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Equine Vet J. 2004 Dec;36(8):754-7.

Evaluation of pressure distribution under an English saddle at walk, trot and canter.

Author information

1
Movement Science Group, Department V, Clinic of Orthopaedics in Ungulates, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY:

Basic information about the influence of a rider on the equine back is currently lacking.

HYPOTHESIS:

That pressure distribution under a saddle is different between the walk, trot and canter.

METHODS:

Twelve horses without clinical signs of back pain were ridden. At least 6 motion cycles at walk, trot and canter were measured kinematically. Using a saddle pad, the pressure distribution was recorded. The maximum overall force (MOF) and centre of pressure (COP) were calculated. The range of back movement was determined from a marker placed on the withers.

RESULTS:

MOF and COP showed a consistent time pattern in each gait. MOF was 12.1 +/- 1.2 and 243 +/- 4.6 N/kg at walk and trot, respectively, in the ridden horse. In the unridden horse MOF was 172.7 +/- 11.8 N (walk) and 302.4 +/- 33.9 N (trot). At ridden canter, MOF was 27.2 +/- 4.4 N/kg. The range of motion of the back of the ridden horse was significantly lower compared to the unridden, saddled horse.

CONCLUSIONS AND POTENTIAL RELEVANCE:

Analyses may help quantitative and objective evaluation of the interaction between rider and horse as mediated through the saddle. The information presented is therefore of importance to riders, saddlers and equine clinicians. With the technique used in this study, style, skill and training level of different riders can be quantified, which would give the opportunity to detect potentially harmful influences and create opportunities for improvement.

PMID:
15656510
DOI:
10.2746/0425164044848235
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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