Equine Exercise in Younger and Older Adults: Simulated Versus Real Horseback Riding

Min Joo Kim, Tae Yeong Kim, Sejun Oh, Bum Chul Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Horseback riding is an effective exercise for improving postural control and balance. To reduce costs and improve accessibility, simulated horseback riding has been developed; but no differential effects of simulated and real horseback riding on muscle activation patterns in older adults have been studied. Thus, we compared muscle activation patterns for older and younger adults engaged in real and simulated horseback riding exercises, using surface electromyography recordings of the erector spinae, rectus abdominis, internal oblique abdominis, and rectus femoris muscles. We recorded muscle activity for three riding patterns: walk, slow trot, and fast trot. Muscle activation was uniformly higher for simulated (vs. real) horseback riding and increased from the walking pattern through slow and fast trot. There was no age effect, but among older participants, muscle activation was higher for simulated (vs. real) horseback riding across all gait types. Simulated and real riding produced a similar pattern of muscle activation of the thigh and trunk. These results demonstrate that simulated horseback riding can be an effective alternative to actual riding for increasing trunk and thigh muscle activation and improving postural control and balance, perhaps especially among older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Business for Cooperative R&D between Industry, Academy, and Research Institute funded by the Korea Small and Medium Business Administration in 2014 (Grants no. C0213530).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • aging
  • core exercise
  • health promotion
  • hippotherapy
  • horseback riding exercise
  • horseback riding simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Equine Exercise in Younger and Older Adults: Simulated Versus Real Horseback Riding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this