Study: Increased Rider Weight Doesn’t Significantly Impact Horses
“Adding up to a fourth of the rider’s body weight doesn’t seem to cause significant changes in horses’ behavior, cardiac activity, or gait symmetry in the short term,” said Janne Winther Christensen, PhD, of Aarhus University, in Tjele, Denmark.
“This is contrary to what we expected,” she explained during her presentation at the 15th annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference, held Aug. 19-21 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. “However, it remains to be seen what happens with increased weight over the long term, as well as at higher exercise intensities.”
In their study, Christensen and her fellow researchers observed 20 horses longed and ridden by their usual riders in a basic dressage test in three gaits. They equipped the riders with metal weight bars fitted into a vest strapped onto the riders’ torso to increase their personal body weight by 15% and 25%. The scientists recorded the horses’ behavioral and physiological parameters during longeing and ridden dressage tests, with and without the added weights
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