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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Lateral movement of the saddle relative to the equine spine in rising and sitting trot on a treadmill

Bystrom, A.; Roepstorff, L.; Rhodin, M.; Braganca, F. Serra; Engell, M. T.; Hernlund, E.; Persson-Sjodin, E.; van Weeren, R.; Weishaupt, M. A.; Egenvall, A.


Saddle slip, defined as a progressive lateral displacement of the saddle during ridden exercise, has recently been given attention in the scientific press as a potential sign of lameness. The aim of this study was to objectively quantify the normal lateral movement (oscillations) of the saddle relative to the horse in non-lame horses, and associate this movement to the movements of the horse and rider. Data from seven Warmblood dressage horses competing at Grand Prix (n = 6) or FEI Intermediate (n = 1) level, ridden by their usual riders, were used. Simultaneous kinetic, kinematic and saddle pressure measurements were conducted during sitting and rising trot on a force-measuring treadmill. The maximum lateral movement of the caudal part of the saddle relative to the horse's spine (MAX) was determined for each diagonal step. A mixed model was applied, with MAX as outcome, and T6 and S3 vertical position, rigid body rotation angles (roll, pitch, yaw) of the horse's and rider's pelvis, vertical ground reaction forces, saddle force, and rider position (rising in rising trot, sitting in rising trot or sitting in sitting trot) as explanatory variables. The least square means for MAX were 14.3 (SE 4.7) mm and 23.9 (SE 4.7) mm for rising and sitting in rising trot, and 20.3 (SE 4.7) mm for sitting trot. A 10 mm increase in maximum pelvic height at push off increased MAX by 1.4 mm (p<0.0001). One degree increase in rider pelvis roll decreased MAX 1.1 mm, and one degree increase in rider pelvis yaw increased MAX 0.7 mm (both p<0.0001). The linear relationships found between MAX and movements of both horse and rider implies that both horse and rider movement asymmetries are reflected in the lateral movements or oscillations of the saddle in non-lame horses.

Published in

2018, Volume: 13, number: 7, article number: e0200534Publisher: PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE