Equestrians are invited to share their views about how to determine rider suitability with horses or ponies.
The Suitably Mounted Group (SMG) encourages those who haven’t yet completed the important survey to share what they think about the factors that should be considered when matching riders with horses or ponies.
What constitutes a suitable match between horses and riders has become a much-debated topic in recent years, and this was the inspiration for establishing the Suitably Mounted Group.
Dr Tamzin Furtado, one of SMG’s founders, has highlighted previously that although the focus often falls on rider weight, many other factors may need to be taken into account when determining rider suitability, including: equine conformation, condition, and fitness.
Now SMG’s Research Working Group, comprising Dr David Marlin, Dr Jane Williams and Lorna Cameron, has devised a short online survey to capture the views of equestrians about which factors are the most important to consider when aiming to match riders with horses.
Dr David Marlin explains: “It’s important that we try to understand what riders, officials, vets, and in fact anyone involved in equestrianism, thinks about how to suitably match horses and riders in order to support horse welfare. The results of this survey will be shared in the public domain, and this information will inform future research, guidelines and education.”
The survey, which can be completed online here, is anonymous, consists of 14 questions, and is open to any equestrians over 18. It should take around 8 minutes to complete.
When completing the survey, participants are asked to consider each of the factors in isolation. For example, where the survey asks about horse age, the question should be considered on its own and not in relation to other factors, such as: health, back strength, rider height, etc.
In the future, the group aims to look at scenarios where numerous factors may need to be considered for research. For now, however, this objective falls outside the scope of the current survey.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The survey has ethical approval from Hartpury University Ethics Committee No. ETHICS2023-20.
- SMG members collate and review existing research and are open to collaboration.
- SMG will advise anyone who wants to introduce guidelines, and can make introductions with those who have already done so.
ABOUT SUITABLY MOUNTED GROUP
The Suitably Mounted Group (SMG) was founded by show organisers, researchers, and experts in veterinary and equine welfare, as well as human mental health specialists to tackle the lack of industry resources and support for determining a suitable horse-rider combination. The current Research Working Group comprises: Dr David Marlin, Lorna Cameron, and Dr Jane Williams.