A new study from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) shows that racehorses use less energy to gallop that was previously believed. Using force-plate technology, which measures ground reaction forces, the research team was able to accurately measure the external work used when horses gallop. This was the first time the technique has been used on an animal this size.
The research has shown that the effort a horse has to exert to move relative to its environment is lower than expected. To complete the research, a jockey rode seven racehorses over a set of sensors that were placed under the surface of the British Racing School; the sensors directly measured the force the horses exerted on the track.
The scientists then calculated the galloping horse's muscle efficiency by combining the work values with the values for internal mechanical work (how much force is needed to move the limbs) and metabolic work (conversion of food into energy). It was determined that a horse has an efficiency value of between 37 and 46 percent.
The scientists believe the study will be helpful when determining how racehorses gallop efficiently over long distances.
Read more at Horse & Hound.
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