News & Events

Summer Newsletter 2010

SRT Performance Clinics


The SRT runs clinics to help horse owners gain an insight into the welfare, performance and safety issues surrounding saddle fitting. The SRT days offer differing scientific measuring systems for saddle fit comparisons including pressure mapping, biomechanical analysis and 3D digital scanning of back shape.

Please contact the SRT for further information and details of venues and dates.


Display Stands

trade stand 1
In conjunction with SRT Research Associate, Solution Saddles, the SRT will be attending the following events during 2010:
Burghley Sept 2 - 5
BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Assoc., NCC) Sept 9 – 11.
HOYS (Horse of the Year Show, NEC) Oct 6 – 10
Olympia (London International Horse Show) Dec 16 – 20
trade stand 2 Courtesy of SRT Research Associate, Tekscan, visitors can also watch their own pressure mapping live on the big screen!

3D Technology


3D digital rapid scanning of the equine back takes a mere 4 seconds to capture the data that produces these perfect templates – just one of the new technologies now available to the SRT.

3D templates can be used to investigate asymmetry, monitor clinical conditions, inform saddle fit, provide comparisons of back shape, record muscle development over time - or even to customise the saddle to an individual back.
back scan back scan 2 template
front view raw template template 2

Pressure Sensor Mapping
pressure map full tree peak

The SRT utilises state of the art pressure sensor mapping systems during independent research studies to monitor how the saddle performs as the horse works.
The advanced technology employed in the computerised digital data analysis software has promoted a degree of accuracy previously unachievable in saddle investigations.

Ongoing work in this field is providing invaluable

Tekscan, the market leader in pressure mapping technology,

is a Research Associate of the SRT.
The SRT has been working closely with Tekscan to design and manufacture a customised sensor mat cover specifically for the equine market. The new, patented cover allows precise, accurate and repeatable saddle testing in a practical application in the field, making it the only system that can provide user – friendly, yet scientifically valid data and results.

SRT Projects
racehorse A current SRT project is the investigation into the forces of half and full-tree race exercise saddles on the thoroughbred's back using Tekscan.
The research is being carried out by Grace Maxwell, an SRT Research Associate studying for an MSc with the University of Wales.
Initial results show fairly high forces to the back with both types of saddle but more spinal pressure with a full tree and more movement with a half tree
peak flat view pressure peaks centre of mass

Biomechanical Analysis


A recent SRT Study Day compared the performance of different saddle types and the effect on the performance of the horse and rider.
The saddles investigated were:
- The rider’s own treed dressage
- The rider’s own treed jumping saddle
- Treeless Solution Energist
- RigidFree Solution SMART
- Race exercise full tree

- Race exercise half tree

Several different synchronised measuring systems were used to investigate possible correlations between the results:


Debbie Symes, studying rider biomechanics for a PhD project at Lincoln University participated in the day. She has a particular interest in, and has previously published research into rider asymmetry.

Videography analysed rider asymmetry and horse posture.

The neck height and length were measured as an indicator of back muscle activity.
Rein strain gauges were fitted to measure quality of the contact as an indicator of horse activity, symmetry, neck posture and rider balance.

Pressure mapping readings were analysed to assess saddle fit and symmetry.

The centre of mass tracer indicates rider movement and balance.

Early results from this study show a marked difference in horse and rider performance between different saddle types.
The trends showed a correlation between the measuring systems used.
The horse tended to be less forward going and more asymmetrical in any of the treed saddles.
Qualitative analysis of the videos suggested that the rider was similarly more asymmetrical, with increased movement in all the treed saddles.

Ongoing study of this important area will be reported on in our next newsletter.


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