension data and video films were collected during the riding session, and the video films were scrutinized and categorized according to ridden exercises. Statistics used to model rein tension in mixed models were "median", area under curve, averages of 2 and 25 percentiles ("low") and of 75 and 98 percentiles ("high"), and the difference between 98 and 2 percentiles ("range"). Fixed effects were rein, gait, rider's position, horse level, and type of ridden exercise, and random effects were horse-side, rider, horse, and trial within horse. The analyses demonstrate substantial variation between gaits, rider position within gait, and between riders and horses. Considering data on short reins, the major determinants found for amount of rein tension was gait (walk [median 12 N both reins] < trot [median 14-19 N left/right rein and sitting/posting] < canter [median 1324 N left/right rein and sitting/light seat]) as well as the rider's position in the saddle for trot (posting [median 14 N both reins] < sitting [median 17 N/19 N left/right rein]) and canter (light seat [median 1317 N left/right rein and left/right canter] < sitting [median 20-24 N left/right rein and left/right canter]). Regarding the 2 reins; the right rein was the highest in comparisons in the "high" and "range" models, whereas the inside rein was the highest in canter. Riders contributed to most of the variation in the "median" and "low" models, whereas horses contributed the highest relative variance estimates in the models associated with high rein tension ("high" and "range"). Our results suggest that variables to consider in rein tension studies are the gait of travel, the rider's position in the saddle, the ridden exercise performed, the educational level of horse, the rider and horse per se, and to some extent the left or right rein. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


rein tension; dressage; gaits; equine welfare

Publicerad i

Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
2015, Volym: 10, nummer: 5, sidor: 419-426