‘Not fit to compete”?

One of the most important things when it comes to avoiding injuries, is to find out on time which minor deviations might lead to bigger problems. When it comes to top-class sports, having healthy horses checked on a regular basis by a vet or psychotherapist is the most natural thing in the world. In fact, these are the lucky ones.

Among them is a huge group of talented horses (sports, breeding) that might seem OK at first sight. We will start looking as soon as any irregularities present themselves.

In veterinary medicine, we proceed visually and by touch (palpation) in the first place.
The rider/groom’s role is often underestimated: the context within which the horse is communicating pain often speaks volumes. 

There is yet another problem. It is the fact that the human eye cannot see all the details in the motion of the horse, and it is even more difficult to compare one snapshot to the memory saved during a previous check-up. 

To us, the magic word is objective motion analysis, using highspeed cameras and sensors attached to the horse itself to discover a lot. But then again, this process is not within everyone’s reach.

X-ray or chiropractor?

In daily practise, most horse keepers visit ‘common experts’, like osteopaths, chiropractors, farriers and obviously saddle fitters. Engaging competent experts means you get measurable and demonstrable data.

Once they join hands in a multidisciplinary team, you will receive data from different sources so things make perfect sense in the end: some problems can be ruled out … others can be subjected to additional tests as a possible cause.

The benefits in a nutshell:

  • No unnecessary fiddling.
  • No X-ray photography ‘haphazardly’.
  • Systematic exclusion of different causes.
  • Less chance of developing blind spots.


Studying the horse-rider

As equine ergonomists, we also study the horse rider. Maintaining the very same systematic method, we proceed to analyse, measure, exclude and change for the better.

Towards the end of the process, the main cause is crystal-clear. This can be tackled by the most suitable member of the multidisciplinary expert team. If treatment is recommended, then addressing a physiotherapist familiar with equestrian sports is a wise thing to do, or a chiropractor or osteopath alternatively.

Next, we will put the jigsaw pieces into place, making sure they fit and that they are monitored and checked in the meantime. The great thing: there is already an expert team available that is perfectly familiar with the rider/horse combination. It helps gear strategy towards every change in terms of training, harness, treatment or nutrition.

Sustainable solution

At Cornell’s Saddlery, over the years we embraced this multidisciplinary approach. From daily practice, because many saddle-related problems involve the horse or the rider himself and so we wanted to come up with a sustainable solution. We didn’t only want to sell a new saddle. This might sound like a luxurious approach but pays off most of the time. At the same time, this is the most animal-friendly method and sometimes the most cost-efficient alternative as well. We act as second opinion, connecting link and maintaining the helicopter view throughout treatment.
To find out more about our approach and options, please feel free to call or email us or schedule a private meeting.