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Relationships between the Rider’s Pelvic Mobility and Balance on a Gymnastic Ball with Equestrian Skills and Effects on Horse Welfare

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Riders need core stability to follow and guide the horse’s movements and avoid giving unintended or conflicting signals. This study evaluated the rider’s performance of exercises on a gymnastic ball with on-horse performance and indicators of stress in the horse. Twenty experienced riders were scored performing three exercises on a gymnastic ball and for quality and harmony
when riding based on evaluation of video recordings in which conflict behaviours were evident. The horse’s heart rate and number of conflict behaviors during the riding test and cortisol levels after completion of the test were measured. The rider’s ability to roll the pelvis from side-to-side on a gymnastic ball was highly correlated with ability to circle the pelvis on the ball and with quality and harmony during riding. However, pelvic roll and riding quality and harmony showed a trend toward a negative correlation with balancing skills on the ball. It appears that the ability to actively move the pelvis is more relevant to equestrian performance than static balancing skill. Horses ridden by riders with better pelvic mobility and control showed significantly fewer conflict behaviors. On
the contrary, high scores for balancing on the gymnastic ball were negatively correlated with the horses’ working heart rates, suggesting a less energetic performance. Pelvic control and mobility may be predictive for equestrian skills and riding harmony.
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2021

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