Evaluation of the horse under saddle
Assessing the horse under saddle forms a vital part of the lameness and poor performance investigation as some causes of lameness, back, pelvic and neck pain are exacerbated or only seen when ridden. For example, some mild types of lameness are only seen when the horse is ridden with contact or when performing certain types of lateral work. In addition, the horse’s behaviour can also be assessed: head tossing, bucking, rearing, a reluctance to move forward, how the horse jumps as well as the pain algorithm that the horse may show, to name but a few. The bridle and saddle fit should be assessed and if the horse is performing in multiple disciplines then looking at the horse being ridden in the different saddles can also be very useful. It is important to remember that the muscular development along the back can change (both improved muscular development as well as a muscular loss) relatively quickly. The saddle-rider interaction is also important to assess as some saddles may fit the horse but not the rider or vice versa, causing secondary problems. These investigations are very time-consuming and there are often a number of issues, including compensatory effects, occurring at the same time.
- Approach to investigating the horse under saddle
- Common conditions that cause issues for the ridden horse