- with focus on performance, health and wellbeing

PhD Research

”Postural Stragies in Skilled Riders” is the title of Maria Terese Engell’s PhD doctoral thesis that she defended with acclaim at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, in 2018. Professor Lars Roepstorff was the main supervisor, and Hilary Clayton, Agneta Egenvall and Anna Bergh co-supervisors.

This Phd research project was funded by Ulla Håkanson`s Stiftelse (see Research). The dressage legend Ulla Håkanson is a double Olympic Team Medallist who still contested the Swedish Dressage Championships this year at 80 years old.


The equestrian world puts a lot of focus on the horse being balanced and even. But how balanced and symmetrical is the rider? Many riders have ingrained, assymetrical body patterns that they are unaware of, and that in turn has a (usually negative) influence on the horse’s balance and evenness.

Our scientific work are characterizing the postural strategies of the rider´s seat, analysing the individual body segments and enhances the possibilities to train rider body awareness. The long-term goal is to improve horse-rider performance. The system also has the scope to improve orthopedic health in both the horse and rider. The results from this thesis shows promise in aiding this development.


Is that what you learn in one project result in new ideas and new avenues to explore in further projects, We continue the never-ending and fascinating research project of understanding horse-rider interaction in more detail. WE have received new founding by Ulla Håkanson`s Foundation, and will continue this work by testing and analyzing the best riders worldwide.

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