100 Research Parkway, Waco, TX 76704
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Chariot Innovations | The Saddle

Equine Motion Simulator

The Saddle’s patented technology allows it to accurately reproduce virtually any desired movement pattern, including complex, three-dimensional, six-degree-of-freedom movements.  This capability derives from its use of eight interdependent, uniquely-shaped cams that impart motion to The Saddle’s seat structure.

The process of programming the movement pattern involves the following steps:

1) A target motion pattern is recorded, smoothed, and filtered
2) Appropriate cam shapes are computed using custom modeling software
3) The cams are cut and installed into the Saddle
4) A motor drives the cams, which in turn drive the Saddle’s seat structure

The current Saddle movement pattern was derived from video motion capture analysis of the walking gait of a double-registered quarter horse / paint mare, six years old, and fifteen and a half hands tall.  The company’s plan for the future is to develop other motion patterns so that a library of options is available.

The accuracy with which the Saddle recreates this target motion was tested by using the motion capture system to record the motion of the Saddle after the cams were installed.  The graphs below show the X, Y, and Z axis translations (left) and rotations (right) of the riding surfaces of the horse and of the Saddle.  The solid lines represent the target motion, and the dotted lines represent the Saddle.  As shown, the Saddle tracks the target motion very tightly for almost every feature.

actual horse motion graph key
Hippotherapy Saddle Horn Graph
Hippotherapy Saddle horn graph orientation

Dr. Garner led research to record the motion patterns of a number of different horses as they were led around a riding arena in a simulated hippotherapy session.  The horses were experienced in hippotherapy, were led by trained guides at a moderate walking pace, and were ridden by healthy children between eight and twelve years old.  A six-camera video motion capture system was arranged in the arena to record the motions of numerous markers placed on the horse, saddle (or surcingle), and rider.  The recorded data included the three-dimensional trajectories of all markers over the duration of the riding trials.  This data was processed through proprietary algorithms to extract clean, smooth, and realistic representations of the periodic, three-dimensional translational and rotational motion of the riding surface.

Recording Target Motion

 Dr. Garner led research to record the motion patterns of a number of different horses as they were led around a riding arena in a simulated hippotherapy session.  The horses were experienced in hippotherapy, were led by trained guides at a moderate walking pace, and were ridden by healthy children between eight and twelve years old.  A six-camera video motion capture system was arranged in the arena to record the motions of numerous markers placed on the horse, saddle (or surcingle), and rider.  The recorded data included the three-dimensional trajectories of all markers over the duration of the riding trials.  This data was processed through proprietary algorithms to extract clean, smooth, and realistic representations of the periodic, three-dimensional translational and rotational motion of the riding surface.

recording hippotherapy motion

Reproducing Motion

The Saddle consists of a stable base and a moving saddle structure.  The saddle structure is suspended above the base by eight cables – two cables attaching at each corner.  The cables are redirected from the saddle structure through pulleys, and down to lever arms that pivot about an axis fixed to the base.  A set of cams rotates about an axis fixed to the base, and these cams engage the lever arms and cause them to pull on the cables, thereby moving the saddle structure.  The shape of the cams determines the movement pattern of the saddle structure.  Dr. Garner developed a detailed computer model that calculates the appropriate cam shapes needed to reproduce a target motion pattern, which in this case is the processed motion data obtained from the riding measurements.

hippotherapy motion simulator inside

Hippotherapy Motion Simulator Accessories

Please check back for updates on the various accessories we have planned to enhance the Saddle.

These include:

  • Different motion patterns
  • Different handle shapes and configurations
  • Stirrups that attach on the side of the saddle structure
  • Different seat sizes and shapes
  • Elevator stand for taller riders

Have an idea for an accessory you’d like to have?   Please let us hear about it!