Effect of a half pad and shims on pressure distribution when used under a wide saddle

  • Mackechnie-Guire, R. (Speaker)
  • M Fisher (Speaker)
  • D Fisher (Speaker)
  • Jo Beavis (Speaker)
  • K. Allely (Speaker)
  • T. Pfau (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


Saddle 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.
PeriodAug 2023
Event title9th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion
Event typeConference
LocationUtrecht, NetherlandsShow on map