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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

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

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

Causes:

  • 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

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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.