The Better Riders can Control Their Pelvis Movements, the Better they Synchronize with Their Horse.


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

The rider’s pelvis is particularly important because this is the main point of contact with the saddle and therefore between rider and horse. In the trot, the rider’s pelvis plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and absorbing the horse’s movement.
Investigations of dressage rider suggest that the performance outcomes of riding can be enhanced by a rider who adapts the motion of their pelvis to that of the horse with well-adjusted seat.

The trot is a two-beat diagonal gait with a stance phase where the horse deaccelerates and a suspension phase where the horse accelerates. In sitting trot, the rider’s pelvis moves in a forward and backward motion as the horse’s back moves up and down with each diagonal pair of legs.

When one of the horse’s diagonal pairs of legs is in the air (the suspension phase), the rider’s pelvis will move slightly forward with the horse’s movement, and the rider’s lumbar region extends. As that pair of legs returns to the ground (the stance phase), the rider’s pelvis will move slightly backward with the horse’s downward movement, and the rider’s back flexis.

The aim of an English study was to assess weather riders with better control of their pelvis movements, had increased postural stability and horse-rider synchronicity.


Results from the study.

The result suggests that riders that could not perform pelvic tilt without major compensation, whilst sitting on a Swiss ball, had a more leaning forward posture. It were more asymmetrical between the left and right sides, and more phase shifted during the swing and stance phases while riding, than rider who could perform pelvic tilt with mild compensations.

No riders in this study were able to perform anterior or posterior (forward and backward) tilt, whilst seated on a ball without demonstrating mild or major compensations.

The most common of these were inclusion of the lumbar spine or leaning forwards or backwards.


How was the study performed?

Twenty-six amateur riders rode 35 horses in active dressage training. Riders were divided in two groups according to their ability to perform posterior pelvic tilts, whilst sat on a Swiss ball.

High-speed motion cameras were used to assess rider body posture, angular measurements and horse-rider synchronicity, whilst riding a pre-defined test.



The rider’s pelvis is particularly important for the rider to be able to coordinate his or her movements to the horse’s movements.

The conclusion is that, the better the rider could tilt their pelvis forwards or backwards on a Swiss ball, the better the rider could adapt to the movements of the horse. To perform a posterior (backwards) tilt, it is suggested that there is a need for recruitment of the core muscles.

Therefore, riders should add dismounted exercises on a Swiss ball or a Balimo stool, together with strengthening of their abdominal muscles to their training regime.

For riders to practice their pelvis movement is likely to improve their riding skills, and thus the communication with the horse.

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



Walker, V.A., Pettit, I., Tranquille, C.A., Spear, J., Dyson, S.J. and Murray, R.C.

Relationship between pelvic tilt control, horse-rider synchronisation, and rider position in sitting trot. Comparative Exercise Physiology: 16 (5) – Pages: 423 – 432.