Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair/Advisor

John DesJardins

Committee Member

Kristine Vernon

Committee Member

Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Committee Member

Richard Blob


Biomechanical analysis is widely used to assess human movement sciences, specifically using three-dimensional motion capture modelling. There are unprecedented opportunities to increase quantitative knowledge of rehabilitation and recreation for disadvantaged population groups. Specifically, 3D models and movement profiles for human gait analysis were generated with emphasis on post-stroke patients, with direct model translation to analyze equivalent measurements while horseback riding in use of the alternative form of rehabilitation, equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) or hippotherapy (HPOT). Significant improvements in gait symmetry and velocity were found within an inpatient rehabilitation setting for patients following a stroke, and the developed movement profiles for patients have the potential to address patient recovery timelines. For population groups, such as those following a cerebral incident, alternative forms of rehabilitation like EAAT and HPOT are largely unexplored. Within these studies, relevant muscular activations were found between healthy human gait and horseback riding, supporting the belief that horseback riding can stimulate similar movements within the rider. Even more, there was a strong correlation between the horse’s pelvic rotations, and the responsive joint moments and rotations of the rider. These findings could have greater implications in choosing horses, depending on the desired physical outcome, for EAAT and HPOT purposes. Similar approaches were also used to address another biomechanically disadvantage population, adaptive sport athletes. Utilizing similar methodologies, a novel 3D wheelchair tennis athlete model was created to analyze match-simulation assessments. Significant findings were present in the energy expenditure between two drill assessments. Overall, the quantitative results, coupled with the qualitative assessment chapter, provide a robust assessment of the effects of 3D movement analysis on rehabilitation and adaptive activities.



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