Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saddle Pad Experiment

I had an interesting day yesterday. I helped one of my teenage riders with her science fair project. Her experiment involved comparing which saddle pad type would keep the horse’s back cool. She compared wool saddle pads to fleece saddle pads.

We started at 12:30. Katie and her mom unloaded saddle pads and a scale to weigh saddles and pads. We brought 7 horses into the stalls and feed their grain and hay to keep them content for the afternoon. Katie’s job was to brush all the horses while her mom helps me put 2 round bales into the big lot. (I tried to put out round bales by myself earlier in the week. I grain the horses, open the gate, drove the tractor with round bale through the gate, close the gate, and then I couldn’t lift those darn heavy round bale feeders up onto their side! I could lift them up just a few years ago, and now I couldn’t. I’m thinking because the rounded bottom part of the legs had worn off over the years, and I didn’t have that extra 8” of leverage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I can NOT be that I’m older! Oh well…) After we finished putting out round bales, we helped Katie finish brushing the horses.

(Temperature probe in wool pad)

Katie’s project involved working each horse on a lunge line for 15 minutes, using each type of saddle pad on each horse, and recording the horse’s back temperature, rectal temp, and saddle pad temp before and after each lunge time. She weighed each saddle that would be used. She also weighed the saddle pads before and after the exercise to determine if they were heavier due to sweat.

We worked 7 horses for her project. We started with a group of 3 horses. Katie had temperature strips to record the horse’s back temp before saddling, a rectal thermometer to record the horse’s internal temp, and a probe thermometer to take the saddle pad temp. She recorded temps on each horse, then we saddled, using the wool pads. We walked to the outside arena, and Katie, her mom, and I walked the 3 horses for 5 minutes, trotted the horses for 5 minutes, then walked them again for 5 minutes on a lunge line. We walked back to the barn, and unsaddled and recorded all 3 temps again. We saddled the same horses again, using the fleece pads. We lunged the horses for the same times, and she recorded the same temps. We repeated the process with the other horses.

We did notice that we started the day at 50 degrees at 1, and by 3, the temp started dropping. By 5, when Katie and her mom finished lunging the last group for the 2nd time, the outside temp was only in the 30’s. Even though the horses didn’t sweat, their backs still had an increase in body temp and so did the saddle pads. The internal temp did increase slightly. One type of saddle pad did increase in temp over the other type of pad. I’m anxious to see her results and I will record them here as soon as she has her report written.

After seeing the results today, I could see where she could have done this experiment in warmer weather. If the horses had sweated some, we would have seen a higher difference in all the temps, plus had some weight gain in the saddle pads. It would have been interesting to see what pads would have kept the back cooler in hotter weather, and whether or not the increase weight in saddle pads due to sweat would have had an effect on a cooler back or not. Katie said she would try the same experiment next summer on a hot day.

I would like to try this experiment on Finny next summer, in the middle of summer, and see what saddle pad DOES keep a back cooler in 90 degree weather! I will use the cell foam pad to this experiment, as this is the type of pad that I ride at CTRs. I will also test a synthetic wool fiber as I practice in this type of pad, that has a neoprene center.

I can’t wait to see what pad keeps a horse’s back the coolest. I will definitely take the results of this experiment into consideration when I ride next summer.

Come along for the ride! Brenda


Anonymous said...

What a fun day that was!good thing we lunged instead of ride that would have taken 2 days.i really am thankful wo/ ur help it wouldnt work out and science fair would be like last year...BORING!!! I just handed in all the stuff to Mrs.Meduna(my science teacher) cant wait to hear her verdict.
-Klutsy Katie

brenda said...

LOL, that was fun! I can't wait to hear how the results turn out. We will have to do this experiment next summer too! and you are not klutsy, just fun to tease! lol

Anonymous said...

lol. yeah i guess im just a little off balance on a regular basis im also vertically challenged.
i can trip going down and up stair, that is true talent!

(school nickname te-he)

Brenda said...

Your true talent is how well you are riding the lope, whether it's Bob's collected lope, Rosie's fast lope, or Bubba's fun lope!

Anonymous said...

I am in 5th grade and this years science project did not succeed I love horses and next year I am going to try this Saddle Pad Experiment thanks for the idea bye bye.

Brenda said...

oh, that would be fantastic! I'll tell Katie that her idea is a hit! She'll be thrilled that someone will like to do something with horses, too! Check back after January. I'll be reporting who she did at the Science Fair! I'm really glad you responded to this report!

Anonymous said...

i did a project just like that! exept i didnt do lunging

Anonymous said...

This seems to be pretty common experiment. it was alot of fun to do. the science fair is Feb. 11 but there wont be an open house this time there just going to show them off at parent teacher night. But we're planning to enter it in the horse stampeed!! so if anyone wants to come and see ur welcome to. especially Aunt B and Lenny! XD

-codename Kelly
PS: thanks Brenda for the compliment i learned from the best! thnx for having faith in me for God knows how many years.

Anonymous said...

where did she get the strips? cause i am doing this experiment and i have no idea to take surface temp.


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