An investigation into equestrian sports coaches’ engagement with performance analysis tools

M. Parker-Welch, Lorna Cameron

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Introduction: The horse and rider dyad in equestrian sport has been the subject of research focussing on individual components of performance (Wilkins et al., 2022). Performance analysis (PA) is well-researched and utilised in non-equestrian sports, yet in equestrianism this holistic approach to coaching is limited. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in equestrian disciplines are challenging to identify and due to the paucity of research, PA has been underutilised in these sports (Hobbs et al., 2020). To enhance PA research and to promote its use in equestrian sports, a tailored approach could be based on knowledge of current perceptions towards and implementation of PA within equestrian coaching. This study explored the impact of coaching education and the absence of defined KPIs on coach perceptions and use of PA tools.
Material and Methods: Following institutional ethical approval, current equestrian coaches (n=7) were recruited for one-on-one interviews, stopping at data saturation. The focus was on coaches' perceptions of PA and PA tools in equestrian coaching, with questions considering identifying PA currently in use, equestrian coach perceptions, and potential influences of rider demographics on PA tool implementation in current coaching sessions, utilising a purposive sampling strategy. Microsoft Teams™ facilitated remote interviews, ensuring efficacy of transcription and a wider recruitment pool. Thematic analysis, guided by Braun and Clarke (2012), was conducted to generate codes and further lower order and higher order themes.
Results: Interviewed coaches all held appropriate equestrian coaching qualifications at a range of levels. Thematic analysis revealed five higher order themes surrounding the perception of PA: ‘rider development’, ‘qualifications’, ‘marketing’, ‘PA tool setup’, and ‘competitive diversification’. ‘Rider development’ included the importance of the development of independent riding and the challenges faced with non-technological tools. Concerns arose around the impact of incorrect use of PA tools and techniques on the communication and trust within the coach-athlete relationship, requiring a sensitive approach on how to present data in a manner that considers the motivational impact on the rider. Coaches sought varied further ‘qualifications’ and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to expand PA knowledge and experience. All participants held more than one coaching qualification, BHS and university degrees being the most favoured providers (Table 1). Marketing showed high awareness but limited usage of PA tools, with video analysis as the most recognized tool. Ambitions to set up PA services and acquire the tools required faced barriers of financial investment and facility access. The study suggested ‘competitive demand’ could drive PA adoption in equestrian coaching, finding links between ‘marketing’ and ‘qualifications’ revealing limitations in PA tool usage.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024
Event13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury University, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 May 20248 May 2024


Conference13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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