[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the intention of limiting the weight on horses' backs and guaranteeing maximal freedom of movement, commonly used racing saddles are small and have minimal cushioning. Poor saddle cushioning may limit performance or even affect soundness of the back. The aim of this study was to measure the pressure under an average racing saddle ridden by a jockey at racing speed. Saddle pressure using a medium-sized racing saddle (length 37cm, weight 450g) was measured in five actively racing Thoroughbred horses. All horses were trained at the same facility and ridden by their usual professional jockey, weighing 60kg. The horses were ridden on a race track at canter (mean velocity, V1±standard deviation, SD: 7.7±0.4m/s) and gallop (V2±SD: 14.0±0.7m/s). Maximal pressure was 134kPa at V1 and 116kPa at V2. Mean peak pressure was 73.6kPa at V1 and 54.8kPa at V2. The maximal total force did not differ between the two velocities and was approximately twice the jockey's bodyweight. The centre of pressure lateral range of motion differed significantly, with excursions of 23mm at V1 and 37mm at V2; longitudinal excursion was 13mm for V1 and 14mm for V2. The highest pressure (>35kPa) was always localised along the spinous processes over an average length of 12.5cm. It was concluded that racing saddles exert high peak pressures over bony prominences known to be sensitive to pressure.
The Veterinary Journal 09/2013; 198. DOI:10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.09.039 · 1.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To a large extent the success of a racehorse depends on effective and health preserving training methods. An important issue is the prevention of back pain. The influence of different types of training saddles (normal tree: S(A), treeless: S(B), flexible tree: S(C)) on the saddle pressure patterns in racehorses have not previously been investigated. It is commonly assumed that S(A) limits the motion of the back especially in the lower thoracic region during gallop. Hypothesis: S(A) produces higher pressures in the caudal part of the saddle at trot (rising trot), canter and gallop (both in a jockey seat) compared to S(B) and S(C).
Saddle pressures were measured in 8 racehorses ridden on a training track at trot (3.5 m/s), canter (6.4 m/s) and gallop (12.6 m/s). Each horse performed the protocol with each saddle. To analyse the pressure distribution over the horse's back the pressure picture was divided into thirds (TD(front), TD(mid), TD(hind)). The stride-mean loaded areas, forces and mean and peak pressures were determined.
At canter and gallop, all 3 saddles were mainly loaded in TD(front) (>80% of the rider's weight), with a decreasing gradient to TD(mid) and TD(hind) (<3%), which was least pronounced in S(C). At trot, the load was shifted towards TD(mid) and TD(hind) (10-15%, each). High peak pressures occurred in TD(front) at canter and gallop and in TD(hind) at trot.
The type of tree had no influence on the pressure picture of the caudal third at gallop. The high peak pressures observed in TD(hind) at trot in all saddles may limit the activity of the horse's back, which is of particular importance since trot is an integral part of the daily work.