Scientists Use Algorithms to Improve Ridden Horse Welfare

Researchers hope to help equestrians polish skills on a simulator to ensure good equine welfare when they ride a horse.

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In regions of the world where horseback riding can improve quality of life (for transportation, for instance), but money for riding lessons is limited or nonexistent, horses could suffer from poor welfare due to untrained riders. That’s why Korean researchers have been searching for the ideal mathematical programs that can lead to reliable “self-coaching” simulators that mimic real gaits and correct riding of those gaits.

One Korean team has just discovered the impressive accuracy of what they call the “neuro-fuzzy” algorithm. Its application could lead to remarkably precise automatic coaching on simulators, improving quality of life for both low- to middle-class riders as well as their lesson horses.

“The expensive coaching requirement makes the sport much more difficult for ordinary people to approach,” stated Keun-Chang Kwak, PhD, and his fellow researchers from the in the Chosun University Department of Control and Instrumentation Engineering, in Gwangju, and the Yudo-Star Company in Incheon.

“However, unmanned coaching could reduce the financial burden and eventually help improve people’s life quality,” they said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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