Science & Equine

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Written by Marly Coppens
Posted in Rider fitness

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Horse-rider interaction in dressage riding

The riders seat is often described as foundation on which effective communication and harmony is based. Therefore the rider needs to adapt his seat to the specific gate and the movement of the horse’s trunk. Although the human pelvis transmits body weight onto the equine, scientific evidence is lacking when it comes to the development of riding skills and the role of the pelvis. This study revealed that riding level influences the posture of a rider.

Twenty riders (10 professionals and 10 beginners) got one sensor attached to the dorsal side of the pelvis. The horses had one sensor fixed on the saddle girth beneath their sternum and an accelerometer was attached on the lateral side of the front limb to identify footfall timings. Combinations were analyzed in walk, trot and canter in a straight-line of 30 meters in an indoor arena.

Significant differences were found between the professionals and beginners. Professionals kept their pelvis closer to the mid-position and further forward. Beginners tilted their pelvis further to the right and more backwards.

This study may contribute to more awareness for the rider’s posture to both riders and instructors. Most studies focus on the kinematics and performance of the horse, however the rider’s posture is an important factor to this performance. To describe the physically communication between horse and rider completely, other aids as reins and legs should be measured. The aids become only powerful and sensitive when they interact correctly.

> A. Münz et al. / Human Movement Science 33 (2014) 227–237. All rightst reserved to 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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