Quantitative Assessment of Improvements in Posture from Therapuetic Riding on a Mechanical Horse Simulator
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Individuals with neuromuscular disabilities are commonly treated with therapies that involve repetitive motion of the body and limbs. Therapists have utilized this type of therapy with live horses for years and although it has many benefits there are factors such as allergies, weather, and accessibility that can hinder a patient from receiving equine-assisted therapy (EAT). Researchers at Baylor University have developed a mechanical horse-riding simulator (MHS) to address this need and to provide a platform to research the benefits of EAT. The purpose of this thesis research was to quantitatively assess improvements in trunk posture and stability from riding on the MHS. A multi-camera motion capture system was used to record markers on the back, neck, and shoulders of individuals treated on the MHS at an accredited therapy clinic. Results show that trunk angle variation observed after riding the MHS was less than baseline measures observed before riding.