Horse-rider interaction in dressage riding
The rider's 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 gait 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.
20 riders (10 professionals; 10 beginners) got a sensor attached to the dorsal side of the pelvis. The horses had a 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 in both riders and instructors.
Most studies focus on the kinematics and performance of the horse, but the rider’s posture is an important factor in this performance.
To describe the physical communication between horse and rider completely, other aids as reins and legs should be measured. These aids only become powerful and sensitive when they interact correctly.
> From: Münz et al., Hum Mov Sci 33 (2014) 227–237. All rights reserved to Elsevier B.V.. Click here for the online summary.