Influence of 8-Week Horseback Riding Activity on Balance and Pelvic Movements in an Older Adult Population

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

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Anne M.H. SeverynDepartment of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

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Nathan R. LuzumDepartment of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

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Kristine L. VernonDepartment of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

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Marieke Van PuymbroeckDepartment of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

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John D. DesJardinsDepartment of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

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The biomechanical relationship between horse and rider in equine-assisted activities and therapies has been largely unexplored. The three-dimensional stimulation of the horse’s gait has potential to improve rider musculature and coordination, especially in an older adult population. This study utilized dual-axis goniometers and video motion capture tracking to simultaneously track horse and rider hip flexion and extension. Ten older adult riders participated in 8 weeks of horseback riding lessons, where pelvis kinematics and balance assessments were compared between Weeks 1 and 8. Pelvic roll of the rider and horses’ hip flexion and extension were successfully tracked and summed improvements in balance assessments were also evident after 8 weeks of horseback riding lessons. Future research will assess deeper kinematic relationships between a horse’s gait and rider biomechanical responses.

DesJardins (jdesjar@clemson.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5850-5122.

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