New Referral Scheme Launched to Help Combat Saddle Problems

New Referral Scheme Launched to Help Combat Saddle Problems

Riders often relate saddle-fitting problems and equine back pain to loss of performance.

Photo: Photos.com

The Saddle Research Trust (SRT) has launched a new referral scheme to help British riders tackle saddle-related problems. The new scheme, which will be highlighted at the Saddle Research Trust International Conference, to be held in Cambridge, England, this November, gives riders access to the expertise and advice of a veterinary authority at a manageable cost.

Riders often relate saddle-fitting problems and equine back pain to loss of performance. However, recent studies showed that horses with saddle slip syndrome were more than 50 times likely to be lame or have gait abnormalities, that 46% of horses were lame or had gait abnormalities, and that 43% of saddles were ill-fitting. However, lameness can often be difficult to recognize which can lead to potential welfare problems for the horse and can have implications for the rider as well. A further study has identified a clear link between ill-fitting saddles and back pain in the rider.

“The Saddle Research Trust receives around two requests every week for advice on saddle-related issues,” said SRT founder Anne Bondi. “Many horse owners report that they feel trapped in a seemingly unending cycle of veterinary/musculoskeletal/saddle fit assessments without ever determining the underlying cause of the problem. The lack of a definitive diagnosis can be expensive but most importantly has the potential to result in a permanently damaged horse.”

The new referral scheme, which is exclusive to SRT members and friends, aims to help owners resolve their saddle-related problems. Potential cases can be submitted to the SRT for an initial assessment and if deemed suitable will be passed, with the permission of the owner’s usual veterinarian, to the SRT’s veterinary advisor Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, at the Animal Health Trust, in Newmarket, England, for a full assessment at a fixed cost of £335 plus VAT.

Dyson is a world-renowned expert in equine orthopedics, with a particular interest in lameness and poor performance in sports horses. A British Horse Society instructor, who has trained horses and competed to advanced level eventing, grade A showjumping, medium level dressage, Dyson has the additional advantage of a real rider’s perspective.

Dyson will conduct an independent and thorough review of the past history plus an examination of the horse, saddle, and rider interaction, including physical and visual evaluations as well as in-hand, ridden, and saddle-fit assessments. A written report will then be provided for the owner and their associated professional practitioners.

“The SRT has taken a valuable step forward in raising standards of welfare and practice in the industry with this important referral scheme and I am pleased to support it,” Dyson said

The new referral scheme will be showcased at the forthcoming Saddle Research Trust International Conference, to be held in Cambridge on Nov. 29, 2014 at Anglia Ruskin University. The conference is supported by World Horse Welfare and is approved by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA). Advance tickets are £100 or £150 on the door. Email research@saddleresearchtrust.com or telephone 07775 912202 to reserve a spot place. To find out more and to download a copy of the program visit www.saddleresearchtrust.com

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