The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and World Horse Welfare have initiated discussions to understand the factors involved in ensuring that proportions are appropriate when it comes to horse and rider compatability.
Senior representatives from across the equestrian spectrum met to share their experiences of this matter and to discuss possible solutions.
Although it is not believed to affect large numbers of horses, those impacted can suffer a range of problems including: muscle fatigue and loss of muscle tone which compromises skeletal frame; stumbling and/or falling; compromised performance; behavioural issues; and horse and rider safety.
There is a belief that having a large rider on a small horse or pony is the issue, in fact unbalanced or unfit riders can have a similar impact. The group shares the view that the vast majority of people can find a horse that suits their needs and that tools can be developed to ensure that people have the best available information to hand so as to enable as many people as possible to have access to horse riding for leisure, fitness and sport.
A study will be undertaken in summer 2017 funded by BEF member bodies and supervised by Dr Sue Dyson to collate some evidence as to suitable horse and rider weight proportions. Following the outcomes of the study we will look for innovative ways to help riders assess if they are the correct weight and fitness for their horse, explore pre-riding fitness initiatives and also developing guidance to support judges and officials to ensure that the horses’ welfare always remains paramount.
Kickoff meeting media release here
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