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Biomechanics is a big word that isn't really used by most of us in our day-to-day life, so what does it mean?
Horse rider biomechanics is the study of how the rider's body moves and interacts with the horse while riding. It involves the analysis of the posture, balance, and movement patterns of both the horse and rider, as well as the impact of the rider's weight, position, and actions on the horse's movement and well-being. Good biomechanics is important for improving performance, reducing the risk of injury, and enhancing the horse's comfort and welfare.
Rider biomechanics - rider position - is super important any time we get on our horses, but especially when we are riding Dressage.
For Dressage riders, position is absolutely crucial. The perfect dressage position is a balanced and elegant posture, where the rider sits upright with a straight back (well, with a small hoolw in the lower back), quiet hands and legs close to the horse's sides. The rider's seat should be deep and still, the weight distributed evenly over both seat bones, with a slight flexion at the hip, knee, and ankle joints. The arms are relaxed and extended forward, with the reins held lightly. This position allows the rider to maintain control and communicate effectively with the horse while promoting the horse's comfort, flexibility, and self-carriage.
So how does this relate to the feedback given by the app?
About the Rider Biomechanics Feedback
The app analyses the rider's position from the side and from the front/back.
The app automatically detects the key joints on a horse rider's body when filmed from the side. It collects data from every frame of a video (or recording period for the live capture) and then takes an average. This lets the app measure key metrics, analysing rider posture along the following classical Dressage guidelines:
the head position: is there a straight vertical line from the ears to the shoulders?
the upper arm position: are the elbows slightly in front of the body?
the forearm: is there enough bend in the elbows?
the upper body position: is there a straight vertical line from shoulder to hip?
the lower leg position: is there a straight vertical line from hip to heel?
foot position: is the heel slightly down?**
(**note that the live tracking version currently does not track the rider's toe - we're working on adding it to the system, so for now the app will not analyse the rider's foot position)
The app automatically generates a diagram that represents the rider's average position throughout the video. It also gives a table with the actual average angles. This diagram and the results table are both colour coded:
green indicates a good Dressage position
yellow indicates an acceptable Dressage position
red indicates a Dressage position that needs improvement
Based on your biomechanics results, the app will give you suggestions for exercises or stretches that may help you to improve your position.
Front or Back View
As for the view from the side, the app automatically detects the key joints on a rider's body when filmed directly from the back or front. This lets the app measure key metrics, analysing rider position and determine if their
head is level or if it is tilted
shoulders are level
elbows and hands are held at the same level
hips are level and even
knees and ankles are at the same level
upper body straight or do they lean to one side?
Like for the side view, the app generates a colour coded diagram that represents the rider position on average throughout the video along with a table of the actual average angles (for those who like numbers!)
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