Thermography is a diagnostic tool that is becoming more and more mainstream as an aid to determining many symptomatic issues your horse might be exhibiting – not just saddle fit, although this is one of the more dramatic applications because it results in such a colourful picture! My good friend Dr. Joanna Robson (author of Recognizing the Horse in Pain) is also a certified thermographer and uses this tool to illustrate to the client with a more visual document as to where and how the saddle fits or doesn’t fit. She mentioned this in her last newsletter (which you can sign up for at www.inspiritusequine.com if you’re interested) and I am taking the liberty of quoting her below:
Thermography is an effective tool for saddle-fit evaluation. Typically we see images associated with the equine back or the underside of an English saddle. Western saddles and pads may also be evaluated. The image below shows uneven pressure and contact on a Western saddle that is too tight at the tree over both the horse's shoulders, and has more contact throughout the right shoulder and surrounding muscles. This will create training and behavioral problems, as well as physical pain in the shoulders and back. The heat in the channel of the saddle is also a concern, and suggests a lack of ventilation or possible contact over the top of the spine and dorsal ligament. To learn more, visit www.ieinfrared.com or www.equineir.com
I am presently in California visiting clients (as I do here about every four months; about to increase to every three months!) and am looking forward to presenting next weekend at a symposium with Dr. Gerd Heuschmann in Seattle WA. We are looking forward to attending the Royal this year – please do stop by our booth and say hello!
Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE