BHS Scotland held yet another warm and well attended event when biomechanics expert Russell Guire from Centaur Research presented the inaugural BHS Scotland Autumn lecture to a packed hall in Auchterarder at the end of October.
His core message was how we all can tackle the demands that modern equestrianism put on our equines by using a mixture of planning, innovation, new technology and tapping into a myriad of expertise.
Russell's presentation used film and photography to graphically illustrate the stress and strains that horses are placed under as they compete in modern disciplines, with dressage, jumping, reining, polo, pacing and eventing all contributing to his premise that we have a duty of care to the horse to do everything in our power to reduce the risks of long term damage and welfare problems as we ask our animals to perform elite sport. A sub theme was the effects that rider aspirations have on equine welfare and although he was lecturing to a room of amateurs he urged everyone responsible for any horse to have a base level record of your horses’ state against which soundness and performance issues can be benchmarked.
Russell works with the British Equestrian Federations World Class Programme working across all disciplines. Russell also carries out research projects using video analysis, force plates, motion indicators and specialist clothing to identify the individual forces that load limbs and have the physical effects and affect tack comfort.
Centaur has been instrumental in the development of the Fairfax girth and is currently working on saddle and bridle design; but shoeing, studs, external influences like fence design and surfaces are all currently in the biomechanics spotlight.
Centaur has developed a raft of innovative props that can improve everyone's riding including reins, clothing and a fly bonnet.
The effect of rider fitness and balance is very key to performance and Centaur do offer a comprehensive rider analysis service. Currently Russell's PHD on horse and rider interaction.
Russell said, "We can all do better with the welfare, soundness and performance of our horses by thinking outside the box and taking a holistic approach, work with all your networks, your farrier, instructor, physio and saddler and instead of changing one thing by 100 percent you can change 100 things by one percent and reap the rewards."
BHS Scotland events officer Loraine Young said, "This was the first BHS Scotland annual lecture and these will always have as a theme how innovation improves the lives of horses, we could not have had a more connected, scientific, inspiring yet common sense speaker than Russell and we wish him and Centaur all the best in the future."