It is commonplace for trainers and judges to comment that riders are "crooked" or "collapsed in the hip." This asymmetrical posture will likely have a significant effect on stability/balance and may subsequently have a detrimental effect on performance. Although the effects of asymmetry on athlete performance has received much attention on human-only sports, there has been little scientific research investigating the influence of these factors in equestrianism, despite anecdotal acknowledgment that "a good seat" and core stability has strong influence on the horse and that crookedness may contribute to high incidences of back pain in both the rider and horse. Asymmetry among athletes has been shown to lessen after physiotherapy intervention (PI). This study examined whether the effect of PI to a group of experienced riders improved seated postural stability (determined as the root mean square [RMS] of the center of pressure signal in the medial-lateral directions) collected for more than 30 seconds and medial-lateral symmetry in force distribution when sat astride a saddle for 10 seconds. Riders were divided into 2 groups either receiving PI to the pelvic region or no intervention. After intervention, the PI group showed a significant reduction in RMS, and initial asymmetry in distribution of pressure was reduced. Preliminary findings suggest that improvements in rider asymmetry and stability can be attenuated through manipulation of the pelvic region. Further work to ascertain the benefits that targeted physiotherapy and training regimes can have on effective horse-rider communication, performance, and behavioral, anatomical, and physiological indicators of welfare in both horse and rider are justified.
|Publication Title||Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research|
|Author Address||Equine Research Anglia, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK.Charlotte.Nevison@anglia.ac.uk|
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