RID­ING Is post­ing eas­ier on a horse’s back?

EQUUS - - Eq Consultant­s -

Q:In “Old Mas­ters” (EQUUS 441), a rider “rode stand­ing in the stir­rups to ease stresses on his horse’s back.” I have also heard other riders say they post or stand in the stir­rups to take weight off their horses’ backs.

As some­one who’s stud­ied engi­neer­ing and physics, I won­der if stand­ing really ben­e­fits the horse. The stir­rups are con­nected to the sad­dle and, ap­par­ently, the sad­dle still dis­trib­utes a rider’s weight onto the same area of a horse’s back re­gard­less of whether the rider is sit­ting, stand­ing or post­ing. Sounds to me like stand­ing or post­ing is for the com­fort of the rider and not the horse! Have any stud­ies or ex­per­i­ments borne out this thought? (I enjoy re­lax­ing on my Quar­ter Horse, who is very com­fort­able at var­i­ous trot­ting speeds, with or with­out a sad­dle.)

Carl Stephanus

Ber­ryville, Vir­ginia

limbs are grounded then rises as the

horse pushes off into the sus­pen­sion

phases. When sit­ting the trot, the rider

fol­lows the horse’s move­ments---the

rider sinks into the sad­dle dur­ing the

di­ag­o­nal stance, and the force on the

horse’s back in­creases. As the horse’s

body starts to rise, the rider feels a

push from the sad­dle and the force on

the horse’s back is at its high­est. Dur-

ing the sus­pen­sion phase the force

de­creases. So the force on the horse’s

back in­creases and de­creases in a regu-

lar pat­tern.

When the rider stands in the stir-

rups, the hip, knee and an­kle joints flex

as the horse’s body rises in the sus­pen-

sion phases, which com­presses the

rider’s leg length. Then th­ese joints ex-

tend to lengthen the rider’s legs as the

horse de­scends in the di­ag­o­nal stance

phase. As a re­sult of th­ese changes in

leg length, the rider un­der­goes less

ver­ti­cal mo­tion than the horse. Thus

the rider glides along at a fairly con-

stant height above the ground while the

horse is bounc­ing up and down. Sad­dle

pres­sure record­ings show that the

peaks in the force curve are smoothed

out---the min­i­mal val­ues are higher and

the max­i­mal val­ues are lower.

In a ris­ing (post­ing) trot, the feet

push down against the stir­rups to pro-

vide the force that raises the rider out of

the sad­dle. This re­sults in an in­creased

force on the horse’s back to­ward the

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