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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Head, trunk and pelvic kinematics in the frontal plane in un-mounted horseback riders rocking a balance chair from side-to-side

Engell, M. T.; Hernlund, E.; Bystrom, A.; Egenvall, A.; Bergh, A.; Clayton, H.; Roepstorff, L.


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 intra-individual 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.


posture; pelvic symmetry; motor control; riding

Published in

Comparative Exercise Physiology
2018, Volume: 14, number: 4, pages: 249-259