2014 proceedings

There are several key points which need to be addressed in more detail as important in determining the proper saddle fit especially for women.

Saddle fitters should have at least a basic understanding of equine biomechanics and how saddles need to fit to prevent long term back damage in the horse, and realize that female anatomy also impacts saddle fit.

1. The width between the upper inner thighs affects the width of the twist of the saddle. The twist is that part of the saddle which touches the upper inner thighs. Because of a phenomenon called “Qflexion” (whereby female thighs tend to angle outwards at the hip and back inwards at the knee), women will carry more weight on their upper inner thigh than a man. The leg is pushed forward, and the knee and toes are out at 45 degree angle when a woman sits on a male saddle that is too wide between her upper inner thighs.  The position results in a leg that goes out and forward, and it is difficult to achieve the ‘shoulder-hips-heels’ straight line. This is different when a woman sits on a female saddle, allowing the toes to point forward while leaving more upper leg on the barrel or sides of the horse.



I am sure everyone would agree that training a horse to drive should not be one’s first horse experience.  However, a person who knows their horse and has a well thought out plan can expect good results.  Before starting on this project there are several details that need to be considered.

Do you have the time to commit to a complete training program?
Time and consistency are essential. Training to drive will not be successful when approached with a one week on and a two week off schedule.

Do you have a suitable training space?
Many of the initial steps can be done in a well fenced area of at least 25 meters by 40 meters


Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a “problem mare” when it comes to getting that particular mare in foal. There is a wide range of causes that can underlie subfertility/infertility and management of a problem mare to maximize reproductive performance varies from case to case. There are obvious conditions that can lead to subfertility such as age, poor vaginal conformation and breeding induced endometritis. A decline in fertility with age is a natural process in mares. Oocytes (i.e. eggs) are aging which results in a higher incidence of early embryonic death. Unfortunately there is no treatment available for this phenomenon. The uterus as well undergoes age-dependent degenerative processes, the degree of which can be determined through obtaining a uterine biopsy. The so called Kenney and Doig scoring system provides an estimation of the likelihood of a mare to carry a pregnancy to term. A grade IIb for example correlated to a 10-50% chance of maintaining a pregnancy until term. A Grade IIII correlates to less than 10% chance of maintaining a pregnancy until term. If offspring is desired from a mare that with advanced uterine degeneration, carrying out an embryo transfer (ET) should be considered. In this case, the embryo will be removed from the hostile uterine environment and transferred to a younger recipient mare. Poor vaginal conformation is another obvious cause of subfertility. Poor vaginal conformation often time leads to ascending uterine infections that can be diagnosed through a uterine culture and cytology. Management comprises the correction of the poor conformation (either through a Caslick’s surgery or a more advanced reconstructive surgery) along with a treatment of the uterine infection. Breeding induced endometritis is a condition occurring in young and in old mares. Once a mare is diagnosed as “susceptible”, this condition can be managed to maximize the chances of this mare to get pregnant. Management includes the administration of an ecbolic agent such as oxytocin as early as 4 to 6 hours after artificial insemination and uterine lavages if required.


In the horse world, there have long been misconceptions about the proper timing for starting a young horse into steady exercise. The tendency is to over-coddle them when they are very young, and then over-face them with exercise demands when they are only just a bit older yet appear physically mature. One mistake often made is that of confining a young horse where he doesn’t have a chance to run, play, and kick up his heels. The impact of a little bit of sprint exercise is what builds the strongest bone, as well as improving neuromuscular agility. 

Another mistake is the tendency to take a relatively idle young horse and then send him to a trainer where he is asked to perform rigorous exercise every day for a few months to “break” him to saddle. This potentially fatigues unprepared muscles and tendons and ligaments, and bruises tender feet. Then, there is the likelihood that the horse will develop soreness, discomfort, and may develop associated behavioral problems.    



Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common disease affecting the joints of both humans and horses, and is among the most important causes of pain, disability, and economic loss in both human and equine populations.[i],[ii]   In pursuit of the wide variety of modern equestrian sports, horse owners ask their horses to perform athletic feats that can result in injury to their joints.   Injury to cartilage, ligaments, the lining of the joint (synovial lining), the cartilage, and the bone underlying the cartilage results in joint inflammation.   Joint injury and inflammation may lead to osteoarthritis, which can be permanent and progressive.   Traumatic osteoarthritis is a common reason for reduced performance and lameness in the horse, accounting for approximately 60% of lameness diagnoses.[iii]     Osteoarthritis in the horse is similar in many ways to osteoarthritis in the human, and in fact research into equine OA has helped advance our medical knowledge for the benefit of both species.   By learning about joint health, joint injury and disease and the management of OA, horse owners may benefit both their horses and themselves.



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