Why are studies important anyways?

There is one simple and very straight forward way to answer : what makes studies so important?

It allows us to identify a problem and hypotheses on the causes.

Not only can we identify a problem, we are then placing it on paper, for others to read anywhere around the globe. These measures may help to prevent tragic events from reoccurring, or from losing another life to such and such disease.

Who are the researchers?

They are the masters of the «why». Scientists turn to research with a very noble cause, one that is much greater than themselves. They become a form of specialized-walking-encyclopaedia (which is why some of them seem to get caught in more than a few one-way conversations). Frankly, we are so fortunate to have many collaborations between science, art and technology which allows for enriching sites such as Ted-Ed, Skillshare and others.

Why can’t I understand what they write about?

Still at this very moment there seems to be a brick wall between the public and the laboratories. It’s almost another language.

Knowledge is passed along so quickly, that every generation’s learning pathway is different through the same subjects. There is a specialty within specialties.

What is a study design?

An almost ideal study design consists of the same sex, similar fitness levels, targeting the proper age group, with a large amount of people that are randomly categorized, making use of a placebo treatment where researchers and subjects are blinded as to who is receiving treatment and who isn’t, conducted at the same moment all around the globe, using the identical instruments and environments over many years. They are also known as randomized controlled trials.

Many other types exist : meta-analysis, cohort, cross-sectional, systematic reviews, case reports.

Equestrian-related studies are usually cross-sectional which is an observation of a smaller group who have a similarity that represents what we want to investigate at that given time.

Basically, the quality of a study’s design is key to making quality conclusions.


Hope this helps,

Ariel and SweetPea


Equiteam Motum

Here, at E.M. we are dedicated to making things possible for you as a rider and for your horse.

Our philosophy explains our name, but if you don’t read Latin it may be more difficult for the average gal.

Equiteam comes from the word «equitem» which is «rider» in latin, then Motum comes from the word «mouvement».

At Equiteam Motum we wish to transfer along knowledge that we believe will make your equestrian experience better. However, all this knowledge is transferable to your everyday life. So, if we’re able to make your day as healthy  and happy as possible, we have succeeded.

Take care,

Ariel and Sweetpea

Wait. Did you say riding makes my back better?

This is a short follow-up on an earlier blog on lower back pain and disk degeneration.

I thought, how can so many of us (myself included) suffer from lower back pain when the MRI results show no difference?! Can the problem really be the wheel barrel we push, or the poop we pick up, the studs we place on our horses shoes as they nibble our shirts and try to free their foot?

It can’t be that simple.

My intuition keeps saying: there is an art behind the science of movement.

What I found?

  1. In 1997 we had the belief that, when riding, the horse walking gait created similar pelvic and torso movements to the human walking gait.


Therefor, this is the reason why we think Equine Assisted Therapy will help children who have underdeveloped muscles and can’t walk.


  1. A Swedish study took 24 women who were disabled due to their lower back pain. They concluded that walking on horseback twice a week, for 3.5 months decreased muscle tension, improved sleep, mobility balance and body control.


Note : no conflict of interest was stated but many factors make me doubt the objectivity of the study even though it is peer reviewed; the environment wasn’t controlled nor we’re the subjects randomized or compared to a control group.


  1. An interesting study was conducted with a mechanical horse at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Over 6-8 weeks, six able-bodied children used a horse stimulator at a walk, sitting trot, rising trot and canter. None of the children suffered lower back pain like what us older folks do. Nonetheless they were able to objectify the true, genuine lower body motions that occur when riding. They confirmed it; human pelvic motions when walking or when riding a horse are both similar except the timing of the motion is off. With a quadruped your hip swing happens in a slower motion than when you walk.


Could that mean that fast, small step walkers could have trouble adapting to horseback riding? Or maybe that people with smaller legs could benefit from riding smaller horses in order to facilitate the job their muscles must do to stabilize their lower backs?

Take home message? Being aware and mindful will always be the most effective precautionary measure to avoid injury.

There is an art behind the science of movement.

Please remember that I am not one to place a diagnosis and to tell you how to treat your condition. I am just a fool for science.

Please email me if ever you have a specific subject that you wish for us to address.


Have a happy and wonderful day,

Ariel and SweetPea


Yoo, J.-H. et al. “The Effect Of Horse Simulator Riding On Visual Analogue Scale, Body Composition And Trunk Strength In The Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain”. International Journal of Clinical Practice 68.8 (2014): 941-949. Web.


Håkanson, Margareta et al. “The Horse As The Healer—A Study Of Riding In Patients With Back Pain”. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 13.1 (2009): 43-52. Web.


Lower Back Pain and riding… am I making myself worse?


Can your lower back pain get worse from riding?

Many riders complain of lower back pain at some time or other. The common belief is that horse back riding causes disk degeneration, especially in the lower back.

FYI: Disk degeneration is when the shock absorbers (imagine sponges between each vertebrea) get used over time and flatten. In extremely severe cases your disks become a thing of the past, and in their absence, they can leave quite a bit of pain behind (no pun intended).

What is the data on the current subject? The most thorough study I could find was one done by the Germans in 2009.

Why so few studies? There has never been any research on lumbar pain on elite competitive riders.

What we think : Horse back riding accelerates degeneration of the spine, most notably in the lumbar area (basically, horseback riding causes back pain)

What the studies think : They took 18 men and 40 women that were elite riders, ranging between 18 and 41 years old. There were 21 show jumpers, 25 dressage riders and 12 vaulters. MRIs, questionaires, measurements were taken and compared to 30 active people that were nonriders.

So? Even if the study suggests that 80% of riders have a history of back pain (most of them would be show jumpers), there was no difference when compared with nonriders.

The take home message is that horseback riding will not make your lower back pain worse if you have been diagnosed with disk degeneration, which is a very popular diagnosis given to people with back pain.

Please remember that I am not one to place a diagnosis and to tell you how to treat your condition. I am just a fool for science.

Please email me if ever you have a specific condition that you wish for us to address.


Kraft, C. N., Pennekamp, P. H., Becker, U., Young, M., Diedrich, O., Lüring, C., & Falkenhausen, M. V. (2009). Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings of the Lumbar Spine in Elite Horseback Riders. The American Journal of Sports Medicine,37(11), 2205-2213. doi:10.1177/0363546509336927