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.
The group will now look for innovative ways that riders can assess if they are the correct weight and fitness for their horse, explore pre-riding fitness initiatives and also develop guidance to support judges and officials to ensure that the horses’ welfare always remains paramount.
Step 1. Kickoff meeting October 2015. Media release here
Step 2. A followup meeting has taken place to discuss the feasibility of developing an app or apps to assist with the calculation of appropriate weight proportions. More on this soon!
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