Brookmans Park scientists helping lame horses
- Credit: Archant
Horses can be protected from injury by a simple riding gadget using elastic bands, new research led from Welwyn Hatfield has found.
The Royal Veterinary College in Brookmans Park has led an international project testing the effects of modified saddle pads,
The pads, which include elastic bands over the hindquarters and abdomen, were tested on seven horses over four weeks, and were found to be very effective at improving stability at the trot.
Dr Thilo Pfau, senior lecturer in bio-engineering at the Hawkshead Lane college, said: “Until now there has been little supporting evidence on the effect of training and rehabilitation programmes in preventing or treating lameness and back problems in horses.
“The system we tested is easy to use during the normal exercise routine of a horse, meaning it can be applied to horses of any discipline.
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“It also takes very little time to apply to the horse, considering all it entails is attaching the bands to a modified saddle pad, and it can be used during ridden exercise.”
Improved stability was reported by the riders and observed by the researchers, who worked in Slovakia, Germany,and California as well as Brookmans Park.
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The project involved close analysis of more than 3,000 horse strides, both using the pads and unadapted saddles.
Not only do the saddle pads prevent injury, but the research suggests they can help rehabilitate injured or lame horses.