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RE: Fwd: physiology of weight
I have to simply smile at all of this.
Remember the old chicken and egg story - are fewer heavy weights "winning"
events because their horses can't handle it or is it because fewer
heavyweights enter the events or even try for a top ten? Are heavyweight
riders selecting "appropriately sized" mounts or going with a good looking
but underbuilt horse? Are the "overwhelming majority of events being won by
arab and arab crosses" being won because there are only a handful of
non-arab breeds even entering the event? There are SO many places where we
simply don't have the right kind of data from which to draw conclusions like
There is no question in my mind that carrying a heavier rider has to consume
more energy from the horse. My ONLY question is this - does it really
(scientifically) affect the outcome of an event when ALL mitigating factors
are compensated for? In a sense, a single weight National Championship
would give us that kind of data.
Does that mean I support that versus multiple weight divisions? No,
however, I would be more challenged and comfortable in a single weight
competition. Why? I want to compete against my peers, not just the ones
that weigh the same as me. I want to show that I can condition a horse to
carry my weight without resorting to artificial leveling constructs such as
weight divisions. I want to be able to beat a Valerie or a Becky and know
that it meant something. With tack I weigh in right at the upper border of
MW (210 lbs), and I believe that with the right horse and the right training
and the right prep and strategy, the extra weight becomes far less
important. I look forward to testing that hypothesis in the future.
One must also be careful in interpretation of numbers. Testimonials are
slect observations whereas appropriate use of statistics require a large
sample size. True larger riders have won many if not all events at one
time or another, hower, if we were to look at finishes by class across the
country in a mutlitue of events covering a multitude of terrain and
conditions over many years one would undoubtedly find that the largest
fraction (greater than 50%) of all events are won by riders/tack less than
185 pounds. Another way to illustrate this is in terms of breeds. True,
breeds other than arabs and arab crosses have ben successful at all levels
of endurance, but the overwhelming majority of events have been won by arab
There are so many ways to represent numbers: fractions, percentages,
absolutes. In absolute terms riders >185 pounds have won far fewer
endurance events than riders <185 pounds, regardless of how you pick and
choose selected observations. If people were to gambel on these events
they would play the odds, or percentages, becuz most events will be won by
riders less than 185 poiunds.
Personally I beleive weight divisions are a must in a sport such as this &
are rooted in scientific fact void of empassioned re
Jon K. Linderman, Ph.D., FACSM
Assistant Professor of Health and Sport Science
University of Dayton
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