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Locomotory Profiles in Thoroughbreds: Peak Stride Length and Frequency in Training and Association with Race Outcomes

Schrurs, Charlotte; Blott, Sarah; Dubois, Guillaume; Van Erck-Westergren, Emmanuelle; Gardner, David S.


Charlotte Schrurs

Guillaume Dubois

Emmanuelle Van Erck-Westergren


Racehorses competing in short (i.e., ‘sprinters’), middle- or longer-distance (i.e., ‘stayers’) flat races are assumed to have natural variation in locomotion; sprinters having an innately shorter stride than stayers. No study has objectively tested this theory. Here, racehorses (n = 421) were categorised as sprinters, milers or stayers based on known race distance (n = 3269 races). Stride parameters (peak length and frequency) of those racehorses were collected from prior race-pace training sessions on turf (n = 2689; ‘jumpout’, n = 1013), using a locomotion monitoring device. Pedigree information for all 421 racehorses was extracted to three-generations. In training, sprinters had a shorter stride of higher frequency and covered consecutive furlongs faster than stayers (p < 0.001). Relatively short or longer stride did not predict race success, but stayers had greater race success than sprinters (p < 0.001). Peak stride length and frequency were moderately heritable (h2 = 0.15 and 0.20, respectively). In conclusion, differences in stride were apparent between sprinters and stayers (e.g., shorter stride in sprinters) during routine training, even after accounting for their pedigree. Objective data on stride characteristics could supplement other less objectively obtained parameters to benefit trainers in the appropriate selection of races for each individual racehorse.


Schrurs, C., Blott, S., Dubois, G., Van Erck-Westergren, E., & Gardner, D. S. (2022). Locomotory Profiles in Thoroughbreds: Peak Stride Length and Frequency in Training and Association with Race Outcomes. Animals, 12(23), Article 3269.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 24, 2022
Publication Date Dec 1, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 2, 2022
Journal Animals
Electronic ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 23
Article Number 3269
Keywords General Veterinary, Animal Science and Zoology
Public URL
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