Science & Equine

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Written by Isabeau Deckers
Posted in Saddlery

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The back pressure caused by a training roller during lunging

Ground schooling (especially lunging) is routinely performed in the rehabilitation and training of horses. With the elimination of the weight of the saddle/ rider, it is thought to be a safe training method. However, this study questioned if the training roller, often used when ground schooling to attach training tools, influences the back more beneficially than a saddle/ rider's weight. 

No significant differences were found in pelvic range of motion, indicating that the use of a Pessoa doesn't influence the pelvic movements significantly in trot and canter when lunging. The back pressure was consistently higher with the Pessoa training aid compared to when the horses were lunged without Pessoa aid. Remarkably, the results showed pressures similar to those reported in sitting trot and higher than those reported for pressures stimulating back discomfort, even without the Pessoa aid.

Expert opinion by Isabeau Deckers

Horse owners, veterinarians, therapists and instructors should be aware of the effect that a training roller can have on back pressures, especially in horses undergoing rehabilitation of back problems. Attempts to alleviate pressures should be made with either a pad creating clearance of the vertebrae or by placing a roller over the top of a correctly fitted saddle.

> From: Mackechnie-Guire et al., J Equine Vet Sci 67 (2018) 112-117. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.. Click here for the online summary.

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