The Bambach and Spina Bifida
Riding for the disabled:
The Bambach saddle seat was designed by an Australian Occupational Therapist as a result of her observations following years spent working with 'Riding for the Disabled'.
She found that disabled individuals suffering from neurological conditions such as SB often had great difficulty in maintaining a healthy posture and assumed a 'collapsed' or 'slouched' posture when seated in a conventional wheelchair and required considerable support (or strapping) to remain sitting.
These same individuals when sat on horseback were however capable of sitting independently and unsupported and showed remarkably improved functional abilities as a result of being put on a horse on a saddle.
These observations over time led to the development of the Bambach Saddle Seat which has since been used by Health Professionals as a therapeutic tool in the management of numerous neurological conditions as a means of increasing independence, optimizing quality of life and preventing the onset of further complications associated with those conditions.
The Bambach is now commonly used as seating for children with Spina Bifida and therapy professionals nationwide have observed that many youngsters previously confined to wheelchairs were able to function more independently and securely when using the Bambach saddle Seat.
Working with riding for the disabled led to the development of the Bambach as seating for children with Spina Bifida.
The idea for a saddle-shaped seat came to Australian occupational therapist and horsewoman Mary Gale, while using horse riding as a method of rehabilitation for patients, many of whom were seriously disabled.
Says Mary Gale, designer of The Bambach Saddle Seat: “At the hospital where I worked we discussed the phenomenon that people who were unable to sit in a chair without support were able to sit upright and independently on horseback. I knew there was a way of providing the benefits of the mounted position while seated on a chair and also taking advantage of the stability provided by having feet on the ground. In 1988 three colleagues and I met with Danish researcher Dr. A.C. Mandal at an ergonomic conference in Beijing. His conclusion that the best seated position is on horseback with thighs at a 45-degree angle, confirmed our thinking.”
Bambach understands the problems associated with Spina Bifida
- Lower limb weakness or paralysis and sensory loss
- Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- Orthopaedic abnormalities such as kyphosis, scoliosis, clubfoot, muscle contractures, hip dislocation
- Hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid on the brain)
- Chari II malformations
- Growth retardation