A ground breaking new study aimed at providing guidelines for the appropriate rider weight for horses and ponies has won the support of The Society of Master Saddlers.
The research is being undertaken by the Animal Health Trust after concern from the industry that too many horses and ponies were being ridden by riders considered to be oversized.
Along with a number of other organisations, including World Horse Welfare, the Society of Master Saddlers is helping to fund the research and also has a number of SMS Qualified Saddlers Fitters involved in the study.
Said SMS Chief Executive, Hazel Morley: "We are pleased to be helping to fund this important rider weight study and look forward to the results following the week of research.
"We are hoping that the research findings will be a great help to our saddle fitters and will be watching the developments closely.
"In recent years there have been a number of cases where riders have been deemed to be too heavy for their mounts but until now there has been a huge shortage of scientific research and data that guidelines could be based on."
The aim of the study is not to question what size or weight a rider should be, but will investigate the effect of different rider to horse weight ratios.
This in turn will enable vets, owners and trainers to determine an appropriately sized partnership.