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Maximum and minimum peaks in rein tension within canter strides

Egenvall, Agneta; Roepstorff, Lars; Rhodin, Marie; Eisersiö, Marie; Clayton, Hilary M.


Equestrians use reins to communicate with the horse. The aim of this study was to describe the amplitudes of rein tension oscillations at canter. Rein tension data were collected from 8 professional riders each riding 2-3 horses during a normal dressage training session using rein tension meters (128 Hz, logged by an inertial measurement unit sensor). Data were stride-split at the maximal positive vertical poll acceleration. Strides were categorized by canter lead, rider position (sitting/2 point), corners, circles, lateral movements, and stride length (collected/working/lengthened). Changes in head angle were determined from gyroscopic sensor data. Dependent data extracted from each stride and rein were maximal tension (MAX), minimal tension (MIN), and the absolute difference between them (CHANGE). Square-root transformed data were analyzed using mixed models with stride categorizations as fixed effects, and rider and horse included as random effects. Findings for rein tension were considered borderline if 0.050.001, but significant if P < 0.001. For the rider's position, the magnitudes were higher in sitting canter than 2-point seat (P < 0.0001), except for inside rein MIN value (n = 21,548 strides). For MAX (both reins), MIN (inside), and CHANGE (outside), the right circle had lower values than the left circle or no circle. For the outside rein, MAX and MIN values showed borderline differences with higher values for lengthened strides than working canter (P = 0.03/0.0014). Inside rein values in right half pass were significantly or borderline higher than left half pass or baseline, and for MIN values, this was found for both inside/outside reins. Both group effects and all pairwise comparisons evaluated were significant for MAX and CHANGE, except the comparison between inside and outside rein in right canter. MAX/MIN tensions were higher if the nose was moving caudally relative to poll at the MAX/MIN event, respectively. Young horses had the largest MAX and CHANGE values, whereas advanced horses had the highest MIN values. The horse contributed 7%, 27%, and 29% of the variation to MIN, MAX, and CHANGE models, respectively. The rider contributed 19% of the variation to the MIN value models but 0% to the MAX and CHANGE models, suggesting that the horse or the dyad (not statistically separable) is responsible for the basic rein tension pattern at canter. Overall results indicate that asymmetry, of riders and/or horses, plays a role in rein tension. (c) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


inertial measurement unit; rein tension; canter; signal analysis; horse

Publicerad i

Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
2016, Volym: 13, sidor: 63-71