The cost of transport in an extended trot

Equine Vet J Suppl. 2002 Sep;(34):126-30. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2002.tb05404.x.


We hypothesised that trotters during an extended trot have lower energetic costs of locomotion (CT) than horses not bred for this behaviour. VO2 was measured as a function of speed in 7 Arabian horses (3 trained to extend their trotting speeds) and in 2 horses, of similar mass, bred to trot (Hackney). Both oxygen consumption and CT increased with speed and there was, contrary to our hypothesis, no difference between breeds. In Arabians at 6.5 m/s, CT had increased 25% above the CT at 5.0 m/s (normal transition speed). For Hackneys at 6.8 m/s, the CT was almost 35% higher. Stride frequencies increased linearly in all horses up to 5.0 m/s. At the canter at 5.0 m/s, the frequency increased 9% to 111 strides/min, but then increased minimally with speed. In the Hackneys and the Arabians that extended the trot, stride frequencies were approximately 102 and did not increase with speed. Stride length (SL) increased linearly with speed in both trotting and cantering horses, and cantering SL were lower than trotting (at 5.0 m/s, SL for trotting = 3.04 m and for cantering SL = 2.68 m). There were no differences between breeds in stride frequency or stride length. Extending the trot can have profound energetic requirements that could limit athletic performance and may lead to increased concussive impact on the limbs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Breeding
  • Exercise Test / veterinary
  • Female
  • Forelimb / anatomy & histology
  • Forelimb / physiology
  • Gait / genetics
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Hindlimb / anatomy & histology
  • Hindlimb / physiology
  • Horses / genetics
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Locomotion / genetics
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Sports