Saddle Study Reveals High Degree of Lameness in Sport Horses

Of the 506 working sports horses assessed, 46% were classified as lame or having a stiff, stilted canter.

No account yet? Register


Hind-limb lameness is a common cause of saddle slip in horses and there is a high frequency of lameness in the general sports horse population, reveals a new study on the relationship between lameness, saddle slip, and back shape.

Saddle slip is usually blamed on poor saddle fit, a crooked rider, or asymmetry in the shape of the horse’s back, but the first phase of a long-term research project (which was first published in 2012) showed that in fact hind-limb lameness is frequently the culprit.

The second phase of the study, conducted by Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, head of clinical orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) Centre for Equine Studies, in Newmarket, England, and Line Greve, a PhD student at the AHT, went on to look at the frequency of saddle slip in and the reasons for it in a large cross-section of the sport horse population.

Of the 506 working sports horses assessed, 46% were classified as lame or having a stiff, stilted canter. Saddle slip occurred in 12% of cases, predominantly in those with hind limb, as opposed to forelimb, lameness. There was minimal asymmetry of back shape in the horses studied, but 37% of the riders sat crookedly, possibly as an effect of the saddle slip rather than as a cause, the researchers said

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What lameness issues has your horse experienced? Select all that apply.
231 votes · 458 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!