Faults in International Showjumping are not random

David Marlin, Jane Williams

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Abstract

Performance analysis (PA) involves the systematic observation and analysis of factors identified to enhance performance to improve athlete decision-making in a specific sport. PA is commonplace in human sports, yet despite potential advantages, its application remains limited in equestrianism. This study aimed to evaluate if factors anecdotally associated with performance in elite showjumping influenced competitive success. 250 combinations attempting 3052 jumping-efforts across 2nd round European FEI Nations Cup 2017 competition were analysed. Types of fault (e.g. pole down, refusal etc) were recorded as well as characteristics of the jump (e.g. jump type, approach angle). Combinations jumped clear at the majority of attempts (93.6 %; n=2857) with faults only occurring at 6.4% of jumps (n=195). The most common faults were: knock-downs (5.5 %); time penalties (0.8 %); faults at water jumps (0.3 %); refusal (0.2 %). Faults were distributed across all fence types, however were more common at upright fences (49 %) and within combination fences (41 %). A linear relationship was found between jumping-effort number and number of fences knocked-down (r = 0.7; P < 0.001). There were 2.8 times more knock-downs for the second half of the course (efforts 9 - 15) compared with jumping-efforts 1 - 7 (P < 0.05). Faults were 4 times more likely at jumping-efforts 3, 4, 5 and 8 in the first half of the course (P < 0.03) which increased to being 9 times more likely in the 2nd 22 half of the courses (jumping-efforts 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14; P < 0.006). A straight approach to a jumping-effort reduced the chance of faults by 48 % (P < 0.0001) compared to a non-straight approach. These preliminary results suggest faults are not randomly distributed in elite showjumping and that patterns exist within fault accumulation demonstrating that the application of PA techniques in equestrian sport could lead to a performance advantage.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Volume16
Issue number3
Early online date7 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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