Seeking a balance: Webinar looks at how riders affect equine movement


Rider balance and how it affects horses is the topic of the latest “Welfare Wednesday Webinar” hosted by World Horse Welfare.

In this latest webinar, Dr Russell MacKechnie-Guire tacklesg the important topic of how rider balance affects a horse’s way of going, something anyone who rides will want to find out more about.

MacKechnie-Guire shows how a horse’s movement changes in response to rider balance, how to tell if the rider is unbalanced, and what can be done about it. He has extensive research experience in equine biomechanics, the horse-saddle-rider interaction, and the effects of rider asymmetry on equine back movement – all of which are relevant to this webinar.

Following his presentation, MacKechnie-Guire is joined for a panel discussion by Richard Davison, a four-time Olympian and European medallist who has been at the forefront of the international equestrian world for almost four decades, and Tony Tyler, World Horse Welfare’s Deputy Chief Executive, who has been involved in the horse industry for more than 35 years and who has extensive experience of training riders and horses.

Among other topics, the discussion covers what the most common rider faults are, whether suboptimal rider balance leads to over-reliance on artificial aids, and how riders can improve their position without spending a lot of money.

» Previous webinars can be viewed here.

Dr Russell MacKechnie-Guire has a BSc in Equine and Human Sports Science and a PhD in Equine Biomechanics. He has extensively researched the effect that tack has on equine health and performance. Russell’s current area of research is horse-saddle-rider interaction, spinal kinematics in horses when ridden and the effect that rider asymmetry has on equine back movement. In addition, Russell collaborates with researchers from around the world on various research projects associated with equine health and performance. He regularly presents his work at international meetings and is a consultant for the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class, Team GBR programme. Russell is a member of the Scientific Advisory Groups for Team GBR and the Society of Master Saddlers, and chairs the horse and rider subgroup, part of the International Taskforce on Laterality in Sports Horses. Russell is based at Centaur Biomechanics, a company which he founded in 2006.

World Horse Welfare Trustee Richard Davison is a four-time Olympian and European dressage medallist who has been at the forefront of the international equestrian world for almost four decades. In addition to competing himself, Richard has held the roles of British World Class Performance Manager and British Dressage Team Captain and he has coached some of the world’s most successful dressage and showjumping riders. This has included being a coach for the UK Sport World Class Development Showjumping Programme. Richard is also a Fellow of the British Horse Society and the International Dressage Trainer Club. He has an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Nottingham Trent University, where he is also a Visiting Fellow.

Tony Tyler has spent more than 35 years involved in the horse industry and has extensive experience training horses and riders. He is a BHSI and has worked in riding schools, as a freelance coach, BHS Chief Examiner, and senior college lecturer. He has spent the last 22 years working for World Horse Welfare, starting out as the Norfolk Centre Manager and now overseeing the work of the charity throughout the UK including the Rescue and Rehoming Centres, Field Officers, education, and liaising with other charities and organisations.

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