We caught up with performance analyst Russell Guire to find out more about his position within the team and how much rider positioning has an effect on an individual’s performance.


Can you tell us more about your role within the team?

I work in equine and rider biomechanics and I look into rider performance analysis for athletes across dressage, showjumping, eventing and para-equestrian dressage. I have been working with the BEF since 2006 and part of my job is to look at horse and rider interaction in particular working with the Human Sport Science Medicine team and the saddler, making adjustments which can help them improve their overall performance.


How do you analyse a rider’s positioning?

Following a set protocol, we look at the rider's position on the horse and we use high speed cameras, a visualise training jacket and Quintic biomechanics software. From here we can evaluate the rider's position.


Why is a correct riding position so important?

The rider’s positioning has a massive effect on the horse’s balance and their locomotion. If you imagine  having somebody sitting on your shoulders, when they tip their body left or right you have to move in this direction to maintain your balance and this is similar for the horse if you are sitting incorrectly.


Do you use any technology to look at the movement of the horses?

Yes we use motion analysis where we put markers on the horse's joints and use the high speed camera. We measure how much each joint is flexing and whether one part of the horse's body is being put under more pressure than another. We then repeat this process a number of times on different limbs before coming up with recommendations with the farrier and the physio. We also use this system for research as used in the girth research on the run up to the London games.


How do you feel when watching the horses you have worked with when they are at competitions?

It's a great honour to work with these horses and riders. It's going to be an exciting games and I feel very proud to be part of the team.


How important do you feel biomechanics is in the sport?

Biomechanics is great at looking at the small detail that makes a difference. With technology we can evaluate these small things which can give us a marginal gain whether it be a girth, saddle or rider positioning.