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Doctoral thesis, 2019

The movement pattern of horse and rider in different degrees of collection

Byström, Anna


While some degree of collection is considered as basic schooling work for the riding horse, learning to perform the most collected movements, such as piaffe and passage, can be a performance limiting factor for dressage horses. The aim of this thesis was to study biomechanics of horse-rider interaction in varying degrees of collection.  Seven high level dressage horses were ridden on a force measuring treadmill while both kinematic and kinetic measurements were conducted. Horses were ridden in collected walk and trot, and six of seven horses were also ridden in passage. In collected walk, the saddle rotated cranially, the rider’s pelvis rotated caudally, and the rider’s neck and feet moved backwards during the first half of each hind limb stance, and in opposite directions during the second half. In collected trot, the saddle rotated caudally, the rider’s pelvis rotated cranially and the rider’s lumbar back extended during the first half of stance, with reversed movements during the second half of stance and the suspension phase. The passage showed increased flexion of the hind limb joints and decreased hind limb retraction, and vertical impulse was shifted from the forehand to the hindquarters (-4.8%). Both at higher speed in collected trot and in passage, the rider’s pelvis became more caudally rotated and the rider’s lumbar back became more flexed. In free trot, the rider’s position changed in opposite direction. The phase-shift between horse and rider was increased in free trot, and decreased in passage, compared to in collected trot. The movement pattern of the rider in collected walk and trot can largely explained from the horse’s movements. The higher degree of collection of the passage was characterised by increased hind limb engagement without increasing peak vertical load. With increasing degree of collection, the rider sat in a more upright position, with increased posterior pelvic tilt and showed a decrease phase-shift relative to the horse, suggesting that the rider used the seat more actively. 


horse; rider; equine dressage; kinematics

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2019, number: 2019:32
ISBN: 978-91-7760-382-5, eISBN: 978-91-7760-383-2
Publisher: Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences