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Open AccessArticle

Combined Effects of Water Depth and Velocity on the Accelerometric Parameters Measured in Horses Exercised on a Water Treadmill

1
Equine Sport Medicine Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
2
Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
3
Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
4
Department of Artistic and Body Education, University of Córdoba, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
5
Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine, University Cardenal Herrera-CEU, 46115 Valencia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(2), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020236
Received: 3 December 2019 / Revised: 24 January 2020 / Accepted: 27 January 2020 / Published: 3 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Horse as an Athlete: Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation and Wellness)
Anecdotal comments of some trainers suggest that exercise on a water treadmill (WT), due to the greater difficulty of movement in water compared to air, increases muscularization and sports performance. Therefore, we studied accelerometric changes in six horses exercised for 40 min on a WT, comparing four situations: without water (DT) and with water at the depth of fetlock (FET), carpus (CAR), at 6 km/h and at the depth of the stifle (STF) at 5 km/h. Another five horses performed the same sessions, but all of them at 5 km/h. We observed that total power (TP) increased from depth DT to FET and CAR, without additional increases at STF depth when the velocity was the same at all depths. However, when the velocity was reduced to 5 km/h, TP decreased at the STF depth. Significant increases in dorsoventral power and dorsoventral displacement (movement of the center of gravity in up-down direction) increased with water depth and velocity. In conclusion, TP during an exercise session on a WT depends on both velocity and water depth, and this power is mainly directed towards the dorsoventral axis. These results should be taken into account when designing a training or rehabilitation plan.
Horse trainers often claim that exercise on a water treadmill (WT) leads to a greater muscle power and development compared to terrestrial locomotion, because of the greater viscosity of water compared to air. This research assesses locomotor changes measured with accelerometers fixed in the pectoral region and in the sacrum midline in six horses subjected to exercise sessions of 40 min duration on a WT without water (DT), and with water at the depth of fetlock (FET) and carpus (CAR) with velocities of 6 km/h and at the depth of stifle (STF) at 5 km/h. Another five horses performed the same exercise sessions but always with a velocity of 5 km/h. Total power increased from DT to FET and CAR, without significant differences between CAR and STF depths when the velocity was the same. However, a significant decrease was found when the velocity was reduced. The greater total power with water was distributed mainly to the dorsoventral axis, with significant increases in dorsoventral displacement and dorsoventral power. Both parameters were significantly affected by velocity and water depth. In conclusion, total and dorsoventral powers increased with velocity and water depth, leading to reduction in longitudinal and mediolateral power, during exercise on a WT. View Full-Text
Keywords: exercise; horse; power; rehabilitation; training; water treadmill exercise; horse; power; rehabilitation; training; water treadmill
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MDPI and ACS Style

Saitua, A.; Becero, M.; Argüelles, D.; Castejón-Riber, C.; Sánchez de Medina, A.; Satué, K.; Muñoz, A. Combined Effects of Water Depth and Velocity on the Accelerometric Parameters Measured in Horses Exercised on a Water Treadmill. Animals 2020, 10, 236.

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