Rider skill affects time and frequency domain postural variables when performing shoulder-in

Baxter, Joanna, Hobbs, Sarah Jane orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1552-8647, Alexander, Jill orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6492-1621, St George, Lindsay Blair orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5531-1207, Sinclair, Jonathan Kenneth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2231-3732, Chohan, Ambreen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0544-7832 and Clayton, Hilary M. (2021) Rider skill affects time and frequency domain postural variables when performing shoulder-in. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science . ISSN 0737-0806

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2021.103805


In equestrian sports the novice rider learns first to follow the movements of the horse's back and then how to influence the horse's performance. One of the rider's challenges is to overcome inherent horse/rider asymmetry patterns when riding in straight lines, mirroring the movements on the left and right sides when turning. This study compares the performance of novice and advanced riders when riding in sitting trot on straight lines and when riding shoulder-in to the left and right sides. Eight novice and eight advanced horse-rider combinations performed sitting trot in a straight line, shoulder-in left and shoulder-in right while wearing a full body set of inertial sensors. An experienced dressage judge indicated when the movements were being performed correctly and assigned scores on a scale of 0-10 for the quality of performance. Kinematic data from the inertial sensors were analysed in time and frequency domain. Comparisons were made between trotting on the straight, shoulder-in left and shoulder-in right. Advanced riders received higher dressage scores on all three movements, but significantly (p<0.05) lower scores were found for shoulder-in right across the two groups. When riding shoulder-in, advanced riders had greater hip extension (advanced=-5.8±17.7; novice=7.8±8.9 degrees) and external rotation (advanced=-32.4±15.5; novice=-10.8±13.2 degrees) in the outside leg compared with novices (p<0.05) and reflects an important cue in achieving the required body rotation in the horse. Lower scores for shoulder-in right may be linked to significant (p<0.05) changes in harmonics of trunk to pelvis rotation.

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