Breathing stride and could they be linked

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					Veterinary clinic
Breathing, stride and
could they be linked?
           Mild respiratory problems have often
           been overlooked in show jumpers,
           but recent research has shown that
           breathlessness could limit
   )~      performance more than originally
thought. Dr David Marlin PhD explains


 F
          OR every stride a
          horse takes in
          canter and gallop it     A show
          takes one breath.
 Unlike in walk and trot,
                                   jumping
where inhalation and               round-by
 exhalation occur
 independently ofthe
                                   seconds
 steps, in the two fastest
gaits breathing and stride
are locked together in
                                   75
                                   the approximate
 perfect synchrony.                duration of a show
    It stands to reason,           jumping course
therefore, that if a horse
 has trouble moving air in
and out of its lungs it will
 have an effect on stride          the time the horse
 pattern. So if your horse is      spends in the air over
strugglingto catch his             every fence
breath, is his performance
being compromised and if
so what can we do about it?
                                   15
                                   the number of jumping
    The reason forthe link
                                   efforts
between stride pattern and
breathing is to ensure that
the horse does not use any
more energy than is
                                   20
                                   the total amount of time
necessary. When a horse            during a round when the
breathes in, the diaphragm         horse is unable to
contracts, which is aided          breathe
by the chest stretching
longer as he starts to take a
stride, while breathing out      most crucial in show           does not maintain the             competition stables, so         bel ief that breathi ng does
is assisted by the forelegs      jumping, where courses         correct length of stride          they may already be more        not playa big part in their
landing on the ground and        are designed on the basis      when approaching a fence,         susceptible to persistent,      performance because the
compressing the front of         of specific stride intervals   he will either take off too far   undiagnosed low-grade           rounds are so short.
the ribcage helping to force     between jumps and the          away ortoo close, both of         respiratory disease. It         However, even during a
air out (see diagram).           abilityto meeta fence on       which can result in a             doesn't matter whether we       75-second jumping round,
    Being able to control the    the correct stride is          reduction in powerfrom            are talking about upper or      about70% ofthe horse's
horse's stride is perhaps        paramount.lfthe     horse      the muscles and cause the         lower airway problems as        energy comes from
                                                                horse to lose height.             they can both affect the        aerobic metabolism
                                                                                                  coupling of breathing           requiring oxygen, which in
                                                                Airways awareness                 and stride.                     turn necessitates a good,
For a third of the jumping round,                               TOP-class show jumpers               In the past, few riders      healthy respiratory
the horse is unableto breathe                                   often travel long distances       bothered to get thei r vet to   system.
                                                                for long periods and may          examine the airways of             In addition tothe
                                                                be stabled in dusty               their show jumper in the        physical aspect of
Q~.      Got a veterinary query?
       . Visit our vet archives online @
  horseandhound.co.uk




performance                                                                                                                    Ways to
                                                                                                                               optimise-
                                                                                                                               respiratory
                                                                                                                               efficacy
                                                                                                                               ~ MAKE sure that you
                                                                                                                               give your horse
                                                                                                                               adequate time to warm
                                                                                                                               up. During exercise the
                                                                                                                               horse relies on the
                                                                                                                               contraction of its
                                                                                                                               spleen to push more
                                                                                                                               red blood cells into
                                                                                                                               circulation to carry        t",
                                                                                                                               more oxygen. Not
                                                                                                                               warming up your horse
                                                                                                                               can mean the spleen
                                                                                                                               won't release as many
                                                                                                                               red blood cells, thus
                                                                                                                               limiting the amount of
                                                                                                                               oxygen and causing
                                                                  THE BREATHING EQUATION                                       earlier fatigue. If the
                                                                                                                               warm-up is too intense,

                                                                  G~~
                                                                  "
                                                                        When the horse pushes off from the ground the
                                                                        chest expands and the diaphragm contracts
                                                                                                                               this can result in the
                                                                                                                               horse using up large
                                                                  ~\    As the horse leaves the ground it will have inhaled    amounts of glycogen
                                                                  W for the final time before landing                          and production of a
                                                                   "    While in mid-air the horse holds its breath.           high level of lactic acid
                                                                  \,!lI
                                                                  •     The higher the jump the longer it will be before       may result in fatigue
                                                                        the horse is able to exhale                            during the round.
                                                                  ~D~~~ As the horse's forelegs hit the ground on landing
                                                                  '"~,~ the front of the ribcage is compressed, which          ~ CONSIDER getting
                                                                        helps force the air out                                your horse scoped by
                                                                                                                               your vet once or twice
                                                                                                                               every season,
                                                                be listeningto the rider. He    the horse can have an          particularly
                                                                may try to put in more          effect on the abilityto        in advance of any
                                                                effort or he may slow down,      move air in and out.          major competition or
                                                                or even, in some cases,              Horses working harder     long journey.
                                                                may stop altogether.             have to breathe harder and
                                                                                                the heavier the horse          ~ ENSURE that if your
                                                                No time to draw breath           breathes, the more its        horse starts making
                                                                WE know that when a              nasal passages are sucked     any abnormal
                                                                horse jumps it holds its         in. This means that the       respiratory noise you
                                                                breath while it is intheair.    space for airto move           get it investigated for
                                                                However, when negotiating       around becomes narrower,       upper airway
                                                                combinations with one or        which places greater           obstructions such as
                                                                two strides in between, the     stress on the respiratory      roaring (laryngeal
                                                                horse will not take another     system. We might even          paralysis), which may
                                                                full breath until it has        consider this a design fault   be compromising
                                                                completed the                   in the horse.                  performance.
                                                                combination.                         Finally, it should be
                                                                    So, ifthis is put in the    noted that show jumping         ~ IF your horse has a
                                                                context of a 75-second          places sufficient stress on     breathing problem,
                                                                round with approximately        the membranes between           consider using equine
                                                                15 jumping efforts,             small airways and the           nasal strips if your vet
 breathing, the                      When a horse is working,   assuming the horse is in        small blood vessels in the     agrees. These are
psychological impact of           the amount of air moved in    the air for one second with     lungs to make broken           scientifically proven to
struggling to draw breath         and out, referred to as       each Jumping effort, then       blood vessels in the lungs      reduce the resistance
has also perhaps been             ventilation, is directly      for a fifth ofthe jumping       (EIPH or "bleeding")           to air movement
underestimated.    Think          related to how hard he is     round the horse is unable       common. While very few         through the nasal
aboutyourown      breathing:      being pushed. Anything        to breathe. The abilityto       Jumpers will have blood at     passages, which will
99% ofthe ti me we are            that interferes with air      move air in and out             the nostrils following         mean the horse has to
unaware that we are doing         movement will be              between jumps is                training or competition,        put less effort into
it, but imagine you have a        immediately sensed by the     therefore vital.                recent work from a group        breathing and can
bad cold or someone holds         horse. This can affect the        Unlike humans, the          of vets in Belgium showed      concentrate on
a hand overyourmouth;       all   horse's concentration and     horse can only breathe          that 38% of amateur and        jumping. Nasal strips
of a sudden we are very           ifhe is distracted by a       through its nostrils and not    42% of international-level     have also been proven
aware of our respiratory          sensation of even mild        through its mouth.              horses had broken blood        to reduce bleeding
movements. It is the same         breathlessness                Therefore any obstruction       vessels in the lungs during    during exercise.
fora horse.                       (dyspnoea) then hewon't       ofthe nasal passages in         competition. H&H
Q6horseandhound.co.uk
         Got a veterinary query?
         Visit our vet archives online @




performance                                                                                                                    Ways to
                                                                                                                               optimise
                                                                                                                               respiratory
                                                                                                                               efficacy
                                                                                                                               >- MAKE sure that you
                                                                                                                               give your horse
                                                                                                                               adequate time to warm
                                                                                                                               up. During exercise the
                                                                                                                               horse relies on the
                                                                                                                               contraction of its
                                                                                                                               spleen to push more
                                                                                                                               red blood cells into
                                                                                                                               circulation to carry
                                                                                                                               more oxygen. Not
                                                                                                                               warming up your horse
                                                                                                                               can mean the spleen
                                                                                                                               won't release as many
                                                                                                                               red blood cells, thus
                                                                                                                               limiting the amount of
                                                                                                                               oxygen and causing

                                                                THE BREATHING EQUATION                                         earlier fatigue. If the

                                                                la~"
                                                                \V
                                                                        When the horse pushes off from the ground the
                                                                        chest expands and the diaphragm contracts
                                                                                                                               warm-up is too intense,
                                                                                                                               this can result in the
                                                                                                                               horse using up large
                                                                ~       As the horse leaves the ground it will have inhaled    amounts of glycogen
                                                                W       for the final time before landing                      and production of a
                                                                ~       While in mid-air the horse holds its breath.           high level of lactic acid
                                                                V       The higher the jump the longer it will be before       may result in fatigue

                                                                "D~'
                                                                """']
                                                                        the horse is able to exhale
                                                                        As the horse's forelegs hit the ground on landing
                                                                        the front of the ribcage is compressed, which
                                                                                                                               during the round.

                                                                                                                               >- CONSIDER getting
                                                                        helps force the air out                                your horse scoped by
                                                                                                                               your vet once or twice
                                                                                                                               every season,
                                                              be listeningto the rider. He       the horse can have an         particularly
                                                              may try to put in more             effect on the abilityto       in advance of any
                                                              effort or he may slow down,        move air in and out.          major competition or
                                                              or even, in some cases,                Horses working harder     long journey.
                                                              may stop altogether.               have to breathe harder and
                                                                                                the heavier the horse          >- ENSURE that     if your
                                                              No time to draw breath             breathes, the more its        horse starts making
                                                              WE know that when a                nasal passages are sucked     any abnormal
                                                              horse jumps it holds its           in. This means that the       respiratory noise you
                                                              breath while it is intheair.      space for airto move           get it investigated for
                                                              However, when negotiating         around becomes narrower,       upper airway
                                                              combinations with one or          which places greater           obstructions such as
                                                              two strides in between, the       stress on the respiratory      roaring (laryngeal
                                                              horse will nottake another        system. We might even          paralysis), which may
                                                              full breath until it has          consider this a design fault   be compromising
                                                              completed the                      in the horse.                 performance.
                                                              combination.                           Finally, it should be
                                                                  So, ifthis is put in the       noted that show jumping       >- IF your   horse has a
                                                              context of a 75-second             places sufficient stress on    breathing problem,
                                                              round with approximately          the membranes between           consider using equine
                                                              15 jumping efforts,               small airways and the           nasal strips if your vet
 breathing, the                    When a horse is working,   assuming the horse is in          small blood vessels in the     agrees. These are
psychological impactof          the amount of air moved in    the air for one second with       lungs to make broken           scientifically proven to
struggling to draw breath       and out, referred to as       each Jumping effort, then         blood vessels in the lungs      reduce the resistance
has also perhaps been           ventilation, is directly      for a fifth ofthe jumping         (EIPH or"bleeding")            to air movement
underestimated.    Think        related to how hard he is     round the horse is unable         common. Whileveryfew           through the nasal
about your own breathing:       being pushed. Anything        to breathe. The abilityto         jumpers will have blood at      passages, which will
99% ofthe ti me we are          that interferes with air      move air in and out               the nostrils following          mean the horse has to
unaware that we are doing       movement will be              between jumps is                  training or competition,        put less effort into
it, but imagine you have a      immediately sensed by the     therefore vital.                  recent work from a group        breathing and can
bad cold or someone holds       horse. This can affect the        Unlike humans, the            of vets in Belgium showed      concentrate on
a hand overyourmouth:     all   horse's concentration and     horse can only breathe            that 38% of amateur and        jumping. Nasal strips
of a sudden we are very         ifhe is distracted by a       through its nostrils and not      42% of international-level     have also been proven
aware of our respiratory        sensation of even mild        through its mouth.                horses had broken blood        to reduce bleeding
movements. It is the same       breathlessness                Therefore any obstruction         vessels in the lungs during    during exercise.
fora horse.                     (dyspnoea) then he won't      ofthe nasal passages in           competition. H&H

				
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