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Proposal: study saddle fit scientifically
Okay ridecampers...I'm ready to go public with the rudiments of an idea that
has been on my mind for quite some time.
It is clear that many riders (and every saddle manufacturer) have a strong
opinion about which saddles work. As I try to make sense of these opinions,
it seems that only a few of these conclusions are data-based; most opinions
are either emotional or the result of trial and error, and a lot of what
saddle manufacturers sell has a mumbo-jumbo flavor.
I would be keenly interested in getting saddle manufacturers together to fund
some sort of study, probably through a university, that would measure the
impact of the widest possible variety of saddles on the horse. My
off-the-cuff thoughts would be to look at pressures under the saddle and
weight distribution, shoulder and back freedom and the impact on length of
stride; and the saddle's restrictiveness or lack and its impact on
If it would be possible to capture enough data to make the study
statistically significant, it would be a great tool for consumers (that is,
those who buy saddles) and would also enable we saddle manufacturers to use
the data in our design and re-design activities. Of course, there's a
marketing angle to the whole thing as well, but that's another discussion.
What if we could finally begin to understand, in absolute terms, how our tack
choices impact the ability of the horse to offer peak performance?
Since I am a trainer (and now a saddle dealer) and not a scientist, I don't
know if the scope of such a project is realistic. Any comments,
improvements, criticisms or offers of assistance are welcome.
The ReactorPanel Saddle Co.
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