Effect of early training on the jumping technique of horses

Susana Santamaría*, Maarten F. Bobbert, Willem Back, Ab Barneveld, P. Rene van Weeren

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Objective - To investigate the effects of early training for jumping by comparing the jumping technique of horses that had received early training with that of horses raised conventionally. Animals - 40 Dutch Warmblood horses. Procedure - The horses were analyzed kinematically during free jumping at 6 months of age. Subsequently, they were allocated into a control group that was raised conventionally and an experimental group that received 30 months of early training starting at 6 months of age. At 4 years of age, after a period of rest in pasture and a short period of training with a rider, both groups were analyzed kinematically during free jumping. Subsequently, both groups started a 1-year intensive training for jumping, and at 5 years of age, they were again analyzed kinematically during free jumping. In addition, the horses competed in a puissance competition to test maximal performance. Results - Whereas there were no differences in jumping technique between experimental and control horses at 6 months of age, at 4 years, the experimental horses jumped in a more effective manner than the control horses; they raised their center of gravity less yet cleared more fences successfully than the control horses. However, at 5 years of age, these differences were not detected. Furthermore, the experimental horses did not perform better than the control horses in the puissance competition. Conclusions and clinical relevance - Specific training for jumping of horses at an early age is unnecessary because the effects on jumping technique and jumping capacity are not permanent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)418-424
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
    Volume66
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

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