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Vet J. 2008 Mar;175(3):332-7. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Forces and pressures beneath the saddle during mounting from the ground and from a raised mounting platform.

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Mary Anne McPhail Equine Performance Center, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


The objective was to use an electronic pressure mat to measure and compare forces and pressures of the saddle on a horse's back when riders mounted from the ground and with the aid of a mounting platform. Ten riders mounted a horse three times each from the ground and from a 35 cm high mounting platform in random order. Total force (summation of forces over all 256 sensors) was measured and compared at specific points on the force-time curve. Total force was usually highest as the rider's right leg was swinging upwards and was correlated with rider mass. When normalized to rider mass, total force and peak pressure were significantly higher when mounting from the ground than from a raised platform (P<0.05). The area of highest pressure was on the right side of the withers in 97% of mounting efforts, confirming the importance of the withers in stabilizing the saddle during mounting.

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