GaitSmart™ Pegasus for Dressage
Dressage is all about consistency and style for both horse and rider. Stride characteristics for each style within a gait are vital to achieving a winning performance. Each horse has its own natural gait characteristics. Training aims to optimise these characteristics to create a memorable combination of athleticism, accuracy and style producing a winning test.
From the Professionals to You
Professionals have been benefiting from high cost and laborious gait analysis systems as a training tool to improve their performance for years. The current, most common method for measuring these characteristics in different horses uses high cost 3D motion camera equipment. This can produce accurate data but it requires a lengthy, laborious set-up in a very controlled environment and you only obtain information from the side and strides that were in view of the camera. Availability of these systems is also poor and not usually accessible to most riders and trainers. GaitSmart Pegasus has taken the steps to make gait analysis available to anyone, using 21st century technology that is quick and easy to use and understand with extremely accurate results.
Dressage is a subjective sport which requires the judge to evaluate complex and artistic movements with a numerical value. British dressage guidelines for judges are vague at best in description, using words such as elasticity, rhythm, cadence, and instructs gaits to be judged on their “overall impression”.
We can now objectively measure some of these qualities. For instance, the ever important rhythm of your test or training can be monitored by measuring successive stride durations and the variation between them within a session. Symmetry between limbs and different reins and movements is also an important component in dressage. The horse should respond fluidly and smoothly with equal range of movement and bend in both directions of the test. Does your horse depend on your hands to keep him in working frame? When you perform a “give and retake” does his stride alter? All of these things are easily measured by GaitSmart Pegasus. GaitSmart Pegasus not only shows you stride information, but cannon and hock angles as well as a GPS readout showing you where you were in the test at any particular time. This can help you assess the overall accuracy of your transitions, circles, and execution of the test at the appropriate markers.
GaitSmart Pegasus can show you not only the basics of your dressage, but will follow you up to advanced levels. When you move into extension and collection of gaits, GaitSmart Pegasus can tell you the differences between your collected, working, medium, and extended gaits. Are you really extending or collecting your stride as much as you think you are? Or is your horse evading your request by simply altering your rhythm?
GaitSmart Pegasus can also help you with your Piaf and Passage. Is your elevation and range of movement of each limb equal between left and right? The GaitSmart Pegasus angle systems can tell you. Lateral movements can also be monitored by looking at the report for range of movement of each limb (in both forward to backward and side to side directions).
Accuracy and stability of simple and flying changes can also be monitored through tests or training.
Freestyle Dressage Riders find GaitSmart Pegasus an invaluable tool when choosing music to match exactly the rhythm of their horse for each and every pace within any test.
Before Your Test
Having all this information in training is invaluable. Once you have trained before the competition, why not test your abilities. Practise your test, and analyse yourself riding it with GaitSmart Pegasus before you compete. It will highlight any last minute tweaks you might want to make to your test to ensure you have the straightest trot down the centre line, perfectly formed circles, and steady rhythm in all gaits and movements.
Your Horse vs. The Olympics
GaitSmart Pegasus can allow you to easily compare your horse’s stride characteristics compared to previously taken Olympic level horse measurements allowing your areas for improvement.
In the Market for a New Dressage Prospect?
GaitSmart Pegasus can be used to look at the stride parameters of any horse on a pre-purchase basis.
If you have or are purchasing a foal or youngster intended as a dressage prospect, you can help to predict their performance with gait analysis testing. It has been shown that the locomotion characteristics of foals can be closely related to and therefore predictors of adult gait characteristics. Research done by Back et al, (1995) limb range of movement and maximum hock flexion in foals could be used to predict adult gait characteristics and quality. GaitSmart Pegasus can quickly, and accurately measure these things to help you determine the potential of a horse and if its right for you, saving you time, money and effort from the start!
Welfare of Your Dressage Horse
Lameness is a major concern in dressage and stress and strain related injuries occurring over time can be hard to detect until it’s too late. Prevention is always better than treatment.
How does this relate to your dressage horse and GaitSmart Pegasus? An unwell horse will usually have a differing stride characteristic compared with its healthy state. This enables GaitSmart Pegasus to provide you with an additional means of checking the health of your horse. Decreases in performance or subtle changes in strides, range of movement, or hock flexion may be warning signs of trouble to be headed and investigated.
When injury strikes? The stride characteristics of any injured horse will differ from when it was fit. For the best chance at full rehabilitation, a horse must not be returned to work until it has fully recovered from its injury. GaitSmart Pegasus enables you to monitor this as well as its training progress during the gradual return to work and previous levels of performance.