Riders’ Pelvic Roll Ability Important for Equestrian Skills and Horse Welfare.


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.

                                                                                                                                                                       Mari Zetterqvist Blokhuis

girl sitting on a gymnastic ball

The horse moves both rider and horse by generating ground reaction forces that are transmitted through the limbs to the horse’s body and via the saddle to the rider. The rider’s pelvis interfaces directly with the saddle and is regarded as the key component both in allowing the rider to follow the horse’s movements and in facilitating cues to the horse. Thus, horse riders need to be stable and well-balanced to give clear instructions to the horse.

The aim of a recent study was to evaluate whether the rider’s performance in a series of exercises performed on a gymnastic ball is related to the rider’s ability to ride in harmony with the horse.

This research aimed to assess the correlation between the exercises on the gymnastic ball and the rider’s ability to maintain harmony with the horse.

Results from the study.

Results showed that the rider’s ability to role the pelvis from side-to-side on a gymnastic ball was highly coordinated with ability to circle the pelvis on a ball and with quality and harmony during riding. When ridden by riders with higher scores for pelvic role ability, horses showed fewer conflict behaviors. Horses also worked at higher heart rates, which reflect a more effective rider producing more impulsion while riding.


How was the study performed?

Twenty experienced riders were scored performing three different exercises on a gymnastic ball (pelvic roll, pelvic circle and balance). For quality and harmony when riding on their own horse.

The riders’ ability to roll the pelvis from side-to-side was correlated, with a subjective scoring of the quality and harmony of their riding performance, as well as horse conflict behavior.


The conclusion.

The ability to actively move the pelvis when sitting on a ball appears to be more relevant to equestrian performance than balancing statically on the ball. The authors suggest that simple exercises on a gymnastic ball (or a Balimo stool) that emphasize the ability to move and control the pelvis may be useful to evaluate and potentially improve rider skill.

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



Uldahl, M., Christensen, J.W., and Clayton, H.M. Relationships between the Rider’s Pelvis Mobility and Balance on a Gymnastic Ball with Equestrian Skills and Effects on Horse Welfare. In Animals 2021, 11, 453.