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LOCOMOTOR RESPIRATORY COUPLING



This phenomenon allows horses to minimise the muscular effort of respiration during exercise. Ensuring that breathing during exercise is optimal and economical


Inspiration occurs as the forelimb leaves the ground. Expiration occurs as the forelimbs make contact with the ground


The up and down movement of the head and neck in canter and gallop also optimises LRC


It initially takes several strides for LRC to settle into the rhythm of the stride pattern


Once a constant rhythm is established, energy expenditure for breathing becomes minimal


It is more energy efficient for a horse to change speed by adjusting stride length whilst maintaining the same rhythm so as not to disrupt LRC


A horse with a longer stride length has a slower stride rate, therefore having a greater tidal volume (takes deeper breaths) compared to a horse travelling at the same speed with a shorter stride length

The longer striding horse will be able to maintain speed over a longer distance before fatigue, making them favourable for disciplines involving extended periods of canter and gallop


The blowing sound horses make when cantering and galloping is the sign of LRC in action

Intermittent canter rhythm, short tight neck frame, a worried horse and injury or disease can all limit function and efficacy of LRC


Have you ever noticed LRC when cantering your horse?

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