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Functional Design for Jumping

Corner By Judy Wardrope

point of view

must be designed to do the job. Even though we tend to think of jumpers as tall, leggy horses, functional anatomy—not height—is foremost when it comes to the ability to perform at the top level of this demanding athletic endeavor. Despite the fact that he is often the smallest horse in a competition, Hickstead, a Dutch-bred stallion ridden by Canadian Eric Lamaze, excels because he is simply built to jump. Examining Hickstead for function, we find a lumbosacral gap (the LS gap is always just in front of the high point of the croup) that is perfectly in line from point of hip to point of hip. This is the ideal position in order to transfer power. The

T

o emerge as the individual gold medallist at the Olympics and remain one of the top- ranked horses in the world, that horse simply

further the LS gap is rearward of the top of the hip, the less power transferred and the higher the risk for pain and injury. Looking at the

rear triangle, we find an equal length from point of hip to point of buttock and from point of buttock to stifle protrusion. That’s like the coils of a spring being of equal size/length—mechanically efficient. Although the measurement from point of hip

to stifle is slightly longer than the measurements on the other two sides of the rear triangle, this

Eric Lamaze’s Dutch stallion Hickstead.

54 March/April 2010

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