Jockey technique boosts steed speed

日期:2019-03-08 05:07:05 作者:章压 阅读:

By Ewen Callaway They may be short, but never accuse jockeys of laziness. Rather than merely hang on for the ride, professional horse racers enhance their steeds’ every stride; sending their own heart rates soaring, yet allowing horses to gallop more quickly. Race times got 5 to 7 per cent faster in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when riders in the US eschewed an upright riding posture for the angled “Martini glass” style now practiced universally. “Why do those people sit on those horses in such a funny way,” says Thilo Pfau, a bioengineer at the Royal Veterinary College in London, who took up that question in a new study. “It doesn’t look very stable, it doesn’t look very comfortable. It must have some advantage.” To find out, he and colleague Alan Wilson strapped inertial sensors to race horses and jockeys during training sessions in which horses averaged 11 metres per second. Though horses run remarkably efficiently, they aren’t perfect, Pfau says. “They have to accelerate and decelerate, they have to jump up and down through each stride,” consuming precious energy. “But the jockey doesn’t, the jockey can compensate through each stride.” By actively keeping their bodies stable through the gallop, jockeys unburden their horses from accelerating and decelerating their human passengers, thus saving energy, the team found. Intriguingly, Pfau and Wilson found that the jockeys’ adjustments are larger than they need to be, suggesting that they might help horses race more efficiently than they would unsaddled. Such biomechanical tweaks might mark one difference between average and elite jockeys. “Good jockeys earn a lot of money because they’re perceived to win races,” Wilson says. He and Pfau have filed a patent to monitor jockeys and horses with inertial sensors in hopes of improving a jockey’s form. Journal reference: Science (DOI: