SADDLE SLIP AND RIDER/HORSE BACK PAIN
SADDLE FIT AND MANAGEMENT: AN INVESTIGATION OF THE ASSOCIATION WITH EQUINE THORACOLUMBAR ASYMMETRIES, HORSE AND RIDER HEALTH.
L Greve and S Dyson
This study investigated the prevalence of saddle slip and its association with equine and rider back pain, thoracolumbar asymmetry and equine lameness.
A questionnaire survey was combined with clinical assessment which included specific examination of thoracolumbar symmetry, dynamic examination of the horse being ridden and assessment of saddle fit. There was a significant association between a recent history of lameness and rider reported saddle slip; in the clinical assessment 106 of 205 horses had evidence of lameness or gait abnormality, of which 30 had evidence of saddle slip. This association between saddle slip and specific lameness found was significant for hindlimb lameness and combined forelimb/hindlimb lameness, but was not significant for forelimb lameness and negative for horses with no lameness. 49% of horses had minor back asymmetries, and 1.5% had major asymmetry. 43% of saddles were not fitted correctly in this population. Riders using an ill-fitting saddle were significantly more likely to have back pain themselves than those using a well-fitted saddle. There was a significant association between crooked rider position and saddle slip.
The bottom line:
This study addresses the important associations between rider position, saddle fit, saddle slip and rider and horse back pain; these complex interactions should be considered when investigating lameness or poor performance.