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Study on Girth tensions

Wright, Sue. (August, 2010). Girth Tensions and Their Variability While Standing and During Exercise. Comparative Exercise Physiology. doi:10.1017/S1755254011000055
Muscles under the saddle and girth are responsible for locomotion. Impingement on these muscles by a tight girth may result in alterations to locomotion.
  • Actual girth tension varies from the intended girth tension while standing and during locomotion.
  • It is possible to obtain actual standing tensions closer to intended tensions with the application of a cam buckle, resulting in more accurate applied tensions.
  • The tension of the girth varies during locomotion, generally decreasing from standing to walk, and then increasing from walk to trot and increasing further from trot to canter.
  • Pressure distribution under saddle increased with each gait, & with increasing speed.
  • Implications on conditioning regimes. Real discomfort = decreased performance.  Not necessarily laziness.

Proprioception and the horse

what is.jpgProprioceptive considerations presentation.jpg

Monotonous or rigid training routines may weaken muscles, cause pain, and decrease range of motion (ROM).


Look for signs of proprioceptive decline early to prevent and reverse further damage.


  • Traumatic/ acute injuries (kick, fall, etc.)
  • Ill-fitting tack
  • Poorly used training devices (martingales, side reins, draw reins, etc.)
  • Inappropriate shoeing or dental
  • Overuse, fatigue, repeated concussive forces
  • Neurological diseases /Aging/Disuse


Healthy proprioception is paramount to healthy athleticism in humans and horses.  Further research on horses may provide evidence for effective proprioceptive exercises & therapies and decrease sport injuries.

▪A decrease in injury = better performance.

▪Equestrianism: team of two different animals; attention to proprioception is just as important for the rider as it is for the horse.

▪It takes about 3 months to “retrain” proprioception to better sense of balance.