ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0271.v1
Subject: Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Keywords: hippotherapy; horse riding simulator; mechanical horse design
Online: 19 October 2022 (07:31:52 CEST)
Hippotherapy is a popular rehabilitation method for children with cerebral palsy (CP), which is done by riding an actual horse or a horse riding simulator (HRS) device. Riding a real horse is more expensive than using an HRS device due to its high maintenance cost. However, most HRS devices commonly sold in the market are designed as exercise devices, not rehabilitation devices. Most of them are designed to simulate a horse's walk, trot, canter, or gallop gait at various speeds. Hippotherapy aims to improve the walking ability of CP patients. Therefore, the device should aim to replicate the walking gait of a healthy human, the end goal of hippotherapy. This problem motivates us to design and build a specialized HRS device replicating the walking gait of a healthy human that is suitable for hippotherapy, which is achievable by simulating a horse walking gait with several adjustments. We first studied and observed the walking gait cycle of a horse, then analyzed and derived a formulation of it. We then continue by designing an HRS device using a single electrical rotational motor and mechanical means to replicate the walking gait of a horse, then tune it to an extent to replicate a human walking gait. To measure the performance of our design, we compare the gait of the user when riding our device versus walking.