Static and Dynamic Postural Asymmetry of the Rider

Kelly Longhurst, Kirsty McDonald

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Rider asymmetry is considered as a potential performance limiting factor within the equestrian field, however the prevalence and manifestation of asymmetry has yet to be researched sufficiently. The purpose of this study was to evaluate asymmetry of the rider during sitting trot by calculating discrepancies between bilateral joint angles. Eight angles of the upper limbs, lower limbs and trunk of rider were measured during the highest and lowest point of the simulated stride cycle and also within the static position to quantify the effect of motion on the degree of asymmetry observed. Leg length discrepancies (LLD) were also measured to identify any correlations between LLD and angle discrepancies. Two cameras situated perpendicularly to the axis of the mechanical horse were used to capture both the static and dynamic data. Fifteen female riders, aged 18 to 22 years (21.5±0.71, mean body mass 67kg± 9.42kg, mean height 169.9cm± 5.5cm) all with a competitive record within a range of disciplines, and riding at least five times a week took part in the study. Although not a variable for this study, the handedness of the riders were recorded; all subjects were right hand dominant.
Related samples T-tests identified very highly significant differences (p≤0.001) in the absolute angle of the upper arm, for all of the frames measured. Trunk and arm angles expressed larger tendencies on the right through a more vertical upper arm position and lowering of the hand. During motion the lower leg absolute angle was significantly different (p≤0.05) with larger left leg angles indicating a straighter limb. Significant differences were also seen between the two points of motion for the absolute angles on the right side for the trunk (p≤0.001) and thigh (p≤0.05), whereby angles increased during the highest point in the cycle. These results indicated rotational movement of the rider, within which the rider’s right shoulder and hip were posteriorly rotated in relation to the left. No significant correlations were observed between the asymmetry of joint angles and LLD (P≥0.05), however conclusions suggest that lateral dominance of the rider may be an influencing factor.
The present study suggests some commonly asymmetrical postures may be adopted by riders; the degree and type of asymmetry observed appears to be exaggerated during motion of the horse. Typically, alterations in posture occur within the upper limbs of the rider through a greater retraction of the dominant limb. However the underlying cause of postural asymmetry of the rider requires further research; consequently lateral dominance should be considered as a potential predisposing factor.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event1st Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Apr 201120 Apr 2011
Conference number: 1


Conference1st Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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