A pilot study into the effects of various mounting techniques on the pressure of the horse’s back

The aim of this study was to investigate the pressures on the horse’s back when mounting from three heights (ground, 28 cm and 58 cm) to establish an ideal method for the welfare of the horse by comparing the pressures seen under the saddle with the use of an electronic pressure mat (Pliance System produced by Novel). Suggested limits for the horse’s tolerance to pressure before sores and injury occur have previously been identified, and although this is higher than that of human tolerance, efforts should be made to avoid causing pressure above prescribed limits in any aspect of human:horse inter-action. The most obvious likelihood of this occurring is under the saddle, and whilst there have been studies into the effects of pressure whilst riding only one study could be found to identify the same in mounting. One rider (height of 175 cm) mounted the same horse (162 cm ‘cob type’), with a well-fitting saddle, three times for each of the 12 techniques to obtain a mean value for each method. Mean overall pressure (KPa) under the saddle, mean peak pressure and maximum peak pressures were recorded using the Pliance System by a trained technician from the Society of Master Saddlers. No significant difference between methods (P>0.05) was observed in overall mean pressure supporting previous studies on saddle fit and rider influence. However, both maximum and mean peak pressures varied significantly between the techniques (P<0.05). The mean pressure under saddle varied greatly between the mounting methods with mounting from the ground in an unsupported fashion having the highest (4.43KPa) and the lower block self-supported method having the least (1.97KPa). In terms of peak pressure, the ground unsupported method was again the highest (18.61KPa) with mounting from the higher block self-supporting having the least (8.35KPa). These results suggested that mounting from the ground unsupported and self-supporting or counter balancing from the ground is also not ideal. The most preferential in this study that caused least pressure on the horse’s back was mounting without the foot in the stirrups but simply swinging the right leg across the horse to find the opposite stirrup or by a self-supporting method where the rider holds the opposite stirrup leather as he/she mounts from a height of some 28 or 58 cm. LP: How you regularly mount your horse may have health and welfare implications on its back health. This study suggested a preferential height and method where the rider does not place his/her foot into the stirrups first.
© Copyright 2014 DCA Report; Nr. 044. Published by University of Aaarhus. All rights reserved.

Subjects: equestrian sport animal auxiliary device pressure biomechanics
Notations: technical sports
Published in: DCA Report; Nr. 044
Editors: J. Winther Christensen, J. Ladewig, L. Peerstrup Ahrendt, J. Malmkvist
Published: Aarhus University of Aaarhus 2014
Pages: 94
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced