DescriptionSaddle fitters may fit a saddle wider than industry guidelines (Society of Master Saddlers (SMS)) and use a half pad to achieve correct saddle fit. Eight horses ridden by the same rider were recruited. Three qualified saddle fitters (SMS) fitted a correct width saddle (CWS), and a saddle which was one width fitting too wide (10 deg.) and corrected with a half pad (WS) and 13 mm closed-cell foam shims to each horse. A Pliance pressure mapping system was used to quantify mean/peak pressures (kPa) beneath the front/caudal regions of the saddle during straight-line walk, rising trot, 2-point trot and canter. Back dimensions were obtained immediately after CWS and WS using a flexible ruler shaped over the tenth thoracic vertebra (T10). The shape was traced onto graph paper, and the distance 3 and 15 cm ventral to the midline was measured. Data were analysed using paired t-test (parametric) or Wilcoxon Signed Rank test (non-parametric) (P≤0.05). For the WS compared to CWS, significantly higher mean front pressures (kPa) were found in walk (WS 14.2±1.7; CWS 11.0±1.8, P=0.01); rising trot (WS 10.9±1.7; CWS 9.1±2.2, P=0.01); 2-point trot (WS 18.0±1.6; CWS 16.2±3.0, P=0.01) and canter (WS 17.8±3.1; CWS 14.3±3.4, P≤0.001). No differences were found for caudal mean saddle pressure or front/caudal peak pressures (all >P=0.07). Back dimensions at T10 were significantly reduced (P=0.03) for the WS (15 cm: 29.8±1.43 cm) compared to CWS (31.2±2.4 cm). A wide saddle corrected with a half pad/shims may increase mean pressures in the front region of the saddle and affect back dimensions.
|Event title||9th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion|