Scientific Research

What is it and why is it important?

The National Saddle Centre is regularly involved in scientific research, we feel that to be truly relied upon research must be peer reviewed and published, this means that it has been through a rigorous review process including having the study design, methodology and results scrutinised by a number of independent experts. They will also evaluate whether the research is original, reliable and relevant. All of this ensures the research is objective and can be trusted in order to make decisions to improve equine welfare. 

As a team we have been and are continually involved in a huge variety of research, including saddle width, bridle and noseband pressures, stirrup design, girth design, saddlepads, dissections, horse – saddle – rider symmetry as well as saddle fit for horse and rider.

This ensures we are consistently up to date with the latest scientific developments and allows us to work on improving comfort and performance of both horse and rider in an evidence-based manner at every appointment. 

As part of our membership with The Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) we also have to complete a minimum of 15 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) every year. This ensures the continual development of our professional competence, again making sure we are up to date with the latest advancements in the industry.

Research Technology

We have extensive experience with the latest Pliance pressure systems, this uses a thin mat with many sensitive sensors in to measure dynamic pressure. It can be placed under various pieces of saddlery, including the bridle, noseband and saddle to measure pressures in a calibrated and approved way.

The Pliance system can also be linked with 2D and 3D motion capture to show how pressure is affecting the horse and rider in locomotion. This set up provides us with the most up to date information on how different factors affect the horse. Alternatively 2D and 3D motion capture can be used as a standalone piece of technology.

There are many different ways to carry out research but the best way to get relevant information is by using real horses. However, in some cases this is not possible so a mechanical horse must be used. These are a great tool for the initial stages of research to form hypothesis’s for what may happen on real horses. 


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