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Exercise 'horse', Hildburghausen, Germany, 1870-1930

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A user straddled an exercise ‘horse’ much like riding a horse. The apparatus is made of wood with a sprung leather ‘saddle’ and handlebars at the front. Using it built the muscles and stamina. It was also a form of physiotherapy, treating medical conditions by targeting muscle groups. The chair was made in Germany between 1870 and 1930. There was growing interest in improving health through physical fitness during the late 1800s. This saw many mechanical exercise machines developed.

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    Glossary: physiotherapy

    Exercise helpful to those with physical illness, for example stroke, or back injuries. A physical therapist is a specialist trained in using exercise and physical activities to condition and improve muscles.

    Glossary: exercise chair

    used to simulate the trotting of a horse, also known as a chamber horse