Reducing Peak Pressures Under the Saddle Panel at the Level of the 10th to 13th Thoracic Vertebrae May Be Associated With Improved Gait Features, Even When Saddles Are Fitted to Published Guidelines

Rachel Murray, Russell Guire, Mark Fisher, Vanessa Fairfax

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Saddle–horse interaction is increasingly linked with back pain, performance, and welfare issues. Saddle fit and work quality influence alterations in back shape with exercise at thoracic vertebra 13 level (T13) with exercise. The objectives of experiments were to: determine a repeatable zone and stride point of peak pressure under saddles fitted to industry guidelines; compare peak pressure in this zone and limb kinematics in collected trot between horses own saddles (S) and a saddle designed to reduce pressure at T10–T13 (F); compare thoracolumbar width change after exercise between S and F and with F after 3 months use. Elite dressage (n = 13) horses/riders with no lameness/performance problem had pressure mat data acquired under S, fitted by four qualified saddle fitters, to determine zones of peak pressure. Pressure mat data at T10–T13, forelimb/hindlimb protraction, and carpal/tarsal flexion acquired using simultaneous high-speed motion capture, and difference in thoracolumbar dimensions (T8, T18 at 3, 15 cm) between before and after exercise was compared between S and F. Peak pressures were consistently detected axially around T10–T13 (sensors A4–A7, H4–H7). Peak pressures were significantly less with F than S for each cell and pooled (55%–68% difference. P = .01 to
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-69
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Equine
  • Gait analysis
  • Pressure mat
  • Saddle

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