As an equestrian-athlete physiotherapist I see, of course, many causes of back pain in horses and riders. The challenge of being a practitioner in this area is working out whether the problem is coming from the horse, or rider, (or both!)…but sometimes back pain in equestrian athletes comes from the saddle itself. Often the saddle is just inappropriate for the horse or the rider. As the saddle is a big monetary investment, if the rider has been advised of the wrong saddle, its not easy just to discard a saddle in favour of one that is more appropriate. Further, very recent research by investigators very well known in saddle science and equine back-pain circles suggests that a horse in training and work may not fit the saddle that was appropriate some months ago, as trunk muscles develop.
What if you had a saddle that you could change to suit the horse, and or yourself as your training and riding styles change??
Well, we are bringing to Australia some amazing saddle technology, in the form of flapless saddles from EQ Saddle Science. I was first made aware of these saddles at a conference in Tennessee, USA, where a colleague showed me the technology and stated the great results she was getting with her horses and riders. Until I tried the saddle myself earlier this year, I did not realise how good they actually were – how excellent they feel to ride in, and what they do to alleviate compression forces and assist movement through the horse’s back. The EQ flex panel system allows freedom of movement of the horse’s shoulder, and as the website states, the EQ anatomically shaped panels and the sorbothane discs are the magic behind all EQ saddles. There is also a removable flap so the rider can have a great connection with the horse. This flap can be easily reattached.
Luckily now for Australian and New Zealand riders, Active Animal Physiotherapy have a variety of samples that clients can try – after we have a few measurements of the horse and rider. We can even ship the saddle to you, for a trial period. Have a look at the website for more information about these superb saddles https://eqsaddlescience.com/