What is the purpose of a Study Day?

In collaboration with our independent research associates, the SRT holds study days across the country.
Our study days play a key role in collecting data for our on-going research projects. Included in our recent research findings is the Asynchrony Theory – a ground breaking and exciting new SRT discovery, which describes the three - element interaction of horse/saddle/rider. We have now developed a reliable and repeatable way of testing this complex relationship, enabling this new information to have a considerable impact on the equine industry, from grassroots to elite.

Analysis Methods


The various specialised analysis systems used at each study day provide information from which an interpretation of the broader, complex picture can be drawn. New technologies are piloted for use in this emerging field as they become available.
Our current study design utilises different types of analysis systems including:

Biomechanical markers - placed on the horse, saddle and rider. A video recording is taken of horse and rider throughout testing, which can then be used to analyse the horse, saddle and rider interaction by measuring angles between the three elements.


Tekscan CONFORMat pressure mapping system -a specially designed saddlecloth houses the Tekscan CONFORMat, which measures pressure exerted beneath the saddle. The saddlecloth is placed under the saddle during testing and results are recorded and synchronised with a video camera for accurate analysis. The rider’s centre of mass can be tracked, adding valuable data to the analysis.

Pegasus ETB - sensors are placed on the inside of brushing boots on the horse’s legs. The sensors relay information on the location of any of the distal limbs at any one time, providing an accurate measurement of gait symmetry and gait anomalies.


Artec 3d Rapidscanning (provided by Central Scanning Ltd.) - the hand held scanner is used to scan horse's backs and saddles providing accurate measurements of the horse's back and the saddle, enabling symmetry assessment.

Rigidfree saddles (provided by Solution Saddles) -

The radically different concept of the flexible Solution saddle enables a good comparison to be made with the performance of the horse’s own/usual saddle.

Back analysis - Prior to testing, horses are assessed and observations made as to the horses condition, conformation and general back health.
Video analysis - the full warm up and testing period of each horse and rider is recorded on an independent video camera and then subjectively reviewed by experienced assessors (e.g. BHS Fellows, international judges and Olympic riders). Our objective scientific results support the subjective ridden performance evaluations.
A lot of time and hard work goes into organising and running a study day, then analysing and compiling the results. The individual systems are first analysed independently, then amalgamated to form a report summary and interpretation of the findings. Although the different types of equipment focus on different aspects of performance analysis, the review of the individual results supports the overall interpretation.

The SRT would like to extend its thanks to all participants and volunteers, without whose support the study days would not be possible:

• Research Associates
• Test volunteers (both human and equine)
• Venues and their staff
• Supporters, including stewards and various helpers

A final copy of the report is given to individual participants. To date the feedback has been extremely positive from attendees. Following the feedback, one rider changed her saddle, as the results reinforced her concerns regarding the fit of her original saddle: “Thank you very much - you won't be surprised to learn that my horse has a new saddle now! Guess what - he is showing noticeably more freedom in the shoulder. I would be glad to do this again for the new saddle and as a check to see whether our symmetry has improved."

Ultimately this is what the SRT aims to do - enable people to make an informed decision on the saddle they use, and make the necessary changes to improve welfare and performance for both horse and rider.




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