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Stride length and frequency – a new angle?

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    Simon Rowlands explores some novel ideas/concepts which I think is of interest and maybe will develop into a fruitful avenue, at least in its formative period before any edge (if there is one) disappears. Worth a read if you are interested in this type of thing.

    Running ReinRunning Rein
    • Total Posts 186

    Yes, must say upon reading it first time it did seem to be potentially an important approach.
    Immediate difficulty seemed to be getting, and getting accurate, stride lengths.
    Link to ideal distance particularly in the 3yo season…very interesting.

    • Total Posts 5769

    In processing thoughts, my brain is a selling plater compared to the Grade 1 organ running in Simon’s skull, but logic (my logic, at least) says that this makes no sense from an edge viewpoint.

    About 30 years ago I ran a marathon and plodded home in 4 hours or so. Had I gone to my local track next day and run 100 metres, my cadence would’ve been a hell of a lot faster than the day before – but would that make me a sprinter?

    And if a horse’s average stride length is twice that of a competitor, the long strider must surely be putting out twice the energy? In the end it always comes down to engine size in my view. The visible results of the power of that engine might manifest in different ways, but that is what matters, surely?

    The only energy saving factor I can think of would be conformation. A horse with a particularly straight action (I’m talking about how the limbs track here, rather than how the horse appears to move re going requirements) would almost certainly save energy against one who was splaying.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference.

    Marginal Value
    • Total Posts 661

    I have a lot of respect for Simon Rowlands, especially for his continuous curiosity about the racing world and his desire and determination to find out how it all works. But this piece about horses’ stride length and frequency leaves me somewhat puzzled.

    In the seventh paragraph he says, “There is a conclusion to be drawn from this”. There is no conclusion to be drawn from the information he has presented, which is data about four (elite only) horses from a racehorse population of tens of thousands, from which he declares that for all horses cadence (frequency) is linked to stamina and stride length is linked to ability. This is the opposite of convincing.

    Later on he says, “I took the peak average stride frequency…”. Why only the PEAK average? What length of time period or number of strides defines a peak? What happens if there is more than one peak?

    Later still he says: “There was quite a bit of “noise” around those averages, but by using an Inter-Quartile Range (the figures which appear between 25% and 75% from the extremes of a sample) it is possible to suggest … “. In statistical terms “quite a bit of noise” means uncertainty about the data or the results of calculations performed on the data, or the data invalidates the conclusions. In some fields of research looking only at data in an inter-quartile range might be valid, but in natural-world phenomena as in this case (the racehorse population), all that is happening is that data that falls in only half of the range of the total distribution is being assessed. In many cases this can be construed as ignoring the data that does not fit the theory.

    This looks like a really interesting idea that Simon should have saved for publication when he had had more time to think about it and gather some convincing data and analysis. Perhaps a re-presentation in three months might see a fully baked cake.

    I also agree with Joe’s opinion on this; I thought his points were very well made.

    • Total Posts 1

    Must confess to having only read the first couple of paragraphs of the article but agree with the general sentiment that it’s a bit early to draw conclusions.

    However, when I saw the title of the thread my interest was heavily piqued as I feel this data could have a couple more applicable pieces of detail..

    1) Maturation of a horse could be measured by stride length. Horses will only fill out when they’ve stopped growing so this could be an interesting method of knowing when big improvement is likely to occur.

    2) It could provide information on going preferences- there are likely to be differences in stride length of those fast and slow ground lovers in different goings and this could explain why they perform worse in different conditions.

    3) It is likely that a combination of stride length/frequency is lost during fatigue, it would be interesting to evaluate how this interaction can be used to understand unfit or non staying horses and equally those who could stay further beyond the visual impression we get.

    Unfortunately the data does not appear to be readily available, I only see arc tracks covered on attheraces. Does anyone know if it’s available anywhere else please? :good:

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