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Assessing the rider's seat and horse's behavior: difficulties and perspectives. (Special Issue: Equitation science.)

By M. Z. Blokhuis, A. Aronsson, E. Hartmann, C. G. van Reenen, L. Keeling

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A correct seat and position are the basis for a good performance in horseback riding. This study aimed to measure deviations from the correct seat, test a seat improvement program (dismounted exercises), and investigate whether horse behaviour was affected by the rider's seat. Five experienced trainers defined 16 seat deviations and scored the occurrence in 20 riders in a dressage test. Half the riders then carried out an individual training program; after 9 weeks, riders were again scored. The study took no video or heart-rate recordings of horses and riders. Panel members did not agree on the deviations in the rider's seat; the study detected no differences - with the exception of improvement of backward-tilted pelvis - between the groups. Horse behaviour, classified as "evasive," increased; horse heart rate decreased in the experimental group. Heart rates of riders in both groups decreased. Seven of 9 riders in the experimental group had the impression that the exercises improved their riding performance. There is a clear need to develop a robust system that allows trainers to objectively evaluate the rider's seat.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 191-203
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888700802100876
Language English
Author Address Ridskolan Stromsholm, Ridsportens Hus, S-73494 Stromsholm,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal physiology
  3. Animals
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Feet
  6. Heart
  7. Heart rate
  8. Horses
  9. Improvement
  10. Mammals
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. pelvis
  13. training
  14. ungulates
  15. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed