A Preliminary Study Investigating Functional Movement Screen Test Scores in Female Collegiate Age Horse-riders

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    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 establish FMS scores for female collegiate age (18-26yrs) riders, to inform a normative data set of FMS scores in horse riders in the future.
    Thirteen female collegiate horse riders (mean ± s.d.; 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 ± s.d.; age 22.5 ±2.1 years, height 166.5 ±5.7 cm, mass 61.5 ±4.9kg) 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 (± s.d.) for the rider group was 14.15 ± 1.9 and for the non-riders was 13.15 ± 1.77. There was no statistical 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 (O.R.) 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-112
    Number of pages8
    JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
    Issue number2
    Early online date8 Apr 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019


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