For equestrian training you do not necessarily need a horse. Riding simulators to train the riders’ skills have become available recently. Scientists of the Vetmeduni Vienna in Austria investigated possible differences between riding a horse and training with a simulator. The result: the simulator is less demanding and less complex than the horse, although simulator training can be initially stressful for riders. The study was published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
Flight simulators for the training of air pilots are well known. But what about riding simulators? Although the first horse simulator was used at the French National Equestrian School in Saumur already in the 1980s, riding simulators for dressage, show jumping, polo or racing, have become available only recently.
A riding simulator allows specific training of certain movements.
Photo: Manuela Wulf
They look like horses and respond to the aids of the rider via sensors which measure the force exerted by the reins and the rider’s legs. Via a screen in front of the simulator, the rider immerses himself into a virtual equestrian world.
Simulators are aimed at competitive sports
Riders and jockeys use simulators to repeat movement sequences, improve their position in the saddle or simulate the finish of a race, but they also train to avoid injuries when falling off a horse. Jockeys also use riding simulators to regain their physical fitness after injuries. „A riding simulator always responds in the same way and thus allows standardised training programmes” says Natascha Ille from the Vetmeduni Vienna, first author of the study.
Riding a horse is more demanding
Ille and her co-workers from the Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Science, a joint research unit of the Brandenburg State Stud and the Vetmeduni Vienna, tested the response of 12 riders in a show jumping course. They compared the riders’ stress hormones, heart rate and heart rate variability when riding a horse and a riding simulator.
The riders’ heart rate was higher when riding a horse than during simulator-based training. „A horse is the bigger challenge compared to a simulator. The movement characteristics of a horse are more complex and the response of a horse in a given situation is only partially predictable. Riding a simulator is thus physically and psychologically less demanding for riders“, explained Ille.
Heart rate data indicate that the training on a horse had a more pronounced stimulatory effect on the riders` sympathetic nervous systems compared to the training on the simulator. Sympathetic activity is known to increase the body´s performance potential in sportive activities.
Analysis of the stress hormone cortisol in saliva collected from the riders also suggests a stress reaction on the simulator. „This may be due to a novel experience for the riders. Participants in the study had never trained on a simulator before, but were well accustomed to working with horses“, Ille suggests.
„Our results demonstrate that riding a horse is far more complex for the human body than riding a simulator“, summarises project supervisor Jörg Aurich. „However, riding simulators could be an excellent preparation for beginners before they mount a horse for the first time. For competitive riders and jockeys, simulators could be a valuable addition to the training with horses”.
The article “Riding simulator training induces a lower sympathetic response in riders than training with horses”, by Natascha Ille, Mareike von Lewinski, Christine Aurich, Regina Erber, Manuela Wulf, Rupert Palme, Bill Greenwood and Jörg Aurich was published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. doi:10.1016/j.jevs.2015.06.018
About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,300 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at
Mag. Natascha Ille
Insemination and Embryotransfer Platform
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-5402 or +43 1 25077-6422
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Are cover crops negatively impacting row crops?
30.07.2020 | American Society of Agronomy
Space to grow, or grow in space -- how vertical farms could be ready to take-off
14.07.2020 | John Innes Centre
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences