‘Minimalist’ Endurance Saddle’s Biomechanics Studied

Researchers found that the horse’s overall speed also increased by 5.6% in minimalist tack compared to traditional tack, meaning the time it took the pair to complete the race was reduced.
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An old style of riding could bring new benefits to modern-day endurance racing. Endurance could head back to its roots and see its riders adopting the “desert style” riding technique which, one research team says, leads to better horse-rider harmonization and faster galloping.

“Confirming our hypothesis, the 'desert style' riding technique in our study provided for a considerable increase in the percentage and quality of riding in the seated canter, which translated into a net gain in speed,” said Sylvain Viry, PhD in equine biomechanics at the Institute of the Science of Movement of the University of Marseilles, in France. Viry presented the results of his preliminary study at the 2014 French Equine Research Day held March 18 in Paris.

“The proportion of the seated canter (greater than 80%) in the desert style technique was four times higher than values previously reported for horse-rider couples of the same level using traditional endurance riding techniques in similar racing conditions,” he said.

As European endurance circuits begin to include more high-speed work, riders have been seeking ways to enable their horses to gallop for longer periods, Viry said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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