The objective of this study was to determine the effects of weight carried (rider + tack) on back pain in horses used in riding classes and a series of intercollegiate horse shows. Sixteen school horses (431-649 kg) were ridden consistently over a semester. Cross sectional images were used to measure width and put in a mapping program to figure total area. Back pain scores were determined using a pressure algometer on predetermined points over the horses back. Pain scores were recorded over five periods, including 28 d into the semester (P1) and during the show period on three consecutive Fridays from October 30-November 13 (P2-P4). The second and third period (P2-P3) measurements were followed by two days of shows, and (P4) measurements were taken five days after the last show. As a result, horses were tested the Friday before each show. Final pain scores were taken 21 d (P5) after the last show. Percent horse weight carried averaged 16% (range 10-27%). Pain was lowest in P1 and highest in P4 (P2), loin width 5cm, and P1 had a negative relationship on back pain scores. Wither width 10cm ventrally from the medial line increased back pain scores. Research with a wider range of weight carried and alternative measurements may elucidate factors contributing to equine back pain.
|Department||College of Agriculture|
|Degree||Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture|
|University||Missouri State University|
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