SMS reveals results of themography research

By: Horse Deals

SMS reveals results of themography research
SMS reveals results of themography research

The Society of Master Saddlers teamed up with SyncThermology to undertake research to investigate if thermography can be used to assess the fit of a saddle.

"We have found that more and more horse owners are starting to enquire about saddle testing when using thermography as part of a full body evaluation and wanted to find out whether such methods could really help when it came to saddle fitting," explained Hazel Morley from the Society of Master Saddlers.

The research comprised of six horses being assessed by a vet, physiotherapist and biomechanics specialists before being put under a strict test protocol with thermographic scans being taken pre and post exercise, along with testing using the Pliance pressure mapping system.

Analysis of the findings showed that visually the thermographic imaging was misleading as heat did not reflect pressure and often detected issues on the opposite side to where the problem actually lies.

It was also found that with thermography, the image findings were ambiguous and should only be read by a trained vet or professional. The imaging also does not show a ‘bad fit’ when the saddle is used for the first time as the results will not show the long term effects the saddle has on the horse’s back.

Standalone saddle testing with thermography is in most cases providing misleading results. However during a full body scan, thermography could detect a condition that was possibly saddle related, in this case horse owners should immediately contact a saddle fitter to assess the fit of the saddle.

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