Kinematic Analysis of the Collected and Extended Jog and Lope of the Stock Breed Western Pleasure Horse
Type of Degreedissertation
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Scientific research concerning stock breed western pleasure horses is limited. Therefore the purposes of this investigation were to determine if stock breed western pleasure horses 1) alter stride length independently of stride duration for the collected and extended jog and lope; 2) perform the extended jog and lope as a gait that more closely follows guidelines set forth by major stock breed associations for western pleasure competition than does the collected jog and lope; 3) maintain a more correct head and topline carriage during the extended jog and lope than during the collected jog and lope, and 4) perform the extended jog and lope with a more natural way of going thereby reducing risk of joint injury and trauma compared to the collected jog and lope. Reflective markers were placed over seven points on the lateral side of the left and right fore and hindlimbs as well as the medial aspect of the coffin bone; additional markers tracked the temporal bone and vertebral column. Three successful strides of each gait were analyzed using the Peak Motus© 1994‐2004 motion analysis system (Peak Performance Technologies, Inc., Englewood,Colorado, USA). Digitization, transformation, smoothing, and normalization techniques followed standard kinematic techniques. Results indicate that all gaits were performed as four‐beat stepping gaits with diagonal couplets and a lateral footfall sequence with the exception of the right lead collected lope, which exhibited a diagonal footfall sequence. Stock breed western pleasure horses do not alter stride length independently of stride duration during the jog or the lope. Further, the extended jog more closely followed the guidelines set forth by major stock breed associations for western pleasure competition than did the collected jog, however the extended lope did not more closely follow guidelines than did the collected lope. Horses’ head carriage and topline did not more closely follow gait performance guidelines during the extended jog or lope as horses maintained a level topline during both the extended and collected jog but did not maintain a level topline during the collected or extended lope. It was concluded that continuing gait definition transformations by more accurately describing the jog and lope as four‐beat stepping gaits without visible separation of the diagonal pairs and to encourage even greater forward motion than was seen in the present study should theoretically reduce joint injury and trauma to the stock breed western pleasure horse while maintaining proper performance of the gaits.