Suitably mounted: what does it mean? Your views sought on tricky topic

  • A group dedicated to ensuring horse-rider partnerships are suitable in all ways has launched its first major project.

    The Suitably Mounted Group, set up last summer to help tackle the issue of incompatible horse-rider combinations, has released a questionnaire aiming to gather the industry’s views.

    H&H reported in July 2023 that the group includes show organisers and researchers, as well as experts in veterinary and equine welfare – and human mental health. Members will collate and review existing research and are open to collaboration. They will also advise anyone who wants to introduce guidelines and put them in touch with those who have already done so.

    Researcher Tamzin Furtado, one of the group’s founders, told H&H the study is about perceptions of the issues that affect being “suitably mounted”.

    “The project came from discussions we were having; when you talk about rider size, how complex it is,” she said. “We need to talk about everything from tack fit to rider and horse fitness, horse conformation; it is very complex.”

    Take the survey

    Dr Furtado said most studies conducted so far have considered one variable, such as rider weight, at a time, and “although they are good science, we wanted to look at how these things interrelate and people’s perceptions of it”.

    The group wants to hear from all areas of the industry – riders, owners, judges, tack fitters and veterinary professionals, for example – “any anyone you can think of”.

    “We want to give everyone the chance to tell us what they think is important,” Dr Furtado said. “Do vets think horses’ conformation is more important or do riders think rider skill is more important than their weight? Physios may have views on rider issues that make a difference.”

    Responses will help shape future research, Dr Furtado added, and also communication with the industry. The group is also reviewing all related research.

    “The point isn’t to be critical or to stop people riding,” she said. “It’s not about people being wrong, it’s about all of us updating our knowledge to make the right decisions.”

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