The IAEB provides a forum where all those involved in good equestrian biomechanics are applauded. It is a meeting place for all like-minded individuals – not just those of the same school of thought. It offers a platform where different methods are valued and discussed and not condemned out-of-hand.
The aim of the Association is to bring together the very best in the field of equestrian biomechanics. To showcase the knowledge, experience and training that is currently available in the field of Equestrian Biomechanics and make it available to all.
SO WHAT IS EQUESTRIAN BIOMECHANICS?
Equestrian Biomechanics can be divided into 3 distinct components, the biomechanics of the human, the biomechanics of the horse and finally the biomechanics of the horse and human combination - rider biomechanics.
Biomechanics, itself, is the study of the mechanics of a living body, especially of the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure and how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work together to produce movement.
All horses and humans are born asymmetrical. Horses are right or left footed, naturally crooked and front heavy. This isn’t a major problem if the horse is never going to be ridden. However, to carry a rider without undue strain, the horse needs to have a strong back, carry more of his weight on his hind legs, and be equally strong and supple on both sides. Therefore, before carrying a rider, the horse needs to be taught how to improve both its balance and straightness, its biomechanics.
Humans are naturally left or right handed and as we grow older the asymmetry increases. Most of us collapse more on one side, stand with one shoulder higher than the other or place more weight on one foot than the other. If we do this on the ground we are certainly going to do it in the saddle. In addition to our asymmetry, all too many of us are overweight and lack muscle tone which exaggerates the asymmetry or causes compensation. To remain healthy and certainly to become better riders we need to take responsibility for our own bodies, become aware of our posture, and work to improve our suppleness and balance.
Finally we look at the horse and rider combination. In Rider Biomechanics we look at how the rider’s body can influence the horse, both intentionally and unintentionally. Horses should mirror their riders, so if we can ride in self carriage – then self carriage can be achieved by the horse. Conversely, the reverse is also true, if the horse is crooked it can have a major impact on the rider’s position. Very few riders possess the ability to correct a horse’s asymmetry under saddle effectively, which is why it is easier to use equine biomechanics to fix the horse before riding it.
A wealth of expertise exists in each of these three areas and the intention of the Association is to provide a hub, where all this information can be brought together and ideas can be exchanged, experience shared and a more holistic understanding of the biomechanics of Equestrianism can be gained.
As a forum where experts and students can meet, the Association can inspire new ways of thinking and training for both horse and rider. Ways that are not detrimental to either horse or rider but by encouraging a better understanding of biomechanics will improve the welfare of both horse and human.