|Home||<< 1 >>|
Uchiyama, H., Ohtani, N., & Ohta, M. (2011). Three-dimensional analysis of horse and human gaits in therapeutic riding. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 135(4), 271–276.
Abstract: Therapeutic horse riding or hippotherapy is used as an intervention for treating individuals with mental and physical disabilities. Equine-assisted interventions are based on the hypothesis that the movement of the horse's pelvis during horseback riding resembles human ambulation, and thus provides motor and sensory inputs similar to those received during human walking. However, this hypothesis has not been investigated quantitatively and qualitatively. This study aimed to verify the hypothesis by conducting a three-dimensional analysis of the horse's movements while walking and human ambulation. Using four sets of equipments, we analysed the acceleration patterns of walking in 50 healthy humans and 11 horses. In addition, we analysed the exercise intensity by comparing the heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure of 127 healthy individuals before and after walking and horse riding. The acceleration data series of the stride phase of horse walking were compared with those of human walking, and the frequencies (in Hz) were analysed by Fast Fourier transform. The acceleration curves of human walking overlapped with those of horse walking, with the frequency band of human walking corresponding with that of horse walking. Exercise intensity, as measured by the heart rate and breathing rate, was not significantly different between horse riding and human walking. The levels of diastolic blood pressure were slightly higher during horse riding than during walking, but were lower during both conditions compared with those in normal conditions (P < 0.01). The present study shows that, although not completely matched, the accelerations of the horse and human walking are comparable quantitatively and qualitatively. Horse riding at a walking gait could generate motor and sensory inputs similar to those produced by human walking, and thus could provide optimum benefits to persons with ambulatory difficulties.