CanAssist

University of Victoria

Together we CanAssist.

Modified Riding Glove

Jace Hancock loves to ride horses - especially Faensi, a white mare at the Victoria Disabled Riding Association. For the 10-year-old boy, the activity is both enjoyable and therapeutic.

The adapted strap clips securely to the reins. Velcro around the wrist allows for an easy disconnection.Jace has left-side Hemiplegia, which means the left side of his brain was injured in utero, affecting mobility on the left side of his body. But with rehabilitative therapy, a special bodysuit, and much determination, it is hard to detect a difference in Jace's step.

This is also true of horseback riding, for which Jace uses a high-performance neoprene riding glove. But with his condition, holding onto the reins is tiring. Specifically, Jace needed a glove that would keep him connected to the reins so he could control the horse, and yet could be released quickly in case he fell off.

When Tim Cummings, of CanAssist's mechanical engineering team, was asked to modify the riding glove, he found that Jace and his team had already fashioned a makeshift glove to do the job.

“They had the right concept,” Tim says, “but they needed it to be made from the right materials to help with the safety, functionality and comfort of the device.”

Tim designed an adustable strap made from nylon webbing material – much like the fabric on a backpack strap – that would clip to both the reins and a wristband. The strap has a Velcro break-away function, meaning that the material is strong enough to keep Jace securely connected to the horse while riding, but can also “break away” if needed with the movement of one hand.

Tim delivers the modified glove to Jace at the stable.For Tim, this was the first project he delivered for CanAssist, and a slightly unusual one: as a mechanical engineer, he wasn't used to including fabrics in a project. But he enjoyed discovering how such a small adaptation made such a big difference to Jace.

“The use of textiles aren't typical for me, but I found the investigation of different fabrics and their varying strengths quite interesting,” he said.

As for Jace, the adaptation fits, well, like a glove! He can be found riding with a smile on his face along Judie, who can smile too, knowing her son's riding experience is much more secure.

“Thank you for all your hard work on this!” said Stella French, of the Victoria Disabled Riding Association (shown in the photo at the top of this page). ”The glove fits perfectly and the Velcro strap keeps it in place even when the horse pulls.”


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