The effect of blindfolded horse riding simulation on balance
Walking is the most common form of human motion, and requires balance to maintain the centre of mass within the base of support. Among the sensory organs required to maintain balance, vision plays a significant role. Horse riding simulation exercise is a feedback exercise to stimulate correct postural changes. This article investigates the effects of horse riding simulation with blindfolding on the gait and balance of healthy subjects.
Thirty subjects were randomly designed in an experimental group (with blindfold) and control group (without blindfold). Both groups trained on a horse riding simulator for 20 minutes a day, five days a week over a period of four weeks. A balance measuring device and gait analyser were used before and after the test period. Balance was divided into static and dynamic balance, while the gait analyser quantified the velocity, step length, stride length, single support, double support, cadence, functional ambulation profile, step time, and cycle time.
The results show that the experimental group had significant improvement in static and dynamic balance, and velocity and cadence. The control group also showed significant improvement in static and dynamic balance, single support and cadence when compared to pre-intervention results. To conclude, when comparing the two groups, significant differences were found in the post-training gains in static and dynamic balance and cadence.
Expert opinion by Els Smet
The study shows improvement in both static and dynamic balance after horse riding simulation with blindfolding. This could be because subjects have an increased reliance on the somatosensory system and vestibular organs.
> From: Hyun Gyu Cha et al., J Phys Ther Sci 28 (2016) 3165–3167. All rights reserved to Research Gate. Click here for the online summary.