Monday, July 27, 2020

Saddle research free to download

Research demonstrating the importance of understanding the effects of saddles and riders on the welfare and performance of the ridden horse has proved popular reading. 

Four papers, published in the Equine Veterinary Journal and Equine Veterinary Education, reporting work supported by the Saddle Research Trust were among the top 10% most downloaded articles during 2018 and 2019.

Now the original research papers have been made available free of charge by the publishers Wiley, with generous support from World Horse Welfare.

Click below  to read the articles:

Science-in-brief: Horse, rider, saddlery interactions: Welfare and performance


The influence of rider:horse bodyweight ratio and rider‐horse‐saddle fit on equine gait and behaviour: A pilot study


The effects of rider size and saddle fit for horse and rider on forces and pressure distribution under saddles: A pilot study


Evaluating the suitability of an English saddle for a horse and rider combination

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Study into pasture-associated laminitis in native-breed ponies

Horse and pony owners in the north east of Scotland are asked to help research into pasture-associated laminitis (PAL).

A researcher at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is urging owners of native-breed ponies across the north east of Scotland to complete an online questionnaire about the way they manage their ponies.

It is hoped the research will help to establish suitable management strategies to reduce the occurrence of PAL. This would provide valuable information for vets and owners and could greatly improve the welfare of horses and ponies.

PhD student Ashley Ward has already gathered some responses. She comments: “Results from the survey so far have highlighted region-specific management practices that owners employ to manage their ponies. Such findings could inform laminitis management in the future.”

“Unsurprisingly, the Scottish weather also appears to have a strong influence over how we manage our ponies.”

The research is the result of collaboration between SRUC, WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute and Aberdeen University’s Rowett Institute. It is supported by the Roland Sutton Trust and World Horse Welfare.

Ashley is looking for the owners of Northern European native-breed ponies aged four years and over, with no previous diagnosis of PPID (equine Cushing’s disease), to take part in the study.

You can complete the online survey at:

If you would like more information, please contact Ashley on email: or telephone: 01224 711026.

Cartilage scaffold hope for chondritis

A recent study raises the possibility of treating damaged laryngeal cartilage by replacing it with a cartilage scaffold.

The paired arytenoid cartilages of the larynx provide attachment for the vocal folds and together they serve to open and close the airway.

Chondritis or chondropathy is a condition of the arytenoid cartilage, seen especially in young Thoroughbreds. It may result in abscess formation with granulation tissue protruding into the lumen of the airway. Severe cases may result in deformity and dysfunction. 

If medical treatment is unsuccessful the affected cartilage can be removed. But this is not without risk of complications such as inhalation of food material and dynamic collapse of the soft tissue surrounding the larynx during exercise.

The possibility of using a cartilage scaffold to replace the defect was investigated in a study published in the journal Tissue Engineering (Part A).

Dr Marta Cercone and colleagues report the use of an acellular cartilage scaffold, which was produced by treating the cartilage to remove the cells, leaving just the cartilage matrix.

These scaffolds were then implanted into full-thickness defects in both arytenoid cartilages of eight horses. Before implantation, one of the two implants for each horse was seeded with bone marrow-derived nucleated cells (BMNC) collected from each recipient.

The research team found that, two months after the procedure, mucosal epithelium had grown across the surface of the implant and the cartilage had become integrated into the recipient’s arytenoid cartilage. They detected minimal adverse cellular reaction. 

They report that pre-seeding the scaffold with BMNC increased the rate at which the scaffold was broken down and incorporated into the recipient cartilage.

They conclude that replacing a portion of the arytenoid cartilage with a tissue engineered cartilaginous graft pre-seeded with BMNC is surgically feasible in the horse. The procedure is “well tolerated, results in appropriate integration within the native tissue and prevented laryngeal collapse during exercise.”

For more details, see:
An exploratory study into the implantation of arytenoid cartilage scaffold in the Horse
Marta Cercone, Bryan Brown, Elizabeth C Stahl, Lisa M Mitchell, Lisa Fortier, Hussni O Mohammed, Norm G Ducharme 
Tissue Eng Part A (2020)