EquiAmi, stride length, speed and asymmetry

We are now able to give you the full study done at Newmarket which showed significant increases to stride length and speed with a significant decrease in asymmetry. These are exciting findings for horses in all disciplines and we hope this will open the door to further research as we know there is more to come.

The study can be read here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dissertation submitted to the

 

University of Central Lancashire

Faculty of Science and Technology

 

In partial fulfilment of the requirements

For the degree of

 

Bachelor of Science with Honours

 

In

 

Equine Science and Management (Physiology)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

A wider range of influencing factors both internal and external can affect the performance of the horse. Through training these factors maybe modified to decrease the risk of a lowered performance rate. The research conducted in this investigation allows a racehorse trainer to incorporate a variety of methods in a training regime. Incorporating the use of working in the EquiAmi ® may allow a racehorse trainer an advantage over others, due to an increase in stride length and speed, therefore this should increase performance.

 

A lunging aid (the EquiAmi ®) was used as part of a varied weekly routine; the S.L was measured using anatomical 2-d markers and a series of cameras. All measurements were repeated three times. Asymmetry of the horses stride was calculated by subtracting the mean stride length on the left rein from the mean stride length on the right rein. Speed was recorded by a stopwatch at the start and end of the five-furlong gallop to determine if speed increased due to the increase in stride length.

 

An Anderson- Darlington test was carried out to begin with, to test the data collected for normality. All data collected was determined to be normal. A series of general linear model was carried out to compare any for any statistical changes after working in the EquiAmi ® for a period of six weeks.

 

The results, show that temperature has no significant effect on the stride length when working in the EquiAmi ® on the left rein (P0.642) or on the right rein (P0.428), although shows a significant effect on the speed of the horse (P0.007). Using a general linear model it was determined that working in the EquiAmi ® shows to a have a significant increase (P<0.001) in the horses stride length and a significant decrease in asymmetry (P0.036). Using the EquiAmi ® also proved to significantly increase speed (P0.006).

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all those who have contributed in any way, shape or form in the completion of this dissertation.

 

I would sincerely like to the thank my supervisor Sam Penrice for her helpful advice, and knowledge throughout the study

 

I would like to thank Dr. Hilary Bentley for allowing me to carry out this study and provided knowledge and support during the investigation

 

I would like to thank Daniel Hibbert who kindly accompanied me to Newmarket and had to get up and work outside often on cold, windy, snowy days and assisted me until the end of the data collection

 

I would like to thank the Centre of Racehorse Studies for allowing me to use the British Racing Schools horses and Georgina Owen from the Centre of Racehorses Studies for providing me with the support and expertise in the racing industry, and completing all the lunging on a weekly basis for eight weeks.

 

I would like to thank Fred and Rowena Cook from Equine Management and Training for putting me into contact with industry experts.

 

Finally I would like to thank my mum, dad and grandma for believing in me throughout the project and proof reading my work several times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Declaration   

 

 

 

I hereby declare that work within this dissertation is my own and is not a collaboration of others. Any sources used have been duly referenced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signed…………………………………………………

 

Print…………………………………………………….

 

Date……………………….

 

 

Contents

Abstract                                                                                              Page: ii

Acknowledgements                                                                          Page: iii

Declaration                                                                                        Page: iv

List of content                                                                                    Page: v

Table of tables                                                                                   Page: vii

Table of plates                                                                         Page: viii

Table of figures                                                                                 Page: ix

Table of Appendices                                                                        Page: x

Table of abbreviations                                                                      Page: xi

 

Chapter 1

1.1  Movement and Stride Pattern                              Page: 1

1.2   Stride length (S.L)             Page: 2

1.3   Gait Analysis                                                          Page: 3

1.4   Racing Performance                                             Page: 3

1.5   Injury                                                                        Page: 4

1.6   Musculoskeletal Adaptation                                 Page: 4

1.7   Racehorse training                                                Page: 6

1.8   Training Aids                                                          Page: 7

1.9   Training                                                                   Page: 8

   1.10 EquiAmi ®                                                              Page: 8

1.11Influencing Factors                                                Page: 9

 

Chapter 2

2.1   Aim                                                                         Page: 11

2.2       Objectives                                                             Page: 11

2.3       Hypothesis                                                            Page: 11

2.4       Materials                                                               Page: 12

2.5       Ethical Approval and Risk Assessments          Page: 12

2.6       Pilot Study                                                             Page: 13

2.7       Habituation                                                            Page: 13

2.8       Method                                                                  Page: 13

2.9       Set Work Routine                                                 Page: 13

2.10  Animals                                                                 Page: 14

2.11  Routine                                                                  Page: 14

2.12  Diet                                                                                    Page: 15

2.13  Data Collection                                                     Page: 15

2.14  Data Analysis                                                       Page: 16

2.15  Survey                                                                    Page: 16

2.16  Environmental Conditions                                   Page: 16

2.17  Statistical Analysis                                               Page: 16

 

Chapter 3

3.1 Results                                                                       Page: 17

3.2 Descriptive Statistics                                               Page: 17

3.3 General Linear Model                                              Page: 19

3.4 Survey for horses at the                                           Page: 24

Centre of Racehorse Studies        

3.5 Survey from users of the EquiAmi ®                      Page: 25

3.6 Adaptations to Training                                           Page: 25

3.7 Summary of results                                                  Page: 27

 

Chapter 4

4.1    Discussion                                                         Page: 28

4.2    Conclusion                                                         Page: 33

 

Chapter 5

5.1 References                                                          Page: 35

 

Chapter 6

6.1 Appendices                                                         Page: I

  

 

 

 

 

 

Table of tables.

 

Chapter

 

Title

Page

2

2.10

Table one: Summary of horses used in the study

14

3

3.2

Table2: Descriptive statistics of Mean S.L left, Mean S.L right, Asymmetry, and Speed (S)

 

18

3

3.2

Table 3 Mean (±SE) Affect of a training aid on the S.L in a Thoroughbred horse

Table 4

 

19

3

3.2

Table 4 Temperature and Weather conditions

19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of plates.

 

Chapter

 

Title

Page

2

2.4

Plate 1: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® lunging aid. (EquiAmi ® 2012)

12

3

3.6

Plate two: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® prior to six weeks training.

 

 

26

3

3.6

Plate three: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® after a period of six weeks working in the EquiAmi ®

 

26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of figures.

 

Chapter

 

Title

Page

3

3.3

Figure 1 interval plot for mean S.L left and right with the recording number.

21

3

3.3

Figure 2 Interval plot of speed against recording number

22

3

3.3

Figure 3 Interval plot of speed against recording and age

23

3

3.3

Figure 4 Interval plot of Asymmetry against recording number

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Appendices

 

Chapter

 

Title

Page

6

1

Appendix 1: Ethics form

I

6

2

Appendix 2: Risk Assessment

XI

6

3

Appendix 3: Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length in a Thoroughbred horse consent form.

XIII

6

4

Appendix 4: Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length of a Thoroughbred rider consent form.

XV

6

5

Appendix 5: Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length of a Thoroughbred lunger/handler consent form.

XVII

6

6

Appendix 6: Questionnaire

XXI

6

7

Appendix 7: Normality graph for stride length

XXIV

6

8

Appendix 8: Normality graph for speed

XXV

6

9

Appendix 9: Normality graph for asymmetry

XXVI

6

10

Appendix 10: Normality graph for temperature

XXVII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Abbreviations

Word

Abbreviation

Stride Length

S.L

Metres

M

Seconds

S

Metres per second

ms −1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the S.L in a Thoroughbred horse.

 

Chapter 1

The horse (Equus Callabus L) is asked more of both physically and physiologically than ever before. Horses are primarily, athletes that are used in a wide variety of disciplines including horse racing, show jumping, endurance, dressage and pleasure riding. Horse racing is competitively raced not just in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe but is a major spectator sport in all other five continents (Lönnell, 2012). A wider range of influencing factors both internal and external can affect the performance of the horse. Through training these factors maybe modified to decrease the risk of a lowered performance rate. Physiological conditioning of equines is often dictated by tradition. Traditional training methods have been adapted to be discipline dependant, one discipline that relies heavily on traditional training methods is horse racing.

 

Equine trainers have been slow to adapt new training methods, technologies and science across all disciplines. Consequently this may be detrimental to many young horses that have not been able to reach peak performance levels, a high level of musculoskeletal injuries are commonly seen throughout training. These influencing factors may have a detrimental effect on the economical impact in the horse racing industry.

 

Lunging is a highly beneficial technique used for training or exercising the horse from the ground, it allows the rider to observe the horse from the ground picking up any abnormalities that may be seen but not felt when ridden (McGreevy, and McLean, 2010). Lunging is also used to build up fitness, suppleness and muscle tone. Lunging the horse is commonly used in a horses training from a young age (McGreevy, and McLean, 2010). Lunging is not commonly used when training horses in the racing industry.

 

 

 

1.1 Movement and Stride Pattern

Walk and trot are symmetrical gaits; therefore, both sides of the horse’s body should have identical movement patterns. Canter, and gallop is an asymmetrical gait where the footfalls of the front and hind limb occur as couplets (Clayton, 2002). Because of this asymmetry each limb is referred to separately. Horses galloping display one of two four beat footfall patterns (Williams, 2002). The transverse gallop is most commonly used to avoid interference with other legs as the rotary gallop, is often difficult to sustain for long periods of time (Williams, 2002). When galloping around a turn the horses leading leg generally corresponds with the direct of the turn (Williams, and Norris, 2007). On the straight horses can change there leading leg up to several times. Hinchcliff et al., (2008) states racehorses, can change eight or more times during a one mile race to reduce muscle fatigue due to the asymmetry movement and also to minimise the centrifugal forces when going around the turn. Some relationships have been suggested between the physiologies of the horse and stride patterns Williams, (2002) and Hinchcliff et al., (2008) have both linked biomechanical factors and how they affect the ease of respiration. Each stride is accompanied by one breath (inhalation and exhalation).

 

1.2 Stride Length

Single strides is defined as a full cycle of limb motion from the stance phase to the swing phase, the suspense phase and then back to the stance phase (Barrey, 1999). S.L (S.L) also corresponds to the distance of two successive footfall placements of the same limb (Hinchcliff et al., 2008). The number of strides the horse completes per unit of time is known as stride frequency. An increase in the gait speed is accomplished by increasing the S.L (Marlin and Nankervis, 2002).

 

Relationships between conformation and S.L have been briefly reported. Witte et al., (2006) found that an increase in S.L increased the speed of the horse. For year’s horsemen have looked for a horse with a large S.L in walk, this had been said to signify a good long stride at gallop (Marlin and Nankervis, (2002), Sedar and Vickery, (2003). Findings suggested by Barrey et al., (1995) confirmed that horses, which have a high stride frequency and S.L, obtained the best race performances. Suggesting that racehorses are able to work in a gait during high speeds whilst, using an optimal S.L, in turn the stride frequency increases to finish a race. A prolonged period of training was associated with an increase in S.L, swing duration and stride duration (Drevemo et al., 1980). S.L can be used as an indicator to various things including lameness and gait abnormalities. S.L should increase as the horse becomes more balanced and adopts a rounder outline. As the S.L increases could an increase be seen in the performance of a racehorse, as the winning post would arrive sooner, even if the stride frequency stayed the same.

 

1.3 Gait Analysis

Due to an increased interest in the equine industry, further scientific research into equine locomotion has been needed (Barrey, 1999). The biomechanical analysis of an equine gait is used to describe the term gait analysis. A horse has a number of differing gaits ranging from walk to gallop, all these gaits are required to move in a specific way to avoid interference from other limbs. The differing gaits can be captured using modern gait analysis soft wear, to capture the footfall sequence, rhythm and temp of the gait (Clayton and Schamhardt, 2001). When obtaining data 2-dimmensional and 3-dimmensional imaging may be used. Anatomical markers are used to assist automated video systems to digitise, the footage that has been obtained. Markers are used as reference points. The location of the reference points is determined in accordance to the purpose needed. In this study one anatomical marker was used.

 

1.4 Racing Performance

Races are run on both the flat (F) and national hunt (NH) over a range of distances from five furlongs to twenty-three furlongs. Top class sprint horses competitively running over 5-furlong races have been recorded to complete the race in less than 60 seconds(16.6ms−1) (Marlin, and Nankervis, (2002). Maeda et al., (2012)). Traditional racehorse experts have tried to evaluate the potential ability and future soundness of young horses by qualitatively observing the movement of an individual horse (Seder, and Vickery, 2003). Marlin, and Nankervis, (2002) and Oikawa, (2002) stated that race times are often strongly correlated with ground conditions and conformation. Racing times vary with distance, course, track conditions; jockeys experience and the tactics decided for the race are often set by the jockey and trainer (Sobczynska, 2011). Sobczynska, (2011) and Oki et al., 1994) states speed is closely related to success in races, as the horse who won the race is the one who maintains the highest speed average.

 

Little information has been published about the influencing factors that often affect a horses racing performance. Most information found within the racing industry is speculation and possible affects that may occur. New technologies are not commonly used in training horses for racing and more information would be needed to evaluate the affects of the technology and the impact it would have on the financial economics within the racing industry.

 

1.5 Injury

Prior to a Thoroughbred’s first race and the subsequent following races the horse must maintain a high level of fitness to withstand the demands of high intensity work (Estberg et al., 1998). Exercise at or near racing speed mainly happens on the racetrack or during training. This is often used to access the horses response to determining if the horse is ready for the track (Harkins et al., 1992), Musculoskeletal injuries in racehorses are the most common cause to lost training days and periods of rest (Cogger et al., 2006). Stover, (2003) states 20% of horses in England had serious lameness issues that precluded the return back to racing. The statistics to racehorse wastage currently are very high, less than 60% of two year old sustain training, a further 80% of these horses do not continue to race at three years old. Career ending injuries are often due to the musculoskeletal. Lameness is the major cause of wastage in racehorses during training (Jeffcott et al., (1982), Stover, (2003) and Ramzan and Palmer, (2011)).

 

High intensity work has a greater detrimental effect of damage to the horse as higher intensity work, has been associated with a higher magnitude of load per cycle load (Stover, 2003) when compared to work of a lower intensity. Racing is primarily a high intensity workout working at maximal or near maximal speeds therefore; a racehorse is at risk of having more injuries compared to a horse competing in other disciplines, and a higher detrimental affect in the future may also be seen. Associations to injury have been linked to many variables including ground conditions, conformation, track location, surface, track maintenance, age of the horse, gender and trainers experience. If consideration of these factors was taken into account maybe some injuries could potentially be avoided, this could lead to a lower number of lost training days and may also show a decrease in the amount of horses ‘wasted’ within the racing industry.

 

1.6 Musculoskeletal Adaptation

As racehorses start training at an early age, they are introduced to a highly demanding exercise regime. For injury prevention the horses must have the ability to work to high demands, structural changes of the musculoskeletal system for this to occur (Julen-Day, 1997). Immature horses that had been subjected to training have experienced a period of demineralisation of the third metacarpal bone, which can be a result in a lowered bone density (Neilsen, 1995). After demineralisation has occurred a period of re-mineralisation and remodelling occurs, in response to the stress implied previously on the bone.

Strength and speed training however, can increase the performance capacity of high-intensity and high resistance with little repetition to increase the muscle fibre recruitment synchronicity, and fibre hypertrophy (Leisson et al., 2008). Skeletal musculature is highly developed especially in the more athletic breeds, 55% of a Thoroughbred’s body weight compromises of muscle. More than 90% of muscle is made from myofibres; the rest consists of blood vessels, nerve fibres, fat and connective tissue.

 

Fast twitch muscle fibres enable more rapid repositioning of the limbs during the protraction phase. A previous study comparing specific muscular adaptation by Essen et al., (1980) indicated that age related adaptations in the skeletal muscles might be specific to certain muscle groups. Response to training can produce significant adaptations to the skeletal muscle, including an increase in size, capillarity and mitochondrial volume (Tyler et al., (1998) and Leisson et al., (2008)).

 

Skeletal muscle of a horse has three myosin heavy chain isoforms (MHC), MHC-1 (slow oxidative) –IIA (fast oxidative) and –IIX isoforms (fast glycolytic) (Rivero et al., 1996). Horses also have three fibre types containing a single MHC (I, IIA, IIB)(Rivero et al., 1997). In response to training the stimulus overcomes the effects of age on the characteristics of skeletal muscle (Essen et al., 1980) Yamano et al., (2005) studied female thoroughbreds and discovered that the proportion of type I and IIX fibres did not change with age.

 

The cardiovascular system of a racehorse has evolved to allow a greater amount of oxygen consumption than most other mammals (Derman and Noakes, 1994) when running at high speeds. A direct link has been shown between breathing and galloping (Hoyt and Taylor, 1981).

 

Race performance in a Thoroughbred is dependent on aerobic and anaerobic capacity, jockey and trainer decisions and other influencing factors (Vermellun, and Evans, 2006). The horse is considered being the premier athlete among mammals (Young, 2003). Performance of the individual horse is dependant on maximal or near maximal speeds (Evans, 2007) and the ability to work for prolonged periods of time with low energy levels (Eaton et al., 1995). Maximal heart rate is important to determine maximal cardiac output, although, stroke volume is determined by heart size (Young, 2003). S.L is, primarily determined by the maximum gallop velocity (Deuel and Lawrence, 1987). Maximal energy output for high-speed work is derived from aerobic and anaerobic metabolism (Evans, 2007).

 

During fitness assessment Eaton, and Rose, (1992) reported energy supplied through the aerobic pathway can be as high as 80% during 1600m races. V02max is shown to increase, in response to intensity and duration of training (Tyler et al., 1996) and decrease during detraining (Knight et al., 1991). Recent studies from McKeever et al., (2000) showed that unfit older horses cannot thermo-regulate as well as unfit younger horses, this many be due to age decreasing the resting plasma volume and central cardiac mechanism. This could have a detrimental effect on older horses, as an unfit horse may not run to its ability.  

 

Sub maximal velocity increase’s as the horses heart rate linearly increases (Person, 1983) however, it is well documented that V02max decreases with age (Lakatta, (1995) and Dempsey and Seals, (1995)). Some racehorse training relies on traditional conditioning method that had previously been used 25 years ago (Von Whitteke et al., 1994). Von Whitteke et al., (1994) also suggested that efficacy of current training is or may be a limiting factor in performance.

 

Training is paramount in order to increase performance and decrease the risk of injury. Correct training develops muscles to support the horse’s movement whilst racing at high speeds meaning, that the horse can support itself rather than becoming reliant on the rider for balance. An increase in fitness and a delay in the onset of fatigue of the horse, will allow a greater performance rate and a decrease to the risk of injury. Early training for young horses often occurs at the age of two, this happens primarily due to the decreased risk of injuries and fatalities seen in older aged horses. Bones, muscles and tendons are conditioned during the developmental stage.

 

1.7 Racehorse Training

Racehorses are trained at walk and canter. Work that is carried out in walk is often done using horse walkers to develop fitness and build up muscle. Many racehorse trainers work their horses on the gallops daily, in a slow canter, to improve fitness and develop more stamina. Fast canter work is generally carried out twice a week, although, trot work is rarely carried out as it is thought that working in trot does not improve the horse’s fitness rate. Horses are trained to run into the bridle; therefore application of pressure on the rein causes the horse to speed up. During training horses are not trained to run on a particular stride pattern however, unconscious influences may be present from either horse or rider (Williams and Norris, 2007).

 

1.8 Training Aids

Training aids are designed to allow the rider/trainer a greater influence over the movement of the horse. The use of artificial aids in the equine industry is widespread. Hockenhull and Creighton, (in press) described that over 78% of respondents used one or more aids on their horses however; in the racing industry training aids are not commonly used to improve the horses fitness and muscle tone. Training aids however, are used in a variety of other disciplines. A wide range of training aids are currently available on the market, they all claim to help develop top line and adopt the desired outline. Training aids such as side reins appear to assist in developing dorsal muscles, including the longissimus dorsi that assists in back stabilisation, (Cottriall et al., 2009) but have no affect in engaging the hindquarters.

 

Training aids that assist in lowering the head allows a greater use of the hind limbs to occur. In order for the horse to work with a greater power from the hindquarters the horse must have active dorsal and ventral muscles to stabilise the back against over flexion/extension (Cottrial et al., 2009).

 

Two types of training aid’s that assist in creating more back stabilisation and hindquarter impulsion are, the Pessoa ® and the EquiAmi ®, these two aids are currently often used to help develop top line and strengthen core body muscles.

 

Generally it is thought the Pessoa ® that compromises of a series of ropes and pulleys encourage a greater involvement of the longissimus dorsi and aids in the development and maintenance of suitable muscle tone for the horse to perform well at any level (Cottriall et al., 2009). The use of a training aid that has a complex pulley system are often complicated to fit but also require numerous adjustments, to ensure the ropes are of equal lengths on both sides, failure to ensure equal rope length may have a detrimental effect on the horses movement and muscle tone.

Training aids that are self-centring ensure the ropes at all times are level on both side of the horse. The continuous self centring loop encourages the horse to adopt a rounder outline without force, and offers a reward of reduced tension when in the correct outline, this can result in the horse associating working in the correct outline therefore, a reduced tension of the aid, this works on McGreevy, (2007) learning theory.

 

1.9 Training

Training refers to a variety of traits that the horse is taught to increase performance. Historically horses were trained for war, transportation and farm work, although horses are now used for recreational use and sport, such as racing. A variety of different disciplines ensure horses are taught a variety of movement that are specific to the discipline for example grandprix dressage horses are required to perform a piaffe, however this is not required within show jumping therefore is often not taught.

 

In racing the horse is trained to run fast, manipulating the response of the flight mechanism of the horse. Horses bred for racing begin training as a yearling, and begin work on the gallops at two. In other disciplines, horses often are only beginning training at the age of three and four. Negative reinforcement is the most effective way to train reliable behaviours in the horse. Working in a light contact is often done with reinforcement (releasing of pressure) to ensure maximum learning. If the reward is given far too late the horse may not associate the reward. (McGreevy, 2007).

 

Aids are used in many disciplines to enhance the horse’s movement working in a correct outline and to increase other factors including muscle tone and fitness. Paulekas and Haussler, (2009) found that working in a lunging aid placed around the horses hindquarters helps to produce a rhythmic sensory stimulus, which is timed with the gait cycle. It also can aid with synchronizing the function of the hindquarters with the forehand and encouraging the contraction of the iliopsoas and spinal flexors. The placement around the caudal surface of the pelvic limb encourages the pelvic limb protraction and contraction of the abdominal musculature, assisting in core muscle strengthening.

 

 

1.10 EquiAmi ®

Training aids such as the EquiAmi ® encourage the horse to work in a soft, round outline whilst, engaging the hindquarters. The design has a free moving loop that discourages the horse to lean and become reliant on the training aid. The self-centring loop encourages the horse to shorten its frame by quickly releasing the tension encouraging wither lift.

 

EquiAmi ® works on this basis which could be beneficial when rehabilitating a horse from injury or neurological disorders. When working in a training aid ideally it is best it applies limited pressure to the horse (McGreevy, and McLean, 2010).

 

The EquiAmi ® encourages the horse to lower their head and begin to work through their backs. In turn this creates a rounder outline, over time horses gradually begin to step under more engaging the hindquarters as training continues the horse will develop engagement gradually taking more weight on the hind limbs therefore carrying themselves in a soft relaxed contact.

 

Using the training aid in the racing industry may strengthen the horse’s core whilst running at high speed, allowing more weight to be used in the hindquarters. In doing so, the horse could be able to produce more power. Currently racehorses run on the ‘forehand’ and rely on the shoulders to pull the body, encouraging more use of the hindquarters may produce more power in turn this may allow the horse to have a quicker ‘turn of foot’ during the final furlongs of a race.

 

1.11 Influencing Factors

Many factors have been associated to affect the performance of a racehorse.

 

Hintz and Vleck, (1978) found that the training regime, Jockeys experience and prize winnings could influence the performance during a race. Many other researchers have described how the horses, age, sex, and weight carried, handicap mark, temperature, type of racetrack (All weather or turf), track condition, direction race is run in (left or right), number of runners, racing distance, the experience that the horse and jockey have can an affect the horses performance (Oki et al., 1997 and Mota, 2000).

 

Conformation is a large influencing factor, obviously a well put together horse, that has power and stamina is going to have an advantage. It is often argued that conformation is due to good breeding. A typical thoroughbred with long elongated limbs should achieve the longest stance times therefore taking a longer stride however, longer limbs do not automatically result in a longer S.L (Armstrong and Cooksey, 1983). Generally a horse with upright forelimb conformation may be more susceptible to concussion injuries on firm ground. Musculoskeletal injuries have been identified as a common health problem in Thoroughbred horses. Trainers often state that the horse must have a ‘heart’ and the will to win in order to achieve the best, often some horses are proved to perform above their ability, many trainers believe this is due to the desire to win. Overall it is said that breeding, up bringing and the horses desire to win have a determining affect on the horses performance. It is assumable to think only conformation and breeding of the horse would significantly add speed to a horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2.1 Aim

The primary aim of the research is to investigate the affects of a training aid, on the Thoroughbred horses S.L. The secondary aim is to investigate if a S.L increase would this increase speed.

 

2.2 Objectives

The objectives for the study are as follows:

 

A lunging aid will be used as part of a varied weekly routine; the S.L will be measured using anatomical 2-d markers and a series of cameras. All measurements will be repeated three times. Baseline measurements will be taken two weeks apart and the following six weeks.

 

Speed would be recorded by a stopwatch at the start and end of the five-furlong gallop to determine if speed increased due to the increase in S.L. The time will be averaged, to see if the horse increases speed correlates to a S.L increase as the training progresses.

 

2.3 Hypothesis

H1a The use of the EquiAmi ® will not change the S.L in a Thoroughbred horse.

H1b- The use of the EquiAmi ® helps to increase S.L in a Thoroughbred horse.

 

H2a- The use of the EquiAmi ® will have no effect on the speed of a Thoroughbred horse.

H2b- The use of the EquiAmi ® will help to increase the speed of a Thoroughbred horse.

 

H3a- The ambient temperature will have no effect on the use of the EquiAmi ®

H3b- The ambient temperature will have an effect on the use of the EquiAmi ®

 

2.4 Materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plate 1: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® lunging aid. (EquiAmi ® 2012)

 

The EquiAmi ® compromises of either a leather or webbed chest piece that attaches between the horses legs onto the roller (arrow 1). The red colour coded back piece of the EquiAmi ® is placed through the D-ring on the roller and clipped back on itself (arrow 2) to form a loop this encourages the horse to engage the hindquarters more. The green piece (arrow 3) attaches to the ring of the hind piece, the end piece freely passes through the bit ring (outside to inside) the down through the oval loop on the chest piece (arrow 1) up through the other bit ring (inside to outside) and clip to the other hind piece to form a looped system. The positioning of the loop of the lunging training aid encourages the horse to bring its hind legs underneath its hindquarters, to lower its head and shorten its frame. As the horse adopts a more rounded outline, it is immediately rewarded by the training aid becoming looser (Bentley 2012, personnel communication).

 

2.5 Ethical Approval and risk assessment.

A research proposal and ethics form (appendix 1) was sent to Myerscough College Ethics Committee were approval was obtained before commencing the study. A full detailed risk assessment was also carried out before commencing the study (appendix 2).

 

2.6 Pilot Study

The pilot study took place at Bramley Byre, Grange-Over-Sands using a single Thoroughbred horse. The pilot study ensured the methodology and any equipment used worked correctly. Limited methods have been published when evaluating the effects of S.L the methods that were adopted as a guide, was Witte et al., (2006), Cottriall et al., (2009) and Barrey et al., (1995). The method used to determine the set work routine of the horses working on the lunge in the EquiAmi ® was suggested by the manufacture of the product (Bentley 2012, personnel communication). A pilot study showed that S.L increased on both the left and right rein, asymmetry was calculated and showed a decreased. Speed over five furlongs also increased by four seconds.

 

2.7 Habituation

Prior to the investigation the horses used, would be familiar to working in the EquiAmi ® in the arena for a minimum of two weeks.

 

2.8 Method

Before any data collection is taken consent would be gained from the appropriate personnel. The consent form for use of the horses (appendix 3) would be signed by the person in charge of the horse, Rider and lunger consent form (appendix 4 and 5) would also be signed by the appropriate person responsible for these tasks, all consent forms would be completed before any work is undertaken.

 

2.9 Set Work Routine

Horses would perform a set work routine when working in the EquiAmi ® compromising of:

  • Five to six minutes of warm up, working the horse in walk, trot and canter with a change of directions
  • Tension of the EquiAmi ® will then be adjusted, this is generally shortened around 15 centimetres on the front (green) piece (This will only have to be done on one side as the training aid self centres via the loop).
  • For ten to twelve minutes the horse would work in walk and trot using various transitions through the gaits, with changes in circle diameter and changes of rein.
  • The tension of the EquiAmi ® will then be released back to the original position allowing the horse to stretch down and began a five-minute cool down in walk to finish the exercise

This set work routine, would be completed twice a week to encourage the horse to adopt a rounder more balanced, engaged outline.

 

2.10 Animals

A number of four horses were selected from the Centre of Racehorse Studies (n=4) and were observed when working in the EquiAmi ®. Previous to the investigation being carried out all horses will have undergone conformation analysis based on Maudsley et al., (1996) to determine if conformation could prove a factor to the investigation. Horses would be of various ages (between 6 and 12 years), sex, and height (see table one) however; all horses would be Thoroughbred, which are in a similar constant work regime.

 

Table one: Summary of horses used in the study

Horse

Age

Sex

Height (hh)

1

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

2.11 Routine

Horses all had the same routine, and were stabled in 16-metre ² stables with rubber matting.

 

The work regime undertaken by the horses at the Centre of Racehorse Studies include working within the British Racing School on the gallops once or twice a day in a controlled canter. All horses go on the walker for one hour every morning during morning stables. Twice a week horses worked in the EquiAmi ® lunging aid for twenty minutes in all three gaits.

 

2.12 Diet

Horses at the Centre of Racehorse Studies receive a similar balanced diet compromising of forage and racing mix specifically designed for the racing school, no horse used in this study was receiving any extra supplements or treatments.

 

The horses will be clinically free of lameness and other affecting problems at the start of the investigation. The trainer will determine this. Data will be recorded between 7th December and 1st February.

 

2.13 Data Collection

Video graphic systems (2-D images) were used to record 8 horses’. The information recorded on the first and twelfth day was to determine baseline measurements for each individual horse. The following six weeks the horses worked in the EquiAmi ® two days a week for twenty minutes following the guidelines set by the manufacture alongside the horses daily work regime.

 

Recording data using 3-D images will not be possible due to not having the equipment available, if equipment was available to use 3-D images would give a more accurate result.

 

Self-adhesive markers were placed on the fore and hind hoof. Individual horses had each data set recorded three times on each rein in trot and canter, to rule out any abnormalities that may occur during recording, and to average out S.L. Before the markers were placed on the horse, a skin test was carried out to make sure the horses did not react to the markers.

The same rider and handler were used throughout the study to reduce the variables. The same handler also placed the markers on the horses hoof wall to ensure the marker was placed in the correct place during each recording. The EquiAmi ® was correctly fitted to each horse ensuring the length was correct, this was determined by the handler, to the guidelines set by the manufacture.

 

S.L data was recorded using a video camera and tripod. Speed was recorded using a stopwatch calculating the time taken to run over a set distance of five furlongs.

 

2.14 Data Analysis

S.L data collected from all the horses was analysed using the Quintic ™ soft wear in metres (M). The footage was downloaded; each clip was then trimmed down and calibrated to show a single S.L. The S.L was recorded on both the off side and near side of the horse. Plumb lines where dropped onto the footage where the foot fell to allow a clear and accurate measurement of S.L.

 

All data collected will remain anonymous being referred to as horse 1, 2 etc. Referring horses anonymously allows the results to be unbiased.

 

2.15 Survey

The data was collected using an online survey. The survey included 10 questions addressed to people who used the EquiAmi ® on their horse (see appendix 6)

 

2.16 Environmental conditions

All environmental conditions were recorded. Ground conditions were recorded by the information set by the British Racing School using a device specifically designed to evaluate the ground conditions. Weather and temperature were recorded by information given from the British Racing School

 

2.17 Statistical Analysis

Once the results are collected they underwent statistical analysis using Minitab 16 to determine significant P-values. Significance is determined when the P- values are below <0.05. Data was first checked for normality, dependant on the findings of the normality test, a series of tests either parametric or non-parametric will then be carried out on the data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

3.1 Results

Data for all four subjects (n=4). used in this study, was analysed in several ways. During the study one horse had to be removed due to a change in behaviour (n=3). The data information collected included horse, age, date, mean S.L left, mean S.L right, speed, environmental factors and temperature. Asymmetry was calculated by taking stride length left from S.L right.

 

An Anderson- Darlington test was carried out to begin with to test the data collected for normality. All data collected was determined to be normal. Graphs for normality including the p-values can be seen in the appendices (Appendix 7, 8 and 9). Descriptive statistics were carried out to establish the mean, standard error (SE), standard deviation (SD), range and the minimum and maximum values. A series of general linear models (a type of ANOVA) were carried out on the data to allow statistical significance to be assessed.

 

3.2 Descriptive statistics

Table two shows, the descriptive statistics for mean S.L left, mean S.L right, asymmetry, and speed. Sample size n=3 for three recordings. The results show that the standard error mean and the standard deviation decreased in recording three compared to the baseline measurement’s which where recordings one and two. Table three shows the mean and standard error (Mean ± SE).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table2: Descriptive statistics of Mean S.L left, Mean S.L right, Asymmetry, and Speed (S)

Variable         recording N N*   Mean     SE Mean   StDev      Minimum   Q1

 

Mean s.l left   (M)       1     3   0        2.9290   0.0626        0.1655   2.6400 2.7867

                                    2     3   0        2.9176   0.0702        0.1858   2.6133 2.7433

                                    3     3   0        2.9976   0.0592        0.1566   2.7300 2.8767

Mean s.l right (M)      1     3   0        2.8495   0.0822         0.2176   2.5667 2.5800

                                   2     3   0        2.8548   0.0830        0.2195   2.5667 2.5700

                                   3     3   0        2.9748   0.0571        0.1510   2.7167 2.8800

Asymmetry (L-R)      1    3   0        0.0814   0.0301        0.0796   0.0033 0.0067

                                   2     3   0        0.0629   0.0254        0.0673   0.0000 0.0133

                                   3     3   0        0.0324   0.0114        0.0303   0.0033 0.0100

Speed         (S)          1     3   0        68.000   0.690           1.826     66.000 67.000

                                   2     3   0        68.000   0.690           1.826     66.000 67.000

                                   3     3   0         72.29     1.36            3.59       68.00     69.00

 

Variable       recording       Median           Q3                 Maximum

 

Mean s.l left   (M)       1          2.9567           3.0733            3.1133

                                   2         2.9367           3.1067            3.1267

                                    3         3.0167           3.1500            3.1867

Mean s.l right (M)     1         2.8833           3.0233            3.1200

                                   2         2.9000           3.0467            3.1133

                                   3         3.0167           3.0733            3.1767

Asymmetry   (L-R)    1         0.0600           0.1567            0.2200

                                   2         0.0433           0.1333            0.1767

                                   3         0.0200           0.0733            0.0767

Speed           (S)        1         67.000           70.000            71.000

                                   2         67.000           70.000            71.000

                                   3           72.00             76.00             78.00

 

 

 

Table 3 Mean (±SE) Affect of a training aid on the S.L in a Thoroughbred horse

Variable

Mean (±SE)

Horse

4.00 ±0.45

Recording

2.00 ±0.18

Age

8.42 ±0.46

Date

41273 ±5.38

Mean S.L left

2.94 ±0.36

Mean S.L right

2.89 ±0.43

Asymmetry

0.05 ±0.01

Speed (s)

69.43 ±0.70

 

Table 4 Temperature and Weather conditions

Recording day

Temperature

Weather conditions

1

2

Showers

2

4

Fog and showers

3

5

Overcast

 

3.3 General Linear Model

A general linear model analysis of variance (ANOVA) was carried out to compare any changes, in S.L, asymmetry and speed. The data was assessed for any statistical changes after working in the EquiAmi ® got a period of six weeks.

 

As stated previously the temperature was recorded on the day stride measurements were taken (please see table four). It was discussed that the temperature may have a negative effect on S.L. The change in S.L was compared to the temperature using a general linear model. The temperature recorded showed that the temperature had no significant effect on the horses S.L, on the left rein P0.642 or on the right rein P0.428.The temperature however did have a significant effect on the horses speed P0.007

 

When looking at the significant differences within the data, the horse showed a significant increase on the left and right S.L (P<0.001) S.L left had a significant increase with speed (P0.006) and S.L right also had a significant increase (P0.032). S.L on the right showed significant difference with age (P0.025) although showed no significant difference on the left (P0.110). No significant difference on S.L left or right was found when compared to recording days, or environment factors.

 

No significant difference was found when comparing S.L left to S.L right (P0.079). Due to the result being close to significance, a larger sample size may prove to have a significant effect.

 

Comparison of the baseline measurements (recordings 1&2) to recording three on the left rein showed significant difference (P0.002) and on the right rein (P0.007). On the right rein a significant difference was found between recording two and recording three (P0.003).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B

 

A

 

A

 

B

 

A

 

A

 

Figure 1 Interval plot for mean S.L left and right with the recording number.

 

Figure one demonstrates that the S.L increased by recording three compared to the baseline measurements (recordings one & two), mean S.L left had a lower difference compared to the right S.L. Asymmetry was significant on the horses speed (P0.036).

 

On the left rein speed affected all three recordings (P0.047), (P0.007) and (P0.011) although had no significant effect on the right rein for recordings one and two. Speed however, did have a significant effect on the right rein on the third recording (P0.043). Age also affected asymmetry of the horse (P0.009). Other factors that significantly affected speed included environmental factors (P0.007), temperature, (P0.007), and going (P0.001).

 

 

B

 

A

 

A

 

Figure 2 Interval plot of speed against recording number

 

Figure two shows that speed significantly increased during recording three compared to the baseline measurements (recording one & two) although, there was more variables in recording 3 compared to recordings one and two

 

 

 

 

 

 

B

 

B

 

A

 

A

 

A

 

A

 

Figure 3 Interval plot of speed against recording and age

 

Figure three demonstrates how the age of the horse affected the speed when compared to the recording number. Horses under seven had a slightly smaller range of data compared to horses over ten, however, the speed increased in both age groups at recording three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B

 

A

 

A

 

Figure 4 Interval plot of Asymmetry against recording number

 

Figure four shows how the asymmetry of the horse reduced during the progression of work in the EquiAmi ®. Recording 1 compared to recording two showed that the range of data decreased, this continued to recording three where the highest variable was 0.050 compared to the highest variable in recording one being 0.150.

 

3.4 Survey for horses at the Centre of Racehorse Studies

To look at the response the Centre of racehorses Studies filled out a questionnaire for each individual horse following the period of six weeks working in the EquiAmi ® all horses showed to become more engaged in all three gaits. Riders commented on how there horses canter work had vastly improved being more balanced and rhythmical. When ridden horses where engaging whilst working on the gallops and said ‘to be showing more power and stamina’. One horse that had a tendency to nap was markedly reduced too.

 

One horse had a remarkable improvement as the horses were always stated to ‘struggle to strike of on the correct lead’ by the end of the study the horse was ‘able to maintain the correct lead on both reins’. Behavioural aspects that some horses portrayed such as bucking was also dramatically improved, an instructor at the British Racing School described one horse as ‘become a perfect gent ‘.

 

The horse that had to be removed from the investigation, due to a change in behaviour was noted not to be due to the EquiAmi ®. Although, during the study instructors at the British Racing School described the horse was ‘using the hindquarters and hocks more efficiently and improved overall muscle tone’.

 

3.5 Survey from users of the EquiAmi ®

A survey into the affect’s of the EquiAmi ® training aid was made accessible by email, social networking sites, online website postings and on equine Internet forums. People who responded to the survey were anonymous. One owner said their horse had a ‘tendency to become disunited in canter, and displayed bunny hopping and bucking, although since using the EquiAmi ®, these problems had pretty much resolved and the canter is more relaxed’. Commonly seen throughout the response’s many people had stated that their horses ‘overall body condition and muscle tone had increased’. People commented that the EquiAmi ® helped to develop muscle tone. One owner said ‘Yes - neck and hindquarters, my chiropractor mentioned the difference straightaway when she last came to see her (about 2 weeks ago) My mare tends to hold her head in the correct position but lacks impulsion in her hindquarters - since using the EquiAmi ® this has changed and I find she tracks up and her pole work has improved greatly’.

 

3.6 Adaptations to training

Over the 6 week period of working in the EquiAmi ® horses, had developed more muscle tone over the top line, and the hindquarters. Horses said to ‘of felt stronger in the back when working under the saddle’. All riders have documented when ridden the horse feels to ‘more balanced’. When looking at the response to the horses used during the trial at the Centre of Racehorse Studies all, horses appeared to become more engaged, and not running on the forehand as much after a six week period in the EquiAmi ®, horses also appeared to have more power and a greater ‘push’ of the ground.

 

Plate two shows a horse on the first day working in the EquiAmi ® unable to step through because of her cramped top line. Plate three shows the horse more engaged in the hindquarters, showing symmetry and improved muscle tone after a six week period of working in the EquiAmi ®.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plate two: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® prior to six weeks training.

 

Plate three: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® after a period of six weeks working in the EquiAmi ®.

3.7 Summary of results

To summarise the results, temperature has no significant effect on the S.L when working in the EquiAmi ® P >0.005, although shows a significant effect on the speed of the horse P<0.005. Using a general linear model it was determined that working in the EquiAmi ® shows to a have a significant increase (P<0.05) in the horses S.L and a significant decrease in asymmetry (P<0.05). Using the EquiAmi ® also proved to significantly increase speed (P0.05).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

4.1 Discussion

The study looked into the affects of the EquiAmi ® training aid has on the natural S.L of a Thoroughbred horse. A significant difference in the horses S.L was seen in all four horses, after working in the EquiAmi ® for a period of six weeks, resulting in the alternative hypothesis being accepted (H1b). The increase in speed, after six weeks of working in the EquiAmi ® allows the alternative hypothesis to be accepted (H2b), although, temperature was found to have no effect on the S.L of the horse therefore the null hypothesis can be accepted (H3a).

 

The greatest attempts were made to ensure the experimental design and the horses daily routine was kept the same throughout the study. Procedures were taken to minimise the risk of stress to the horse. One condition that could not be controlled was the environment (weather and temperature) due to the availability of the school, gallops and jockeys data was often obtained outside after the morning workouts. This may be of significance as the ground conditions were not always level, this could lead to the horse feeling less stable on the surface.

 

Data from this study represents that a working a Thoroughbred horse, in the EquiAmi ® training aid does not significantly alter the mean S.L on the left or right rein (P0.079). The mean S.L difference was however, close to significance; further studies using a larger sample size may provide more conclusive findings. Although the results lie outside significance it could be said that a trend may be set if a larger sample size was used.

 

Upon further investigation it was seen that on the left rein, S.L was significantly different from recording one to recording three, although no significant difference was found between recording two and three on the left rein. On the right rein significant difference was seen between recordings one - three and two - three. This may be due to the horses preferred stride pattern when racing.

 

Conformation of the horse showed no significance to S.L throughout all three measurements, this correlates with the results found by Armstrong, and Cooksey, (1983) that longer limbs do not automatically result in longer stride.

 

The longer stride seen after working in the EquiAmi ® for six weeks, may prove a correlation between the engagement being improved, improved balance, and an increase in muscle tone. This was seen in all the horses that were used within the study. Working in the EquiAmi ® also significantly improved the asymmetry of the horse.

 

Asymmetry of the horses stride, proved to be significant with many factors considered during the investigation. A strong positive correlation was found between the asymmetry and speed, this could be due to the horses becoming more balanced and more engaged after working in the EquiAmi ®. More engagement from the horse will allow a greater ‘push’ and provide more power in the hindquarters to increase the speed.

 

Horses individual age had a significant effect on asymmetry, this may be due to the horse’s previous training, experience and any underlying problems such as previous injuries the horse may have.

 

When comparing the age and speed to the asymmetry of the horse, it is evident that horses under seven, had a lower range of variables and the data was more evenly distributed, compared to the horses over ten years of age who have much higher range of variables, and the data was not as evenly distributed. Lower variables were seen in horses under the age of seven, this may be due to the fact that, generally competitive racing starts at 2 years of age. Daily work regimes may have influenced this finding as the horses’ over ten were worked less strenuously on the gallops compared to horses’ under the age of seven.

 

Significant correlation was found between the age of the horse and speed. Horses aged lower than seven had a slightly lower baseline speed measurement compared to horses over ten. It has been noted that horses over the age of ten, had a greater speed during the five furlongs in all three recordings. This could be due to other influencing factors including preferred ground conditions and the previous work conducted during the week or could possibly be due to younger horses being less experienced than the older horses’ on the track.

 

After working in the EquiAmi ® all horses had shown an increase in speed. Results in this study found that S.L increased, after working in the EquiAmi ® for six weeks, the results were significantly different for the asymmetry and speed of the horse. This correlates with material published by Witte et al., (2006) which states that, as S.L increases so will the speed. Dervemo et al., (1980) associated a period of prolonged training affected the S.L in the horse. After a period of training in the EquiAmi ® for six weeks, the results from this study correlates with those described by Dervemo et al., (1980) as the S.L significantly increased. This may be more evident if the EquiAmi ® was used over a longer period of time. Natural asymmetry is a muscular problem that is treated through correct work. If asymmetry is left untreated it can often lead to imbalances in muscle tone over the top line and hindquarters. This in turn can lead to an increase in tension, muscular problems in the back and overstraining of the front tendons. The asymmetry of the horse decreased as the training progressed when working in the EquiAmi ®, reducing the amount of asymmetry that a racehorse has may improve performance, as the horse will naturally be able to perform equally as well on both reins, allowing trainers to have a greater choice of racetracks suited for the horse, but may also reduce the risk of injury to the horse.

 

As training begins at a young a number of structural changes occur in younger horses to prevent injury and maintain the ability to work to high demands. Stover, (2003) stated that high intensity work had a greater detrimental effect of damage. Working in the EquiAmi ® is low intensity work, subsequently the EquiAmi ® may prove a valuable aid to the racing industry allowing, the horse to maintain a level of fitness, whilst having a low intensity work out thus reducing the amount of injury sustained.

 

Many researchers have previously stated a direct link, between breath and stride. Horses lungs are asymmetrical, due to additional lobe in the right lung, if a horse strikes of on the right lead stride, an increase may be seen in oxygen consumption (Duel, and Lawrence, 1987). Duel, and Lawrence, (1987) suggested that if the stride patterns do not match the amount of oxygen consumed in the left and right lung may also differ. Investigation into the effects of a stride pattern, and working in the EquiAmi ® comparisons could be made with heart rate and respiration to compare the affects that working in the EquiAmi ® has on fitness and preferred stride pattern. Correlations can be seen with finding’s from Duel, and Lawrence, (1987) when analysing the footage of the horses racing over five furlongs, the horses that predominantly led with the right lead stride had faster times compared to horses that ran with the left lead stride. Individual horses that led on the left lead stride had the greatest asymmetry of all the horses’ in the study. This could prove a significant factor to performance and the affects asymmetry has.

 

Racehorse trainers currently utilize long slow distance training during early conditioning. Fast work however, is important for bone remodelling. Cardiovascular and muscular adaptations occur quicker in comparison to skeletal adaptations, therefore as the demands of work for the horse are increased, a greater amount of pressure is placed upon the skeletal system (Nielsen et al., 1995). Further investigation is needed to determine the lasting effect of highly demanding work has on the horse, currently trainers continue to use the traditional training regime for horses that compromises of four days slow distance work, two days high intensity work and one day of rest. All horses’ experience some degree of fatigue after a high intensity work out or a race. Continuous excessive overload during training can cause fatigue this has a significant effect resulting in lameness, or muscle soreness in the horse. Racehorses primarily need to have a high level of fitness; the training a horse receives is to prepare the horses’ musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems to achieve the demands of racing performance. Currently trainers subjectively base there programmes on there ‘feelings’ without any scientific evidence of what is occurring in the horses musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, this could be a leading factor to injury. Prevention can occur by assessing the horses training regime, a low intensity work out may allow the horse to recover from fatigue after a high intensity work out, whilst maintaining a substantial level of fitness.

 

Other influencing factors may have contributed to the speed of the horses’, such as changing stride pattern. Speed may have been lost due to a change in stride pattern, during the five-furlong gallop. Contribution from the rider may have affected the speed and stride pattern of the horse by holding the horses head to a particular side, this has also been discussed by Williams, and Norris, (2007). It is thought some riders contribute in changing the stride pattern by shifting weight or whipping the horse to rebalance and help negotiating turns better.

 

During the study it was observed that horses altered the stride pattern during the five-furlong stretch. The results are confirmed with those seen by Williams, and Norris, (2007) that a horse can change two to four times during a five-furlong race. Our results showed that on average a horse running a five-furlong race changed lead stride pattern twice. This may be due to horse’s natural balance; experience, rein contact and rider weight distribution. This was recorded by analysing video footage of horses running over five furlongs and counting the number of lead changes.

 

Riders rein contact with the horse may have proved a significant difference, as horses over ten previously sustained more training, therefore it may have been noted horses over ten may respond to the pressure on the rein quicker than horses under seven as they may of not had as much race training. Further investigation would be needed to confirm that pressure placed upon the rein affected the horse’s speed.

 

Unfortunately one week before the end of the trial, one horse had to be removed the study due to a severe behavioural change. This is being investigated but it is not directly related to being part of the study, although possibly may be due to a physical issues which the work brought to light. Until his removal from the study it was noted that he had become ‘more balanced’ and was ‘over-tracking well’. His canter had also said to ‘of improved’. This was stated from the instructors at the British Racing School and the Centre of racehorse studies.  

 

All horses that have been working in the EquiAmi ® have reported an improvement in the horses movement. Some behavioural problems that horses portrayed such as napping and bucking had said to of improved. These behavioural problems could have been associated with pain and muscle stiffness through working with tension throughout the body or in an incorrect outline.

 

Questionnaires received from users of the EquiAmi ® and the Centre of Racehorse Studies, described how all horses had a marked overall improved appearance with ‘strengthened core muscles’ and horses had developed ‘more muscle tone along the top line and over the hindquarters’. More activity of the horses hock’s had also been noted this was a trend seen through older horses. This correlates with the findings found by Paulekas And Haussler, (2009) where working in a lunging aid can help with synchronising the function of hindquarters with the forehand.

 

Environmental factors such as the weather affected the horse and ground conditions. Weather conditions and temperature significantly affect the horses race performance if the horse’s muscles are not correctly warmed up this especially can occur during colder days. Results from the three recordings, where all taken on days where the weather and temperature was significantly different. These environmental factors however, did not affect how the horse worked in the EquiAmi ®. It can be suggested that the EquiAmi ® works on the horse despite the weather conditions.

 

Ground conditions predominantly has a particular effect on horses individual speed, this has been previously linked to performance and the conformation of the horse. After the two baseline measurements were collected (recordings one and two) a significant difference was seen with recording 3. As the horse became more engaged, more balanced, and adopted a rounder outline the speed of the horse increased, due to more power being produced from the hindquarters. This could therefore increase performance as the horse had more ‘power’ to push and lift it’s legs during heavy ground conditions. Further investigation into the affects of ground condition correlating with working in the EquiAmi ® would be needed. This could be done by working in the EquiAmi ® for a longer period of time and racing over a variety of different ground conditions.

 

4.2 Conclusion

It is believed this is one of the first studies to look into the effects of the EquiAmi ® training aid. Further research is therefore justified and needed in this area.

 

Although significant results were gained from this study the accessible sample size was limited due to the horses workload, time constraints and other ongoing studies that was using some horses at the British Racing School. The findings of this study may be used as preliminary studies; however, the study could be repeated again using a larger sample size of horses. This would allow a greater variation between individual horses to be accounted for and to confirm the finding from this study. Change in the joint angles could also prove interesting to analyse, as it would be beneficial to know if the S.L was being gained from one or more joint angles.

 

Using the EquiAmi ® lunging aid, on the Thoroughbred racehorse, has proved to have a significant effect on the horses S.L and speed, this in turn would improve the performance seen in the racehorse. Fewer muscular injuries may be seen due to the increased muscle tone and balance of the horse, this may result in fewer lay up days of the horse.

 

As the horse improves core muscles, and works in a rounder outline, the horse learns to carry himself and the weight of the rider. This may increase performance rates and the horse may not be affected by the weights carried in the saddle during a race. The stronger the horses back is, the easier it will be to carry the weights; this may prove to have a significant effect on high handicapped horses’.

 

Use of the EquiAmi ® could be introduced as part of the horses weekly training regime, even if just used once a week. Currently it would be very difficult to convince trainers to lunge fit racehorses twice a week, rather than working on the gallops daily due to the risk of injury and time allowances.

 

Trainers are constantly trying to improve their horses performance rating as the goal for all trainer’s is to produce winning horses in turn as horses perform better the economical aspects of the racing industry come into consideration as the better the horses performance the more likely it is to win more prize money for all individuals involved. Therefore taking a different approach to training may provide trainers that use this method an advantage over other trainers. As the horse would show an increase in S.L, and a decrease in asymmetry this may prove to decrease the number of days off due to lameness or injury over a period of time, and an increase in speed.

 

Other beneficial factors to trainers would be the improved muscle tone over the top line and hindquarters, as horses would be able to distribute the saddle weights during racing over the back with the muscles providing more strength and support to carry them.

 

Word Count: 9,376

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

5.1 References

Armstrong I., and Cooksey, S (1983) Biomechanical changes in selected collegiate sprinters due to increased velocity. Track field. Rev. 3 pp10-12

 

 

Barrey, E (1999) Methods , applications and limitations of gait analysis in horse’s. The veterinary Journal. 157 pp7-22

 

 

Barrey, E. Auvient, B. Courouce, A. (1995) Gait evaluation of race trotters using an accelerometric device. Equine veterinary journal 27 pp156-160

 

 

Bentley, H (2012) personal communication.

 

 

Clayton, H. Schamhardt, H (2001) Measurement techniques for gait analysis in: Back, W, Clayton, H. Equine Locomotion. London: Saunders pp 55-76

 

 

Clayton. H (2002) The canter considered. Veterinary connections pp 22-25

 

 

Cottriall, S. Ritruechai, P and Wakeling, J (2009) The effects of training aids on the longissimus dorsi in the equine back. Comparative exercise physiology 5(3) pp 111-114

 

 

Dempsey, J and Seals, D (1995) Agining exercise and cardiopulmonary function. Perspective in ecvercise and sport medicine. Indianna (8) pp 237-304

 

 

Dermen, K, and Noakes, T (1994) Cinoaratuve asoect if exercise physiology. In the athlete horse’s. Philadelphia.: WB Saunders co.

 

 

Deuel NR and Lawrence LM (1987) Effecting of urging by the rider on equine gallop stride limb contracts. Proceeding of the 10th equine nutrition and physiology Symposium: 1987 pp 487-492

 

 

Drevemo,S. Dalin, G. Fredricson, I. Hjerten, G. (1980) Equine locomotion 3: the reproducibility of gait in standardbred trotters. Equine veterinary journal. 12 pp71-73

 

 

Eaton, M and Rose, R (1992) The assessment of anaerobic capacity of Thoroughbred horse’s using maximal accumulated oxygen deficient. Equine Veterinary Journal 10 pp 86

Eaton, M, Rose, R Evans, D and Hodgson, D (1995) Assessment of anaerobic capacity using maximal accumulated oxygen deficient in fit Thoroughbred horse’s. Equine Veterinary Journal 18 pp 29-32

 

 

Essen, B. Lindholm, A. and Thorton, J (1980) Histochemical properties of muscle fibre types and enzyme activities in skeletal muscles of standardbred trotters of different ages. Equine Veterinary Journal 12 pp 175-180

 

 

Estberg, L. Gardner, Km Stiver, A and Hohnson, B (1998) A case cross over study of intensive racing and training schedules and risk of catastrophic musculoskeletal injury and lay up in California Thoroughbred racehorse’s. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 33(97) pp 15-170

 

 

Harkins, D . Kammering, S and Church, G (1992) Effect of competition on performance of Thoroughbred racehorse’s. Journal of application of physiology 72 pp 836-841

Hockenhull, J and Creighton, E (in press) The use of equipment and training practices and the relevance of owner reported ridden behaviour problems in the UK leisure horse’s. Equine Veterinary Journal

 

 

Hoyt, D and Taylor, C (1981) Gait and the energetics of locomotion in horse’s, Nature 292 pp 239-240

 

 

Jeffcot, L. Rossdale, P. Freestone, J (NEED DATE) An assessment of wastage in Thoroughbred racing from conception to 4 years of age. Equine Veterinary Journal 14 pp 185-198

 

 

Lakatta, E (1995) Cardiovascular systems. Handbook of physiology. Oxford University Press. New York pp 413-474

 

 

Lession, K, Jaakma, U, and Seene, T (2008) Adaptation of equine locomotor muscle fibre types to endurance and intensive high-speed training. Journal of equine veterinary science 28(7) pp 395-401

 

 

Lönnell, C (2012) Yard Differences in Training, Management and Orthopaedic Injury In Show jumping, Riding School, and Thoroughbred Racehorse’s. Doctoral Thesis Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

 

 

Maeda, Y. Tomioka, M. Hanada, M. Oikawa, M (2012) Influence of track surface condition on racing times of thoroughbred racehorse’s in flat races. Journal of equine veterinary science pp 1-7

 

 

Marlin, D and Nankervis, K (2002) equine exercise physiology. Blackwell science, Oxford pp 155

 

 

Marlin, D and Nankervis, K (2002) equine exercise physiology. Blackwell science, Oxford pp 174

 

 

McGreevy (2007) the advert of equitation science. Veterinary Journal 174 pp 492-500

 

 

McGreevy, P and McLean A (2010) Equitation Science. Pg 121

 

 

McGreevy, P and McLean A (2010) Equitation Science. Pg 141

 

 

McKeever, K, Eaton, T and Geiser C (2000) thermoregulation in old and young horse’s during exercise. Medicine science and sport exercise. 32 pp 156

 

 

Mota, M (2000) Genetic correlations between performances at different racing distance in Thoroughbred. Livestock Science 104 pp 227-232

 

 

Nielsen, B. Potter, G. Greene, L. Morris, E, Murray-Geriziki, M, Smith, W and Martin, M (1995) Does the onset of training alter mineral requirements in the young racing quarter horse. Proceedings of the fourteenth equine nutritional physiology symposium pp 70-75

 

 

Oikawa, M (2002) The Japanese experience with breakdowns. 13th annual fall symposium on recent advances in clinical veterinary medicine. California: Equine medicine program, UCDavis pp63-67

 

 

Oikawa, M. Ueda, Y. Inada, S. Tsuchikawa, T. Kusano, H, Takesa, A (1994) Effect of restructuring of a racetrack on the occurrence of racing injuries in thoroughbred horse’s. Journal of equine veterinary science 14 pp262- 268

 

 

Oki, H. Sasaki, Y and William, R (1997) Estimation of genetic correlations between racing times recorded at different racing distances by restricted maximum likelihood in Thoroughbred racehorse’s. Journal of animal breed genetics 114 pp. 185-189

 

 

Oki, H. Sasaki, Y. Willham, R. (1994) Genetics of racing performance in the Japanese thoroughbred horse: II. Environmental variation of racing time on turf and dirt tracks and the influence of sex, age, and weight carried on racing time. Journal of animal breed genetics 111. pp 138-137

 

 

Paulekas, R and Haussler, K (2009) Principle and practice of therapeutic exercise for horse’s. Journal of equine veterinary science 29(12) pp 870-893

 

 

Persson, S (1983) Evaluation of exercise tolerance and fitness in the performance horse. Equine exercise physiology. Granta editions. Cambridge UK pp 441-457

 

 

Ramzan, P and Palmer, L (2011) Musculoskeletal injuries in Thoroughbred Racehorse’s: A study of three large training yards in Newmarket, UK (2005-2007), The Veterinary Journal 187 pp 325-329

 

 

Rhodin, C, Johnston, K, Roethlisberger, H Wennerstrand, J and Drevemo (2005) The influence of head and neck position on kinematics of the back in riding horse’s at walk and trot. Equine Veterinary Journal 37 pp 492-500

 

 

Sedar, J and Vickery, C (2003) temporal and kinematics gait variables of thoroughbred racehorse’s at or near racing speeds. Journal of equine veterinary science 23(5) pp 82-112

 

 

Sobczynska, M (2010) Environmental factors affecting the speed of thoroughbred horse’s competing in Poland. Animal science papers and reports 20(4) pp 303-312

 

 

Stover, S (2003) The epidemiology of Thoroughbred racehorse injuries. Clinical techniques in Equine Practice 2 (4) pp 312-322

 

 

Tyler, C, Golland, L Evans, D, Hodgson, D and Rose, R (1998) Skeletal muscle adaptations to prolonged training over training and detraining in horse’s. European journal of physiology 436 pp 391-397

 

 

Tyler, C, Golland, L, Evans, D, Hodgson, D and Rose, R (1996) Changes in maximum oxygen uptake during prolonged training over training and detraining in horse’s. Journal of Applied Physiology 81 pp 2244-2249

 

 

Vermeulen, A and Evans, D (2006) Measurement of fitness in Thoroughbred racehorse’s using field studies of heart rate and velocity with a global system. Equine Veterinary Journal 36 pp 113-117

 

 

Von Witte, PO, Linder, A Deegen, T and Sommer, H (1994) Effects of training on blood lactate running speed and relationship in Thoroughbred racehorse’s. Journal application of applied physiology 77 pp 298-302

 

 

Williams, D (2002) Review of “stride pattern preference in racehorse’s”. A publication of Kentucky Equine Research. pp. 859-873

 

 

Williams, D and Norris, J (2007) Laterality in stride pattern preferences in racehorse. Science Direct 74 pp 941-950

 

 

Witte, T. Hirst, C. Wilson, A (2006) Effect of speed on stride parameters in racehorse’s at gallop in field conditions. The journal of experimental biology 209, pp 4389-4397

 

 

Young, L (2003) Equine athletes the equine athletes heart and racing success Physiological society symposium. The athlete’s heart. Publication of the physiological society. pp 259-663

 

 

 

Chapter 6

Appendix 1: Ethics Form

REFERENCE NO. ______________

 

Myerscough College – Animal Ethical Approval Application

                       

This form should be completed for all Research Projects

All sections of this form MUST be completed fully by the student, following consultation with the dissertation supervisor. If you fail to do so, ethical approval and the start of your project will be delayed. No field or laboratory -work, data collection, experimentation or work with participants can start until approval is granted.

Once completed this form should be submitted to your supervisor. We require one signed paper copy and an electronic copy.

The deadline for submission is indicated in the Research project module handbook.

Does project require a Home Office Licence?   YES/NO

If ‘Yes’ what is the Project Licence no:_________           Date: ______________

Is there a licence holder? YES/NO

If ‘Yes’ who holds it__________________________ Personal Licence no: _________

Date: ________________

Title of Project:

 

Effects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length in a Thoroughbred horse.

 

Name of researcher and co-workers:

Farrah Alicia Sanbrook

Sam Penrice

Dr. Hilary Bentley

Centre of Racehorse Studies

 

1.         Aims and objectives of project: (in layperson’s terms)

 

Aims (A brief outline of what the work sets out to achieve in general terms)

 

Primary Aim:

The primary aim of the research is to investigate the effects of a training aid, the EquiAmi ®. On the Thoroughbred horses stride length.

Secondary Aim:

The secondary aim is to investigate if the stride length increase would increase speed.

 

Objectives (A more specific list of achievable activities leading to outcomes that will meet the aims that are identified above)

A lunging aid will be used as part of a varied weekly routine; this will be measured using anatomical 2-d markers and a series of cameras. Speed would be recorded by a stopwatch at the start and end of the five-furlong gallop to determine if speed increased due to the increase in stride length.

 

2.         Which of the following will be involved in your research and may raise ethical issues? Please tick (ü):

Animals

ü

Human subjects:

ü

Work with young/ vulnerable people

 

Field work

ü

Data protection

 

Use of Chemicals

 

Genetic manipulation

 

Materials considered non-sustainable

 

Other areas of ethical concern

 

 

Other areas of ethical concern?

Please state what these are:

 

 

 

 

 

3.         Which species of animals and how many are intended to be used:

           

       Species: Equus Caballus (Thoroughbred horses)

       How many: eight

 

4.         Details of proposed research project:

            Outline your proposed project in terms that can be understood by a non-subject                     specialist. Ensure that you explain exactly what you are proposing to do and state
            why you are intending to do this. You should state the number of animals/people        involved, at each stage of the work and what will be done with the animals once the        work has been completed. (Suggested word count 200-300)

 

 

3

 

2

 

Please also attach more detailed information (if applicable)

 

1

 

Plate 1: A horse working in the EquiAmi ® lungeing aid 2012

 

The EquiAmi ® compromises of either a leather or webbed chest piece that attached between the legs on the roller (arrow 1). The red colour coded back piece of the EquiAmi (R) is placed through the D-ring on the roller and clipped back on itself (arrow 2) to form a loop this encourages the horse to engage more. The green piece (arrow 3) attaches to the ring of the hind piece, the end piece freely passes through the bit ring (outside to inside) the down through the oval loop on the chest piece (arrow 1) up through the other bit ring (inside to outside) and clip to the other hind piece to form a looped system. The positioning of the loop of the lunging training aid encourages the horse to bring its hind legs underneath its hindquarters, to lower its head and shorten its frame. As the horse adopts a more rounded outline, it is immediately rewarded by the training aid becoming looser (Bentley, 2012 personnel communication).

 

Before any data collection is taken consent will be gained from racehorse trainers and the handler. The trainers will sign the consent form (please see attachment 1) before any work is undertaken. The pilot study will take place at Bramley Byre, Grange-Over-Sands. The research will take place at the Centre of Racehorse Studies at the British Racing School, Newmarket. Due to limited methods being published when evaluating the effects of stride length the methods that were adopted as a guide was Witte et al., (2006), Cottriall et al., (2009) and Barrey et al., (1995).

 

Habituation

Prior to the investigation the horses used, will be familiar to working in the EquiAmi ® in the arena for a minimum of 2 weeks. The horse will also be habituated to working past the cameras to collect data a minimum of 5 times.

 

Method

Horses will perform a set work routine when working in the EquiAmi ® compromising of

Five to six minutes of warm up. Working the horse in walk, trot, and canter with a change of rein to ensure the muscles are subsequently warmed up.

Tension of the EquiAmi ® will be adjusted this is generally shortened around 6 inches on the front (green) piece

This will only have to be done on one side as the training aid self centres via the loop.

Ten to twelve minutes the horse will work in walk, trot and canter using various transitions through the gaits, with changes in circle diameter and changes of rein.

The tension of the EquiAmi ® is then released back to the orginal position allowing the horse to stretch down and began a five minute cool down in walk to finish the exercise

This will be completed twice a week to encourage the horse to adopt a rounder more balanced, engaged outline (Bentley, 2012)

 

Animals

Previous to the investigation being carried out all horses will have undergone conformation analysed based on Maudsley et al. (1996). Horses will be of all various age, sex, height however, all horses will be Thoroughbred, that are in similar constant work regime of six days per week. All horses will also be receiving a similar balanced diet. The horses will be clinically free of lameness and other affecting problems at the start of the investigation and checked regularly throughout the investigation Data will be recorded between 7th December and 1st February

 

The horses will be used as there own control with baseline measurements being collected on the 7th December and 21st December, During this time the horses will be habituating to the EquiAmi ® and environment it will be working in.

 

Data Collection

Video graphic systems (2-D images) will be used to record 8 horses. The information will be recorded on the first and fourteenth day to determine baseline measurements. The following six weeks the horses will work in the EquiAmi ® two days a week for twenty minutes following the guidelines set by the manufacture. Self-adhesive markers will be placed on the fore and hind hoof. Before the markers will be placed on the horse, a skin test will be carried out to make sure the horses don’t react to the markers. The data will be recorded three times to average out the stride length. Footage will be recorded using a video camera and the data will be analysed using the Quintic ® system to determine SL. Once the results are collected they undergo statistical analysis using Minitab. Recording data using 3-D images will not be possible due to not having the equipment available, if equipment was available to use 3-D images would give a more accurate result. All data collected will remain anonymous being referred to as horse1, 2 etc. Allowing the results to be unbiased.

 

Speed will be recorded using a stop watching calculating the time taken to run over a set distance of seven furlongs. This data will be recorded on a weekly basis during the horses set work routine.

 

Collecting data in this way will allow me to test my hypothesis that working in the EquiAmi ® helps to increase stride length in a thoroughbred horse.

 

Withdrawal

Racehorse trainers, handlers, and horse owners have the right to withdraw the animal or themselves at any point during the investigation.

 

Data storage

All data will be safely stored using various methods of back up, this will include using a pen drive, the sky drive, and on two computers, all work will also be sent to my supervisor allowing her, to keep up to date the work I have completed.

 

Reference:

Barrey, E. Auvient, B. Courouce, A. (1995) Gait evaluation of race trotters using an accelerometric device. Equine veterinary journal 27:156-160

 

Bentley, H (2012) personal communication.

 

Cottriall, S. Ritruechai, P and Wakeling, J (2009) The effects of training aids on the longissimus dorsi in the equine back. Comparative exercise physiology 5(3) pp 111-114

 

Witte, T. Hirst, C. Wilson, A (2006) Effect of speed on stride parameters in racehorse’s at gallop in field conditions. The journal of experimental biology 209,pp 4389-4397
5.         Complete the following table to make it clear who or what might benefit from or be negatively affected by your proposed research.

Who or what may be affected by this research either positively or negatively (e.g. people, plants or habitats)?

How will it or could it help them or have a positive effect on them?

How could it damage or be a problem to them?

 

Race horse trainers

Understanding that having a varied work regime will enhance the horse’s performance. Can check for any weaknesses stiffness or compensation when the horse is working correctly.

May increase performance and reduce wastage through decreasing incidences of lameness.

People may not be cable of using the equipment and carrying out the exercise safely. Limited numbers exercised at once unlike when horses are working on the gallops or in the walker.

Riders

 

Enhance the way the horse works improving the horse’s balance, engaging the hindquarters and adopting a rounder outline.

Confusion about how to place the EquiAmi ® on the horse and adjusting the EquiAmi to fit the horse correctly

Horses

 

Improves the way in which the horse works, helps to engage hindquarters, acceptance to a contact that is soft and light, rounder outline, helps increase muscle tone and top line. Provides a good aerobic workout for the horse.

May cause the horse to be restricted in the movement if fitted incorrectly. If fitted to loosely it may cause a hazard to the horse by potential getting its feet caught up.

Rehabilitation centres

 

Ensure horses start work correctly to ensure they have a correct start in the retraining programme

 

 

 

 

 

6.         What is the balance between the cost to the animals involved and the likely     benefits to be gained by the research?

Horses work on the lunge to build up musculature and fitness in order to improve performance. Working in the EquiAmi ® would improve the way in which the horse works, encouraging the horse to engage the hindquarters, and carry themselves. It also encourages the horse to lower the head and shorten its frame by developing wither lift, as the horse adopts a more balanced rounded outline it is rewarded immediately by the training aid becoming looser. A well-balanced horse that is working correctly is less likely to go lame and become more prone to other affecting conditions such as splints. Horses participating in the investigation will not be asked to do any more work along side there daily routine, instead of going on the walker twice a day horses in the treatment group will be lunged once and placed on the walker once. Horses participating in the control group will carry on the daily routine of going on the walker twice a day.

 

7.         Are there ways in which the procedures could be refined to reduce the cost to            the animals, without affecting the scientific validity of the project?

The methodology has been adapted to reduce the effect on the horse. Horses are only allowed to work on the lunge twice a week in the EquiAmi ® according to the manufacture of the product. This means that the cost to the horse will be minimal any signs of stress and discomfort will be noted as the researcher and handler will have an understanding of the horses personal temperament and attitude towards work. All horses will be used to working in the EquiAmi ® and in the arena therefore causing less stress to the animal.

 

8.         Indicate what scope exists for reduction in the number of animals used and refinement in technique as the project progresses.

A reduction in the number of horses would reduce the scientific evidence. Some horses may be lost during the investigation due to unforeseen circumstance such as lameness. In further investigation if the results were similar a reduction in the number of horses could be possible, however, at this point fifteen horses is a substantial number to carry out the investigation.

9.         At what point would an animal be withdrawn from a study due to adverse affects on its welfare.

 

A horse will be withdrawn from the investigation if it is showing any signs of lameness or other abnormalities that will restrict or cause discomfort to the way in which the horse works. Horse showing signs of stress and discomfort will also be removed from the investigation. Horses that are showing signs of stress and discomfort may be show increased tail swishing, head tossing, teeth grinding, profusely sweating and a change in attitude towards work. If horses start to show these signs whilst, conducting the field test, horse will be brought back down and cooled down appropriately this may involve removing the training aid before hand.

 

10.       State any additional reasons that support this proposed use of animals to       obtain the specific objectives. Is the number of animals you propose to use            appropriate? – i.e. large enough to produce a satisfactory valid result and not       greater, in accordance with the principles of Reduction, Refinement and             Replacement.

A single horse will be used during the pilot study to ensure the methodology and any equipment works correctly. The pilot study allows the researcher to gain other information from the same investigation such as range of motion. During the investigation 8 horses will be used, all the horses will be constantly monitored by their main carer and reported to the researcher. Horses will not have an increased work load during the investigation,


Appendix 2: Risk Assessment

Which of the following risks need to particularly be considered for your research? Please tick (ü):

 

Travelling

 

 

Use of specific equipment

ü

Lone Working

 

 

Use of laboratory

 

Repetitive strain injuries

 

 

Working at height

 

Trips and Falls

 

 

Working with power tools

 

Use of computers

 

 

Manual lifting

 

Use of chemicals

 

Upsetting the general public or participants

 

Use of microorganisms

 

Danger from animals

 

ü

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fill in the Risk Assessment Performa below to indicate who is at risk and how the risks will be minimised:

 

Your Signature:

 

Date:

27/09/2012

 

 

 

MYERSCOUGH COLLEGE

 

 


RISK ASSESSMENT

TITLE

Effects of using the EquiAmi on the Thoroughbred horse

 

PROGRAMME AREA

 

 

Equine

 

ASSESSMENT UNDERTAKEN

 

       Signed: 

 

       Date:       27.09.2012

 

 

ASSESSMENT REVIEW

 

       Date:       6months

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE

STEP TWO

STEP THREE

 

List significant hazards here:

 

List groups of people who are at risk from the significant hazards you have identified.

 

List existing controls or note where the information may be found. List risks which are not adequately controlled and the action needed:

 

 

 

Horse handling

Handler

Researcher

Co-workers

All persons involved with the investigation will have experience with handling of horses. Persons will be above British horse society (BHS) stage 2 qualified ensuring person’s are of adequate standard. Personal protective clothing (PPE) will be fitted and worn correctly at all times. Horses will be led at all times in bridles.

 

 

Placing markers on hoof

 

Researcher

Co-worker

The researcher and co-worker placing the marker on the horse should be aware where the horse is at all times. Correctly fitting PPE should be worn at all times when handling horses. When positioning the marker make sure you do not kneel on the floor instead bending the knees whilst keeping a straight back.

 

 

 

Handling and moving equipment

Researcher

Co-worker

Make sure all persons involved have had appropriate handling training.

 

 

 

 

Habituation of the horse to the investigation

 

Researcher

Co-worker

Horse

 

Make sure all persons involved are wearing correctly fitting ppe (hats, gloves and boots). Take extra care when introducing horse to the equipment being used and the equipment situated within the arena if possible try to put the camera behind a suitable fence therefore not leaving equipment within the arena.

 

Injury to horse whilst lunging

Handler

Researcher

Co-workers

 

Make sure horse wears correctly fitting tack and the training aid is correctly fitted. Ensure the horse is wearing suitable boots all round and over reach boots.

 

 

Tripping over lunge line

Handler

Horse

Take extra care making sure the handler is suitable adequate to lunge the horse (STAGE 3 MINIMUM). Ensuring the handler is lunging the horse in a triangular pattern.

 

Analysing the results using the computer including eye strain,

Researcher

Supervisor

Make sure using equipment correctly. Take regular breaks and drink plenty of water to maintain hydration. Make sure the chair is correctly used in an upright position to limit the effect on the researchers back.

 

Working with specific equipment

Researcher

Co-workers

Supervisor

Wear appropriate equipment and ppe (hats, boots and gloves). Make sure handler is suitably trained to lunge at a high standard (stage 3 minimum) and is trained in correctly fitting the EquiAmi (researcher). Make sure all instructions are adhered to.

 

Manual lifting

Research

Co-workers

Make sure manual lifting training has been given to all necessary participants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 3: Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length in a Thoroughbred horse consent form.

 

The investigation determines if the use of the EquiAmi ® increase the stride length in a thoroughbred horse Investigation into the effects that a training aid used to lunge in (the EquiAmi ®) would be on a Thoroughbred horse’s stride length. All measurements will be repeated three times once a week for six weeks.

 

Stride length: Stride length should increase as the horse becomes more balanced and adopts a rounder outline this will be measured using anatomical 2-d markers and a series of cameras.

 

Speed: Speed over a set distance of 7 furlongs will be recorded at the start and finish using a stopwatch. The time will be averaged, to see if the horse increase speed as stride length increase.

 

Habituation: Prior to the investigation the horse’s used, will be habituated to working in the EquiAmi ® in the arena for two weeks.

 

Methods: The horse’s will be used as there own control. The baseline results will be collected 2weeks apart.

 

Horse’s will perform a set work routine when working in the EquiAmi ® compromising of

Five to six minutes of warm up. Working the horse in walk and trot with a change of rein

Tension of the EquiAmi ® will be adjusted this is generally shortened around 6 inches on the front (green) piece

This will only have to be done on one side as the training aid self centres via the loop.

Ten to twelve minutes the horse will work in walk and trot using various transitions through the gaits, with changes in circle diameter and changes of rein.

The tension of the EquiAmi ® is then released back to the original position allowing the horse to stretch down and began a five-minute cool down in walk to finish the exercise.

 

This will be completed twice a week to encourage the horse to adopt a rounder more balanced, engaged outline.

 

Weather: the temperature will be recorded when data is being recorded using a thermometer and weather will be noted down

 

Risk assessments: Risk assessments have been carried out to ensure every task that is undertaken is done with the minimal risk possible

 

Ethical consent: The Myerscough College ethical committee has approved the investigation to be undertaken, as they are assured that the horse’s welfare is not being compromised.

 

Contact us

Research: Farrah Sanbrook                        Supervisor: Sam Penrice

Contact number: 07977193114 Contact numbers 01995642222

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hereby give my consent to use the selected horse’s for the investigation into the effects of using the EquiAmi ® on the stride length in a Thoroughbred horse.

 

 

 

 

 

At the start of the investigation I can confirm that to the best of my knowledge all horse’s are free from lameness and other affecting problems.

 

Signed…………………………………Print……………………….Date…………

 

Researcher………………………….. Print……………………….Date…………..

 

Appendix 4: Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length of a Thoroughbred rider consent form.

 

The investigation determines if the use of the EquiAmi ® increase the stride length in a thoroughbred horse Investigation into the effects that a training aid used to lunge in (the EquiAmi ®) would be on a Thoroughbred horse’s stride length. All measurements will be repeated three times. Baseline results will be collected 2weeks apart and then after 6 weeks of working in the EquiAmi ® twice a week.

 

Stride length: Stride length should increase as the horse becomes more balanced and adopts a rounder outline. This will be measured using anatomical 2-d markers and a series of cameras.

 

Speed: Speed over a set distance of 7 furlongs will be recorded at the start and finish using a stopwatch. The time will be averaged, to see if the horse increase speed as stride length increase.

 

Habituation: Prior to the investigation the horse’s used, will be habituated to working in the EquiAmi ® in the arena for two weeks.

 

Methods: The horses will be used as there own control. The baseline results will be collected 2weeks apart.

 

Horse’s will perform a set work routine when working in the EquiAmi ® compromising of

 

Five to six minutes of warm up. Working the horse in walk, trot and canter with a change of rein

Tension of the EquiAmi ® will be adjusted this is generally shortened around 6 inches on the front (green) piece

This will only have to be done on one side as the training aid self centres via the loop.

Ten to twelve minutes the horse will work in walk, trot and canter using various transitions through the gaits, with changes in circle diameter and changes of rein.

 

The tension of the EquiAmi ® is then released back to the original position allowing the horse to stretch down and began a five-minute cool down in walk to finish the exercise.

 

This will be completed twice a week to encourage the horse to adopt a rounder more balanced, engaged outline.

 

Weather: The temperature will be recorded when data is being recorded using a thermometer and weather will be noted down

 

Risk assessments: Risk assessments have been carried out to ensure every task that is undertaken is done with the minimal risk possible

 

Ethical consent: The Myerscough College ethical committee has approved the investigation to be undertaken, as they are assured that the horse’s welfare is not being compromised.

 

 

Contact us

Research: Farrah Sanbrook                                    Supervisor: Sam Penrice

Contact number: 07977193114                  Contact number 01995 642222

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hereby give my consent to use participate in the investigation into the effects of using the EquiAmi ® on the stride length in a Thoroughbred horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the start of the investigation I can confirm that to the best of my knowledge that I am free from any medical conditions that may deem me unfit to ride

 

 

Signed ……………………………………………………………………

Print……………………………………………….Date…………………

 

 

Researcher………………………………………………………………..

Print……………………………………………….Date………………….

 

 

 

Witness…………………………………………………………………….

 

Print……………………………………………….Date………………….

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 5: Affects of using the EquiAmi ® training aid on the stride length of a Thoroughbred lunger/handler consent form.

 

The investigation determines if the use of the EquiAmi ® increase the stride length in a thoroughbred horse Investigation into the effects that a training aid used to lunge in (the EquiAmi ®) would be on a Thoroughbred horse’s stride length. All measurements will be repeated three times. Baseline results will be collected 2weeks apart and then after 6 weeks of working in the EquiAmi ® twice a week.

 

Stride length: Stride length should increase as the horse becomes more balanced and adopts a rounder outline. This will be measured using anatomical 2-d markers and a series of cameras.

 

Speed: Speed over a set distance of 7 furlongs will be recorded at the start and finish using a stopwatch. The time will be averaged, to see if the horse increase speed as stride length increase.

 

Habituation: Prior to the investigation the horse’s used, will be habituated to working in the EquiAmi ® in the arena for two weeks.

 

Methods: The horse’s will be used as there own control. The baseline results will be collected 2weeks apart.

 

Horse’s will perform a set work routine when working in the EquiAmi ® compromising of

 

Five to six minutes of warm up. Working the horse in walk, trot and canter with a change of rein

Tension of the EquiAmi ® will be adjusted this is generally shortened around 6 inches on the front (green) piece

This will only have to be done on one side as the training aid self centres via the loop.

Ten to twelve minutes the horse will work in walk, trot and canter using various transitions through the gaits, with changes in circle diameter and changes of rein.

 

The tension of the EquiAmi ® is then released back to the original position allowing the horse to stretch down and began a five-minute cool down in walk to finish the exercise.

 

This will be completed twice a week to encourage the horse to adopt a rounder more balanced, engaged outline.

 

Weather: The temperature will be recorded when data is being recorded using a thermometer and weather will be noted down

 

Risk assessments: Risk assessments have been carried out to ensure every task that is undertaken is done with the minimal risk possible

 

Ethical consent: The Myerscough College ethical committee has approved the investigation to be undertaken, as they are assured that the horse’s welfare is not being compromised.

 

 

Contact us

Research: Farrah Sanbrook                                    Supervisor: Sam Penrice

Contact number: 07977193114                  Contact number 01995 642222

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hereby give my consent to use participate in the investigation into the effects of using the EquiAmi ® on the stride length in a Thoroughbred horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the start of the investigation I can confirm that to the best of my knowledge that I am free from any medical conditions that may deem me unfit to handle/lunge the horses.

Signed ……………………………………………………………………

Print……………………………………………….Date…………………

 

 

Researcher………………………………………………………………..

Print……………………………………………….Date………………….

 

 

 

Witness…………………………………………………………………….

 

Print……………………………………………….Date…………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 6: Questionnaire

1. Has your horse’s way of going changed in the time that you have been using this training aid?

Has your horse’s way of going changed in the time that you have been using this training aid?   Yes

No

 

2. How long have you been using the EquiAmi ® training aid?

How long have you been using the EquiAmi ® training aid?   1-2 weeks

3-4 weeks

5-6 weeks

6-7 weeks

8+ weeks

 

3. How many times do you week do you lunge in the EquiAmi ®?

How many times do you week do you lunge in the EquiAmi ®?

     1

2

3

4

5

6

7

4. Have you used any other training aid apart from the EquiAmi ®? If so please state what was used and when

 

5. Does your horse appear/feel more balanced when working?

Does your horse appear/feel more balanced when working?   Yes

No

 

6. Does the horse work in a longer, rounder outline?

Does the horse work in a longer, rounder outline?   Yes

No

 

 

7. Does the horse feel/appear softer in the contact?

Does the horse feel/appear softer in the contact?   Yes

No

 

8. Has there been any other differences seen when being ridden?

 

 

 

 

9. Has using the EquiAmi ® helped to develop muscle tone? (Please specify area and how)

 

10. Has any other improvement/ changes been seen within the horse’s? Please state the changes seen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 7: Normality graph for stride length

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 8: Normality graph for speed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 9: Normality graph for asymmetry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 10: Normality graph for temperature