Cadence is the number of strides your horse carries out per minute: a stride is all the events that separate two successive landings of the same limb.
If you want to verify the cadence, choose one of your horse’s limbs and count how many times it lands in 1 minute. You will have an idea of the cadence.
Otherwise, Motion does it for you and calculates an average rating of the number of strides per minute at each gait.
To give you a general idea of the ranges in value that cadence can have, here are a few for horses during dressage/obstacle sessions:
Walk: 40 - 60 strides/min
Trot: 55 - 90 strides/min
Canter: 80 - 120 strides/min
If you have values that aren’t in these ranges, it’s not a problem, and it’s not a bug in the app.
Each horse has his own cadence; more or less slow according to the horse we’re dealing with, but also due to other criteria such as experience, discipline, etc.
The higher the cadence, the more strides per minute your horse carries out, thus he “rushes” more. The lower the cadence, the broader your horse’s stride is (or that he is weak, it depends on his amplitude!). [For more info, read the Equisense blog article “CADENCE, SPEED, LENGTH: THE INFERNAL TRIO”.]
The regularity of the cadence is the calculation of the consistency of your horse’s rhythm. Imagine that we set a metronome to beat at the right frequency. Will you and your horse be completely in sync with it for the entire session or not? This is what we analyze to then give you a rating out of 10.
A rating near 10 is a horse that is very consistent in his gait in contrast to a low rating close to 0, which indicates an irregular horse that often changes his rhythm.
We don’t take into account the cadence value by itself. We look only at its variation. The idea is not to recognize cadence values that are too low or too high but to simply give an indication of “how much did the cadence vary during the session?”.
Concretely, how is the rating determined?
At first, we used to look at how much the cadence varied at a given gait over the entire session. Now, we look at the same gait by phase. Let me explain. Imagine an obstacle session during which you carried out a relaxed canter at 85 strides/min with a very regular cadence (8/10), then while working with poles, you cantered at 105 strides/minute with a regularity of 6/10. The old calculation method would have given you a low rating, because the canter went from 85 strides/minute to 105 strides/minute. Now, we will give you an average by phase, and you will have a regularity of 7/10 (average of 8 and 6/10). Am I clear?
NB: There is no absolute benchmark for cadence for all horses as each one haves his own benchmark, which can be identified thanks to your coaches. You can thus objectify this cadence and work on your impressions while riding in order to try to find it each time you ride!