Measurement of the pressures exerted by saddles on the horse's back using a computerized pressure measuring device
Saddles contribute in a major way to the poor-performance syndrome. A great deal of money is spent trying to define poor performance, and the effects of the saddle are generally overlooked. Saddles create pressures greater than the capillary closure pressures in the skin and muscle, causing inflammation and pain which can cause performance problems. These pressures can be recorded with the horse in motion using computerized pressure sensing equipment. This study was conducted to document the effects of saddles on horses' backs in 30 clinical cases where performance problems were related to back pain and inadequate saddle fit. Performance problems, such as decreasing speed on the racetrack, resistance to work, or the horse being unable to round its back, affect many of the competition horses today and are a primary reason for horses to decline in value or be retired from competition.