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Riders needed for Animal Health Trust research project

Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 by Heather Dodd

Equine vets at the Animal Health Trust are appealing to horse riders to help with an important research project, to assess the interaction between horse, saddle and rider. Participants simply need to complete an anonymous online questionnaire. In so doing they will be helping to protect and improve the future health, welfare and longevity of the ridden horse.

Dr Sue Dyson, Head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Centre for Equine Studies at the Animal Health Trust and Line Greve, PhD Student, are conducting the detailed study to find out how the horse, rider and saddle can influence each other. They are particularly trying to understand better why a saddle may persistently slip to one side in some horses.

“Saddle slip is a problem seen in all sorts of horses and ponies and can contribute to back pain and thus impaired performance,” explains Line Greve. “Research suggests that 25% of British dressage horses have a history of back-related problems and subsequent reduced performance. Our preliminary studies involve just over 700 riders but for a more accurate picture we would like to bump this figure up to 1000 plus. We are urging all riders, whatever their level or ability, to help by completing the questionnaire.”

The online questionnaire should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and all answers remain anonymous. The questions cover saddle types, fitting, use and maintenance; rider experience, training and ‘handedness’; as well as horse type, use and any previous lameness or back-related problems. Please follow the link to the questionnaire http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/premise_questionnaire.html.

The questionnaire closes at the end of August, and the results will be presented at the ground-breaking Saddle Research Trust Conference in 2014.

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