The British Equestrian Federation (BEF), its member bodies and World Horse Welfare have jointly funded a study carried out at the Animal Health Trust, coordinated by Dr Sue Dyson ad Prof Pat Harris, to understand the factors involved in ensuring that proportions are appropriate when it comes to horse and rider compatability.
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. We believe 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 results of the study will be launched at the National Equine Forum 2018 and following its outcomes, 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