Article

The effect of physiotherapy intervention to the pelvic region of experienced riders on seated postural stability and the symmetry of pressure distribution to the saddle: A preliminary study

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Abstract

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.

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... The high prevalence of elite EA experiencing LBP is a consequence of the biomechanical demands for equestrian sports [2,4,9]. Equestrian riding involves large and repetitive compressive mechanical forces, which are mitigated and absorbed by the vertical axis of rider's body, especially the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex [2,8,12]; moreover, "sitting trot" produces both trunk hyperflexion and hyperextension movements [13]. EA presented higher values for lumbar curvatures in the analyzed standing, slump sitting and trunk bending positions [11]. ...
... Different causes have been suggested for LBP, including a decreased trunk range of motion (ROM) [4], reduced rider stability/balance [12] and an asymmetric posture [3,4]. Determining the modifiable risk factors for LBP is a highly valuable tool to establish an efficient prevention program; for example, hippotherapy, which is a program to improve the postural alignment and the balance of head and trunk in children [14], should take into account these risk factors to increase the efficiency of the intervention. ...
... Frontal plane asymmetric hip/pelvic disposition-modified tension patterns within the musculoskeletal system-which stabilizes the pelvis due to side-to-side differences in the mechanical loads transmitting through it-increase the potential of developing asymmetry postural [55]. Long-term repeated application of asymmetrical forces over a series of training events decreases the efficiency of horse learning and welfare, reduces rider stability/balance, and subsequently contributes to injury and pain to the back and limbs of both the horse [12,56] and rider [5,12,13,57,58]. Several authors have shown that frontal plane hip/pelvic postural asymmetry has been associated with the repetitive demands of equestrian sports [4], high competitive levels [4,56], years of riding experience [4,58], pain avoidance [4], leg length discrepancies [57,58], and lateral bending and hip extension ROM [4,59]. ...
Article
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Low back pain (LBP) is the most common overuse musculoskeletal injury suffered by child equestrian athletes (CEA). Despite this, little is known about the risk factors related to LBP in these athletes, and very limited research has been conducted on this topic. This study was designed to investigate predictive risk factors for LBP in CEA. The purposes of this research were to determine whether anthropometric, range of motion (ROM), core endurance and sagittal spinal morphotype measures are risk factors for LBP and to establish a diagnostic cutoff value for those factors associated with LBP. Nineteen CEA between the ages of 12 and 17 years were voluntarily recruited. Potential risk factors evaluated included corporal composition, lower limb ROM, core endurance and sagittal spinal measures. Associations and predictions were calculated between these risk factors and the LBP during the last 12 months. Almost half of the CEA have suffered at least one episode of LBP. Two risk factors and cutoff values were identified as predictors of LBP in CEA: having a high body fat higher than 23% (p = 0.01) and trunk lateral flexor endurance lower to 65 s (p = 0.021), body fat being the strongest predictor.
... Experienced riders have been reported to sit in an asymmetrical posture with the pelvis rotated and twisted to the right (Alexander et al., 2015), the trunk twisted to the left (Symes and Ellis, 2009), and with greater external rotation of the right hip (Gandy et al., 2014). Postural and functional asymmetries in riders have also been documented through various unmounted tests (Hobbs et al., 2014;Guire et al., 2016), and unmounted physiotherapy exercise programs that focus on symmetry have been developed to improve the rider's symmetry during riding (Nevison and Timmis, 2013). ...
... The practice of training on different instruments to develop an athlete's skill or precision is well accepted in many other sports (Anderson et al., 2005;Leirdal et al., 2006). It has been shown that the rider's balance and symmetry during riding can be improved through unmounted training (Nevison and Timmis, 2013), but more studies are needed to clarify if this correlates to improved rider-horse communication efficiency and competition results. ...
Article
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For efficient rider-horse communication, the rider needs to maintain a balanced position on the horse, allowing independent and controlled movements of the rider’s body segments. The rider’s balance will most likely be negatively affected by postural asymmetries. The aims of this study were to evaluate inter-segmental symmetry of movements of the rider’s pelvis, trunk, and head segments in the frontal plane while rocking a balance chair from side to side and to compare this to the rider’s frontal plane symmetry when walking. Frontal plane rotations (roll) of the pelvis, trunk and head segments and relative translations between the segments were analysed in twenty moderately-skilled riders seated on a balance chair and rocking it from side to side. Three-dimensional kinematic data were collected using motion capture video. Principal component analysis and linear regression were used to evaluate the data. None of the riders displayed a symmetrical right-left pattern of frontal plane rotation and translation in any of their core body segments. The intersegmental pattern of asymmetries varied to a high degree between individuals. The first three principal components explained the majority of between-rider variation in these patterns (89%). A significant relationship was found indicating that during walking, when foot eversion was present on one side, pelvic/trunk roll during rocking the chair was asymmetric and larger to that same side (P=0.02, slope=0.95 in degrees). The inter-individual variation in the rider’s intersegmental strategies when rocking a balance chair was markedly large. However, there was a significant association to the rider’s foot pattern while walking, suggesting consistent intraindividual patterns over multiple situations. Although further studies are needed to confirm associations between the findings in this study and rider asymmetry while riding, riders’ postural control can likely be improved and this may enhance their sport performance.
... Previously reported is the link between trunk rotation asymmetries and muscular imbalances (Al-Eisa, Egan, Deluzio, & Wassersug, 2006). The correction of rider asymmetry has been addressed through the application of physiotherapeutic interventions (McGowan, Stubbs, & Jull, 2007) with a focus on core stabilisation exercises in a recent study (Nevison & Timmis, 2013). Despite anecdotal reference for tape for the correction of postural asymmetries in dressage riders and during elite competitions, no research to date has evaluated the effect of tape to enable correct postural awareness or aiding alignment of rider posture functionally. ...
... Subsequently these changes in pelvic motion produce an uneven distribution of weight through the pelvis. Postural asymmetries were noted in rider's pelvis in the current study (pre-tape) supporting perhaps the suggestion by Nevison and Timmis (2013) that variations in pressure distributions occur in riders presenting with pelvic asymmetries. No force pressures were measured in the current study therefore this can only be assumed. ...
Article
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Objectives To observe postural characteristics of female dressage riders, through application of three-dimensional motion analysis and to assess the effects of athletic taping on postural asymmetry during sitting trot. Design Randomised cross-over. Setting Data collection took place at Myerscough Agricultural College in an indoor riding area. Participants Ten healthy female experienced dressage riders participated. Main outcome measurements Movement kinematics of the trunk and pelvis, pre and post taping intervention. Results Riders presented pre-intervention with asymmetric movement characteristics through dynamic observation of trunk and pelvic postures during sitting trot. A significant increase (p=<0.05) in the range (°) of trunk lateral-flexion following tape intervention applied over the thoracic spine. Conclusion This study supports the quantification of dynamic postural characteristics of dressage athletes by three-dimensional motion analysis. Asymmetrical postures occur within dressage riders when performing sitting trot. The application of tape to ‘align’ asymmetry altered riders’ postures. Taping over the thoracic region resulted in a compensatory increase in motion through the lumbar region. Clinicians should approach the application of postural taping with an awareness of the restrictive mechanisms of tape. Findings may help clinicians determine whether technique/type of tape applied is suitable for achieving marginal gains in the alignment of posture in competitive dressage athletes.
... a total of 20 studies were included in this review (Marshall, Desai, & Robbins, 2011;Taanila et al., 2012;Micheo, Baerga, & Miranda, 2012;Teyhen et al., 2013;Kline, Krauss, Maher, & Qu, 2013;Nevison & Timmis, 2013;Yan, Hung, Gau, & Lin, 2014;Trampas, Mpeneka, Malliou, Godolias, & Vlachakis, 2015;Kliziene, Sipaviciene, Klizas, & Imbrasiene, 2015;Calatayud et al., 2015;Shamsi, Sarrafzadeh, Jamshidi, Zarabi, & Pourahmadi, 2016;Cruz-Díaz, Bergamin, Gobbo, & Martínez-Amat, 2017;Lopes, et al. 2017;Kuszewski, Gnat, & Gogola, 2018;Behennah, Conway, Fisher, Osborne, & Steele, 2018;Mazloum, Sahebozamani, Barati, Nakhaee, & Rabiei, 2018;Paris-Alemany et al., 2018;Zou et al., 2019;Liu et al., 2019;Van Goeverden, Langhout, Barendrecht, & Tak, 2019). In total, data obtained more than 2044 a person on the effects of core stability exercises, lumbar lordosis, and low-back pain that met our inclusion criteria were analyzed shown in Table 2. ...
... Based on core stability testing and APT, a group of authors analyzed lower back pain and lumbar lordosis (Marshall et al., 2011;Trampas et al., 2015;Kliziene et al., 2015;Shamsi et al., 2016;Kuszewski et al., 2018;Behennah et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2019). Fourth group of researchers analyzed the effects of basic stability exercises and prevention of lower back pain and lumbar lordosis in dancers and horse riders (Kline et al., 2013;Nevison & Timmis, 2013;Paris-Alemany et al., 2018). Other works refer to the classical research of the relationship between the stability of the nucleus and pain in the lower part. ...
Article
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Core stability has a very positive effect on the prevention of lumbar lordosis and lower back pain. The main focus of this paper was on a review of the available literature on the influence of trunk stability on lower back pain and lumbar lordosis. The two electronic databases researched for collecting articles are PubMed and ScienceDirect. A search was conducted by title, taking a predefined combination of the following keywords into account: low back pain, core stability, training, sports. Screening processes are summarized through a PRISMA flow chart. 408 studies were identified, of which 20 met the inclusion criteria. It was concluded that exercise on the stability of the pelvic nucleus and muscles is recommended as the simplest and most favorable prevention of lower back pain and lumbar lordosis. The stability of the nucleus helps to overcome the main causes and deprive the body of functional disorders and pain.
... Infolge sportspezifischer Haltungsund Bewegungsformen des Reitens kann es zudem zu nicht unerheblichen, überlastungsbedingten Beschwerdemusterm des Bewegungsapparates kommen. Verschiedenste Autoren beschreiben in ihren Ergebnissen an Reitern unterschiedlicher Leistungsstufen, vom Reitanfänger bis zum Kaderreiter, deutliche Asymmetrien und hieraus resultierende Fehlbelastungen [3][4][5][6]. Diese wirken sich nachweisbar auf die Leistungsfähigkeit sowie die langfristige Gesunderhaltung von Reiter und Pferd aus [7,8] ...
... Gleichwohl muss zuvor definiert werden, welche Parameter körperlicher Leistungsfähigkeit in Abhängigkeit der verwendeten Messmethodik graduell erwartend ein höheres Leistungsniveau spezifisch abbilden. Die Arbeiten von Engell sowie Nevison und Timmis zeigen jedoch auch, dass isolierte Interventionen durch Physiotherapie und Haltungsschulung die Asymmetrie nachhaltig verringern und entsprechend die Reitleistung und Gesundheit des Bewegungsapparates verbessern kö nnen [4,27]. Die Erfassung der Körpersymmetrie dient somit weniger der Quantifizierung reitsportlicher Leistungsfähigkeit als mehr einer gesundheitlichen, fehl-und ü berlastungsorientierten Betrachtung des Reiters. ...
Zusammenfassung Die wechselseitige Abhängigkeit sportlicher Leistungsfähigkeit und der zu ergreifenden Maßnahmen der Verletzungs- und Überlastungsprophylaxe der Athleten ist sportmedizinisch unzweifelhaft. Der Reitsport steht, durch die Interaktion von Reiter und Pferd als zwei einzelne Bewegungssysteme, vor besonderen Herausforderungen. Beleuchtet man den Status quo der Leistungsdiagnostik im Kontext der vorhandenen wissenschaftlichen Literatur, zeigt sich, dass die Zusammenhänge bisher nur in Teilaspekten untersucht und aufgeklärt sind. Eine Analyse der motorisch relevanten Basisqualitäten Kraft, Ausdauer und Beweglichkeit, sowie die Körpersymmetrie sind standardisiert und zur Definition des körperlichen Fitnessniveaus geeignet. Unbenommen der Wichtigkeit einer Grundathletik lassen sich Erkenntnisse hinsichtlich reitsportspezifischer Bewegungsabläufe hieraus nur indirekt ableiten. Die zentrale Bedeutung der Bewegungskontrolle in Form von Balance begründet eine parallel notwendige Entwicklung von Test- und Trainingsverfahren bekannter Reliabilität und Validität zur Erfolgskontrolle. Die reitsportspezifische Komplexität der koordinativen Bewegungssteuerung und-synchronisation, mit einer Vielzahl extrinsischer und intrinsischer Faktoren, stellt die beteiligten Sportmediziner und Sportwissenschaftler vor mehr offene als gelöste Fragestellungen.
... Regardless of their cause, the asymmetries may be exacerbated by repetition. Asymmetries in the position or movements of the rider change the loading pattern on the horse's back and can alter the movements of the horse (Licka et al., 2004;Nevison and Timmis, 2013). ...
... Positional asymmetries translate into asymmetrical forces being applied to the saddle and the horse. When a group of riders sat on a pressure mat positioned on top of a static saddle, asymmetries of the rider were shown by higher pressure on the right side (Nevison and Timmis, 2013). Asymmetries of the rider's limbs have received less attention but Gandy et al. (2014) found differences of 1-27 • in mean external rotation angles of the left and right hip joints and with greater rotation of the right leg in 83% of riders (Gandy et al., 2014). ...
Article
Equestrian sports are unique in that they involve the participation of two athletes that differ greatly in morphology yet are able to move together harmoniously; experienced riders not only move in phase with the horse, they can even improve the consistency of the horse’s movements. The motion of the horse imposes perturbations on the rider that differ in magnitude and direction according to gait. In faster gaits where suspension phases are present, the rider must accommodate greater vertical and horizontal accelerations of the horse’s trunk through three-dimensional movements of their axial body segments. The rider, in turn, can improve the horse’s performance through correct training, or cause it to deteriorate through faults in the rider’s position or incorrect application of the aids. This review addresses the current state of knowledge of the biomechanics of the horse-rider interaction, with reference to the ways in which the emerging field of equitation science can help to improve equine welfare by enhancing rider awareness of horse behaviour and movement, as well as the impact of the rider on the horse.
... Motor laterality in riding horses is a complex subject since both horse and rider can be asymmetrical. The human influence on equine laterality has been discussed in terms of unilateral handling (Farmer et al., 2010), rider position in the saddle (Alexander et al., 2015;Gandy et al., 2014;Nevison and Timmis, 2013;Symes and Ellis, 2009) and unevenness of rein tension (Clayton et al., 2017;Kuhnke et al., 2010). A rider with an asymmetrical position will transfer asymmetrical forces to the saddle and the horse's back. ...
... A rider with an asymmetrical position will transfer asymmetrical forces to the saddle and the horse's back. Riders were found to have a preference for weighting their right side when sitting on a stationary horse (Nevison and Timmis, 2013) or on a flat platform (Guire et al., 2017). Rein tension studies have sought to find relationships between rein tension patterns and rider handedness with various results. ...
Article
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It has been suggested that one of the underlying causes of asymmetrical performance and left/right bias in sound riding horses is laterality originating in the cerebral cortices described in many species. The aim of this paper is to review the published evidence for inherent biomechanical laterality in horses deemed to be clinically sound and relate these findings to descriptions of sidedness in equestrian texts. There are no established criteria to determine if a horse is left or right dominant but the preferred limb has been defined as the forelimb that is more frequently protracted during stance and when grazing. Findings on left-right differences in forelimb hoof shape and front hoof angles have been linked to asymmetric forelimb ground reaction forces. Asymmetries interpreted as motor laterality have been found among foals and unhandled youngsters, and the consistency or extent of asymmetries seems to increase with age. Expressions of laterality also vary with breed, sex, training and handling, stress, and body shape but there are no studies of the possible link between laterality and lameness. In a recent study of a group of seven dressage horses, a movement pattern in many ways similar to descriptions of sidedness in the equestrian literature, e.g. one hind limb being more protracted and placed more laterally than the other, has been documented. The role of innate laterality versus painful conditions, training, human handedness and simply habit remains to be determined. Understanding the biomechanical manifestations of laterality in healthy horses, including individual variation, would yield a potential basis for how laterality should be taken into account in relation to training/riding and rehabilitation of lameness.
... It has been recognised by equestrian researchers that an asymmetrical posture in either horse or rider affects symmetry of the other (MacKenchnie Guire et al., 2020), and has been associated with problems, such as back pain in horse and rider (Gunst et al., 2019), uneven equine muscular development (Nevison and Timmis, 2013), and a decrease in the clarity of communication between horse and rider (Eckardt and Witte, 2017). The rider may not even be aware of their own asymmetries (Guire et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Breast biomechanics, exercise-induced breast pain (EIBP) and performance effects in female athletes are established. Wearing sports bras during exercise reduces breast movement and EIBP. Despite the prevalence of female equestrians, little investigation of breast movement during horse riding exists, yet excessive breast movement, embarrassment and EIBP are reported. Breast movement relative to the torso is linked to EIBP, associated with magnitude and direction of forces generated. Equestrians may experience novel breast and upper-body movement patterns in response to large vertical excursions of the horse. This study aimed to establish relative vertical breast displacement (RVBD), EIBP and positional changes in three support conditions: ‘no support’, ‘low support’ and ‘high support’. Thirty-eight female equestrians rode a Racewood™ Equine Simulator in each breast support condition in medium walk, medium trot (sitting) and medium canter. Trials were filmed and analysed using Quintic® Biomechanics V29. Significant reductions in RVBD (P<0.001) and EIBP (P<0.001) were identified with increased breast support in all gaits. In medium trot (sitting) a significant reduction in range of movement (ROM) of shoulder-elbow-wrist (P<0.001) was seen from low to high support. ROM of torso-vertical angles were reduced from no support to low support (P<0.001) and further by high support (P<0.001). This reduction in ROM was significantly greater in large breasted riders (cup size DD-FF) (n=21) (P<0.001) compared to small breasted (cup size AA-D) (n=17). These results suggest that appropriate breast support positively impacts EIBP and riding position in female riders possibly enhancing performance. As RVBD and reported EIBP were not wholly comparative with results in female runners, further research is warranted to establish breast movement in equestrianism in three dimensions.
... This temporal coordination allows greater comfort and clearer communication for both horse and rider, thus enabling a balanced and harmonious partnership. An asymmetrical posture can have a significant effect on balance and stability, impeding performance and increasing the risk of injury to both horse and rider (Nevison & Timmis, 2013). Peham, Licka, Schobesberger, and Meschan (2004) determined that as a consequence of the three interacting systems of horse, saddle and rider, riding is a very complex movement that is difficult to characterise. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the use of inertial sensing technology as an indicator of asymmetry in horse riders, evidenced by discrepancies in the angle of external rotation of the hip joint. Twelve horse and rider combinations were assessed with the rider wearing the XsensTM MVN inertial motion capture suit. Asymmetry (left vs right) was revealed in mean hip external rotation of all riders, with values ranging from 1° to 27°, and 83% showed greater external rotation of the right hip. This study represents novel use of inertial sensing equipment in its application to the measurement of rider motion patterns. The technique is non-invasive, is capable of recording rider hip rotation asymmetry whilst performing a range of movements unhindered and was found to be efficient and practical, with potential to further advance the analysis of horse and rider interactions.
... Furthermore, assessment of equestrian technique can be based on undefined terms such as "feel." Early examples of measurements include rein tension (Christensen et al., 2011;Clayton et al., 2005Clayton et al., , 2011Hawson et al., 2014;Heleski et al., 2009;König von Borstel and Glißmann, 2014;Kuhnke et al., 2010;Manfredi et al., 2005Manfredi et al., , 2009Warren-Smith et al., 2007), leg pressure (Hawson et al., 2012;Nevison et al., 2011), and pressure from the seat (Clayton et al., 2013;de Cocq et al., 2010b). These studies were conducted to take the guesswork out of equitation, to identify what works and what does not and to ensure that, wherever possible, techniques Figure 1. ...
Article
Within the emerging discipline of Equitation Science, the application of consistent methodology, including robust objective measures, is required for sound scientific evaluation. This report aims to provide an evaluation of current methodology and to propose some initial guidelines for future research. The value of research, especially that involving small sample sizes, can be enhanced by the application of consistent methodology and reporting enabling results to be compared across studies. This article includes guidelines for experimental design in studies involving the ridden horse. Equine ethograms currently used are reviewed and factors to be considered in the development of a ridden-horse ethogram are evaluated. An assessment of methods used to collect behavioral and physiological data is included and the use of equipment for measurements (e.g., rein-tension and pressure-sensing instruments) is discussed. Equitation science is a new discipline, subject to evolving viewpoints on research foci and design. Technological advances may improve the accuracy and detail of measurements but must be used within appropriate and valid experimental designs.
... The ability of riders to sit straight and the short-term effect of a pelvic physiotherapy intervention was assessed in six experienced female riders, sitting on a force plate with their feet unsupported, or sitting on a general purpose saddle with stirrups on a saddle horse, with a force mat under the saddle (Nevison and Timmis, 2013). Five of the six riders had higher areas of pressure contact on the right side of the force mat compared with the left before the intervention. ...
Article
Several studies have shown that there is a high prevalence of ill-fitting saddles. Many riders do not have saddle fit professionally assessed on at least an annual basis. Back dimensions can change considerably over the period of a year and therefore saddle fit should be assessed several times yearly, especially if work intensity has been altered. Saddle fit should be evaluated before and after exercise because back dimensions can change during work. Ideally, horses should be ridden in individual purpose-fitted saddles, rather than the same saddle being used on several horses. There remains little scientific rationale for the use of pads and numnahs under a saddle, except to temporarily improve saddle fit, and the use of numnahs that exert pressure on the spinous processes can be detrimental to performance. Although saddle slip consistently to one side can be associated with poor saddle fit or asymmetry of the horse's back, the most common cause is hindlimb lameness.
... Experienced riders after PT intervention to the pelvic region showed a marked improvement in symmetry compared with untreated controls. 69 ...
Article
Physical therapy (physiotherapy, or PT) can be broadly defined as the restoration of movement and function and includes assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation. This review outlines the history, definition, and regulation of PT, followed by the core scientific principles of PT. Because musculoskeletal physiotherapy is the predominant subdiscipline in equine PT, encompassing poor performance, back pain syndromes, other musculoskeletal disorders, and some neuromuscular disorders, the sciences of functional biomechanics, neuromotor control, and the sensorimotor system in the spine, pelvis, and peripheral joints are reviewed. Equine PT also may involve PT assessment and treatment of riders.
... The incidence rate of low back pain in equestrian sports is reported as 3-5 times greater than that of the general population, with asymmetrical posture identified as a primary cause (Nevison & Timmis, 2013). There is a need to find a method of measuring this accurately and consistently (Gandy et al., 2014). ...
... Lee et al. (2014) showed that an eight week isometric training programme significantly improved the muscular strength and endurance of a group of 18 riders, which also translated to a significant improvement in dressage test score post-intervention. Similarly, Hampson and Randle (2015) demonstrated that an eight week strengthening and conditioning programme significantly improved the symmetry of weight bearing in the rider, which will ultimately improve their overall riding position, communication with the horse and reduce the risk of overuse injury (Nevison and Timmis, 2013). Both of these studies focussed on addressing the strength and endurance of the core musculature; whilst specific exercises were not described, Lee et al. (2014) stated that resistance band exercises were used focussing on the rectus abdominus, erector spinae and hip adductor group. ...
Article
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Recent research in equestrian sport has shifted focus to consider the rider themselves as more of an athlete and the physiological demands of the sport on the rider have thus been quantified. This study aimed to identify the fitness habits and perceptions of equestrian riders competing across the three Olympic disciplines of dressage, show jumping and eventing. A 15 question online questionnaire was distributed to gain quantitative data and yielded 299 useable responses. Overall 98.3% of those surveyed agreed that rider fitness had an impact on performance, however only 56.9% considered themselves to be athletically fit and only 63.88% took part in any form of cross training. Affiliated competitors rode for a greater number of hours per week and considered themselves to be more athletically fit than their unaffiliated counterparts, despite not taking part in any more off horse (cross) training. Previous studies have indicated that ridden only exercise programmes are ineffective in increasing aerobic fitness in equestrian athletes and have highlighted the benefits of cross training. These findings demonstrate that these messages have not been accepted by the general population within the sport and further work is needed to communicate the importance of cross training to riders.
... Postural asymmetries in riders have also been documented through various unmounted tests (Hobbs et al., 2014). Unmounted exercise programs focusing on posture, as well as physiotherapy, have been shown to improve the rider's balance and symmetry during riding (Nevison & Timmis, 2013;Hampson & Randle, 2015). ...
Article
The symmetry of the rider is highly relevant, and in the equestrian community it is generally thought that a symmetrical rider has a better possibility to influence the horse in an optimal way. The aim of the study was to analyse and compare frontal plane kinematics of the core body segments in ten riders while riding and while rocking a balance chair from side-to-side. It was hypothesized that the riders were asymmetrical in relation to their intersegmental strategies when comparing between left and right directions and that individual riders would display the same postural strategies when riding and when rocking the balance chair. Ten moderately-skilled riders wore a full-body marker set that was tracked by a motion capture system as they rocked a balance chair from side to side. Inertial measurement units attached to the head, trunk and pelvis were used to measure the segmental movements while riding in left and right directions. Roll rotation data for head, trunk and pelvis were averaged over available strides/cycles. Results from mixed models showed that the riders were asymmetric when comparing riding in left vs right directions, for example the trunk was rotated 19° to the right on the right circle and 14° to the left on the left circle, on average. Riders adopted the same asymmetrical posture whether they were riding in the left or right direction on straight lines, circles or leg yielding. A significant relationship was found between postural asymmetries when riding and when rocking the balance chair, one degree of pelvis or head roll asymmetry on the chair predicted 2.4 (SE 0.9) degrees of asymmetry while riding. Future studies may investigate the value of seated, off-horse postural training for improving rider symmetry and thereby equestrian performance.
... They showed that even between two riders of comparable riding level, significant differences in ROM (range of movement) of the pelvis can be found while riding the same horse [10]. Asymmetries in the rider's position or movements change the loading pattern on the horse's back and can alter the horse's locomotion [11,12]. The proper rider's postural balance is both decisive for the good running of the horse, for the rider's and horse's performance [3,[13][14][15], as well as the defective rider posture, strength used or technical level [16,17]. ...
... 8 The most significant area of force transmission between horse and rider is through the saddle 9 (Clayton and Hobbs, 2017; Greve and Dyson, 2013) with peak vertical forces of up to two and 10 a half times the rider's bodyweight being recorded in sitting trot (Bogisch et al., 2014). Patterns asymmetrically whilst sitting astride a stationary saddle horse (Nevison and Timmis, 2013) and 27 whilst riding their own horse at sitting trot (Hampson and Randle, 2015). This leads to uneven 28 loads on the horse's back (de Cocq et al., 2009) which has implications for welfare and 29 performance (Greve and Dyson, 2013). ...
Article
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Studies into horse-saddle-rider interaction demonstrate that increased vertical forces on the horse’s back are potentially damaging to the musculoskeletal system, and any practice that could lead to this warrants investigation. The contribution of the stirrups in stabilising the bodyweight of the rider, and the effect of riding without stirrups on force distribution to the horse, has yet to be fully described in the literature. The current study therefore aimed to compare saddle and stirrup forces in three conditions; sitting trot, rising trot, and sitting trot without stirrups on the riding simulator. Fourteen amateur female riders of mean age 34.6±10 years participated in the study and 20 s of data were collected for saddle and stirrup force across the three conditions. Mean and peak forces were extracted from the data for total force under the whole saddle, left and right sides of the saddle separately, left and right stirrups, and both stirrups combined. Peak vertical saddle forces were significantly higher in sitting trot without stirrups than with (P=0.011). Higher mean and peak saddle forces were seen on the right-hand side in all conditions (P<0.001) and there was an overall tendency for higher left stirrup forces in both sitting and rising trot with this being significant for peak force in sitting trot (P=0.039). The higher forces recorded when trotting without stirrups indicate that the stirrups play an important role in controlling the vertical acceleration of the rider in relation to the horse, however further studies are needed on live horses before any specific recommendations can be made regarding training practices. Asymmetrical saddle forces have a potentially negative effect on the horse and future research should also aim to identify the underlying causes of these patterns of rider asymmetry to improve both horse welfare and performance.
... Various authors have recognized equestrian's asymmetry and its relation to saddle pressure distribution, seated postural stability, and potentially musculoskeletal pain, this study did not confirm the assumption that asymmetry is a negative predictor for RP (Gunst et al., 2019;Hobbs et al., 2014;Nevison and Timmis, 2013). ...
Article
Poor riding performance may be due to medical issues with the horse or a variety of other factors, such as inadequate equipment or deficiencies in training. The physical fitness of the equestrian is one of the most unexplained factors of current research. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between the physical fitness of the equestrian and riding performance. 115 equestrians were assessed for physical fitness and riding performance. Seven components of physical fitness (balance, endurance, flexibility, reaction, speed, strength, symmetry) were measured by a physiotherapist using equestrian-specific tests. Based on a video-recorded riding test, individual riding performance was rated by two equestrian judges. The riding test included the horse and rider performing a walk, sitting trot, rising trot and canter in both directions. A linear model for riding performance, including the domains of physical fitness and potential confounders (body-mass-index, riding experience, hours of riding per week, and test-motivation), was fitted to the data. Inter-rater reliability of the judges was investigated by calculating the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Endurance, reaction and strength were positively associated with riding performance, whereas flexibility had a negative association. The final model could explain 16.7% of the variance in riding performance. The effects of endurance and strength were significant (P<0.05), but not that of reaction. No association with riding performance was found for the components of balance, speed and symmetry. The inter-rater reliability of judges was confirmed to be ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ (ICC=0.9, 95% confidence interval: 0.86-0.93). Findings suggest that physical fitness is positively associated with riding performance. Fitness-training for equestrians should be included in current training concepts. Future research should investigate whether similar associations exist for junior and elite athletes.
... Obviously in this study the measurements have only been acquired in two dimensions so rotation and other factors which may influence this measurement have not been accounted for. It appears that in both groups of riders there is some asymmetry in posture, which has been observed by others (Alexander et al., 2015;Byström et al., 2015;Clayton, 2013;Gunst et al., 2019), and could have implications for the loading and symmetry of the horse (Licka et al., 2004;Nevison and Timmis, 2013). The apparent collapse to the right observed in the group A riders, compared with group B riders, may indicate that these effects may be greater in this group of riders. ...
Article
Investigation of dressage riders suggests that the performance outcomes of riding can be enhanced by a rider correctly adapting the motion of their pelvis. The pelvis has been identified as an important component of the physical connection of the horse and the rider. This preliminary study aimed to assess whether riders with better control of their pelvic movement, had increased postural stability and horse-rider synchronicity. Twenty-six amateur riders competing in Novice to Grand Prix level dressage rode 35 mixed breed horses in active dressage training which they were used to riding. Riders were divided into two groups according to their ability to perform posterior pelvic tilt whilst sat on a Swiss ball. High-speed motion-capture was captured from the left and right sides and used to assess rider body position, angular measurements and horse-rider synchronicity whilst riding a pre-defined test at collected trot on an artificial surface. Appropriate statistical analyses were used to compare variables between groups. Differences between groups were compared using one-way ANOVA or independent samples t-tests; the significance level was set at P<0.05. No riders in the study were able to perform anterior or posterior pelvic tilt whilst seated on a ball without demonstrating mild or major compensations; the most common of these were inclusion of the lumbar spine or leaning forwards or backwards. The results suggest that riders who could not perform pelvic tilt without major compensations had a more leaning forward posture, were more asymmetrical between the left and right sides and more phase shifted during the swing and stance phases than riders who could perform pelvic tilt with mild compensations.
... One of the most common areas of pain in the equestrian population is back pain (BP), with a reported prevalence of 71-100% compared to 33% in non-riders (Kraft et al., 2009;Lewis and Baldwin, 2018). Previous stated possible origins of spinal discomfort in horse riders across different equestrian disciplines include the repetitive nature of riding (Lewis et al., 2019), acute traumas, postural defects, asymmetry (Hobbs et al., 2014;Nevison and Timmis, 2013), an insufficient recovery period following a fall and insufficient rehabilitation of previous injuries and monotonous training routines (Ekberg et al., 2011). Furthermore, the level of riding (Hobbs et al., 2014) and the type of saddle (Quinn and Bird, 1996) are stated to possibly be related with BP development and continuity as well. ...
Article
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Currently, no standardised screening tools nor established interventions are available to address the characteristics of back pain (BP) specifically in horse riders. Therefore, the aim of this case-control study is to explore sport-specific and functional characteristics of BP in horse riders. 16 professional and 16 amateur riders (25±7 years) participated in two questionnaires (a sport-specific questionnaire and the Oswestry Disability Index questionnaire) and were examined via the physical functional movement screening (FMS) and Luomajoki’s motor control (MC) screening. The lifetime prevalence of BP was as high as 81%, and spinal discomfort in horse riders was mainly located in the lumbar spine. Professional riders revealed significantly higher prevalence of BP in the last month before assessment (P=0.014) than amateur riders. Compared to horse riders using dressage or multiple saddle types, show jumping riders (n=10) who only use jumping saddles (P=0.027) also revealed higher BP prevalence. Horse riders with lower scores on the FMS and MC screening, and thereby with more movement dysfunctions, were found to experience higher levels of pain (r=-0.582, P=0.001; r=-0.404, P=0.024, respectively) and disability caused by BP (r=-0.688; P<0.001; r=-0.474; P=0.006, respectively). Both physical screening tools are found to be clinically relevant enabling investigators to identify objective functional characteristics related to BP in horse riders. The high prevalence of BP in riders is a clinically important finding that should be explored further to elucidate the causes and subsequently guide occupational health in horse riders.
... Low back pain (LBP) in the equestrian athlete negatively impacts performance by acting as a distractor that alters the coordination dynamics of the horse and rider [1]. Most authors agree that LBP is the most common chronic injury experienced by equestrian athletes [1][2][3][4][5], and it has been linked to poor postural control [6] and lack of balance, stability and alignment of the skeleton at the pelvic level [7]. Dąbek et al. (2015) reported a significantly higher incidence of back pain in amateur riders when compared to advanced riders [8]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Low back pain (LBP) is a prevailing affliction among recreational and professional horse riders. It lowers performance and distracts from the development of the athlete. A lower incidence of LBP has been observed in the professional riding population despite higher training volumes. This paper aims to describe neuromuscular mechanisms through which advanced and novice riders attenuate the shockwave generated between the horse and rider. Six novice riders (age 24 ± 7 years), nine advanced riders (age 31 ± 5 years) and four horses (age 15 ± 3 years) took part in this study. Surface electromyographic activity of the riders’ trunk was recorded along with inertial data from the horses’ leg, saddle and vertebrae of the riders at walk, trot and canter. Analyses of variances revealed a superior shock attenuating ability of the advanced group (F (1,38) > 5.023, p < 0.03) as well as a higher overall muscle tone (F (1,488) > 9.80, p < 0.02). Cross correlation analyses between shock attenuation and electromyographic activity showed that groups differ mostly in timing rather than the intensity of muscle activation. This finding is of great interest for equestrian athletes and coaches, as it points to a greater importance of training muscular anticipation within the trunk stabilizers rather than overall muscle activation.
Article
The functional movement screen (FMS) is an easily administered and non-invasive tool to identify areas of weakness and asymmetry during specific exercises. FMS is a common method of athlete screening in many sports and is used to ascertain injury risk, but has to be used within an equestrian population. The aim of this study was to establish FMS scores for female collegiate age (18-26 years) riders, to inform a normative data set of FMS scores in horse riders in the future. Thirteen female collegiate horse riders (mean ± standard deviation (sd); age 21.5±1.4 years, height 167.2±5.76 cm, mass 60.69±5.3 kg) and 13 female collegiate non-riders (mean ± sd; age 22.5±2.1 years, height 166.5±5.7 cm, mass 61.5±4.9 kg) were assessed based on their performance on a 7-point FMS (deep squat, hurdle step, in-line lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, trunk stability and rotary stability). The mean composite FMS scores (± sd) for the rider group was 14.15±1.9 and for the non-riders was 13.15±1.77. There was no statistically significant difference in median FMS composite scores between the rider and non-rider groups (Mann-Whitney U test, z=-1.249, P=0.223). However, 46% of riders and 69% of non-riders scored ≤14, indicating that a non-rider is 1.5 times (odds ratio) more likely to be at increased risk of injury compared to riders. Collegiate female riders scored higher than the non-rider population, but lower than seen in other sports suggesting some riders may be at risk of injury. Riders’ FMS scores demonstrated asymmetric movement patterns potentially limiting left lateral movement. Asymmetry has a potential impact on equestrian performance, limiting riders’ ability to apply the correct cues to the horse. The findings of such screening could inform the development of axillary training programmes to correct asymmetry pattern and target injury prevention.
Article
This study explored the relationship between footedness and postural asymmetry in equestrian riders. 28 female riders completed the Waterloo Footedness Questionnaire- Revised (WFQ-R), giving a score for footedness. They then took part in a test on a riding simulator where measures of saddle force, stirrup force, and degree of lateral tilt of the pelvic, trunk, and shoulder segments were taken over a period of 20 seconds in trot. Symmetry indices were calculated for stirrup force and saddle force. There were no significant correlations between WFQ-R score and any of the measures of postural symmetry. Only a very small number (n=3) participants showed a marked footedness, with the majority of the sample being classed as ‘mixed footed’ based on test scores. This, coupled with data loss for some participants in each of the parameters, means direct comparison of footedness groups was difficult. However, the variation of asymmetry in the mixed footed group supports the idea that footedness does not have a significant impact on the rider's posture. There was a correlation between trunk lean and stirrup force symmetry index (r=0.537, P=0.021) showing the trunk leaned towards the side of higher stirrup force. There was a significant negative correlation between pelvic obliquity and shoulder tilt (r= -0.481, P=0.023) with 59% of the sample showing pelvic obliquity and shoulder tilt in opposite directions. The findings indicate that there is little effect of footedness on postural asymmetries in the rider. Research should now consider other causal factors to support riders to become more symmetrical.
Article
There is a paucity of evidence on the effect that rider asymmetry has on equine locomotion. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of rider asymmetry on equine locomotion by using a novel approach to induce rider asymmetry. Ten nonlame horses were recruited for this study. Joint center markers were used to capture 2D kinematics (Quintic Biomechanics) of the horse and rider and horses were equipped with seven inertial sensors positioned at the fifth (T5) and eighteenth (T18) thoracic vertebrae, third lumbar (L3) vertebra, tubera sacrale (TS), and left and right tubera coxae. Rider asymmetry was induced by shortening the ventral aspect of one stirrup by 5 cm. Kinematic data were compared between conditions using a mixed model with the horse defined as a random factor and stirrup condition (symmetrical stirrups and asymmetrical stirrups) and direction (inside and outside) defined as fixed factors. Data from riders where the right stirrup was shortened were mirrored to reflect a left stirrup being shortened. To determine differences between conditions, a significance of P ≤ .05 was set. On the rein with the shortened stirrup on the outside: an increase in lateral bending range of motion (ROM) at T5 (P = .003), L3 (P = .04), and TS (P = .02), an increase in mediolateral displacement at T5 (P = .04), T18 (P = .04), and L3 (0.03) were found. An increase in maximum fetlock extension was apparent for both the front (P = .01) and hind limb (P = .04) on the contralateral side to the shortened stirrup; for the asymmetrical stirrup condition on the rein with the shortened stirrup on the inside: an increase in flexion-extension ROM at T5 (P = .03) and L3 (P = .04), axial rotation at T5 (P = .05), and lateral bending of T5 (P = .03), L3 (P = .04), and TS (P = .02). Asymmetric rider position appears to have an effect on the kinematics of the thoracolumbar spine. These findings warrant further investigation to understand the long-term impact this may have on equine locomotor health.
Chapter
This study was carried out to observe the changes in horse speed with respect to the rider’s body posture during rising trot in equestrian sports. This research used purposive sampling technique with six participants recruited. All riders were asked to trot their horse in one straight line for a 6-m distance. Reflective markers were placed on the rider’s anatomical landmark as well as on the lower limb joint of the horse. A video camera was located 10 m from the sagittal plane of the horse’s straight line pathway. Lean forward rising position appeared to provide the fastest horse speed followed by upright rising and lean back rising position. Horse speed results were consistent with the horse’s stride length where the upright rising position provides the longest stride length. It showed that the rider’s hip angle does influence the horse speed, and as a result, it also showed that there was a strong correlation between horse speed and its stride length. Therefore, we can conclude that there was a relationship between rider’s body posture and speed of the horse.
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Suomessa ratsastuksella on noin 140 000 harrastajaa, jotka starttaavat alueellisen ja kansallisen tason ratsastuskilpailuissa vuosittain yli 40 000 kertaa. Polven on havaittu olevan toiseksi yleisin kilpailevien esteratsastajien kipualue, ja suomalaisilla maajoukkueratsastajilla polvikivun on todettu olevan yleisempää vasemmassa kuin oikeassa polvessa. Ainoa ratsastajan alaraajoihin kohdistuva epäsymmetrinen kuormitus on vasemmalta puolelta suoritettava hevosen selkään nousu. Tämän opinnäytetyön tarkoituksena oli selvittää, onko vasemman polven pitkittyneestä kivusta kärsivillä ratsastajilla alaraajan liikekontrollin häiriöitä, puolieroja lihasvoimassa ja liikkuvuudessa sekä saadaanko näihin ominaisuuksiin ja koettuun kipuun muutosta harjoiteohjelmalla. Opinnäytetyön aineisto kerättiin rekrytoimalla osallistujat verkkokyselyn avulla. Osallistujaryhmäksi muodostui viiden naisratsastajan joukko. Osallistujien alaraajojen liikekontrolli, lihasvoima ja liikkuvuus arvioitiin ensimmäisissä testeissä, joiden jälkeen he suorittivat kolmen kuukauden pituisen, alaraajan linjausharjoitteita sisältävän harjoittelujakson. Harjoittelujakson jälkeen aiemmin testattuja ominaisuuksia arvioitiin uudelleen samalla testiprotokollalla. Ennen harjoittelujaksoa osallistujilla oli alaraajan liikekontrollin haasteita, vasen iso pakaralihas lähes tilastollisesti merkitsevästi oikeaa heikompi ja vasemman lonkan koukistajat merkitsevästi oikeaa kireämmät. Harjoittelujakson jälkeen osallistujien liikekontrolli oli tilastollisesti merkitsevästi parantunut, kaikkien mitattujen lihasten voima parantunut, mutta tilastollisesti merkitsevästi vahvistui oikea iso pakaralihas ja vasen keskimmäinen pakaralihas sekä lähes tilastollisesti merkitsevästi kasvoi oikean keskimmäisen pakaralihaksen voima. Oikean suoran reisilihaksen liikkuvuus parantui merkitsevästi sekä sanallisesti arvioiden kipu vähentynyt ja kivuttomat päivät lisääntyneet. Tulokset viittaavat siihen, että vasemman polven kivusta kärsivillä ratsastajilla on liikekontrollin häiriöitä ja pakaralihasten heikkoutta. Pienellä aineistolla toteutettuna alaraajan hallintaa kehittävät harjoitteet näyttävät parantavan pitkittyneestä polvikivusta kärsivien ratsastajien alaraajan liikkeen kontrollia, vähentävän kivun kokemusta ja vahvistavan erityisesti pakaralihasten voimaa. In Finland there are about 140 000 horse riders who compete over 43 000 times in regional and national levels every year. One study suggested that knee pain was the second most common pain among competitive show jumpers and another found that pain in the left knee was significantly more common than in the right knee. Mounting the horse causes the only asymmetrical strain on the left lower limb in horse riding. The purpose of this thesis was to gather information about horse riders who suffer from pain in their left knee and have a motor control impairment in the left lower limb, sidedness in muscle strength or mobility and whether motor control training has an effect on these characteristics. The data was collected from a group of five female horse riders who were recruited via a web survey. The participants underwent two sets of tests, including muscle strength, mobility and motor control measurements of the lower limbs. In between the tests, they followed an exercise programme for three months aimed to improve lower limb motor control. During the first measurements all the participants showed impairment of motor control in the left lower limb nearly significantly weaker Gluteus Maximus muscle strength and tighter hip flexors in the left lower limb. After following the exercise programme, the participants showed significant improvement of motor control, nearly significant improvement in muscle strength in right Gluteus Medius and significant improvement in muscle strength in left Gluteus Medius and in the right Gluteus Maximus and mobility in right Rectus Femoris. All the participants felt that the pain was reduced after the training programme. Findings suggested that horse riders suffering from a chronic left knee pain also suffer from motor control impairment and left Gluteus Medius weakness in the left lower limb. In this small research group lower limb motor control training had positive effect on the lower limb motor control and strengthened the gluteal muscles. Subjectively the participants felt that their pain had reduced.
Article
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This paper reviews the etiology of asymmetries in swimming. A model of factors related to asymmetries was used as a basis for discussion of the etiology of asymmetries among swimmers. Asymmetries can include bilateral asymmetries and muscle imbalances leading to postural changes. The link between asymmetries and swimming performance is highlighted throughout.
Article
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Measurement of rein tension during horseback riding is discussed. Strain gage transducers are used to provide dynamic measurement. It was found that this method of strain gage transducers offers an objective measurement technique for quantifying rein tension.
Article
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This review summarizes the effects of bilateral asymmetry on running and cycling performance and risk of injury in healthy subjects and the influence of leg preference. We define the term leg preference derived from lateral preference as representative of the choice for one side of the body to perform a motor action. Useful information is provided for biomechanical and physiological research and coaching with relevance to an understanding regarding the occurrence of lower limb asymmetry. To provide a synopsis of what is known about bilateral asymmetry in human running and cycling and its relationship to limb preference, especially in the context of competitive sport performance and risk of injury. Structured narrative review. The relationship between asymmetry and lower limb preference was reviewed using Medline(®), Sciencedirect(®), and Scopus(®) search engines considering studies published in English until June 2009. The environment characteristics may influence running asymmetries, which are more frequent in angular parameters. Environment characteristics are related to ground irregularities requiring compensatory movements changing the mechanical workload on joints and bones, which may influence asymmetries in biomechanical parameters between lower limbs. The relationship between asymmetry and injury risk should be assessed with caution since running speed may influence asymmetry in injured and non-injured subjects who often show similar asymmetry levels. Symmetry can be improved with increasing running speed. In addition to running speed, coaches and athletes interested in minimizing lateral difference should consider a training regime aimed at correcting asymmetry which may negatively affect running technique by influencing the compensatory movements that an athlete usually performs. During cycling, bilateral differences are frequently found and vary with the competitive situation, pedaling cadence, exercise intensity and exercise duration. Regardless of the variability of asymmetry index between subjects, few suggestions are available to overcome lateral differences. Most of the research suggests that bilateral pedaling asymmetries decrease as the workload increases, however the relationship to injury risk was not clearly addressed. For both running and cycling, few investigations examined the central mechanisms of neuromuscular control, and no study addressed the effect of asymmetry on performance. Collectively, the volume of studies supporting symmetry is small and to a large extent research considered unilateral assessment. Preferred limb performance can differ from the contralateral limb. In the context of biomechanical and physiological investigations, we believe that further studies should address the role of lower limb symmetry on human motor performance and injury risk focusing on the energetic cost, muscle efficiency and the neuromuscular aspects such as muscle activation and motor units firing rate.
Article
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To investigate the possible influences of saddle type on the incidence of "lower back pain" in a cross section of equestrian riders. 108 equestrian riders completed a questionnaire concerning their riding habits and whether they suffered from lower back pain. In particular they were asked whether they used a traditional style/general purpose saddle (GP) or a deep seated/Western style saddle (W). 48% of the riders reported suffering from lower back pain, the incidence being higher in the GP saddle users (66%) than in W saddle users (23%) (P < 0.001). Female riders had a higher incidence of lower back pain than males, 58% v 27% (P < 0.005). When the genders were analysed separately for the effect of saddle type, males using the GP and W saddles had a 33% and 6% incidence of lower back pain respectively, while females using the GP and W saddles had a 72% and 33% incidence. The highest incidence of lower back pain occurred in the GP saddle users who had been riding for more than 15 years (P < 0.07). The data also indicated a possible tendency for there to be more low back pain among riders using a short stirrup length. No other factors were found to affect the incidence of lower back pain. The difference in the incidence of lower back pain between the users of the two saddle types may be due to the additional comfort, cushioning, postural positioning, and stability offered by the design of the deep seated saddle. The results suggest that, while a deep seated saddle is not suited to all equestrian activities, where possible its use should be considered because of its effect in reducing the risk of lower back pain.
Article
We investigated lateralisation in horses because it is likely to be important in training and athletic performance. Thoroughbred horses (n=106) were observed every 60s for 2h, when they were at pasture, and the position of the forelimbs in relation to one another was recorded. There was a population bias skewed to standing with the left forelimb advanced over the right (i.e. directional lateralisation). Using the first 50 observations, the distribution of preferences was 43 significantly left, 10 significantly right with 53 being non-significant (i.e. ambidextextrous). The strength of motor bias increased with age, suggesting maturation or an influence of training.The horses were also presented with an olfactory stimulus (stallion faeces) to score the tendency to use one nostril rather than the other. A significant preference to use the right nostril first was shown in horses under 4 years of age (n=61) but not in older horses. Of the 157 horses tested for nostril bias, 76 had been assessed for motor bias and so were used for analysis of the relationship between laterality in the two modalities. There was no significant relationship between direction of foreleg motor bias and first nostril used, total number of inhalations or laterality index of nostril use.The absence of a correlation between laterality of nostril use and motor bias indicates that lateralisation of the equine brain occurs on at least two levels of neural organisation—sensory and motor—a finding that is consistent with other examples of lateralisation in species that have been examined in more detail.
Book
The purpose of physiological testing (J.D. MacDougall and H.A. Wenger) what do tests measure? (H.J. Green) testing strength and power (D.G. Sale) testing aerobic power (J.S. Thoden) testing anaerobic power and capacity (C. Bouchard, Albert W. Taylor, Jean-Aime Simoneau, and Serge Dulac) Kknanthropometry (WD. Ross and M.J. Marfell-Jones) testing flexibility (C.L. Hubley-Kozey) evaluating the health status of the athlete (R. Backus and D.C. Reid) modelling elite athletic performance (E.W. Banister).
Article
Rider asymmetry is anecdotally associated with underperformance and injury. In this study, rider axial rotation (AR) and shoulder angle displacement (SAD) were measured using video analysis, and leg length inequality (LLI) was measured to assess any correlation between LLI, AR and SAD. Two video cameras, recording transverse and sagittal views, simultaneously filmed each of 17 female riders in walk, trot, and left and right canter. The rider's shoulder angles relative to the cranial caudal line were measured at each limb impact for a complete stride cycle. All riders exhibited left AR and a greater range of movement (ROM) in the right shoulder in all gaits except right canter. LLI (short right) was found in all riders but the LLI degree did not correlate with the AR or ROM degree except in right canter, where a significant negative correlation occurred. This method permits assessment of asymmetry, which could improve coaching techniques and produce performance and welfare benefits.
Article
The question of whether there is a fundamental discontinuity between humans and other primates is discussed in relation to the predominantly human pattern of right-handedness and the left-cerebral representation of language. Both phenomena may go back at least to Homo habilis, 2-3 million years ago. However, a distinctively human mode of cognitive representation may not have emerged until later, beginning with H. erectus and the Acheulean tool culture about 1.5 million years ago and culminating with H. sapiens sapiens and rapid, flexible speech in the last 200,000 years. It is suggested that this mode is characterized by generativity, with multipart representations formed from elementary canonical parts (e.g., phonemes in speech, geons in visual perception). Generativity may be uniquely human and associated with the left-cerebral hemisphere. An alternative, analogue mode of representation, shared with other species, is associated with the right hemisphere in humans.
Article
A repeated-measures experimental cross-over study was conducted with school-aged children with spastic cerebral palsy (spastic CP) to compare the effects of flat-bench versus saddle-bench seating on postural control and reaching motions. The saddle bench allowed significantly better postural control as measured by the clinical rating scale Sitting Assessment for Children with Neuromotor Dysfunction and by a study-defined variable, Spinal Extension. No statistically significant differences were found for any other variables using aggregate data-analysis techniques. However, the group results and those of single-subject data analysis suggest that the saddle seat may help such children to develop and maintain seated postural control and upper-extremity movement patterns.
Article
Changes in trunk muscle recruitment have been identified in people with low-back pain (LBP). These differences may be due to changes in the planning of the motor response or due to delayed transmission of the descending motor command in the nervous system. These two possibilities were investigated by comparison of the effect of task complexity on the feedforward postural response of the trunk muscles associated with rapid arm movement in people with and without LBP. Task complexity was increased by variation of the expectation for a command to either abduct or flex the upper limb. The onsets of electromyographic activity (EMG) of the abdominal and deltoid muscles were measured. In control subjects, while the reaction time of deltoid and the superficial abdominal muscles increased with task complexity, the reaction time of transversus abdominis (TrA) was constant. However, in subjects with LBP, the reaction time of TrA increased along with the other muscles as task complexity was increased. While inhibition of the descending motor command cannot be excluded, it is more likely that the change in recruitment of TrA represents a more complex change in organisation of the postural response.
Article
The lengthy association of humans with horses has established traditional equestrian techniques that have served military and transport needs well. Although effective, these techniques have by-passed the research findings of modern psychologists, who developed the fundamentals of learning theory. That said, the pools of equestrian debate are far from stagnant. The latest wave of horse whisperers has offered some refinements and some novel interpretations of the motivation of horses undergoing training. Additionally, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has introduced the concept of the 'happy equine athlete' and, in the light of the hyperflexion (Rollkür) debate, recently examined the possible effects of some novel dressage modalities on equine 'happiness'. However, many still question the welfare of the ridden horse since it is largely trained using negative reinforcement, has to respond to pressure-based signals and is seldom asked to work for positive rewards. Science holds tremendous promise for removing emotiveness from the horse-riding welfare debate by establishing how much rein tension is too much; how much contact is neutral; how contact can be measured; how discomfort can be measured; how pain can be measured; and how learned helplessness manifests in horses. These are some of the topics addressed by equitation science, an emerging discipline that combines learning theory, physics and ethology to examine the salience and efficacy of horse-training techniques.
Article
The frequency of one-legged stance and two-legged stance differs considerably among sports. We therefore expect the balance ability of athletes from different sports to vary. This study compared the sway characteristics during a static one-legged stance of soccer players, basketball players, swimmers, and non-athletes. The centre of pressure sway during one-legged stance of ten male participants representing each of the four groups was measured using a stabilometer. Centre of pressure sway was assessed by four sway factors: sway velocity, anterior-posterior sway, horizontal sway, and high-frequency sway. None of the four groups of participants showed significant differences in body sway between standing on the dominant leg and standing on the non-dominant leg. The soccer players had more high-frequency sway and less anterior-posterior sway and horizontal sway than the basketball players, swimmers, and non-athletes. These results suggest that soccer players have superior ability to maintain a stable one-legged stance. Further study is required to determine how much of the superior balance ability in soccer players is innate and how much is developed through training, as well as to determine the relationship between balance ability and playing performance.
Article
Several species demonstrate obvious motor laterality (sidedness, handedness) in their motor function. Motor laterality in the horse affects locomotion and subsequently equine performance during training and may have inherent safety implications for equitation. Some of the most commonly used identification features in the horse are hair whorls (trichoglyphs), since their specific location and character vary to some degree in every horse. We investigated the relationship between the hair flow of single facial hair whorls and the incidence of lateralised motor bias in 219 horses when under saddle in ridden work. The horses exhibited significant differences in motor preferences with 104 left-lateralised (LL) horses, 95 right-lateralised (RL) horses compared to only 20 well-balanced (WB) horses (chi(2)=36.9, d.f.=2, P<0.01). There was also a significant difference in the frequency distribution of single facial hair whorl patterns in the horses consisting of 114 horses with counter-clockwise (CC) whorls, 82 horses with clockwise (C) whorls and 23 horses, which had radial (R) whorls (chi(2)=38.87, d.f.=2, P<0.01). Overall there was a statistically significant association between motor behaviour and facial hair whorl patterns in the horses (chi(2)=69.4, d.f.=4, P>0.001). The RL horses had significantly more C facial hair whorls and the LL horses had significantly more CC facial hair whorls than would be expected purely by chance alone (P<0.05). The findings may provide trainers with a useful tool when attempting to identify simple, non-invasive and reliable predictors of motor laterality in the horse. Furthermore, given that efficient targeted training of performance horses during ridden work may produce WB equine athletes, the findings could assist trainers when designing individual-specific training programmes for young horses.
The BHS Manual of Equitation
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