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Thursday, 27 September, 2018

Understanding Seaver’s "Cadence" and "Elevation" features

Did you know that your Seaver girth or sleeve measured the cadence and elevation of your horse while working? But what do these terms exactly mean?? In this article, we give you the keys to understand these two features and their interests for your horse's daily work ☺

What is the cadence of my horse?

The cadence is the number of strides per minute at a given gait. A stride represents all movements separating two successive poses of the same limb at a given gait. The cadence measures the regularity of the gait. It is about the rhythm of the horse.

Changing the cadence thus means doing more or fewer strides in a given time. Having a regular cadence allows the horse to balance well and bounce in his gaits. He will then better engage his hindquarters and therefore better respond to your requests.

The interest for the riders: working the regularity of their horse

In order to evaluate the regularity of your horse, we give you the evolution of the cadence, i.e. the number of strides per minute, during your training session, distinguishing each gait by colors: blue for walk, orange for trot and red for canter.

For example, you will find above the evolution of the cadence during a transition from canter to halt passing through the trot (in orange) then the walk (in blue) during the downward transition. We can see that the horse is slightly accelerating its canter before trotting, perhaps in opposition or loss of balance. A phenomenon to watch and work on if it occurs systematically.

In the app, you will also find an average for each gait by clicking on the corresponding tabs. These are interesting values to compare from one session to another to assess the effect of training and exercises performed.

A horse performs, on average, between 35 and 60 strides per minute when walking, between 55 and 100 strides per minute when trotting and between 80 and 130 strides per minute when cantering. These are of course averages. Some horses may sometimes be above or below these ranges. For example, a trotter can easily exceed 120 strides per minute.

Example of a regular trot cadence during a groundwork session (regularity of 92 over 1 hour)

Within each gait, a grade assessing the regularity out of 100 is also provided. The more the cadence varies in the gait, and the more the regularity grade decreases. We generally seek to have a cadence as stable as possible, so a high regularity.

In the case above, we can see a very high and irregular cadence on a pony working outdoors. The latter enjoyed being able to gallop fast without much consistency in his strides, hence a low regularity grade (39/100).

Good to know:

the lateral and longitudinal work (extension, collection) can reduce the regularity, as well as a change of soil outdoor.

Some tips to implement:

When taking a class with your coach, it may be interesting to observe the cadence data obtained for a given pace or exercise. Thus, when you work alone at home, the goal will be to find the same values.

Cadence data can also help you validate extensions. To do this, you will need to check that the cadence does not vary significantly and does not increase during your extension, as is often the case for green horses or riders.

Does my horse have a good elevation?

Elevation corresponds to the range of your horse’s vertical displacement. It enables gait verticality training; the higher the elevation at a gait will be, the bouncier your horse will be.

In order to evaluate your horse’s elevation, we measure and provide you with the evolution of the dorso-ventral displacement in centimeters throughout your session, distinguishing each gait by colors: blue for walk, orange for trot and red for canter. You will also find an average for each gait.

A horse has an average elevation of between 1 and 5 cm when walking, between 5 and 15 cm when trotting and between 10 and 25 cm when cantering. Again, these are averages. Variations in elevation can be observed according to the breed, the conformation or the height of the horse. Some horses may have an elevation lower or higher than these values without worrying.


Examples of an average walk and trot elevation

It is worth noting that if a dressage rider tries to increase these values through work, other disciplines require a "skimming" horse with a low elevation, such as endurance (to limit fatigue) or the Western Pleasure.

Comparing the elevation during your different exercises is useful to understand what will help you improve it. It should be remembered that elevation tends to increase with work on ground poles or cavaletti.

Above, we can observe the evolution of the trot elevation when passing ground poles (at the beginning and at the end of this excerpt). The horse tried twice to canter on the 1st system. We notice the increase in elevation on the 2nd system of ground poles (at around 1'15 ").

It’s your go now 🙂

The Seaver team


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