Stirrup forces during horse riding: a comparison between sitting and rising trot

F.E. van Beek, P. de Cocq, M. Timmerman, M. Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Injuries of horses might be related to the force the rider exerts on the horse. To better understand the loading of the horse by a rider, a sensor was developed to measure the force exerted by the rider on the stirrups. In the study, five horses and 23 riders participated. Stirrup forces measured in sitting trot and rising trot were synchronised with rider movements measured from digital films and made dimensionless by dividing them by the bodyweight (BW) of the rider. A Fourier transform of the stirrup force data showed that the signals of both sitting and rising trot contained 2.4 and 4.8 Hz frequencies. In addition, 1.1 and 3.7 Hz frequencies were also present at rising trot. Each stride cycle of trot showed two peaks in stirrup force. The heights of these peaks were 1.17 ± 0.28 and 0.33 ± 0.14 in rising and 0.45 ± 0.24 and 0.38 ± 0.22 (stirrup force (N)/BW of rider (N)) in sitting trot. A significant difference was found between the higher peaks of sitting and rising trot (P <0.001) and between the peaks within a single stride for both riding styles (P <0.001). The higher peak in rising trot occurred during the standing phase of the stride cycle. Riders imposed more force on the stirrups during rising than sitting trot. A combination of stirrup and saddle force data can provide additional information on the total loading of the horse by a rider.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-198
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • pressure measuring device
  • sensing array technology
  • saddle
  • back
  • rider
  • kinematics
  • movements
  • validity
  • system
  • walk


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