Did you know that many riders are asymmetric?

We believe in science based development. We are sharing different scientific studies that prove the importance of a good seat. Since the communication between rider and horse is predominately embodied and depending of the quality of the rider’s seat.
Do you have a feeling that it is easier to ride in the right rein compared to the left? Or easier to approach a fence after a turn from the left compared to a turn from the right? A British study showed that rider asymmetry does exist and that it is possible to measure this. All riders in this study exhibited a rotation to the left and a greater range of movement in the right shoulder in all gaits except right canter.
Moreover, all riders had a right leg shorter than the left but this did not affect the degree of shoulder displacement except in right canter.
The right canter showed a “chaotic pattern” with higher left shoulder displacement at one point and a higher right shoulder displacement at another point. There was less movement overall for both shoulders and, differently from the other gates, the left shoulder had more movement. It was concluded that rider’s uncontrolled movement in the right canter probably disturbs the balance and the synchrony of the horse.

How was the study performed?


The riders were 17 females that rode their own horses in walk, sitting trot, and left and right canter. Skin markers were placed on both rider and horses, and the riders were videotaped when riding a 5 m straight track way by two cameras, one at the side and one in the roof. The videos were used to measure and analyse the angle of the line from one shoulder of the rider to the other relative to the line from the horse’s nose to the tail at each time the horse’s limb touched the ground for a complete stride cycle in each gate. The results suggest that rider asymmetry does exist and this method could be used to objectively assess rider asymmetry. It is important for us riders to try to check if we are sitting equal on both right and left seat bones since putting more weight on one side or the other can most likely jeopardise the health and welfare of our horse.


Here you will find summaries of scientific articles that explains more.




  1. Symes & R. Ellis. 2009. `A preliminary study into rider asymmetry within equitation´. The Veterinary journal 181 (2009) 34-37.