A Weighty Matter: How Rider Weight Effects Equine Performance

A pilot study presented at the National Equine Forum showed that high rider to horse bodyweight ratios can cause temporary lameness and discomfort in the horse. It is hoped that the results from this study will assist in the development of rider weight guidelines for horses and ponies to aid in both comfort and enjoyment.

The study in no way suggests that heavier riders not ride; it simply suggests that they ride a horse that is of appropriate size, with a saddle that is comfortable for both the horse and the rider. Further research is necessary to determine if a horse is adapted to heavier weight, if he is more fit and if his saddle fits well if he can comfortably carry more weight comfortably.

The study was funded by the World Horse Welfare, the British Equestrian Federation, the Saddle Research Trust and a number of other organizations. The study used six horses and four riders of similar ability. The riders were different sizes and placed into light, moderate, heavy and very heavy categories.

Each rider rode each horse and performed specific exercises mainly at the trot and canter. Ridden in their normal tack, each horse was assessed for behavior, gait, response to back palpation, heart and respiration rates, blink rate, salivary cortisol level, forces under the saddle and change in back dimension. The riding tests for the heavy and very heavy riders were stopped as the horses became lame.

It is believed that the study will be helpful in creating guidelines that will help riders identify a mount that is correct for their weight.

Read more at the British Equine Veterinary Association.

 

The post A Weighty Matter: How Rider Weight Effects Equine Performance appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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