We are delighted to announce that planning for #srt2021 is well under way, with an exciting list of presenters already confirmed.

The current, most influential research for welfare and performance




The June issue of The Equestrian Business features two of the presentations on the latest equine research from the acclaimed 3rd Saddle Research Trust International Conference.

These have been brilliantly filmed and are available for everyone, whether you are a professional practitioner or an amateur rider, they are a great learning opportunity with invaluable knowledge to help the welfare and performance of every ridden horse. All the screens and clips used in the presentations are clearly shown.

The ridden horse pain recognition study, (57mins) is a wonderfully easy to use ethogram, acclaimed by vets and yet still accessible for every horse owner and practitioner.

The Rider Weight Pilot study, ( 1hr52mins) throws up some key issues and has set the path for more research in the future on this complex issue.

Both of these, with more to follow, are available to watch on Vimeo on demand with all proceeds going to the Saddle Research Trust.

The previews include celebrity interviews from our sponsors and special guests who kindly consented to unscripted, unplanned filming during the breaks in proceedings which resulted in real conversations with some real horsemen and women from the wide spectrum of the equine industry. We’d like to express our grateful thanks to the top trainers, riders, researchers, saddlemakers, veterinarians and welfare experts all under one roof at #srt2018.




Highlights of the Gala Awards Dinner

” Some emotional speeches, some entertaining ones.- a high degree of passion and drive in all of the winners. See a problem, make a difference 🏆 congrats to you all!!  ” was how one of our guests described the Awards ceremony.

The Saddlery Equipment Award was sponsored by Novel GMBH and the winner was the Micklem Bridle, designed by William Micklem. Shortlisted were the Equiband and the Saddle Aid saddle.

William, who was later presented with the  Saddle Research Trust Global Ambassador Award,  said:

“A huge thank you to the Saddle Research Trust and all those who feel so strongly that we have achieved something special and different with the Micklem bridle and voted for it in such huge numbers….and special thanks to Horseware Ireland and their CEO Tom MacGuinness who saw the value of the bridle, when for fifteen years I had failed to convince other manufacturers.

 It is not an exaggeration to say that the Micklem bridle has changed the way we think about bridles and nosebands, and because of this, we are immensely proud.  It is designed from the inside out, from the shape of the skull itself and the position of the nerves … for this special thanks are due to my late Father, Dick Micklem, who started me on this journey, not just because of his deep interest in equine anatomy and physiology, but also because of his love of horses and his deep appreciation of their integral role both in two world wars and in our life-enhancing equestrian sports.

 My Father would be so pleased with this recognition for the Micklem bridle, but even more pleased about the proactive and positive contribution to horse welfare by the Saddle Research Trust “

The Welfare and Performance Person award, sponsored by Ridercise was won internationally renowned coach and author Mary Wanless and you can watch her acceptance speech here

Also shortlisted were John McEwan FEI vet, and Hayley Moore.

Sue Dyson, who was voted winner of the Welfare and Performance Practitioner award, sponsored by Harper Adams University,
The Animal Production, Welfare & Veterinary Sciences Department, gave a heartfelt speech, thanking everyone who voted for her, and was clearly moved by the public support and awareness of her work. Shortlisted for this category along with Sue, were Thilo Pfau and Sonya Nightingale.

21stCenturyRider sponsored the App Award, won by Equla Vert and accepted on their behalf by Professor Hilary Clayton.

The Android version of the Vert app will be released in Spring,
with the Apple Watch version out shortly after that.
A heart-rate monitoring feature is in beta right now (where Vert displays equine or human heart rate, as detected through a separate sensor)
 and a “metronome” will feature later this spring. This will give riders a rhythmic cue, a much-requested feature to help learn tempo etc. plus some integrations are in the pipeline with other company’s sensors.
Simon Middleton presented the Horse Award to Teddy the Shetland‘s owner, Alice Goring, whose love for her charismatic little pony shone through her acceptance speech. (Teddy’s own response arrived next day: “Thank u to everyone who voted, feeling honoured and pretty wonderful to have won the Saddle Research Trust Welfare and Performance award of 2018. The only mini floofer in the world to have ever beaten the mighty Olympian Valegro 😜💙. Happi Sunday guys – u can see from the colour of my snout that celebrations have already well and truly begun chez Ted xox”)
Shorlisted along with Teddy were Valegro and rescue pony World Horse Welfare Rio, who both received rosettes from sponsor EQ Saddle Science.
The winner of the Organisation category, sponsored by Horsegent-Horseback was The Brooke, in their centenary year and now working in every corner of the globe. Founded by Dorothy Brooke who was moved to aid the war horses who had served their country, left behind in abject misery in Egypt after the first world war and who demonstrated the amazing impact one person can have on  generations of horses and people, by communication and collaberation.
Shortlisted in this category were ISES and Equitopia.
The Horse Trust kindly sponsored the Achievement Award, which was won by Claire Lomas, MBE who’s achievements and positivity are truly inspirational. Claire was unable to attend but asked the SRT to pass on that she’d “Just like to say thanks to everyone who voted for me – the equestrian world has been a huge support to me since my life changing accident.”
Shortlisted along with Claire were Carl Hester and Christopher Bartle.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously by the Saddle Research Trust to the renowned vet and horseman, the late  Stuart Hastie and accepted by his wife, Jane.

Introducing the award, fellow vet Sue Dyson noted:

“Stewart was of the old school of veterinary surgeons with a background steeped in horses and a real passion for the horse. He was an observer, a questioner, a reader, and a thinker. He was ahead of his time, recognising the importance of correct foot balance and appropriate shoeing, realising that saddle-fit for the horse was imperative for optimal function and embracing appropriately trained paraprofessionals as part of the team required to promote equine health and welfare. He recognised that learning never ended and his thirst for new knowledge continued unabated throughout his life. Stewart was a gentleman, with high professional ethics. Woe betide anyone who transgressed these principles when he was in practice. He had an amazing memory and, combined with his wit and sense of humour, had plenty of tales to tell from throughout his extensive career.

Stewart was intimately associated with many facets of the equine world, most particularly hunting, working hunter showing, eventing, and racing. He supported eventing as a lifetime member of British Eventing. He was Veterinary Advisor to the Society of Master Saddlers and was recognised as an Honorary Fellow of the organisation. He delivered the inaugural lecture on the History of the Saddle to the Worshipful Company of Saddlers in 1983. Stewart was passionate about the education of the horse-owning public and was intimately involved with the British Horse Society. He wrote two editions of The British Horse Society Veterinary Manual and received an Award of Merit for Welfare and Training from the British Horse Society. His contributions to the equine industry were recognised by the award of the British Equestrian Trade Association’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2013.

Stewart also played an active role in veterinary politics serving as Secretary to the British Veterinary Association in the 1960s and acting as both Honorary Secretary and Honorary Information Officer for the British Equine Veterinary Association in the 1970s. Stewart was a passionate believer in continued professional development and was an avid supporter of BEVA meetings until very recently.

The Saddle Research Trust presented a Welfare and Performance Ambassador Award to William Micklem, who gave an inspiring response. 

The challenge of achieving the one central and vital balance in the sport horse world, between on the one hand caring for and training the humans we help, and on the other hand caring for and training our horses.  If we are to work efficiently it is simply not possible or sensible to separate the needs of our participants from the needs of our horses, therefore horse welfare and how to ensure happy equine athletes must stay at the top of our agenda.
The simple truth is that horses do not need coercion or oppression, rollkur or cranked nosebands, pulley reins or nerve lines and pinch boots.   However, the avoidance of bullying practices in a horse world where this is commonplace is not always an easy route to follow but we must not be tempted to use methods that train a horse mechanically or unnaturally or use methods based primarily on punishment. If we do this we close off the door to the special relationship between a horse and rider based on feel and trust and the spirited two-way communication that is the bedrock of our work.  
I believe we have a duty to protect and develop this special relationship and that all national and international Governing bodies should work towards this same end.  We make the rules, so there is no reason to sacrifice horses because of competition demands, or because of a few arrogant egos.   It can be a win-win situation, for humans and horses, but it requires an inexorable focus on humane practices and letting a good idea give way to a better idea.
The wonderful truth about the SRT is that they are not concerned with exercises in semantics or marketing speak …. What they are doing is substantial …. Groundbreaking research looking for real improvements in the way we work with horses.  Everyone here today has a part to play in this challenge …. as we come together to seek carefully how we can do things better…the keywords being ‘together’ and ‘seek carefully’.  The exciting truth is that if we all seek carefully we can come up with answers, new ideas, better ways forward, new contacts and new partnerships… this is the immense value of the SRT who facilitate this process.
What we are actually doing is working from the realities of the situation to look at possibilities for the future ….. and as the blind and quadriplegic athlete Mark Pollock says “we must not respect the gap between the realities and the possibilities.”  We all know that focusing on realities by themselves without also focusing on the extraordinary possibilities, will stop us aiming for new directions, higher levels, and fulfilling potential.  Whereas doing the opposite, focusing on possibilities without facing up to the realities are just pipe dreams.  
I would suggest that to their great credit the SRT is also supremely enquiring, also very demanding and as is shown by today’s conference and these wide-ranging awards also exceptional generous.  This generosity by The SRT and all their associates and supporters means that you are just not standing by and criticizing …. you are putting yourself in and making a difference.”

 The Saddle Research Trust would like to extend huge thanks to Master of Ceremony, Simon Grieve, eventer, who expertly made sure everything ran smoothly on the night.

srt2018 Passion and Positivity


Thank you to everyone who supported the 3rd International Conference at Nottingham University’s DeVere East Midlands Conference Centre.

We’ve had amazing positive feedback from our delegates, presenters, special guests and sponsors,  All of the presentations were deeply interesting and we were filled with enthusiasm and renewed purpose after the conference, ready to take the welfare of the ridden horse another step further forward.

For  conference proceedings please click here to view as an Adobe document for everyone who hasn’t already downloaded them.

Delegates and Attendees– Please take a minute to fill in this short survey to help us take your views and feedback into account when we plan future events.

This conference website will keep giving you more so please bookmark it for reference. We’ll add selected edits of the presentations, links to the full versions, reports from the Research Workshops plus interviews with our special guests, celebrity riders and trainers, researchers and sponsors who were in attendance. A full report on the Gala Awards Dinner coming soon!

You’ll be able to find out more about why the Saddle Research Trust continues to grow, and bring science and saddlemakers, practitioners and riders together in understanding how best to influence and understand the ridden horses they encounter every day. We’d like to make the welfare, performance, and safety of horse and rider the best it can possibly be.

The tv quality live stream was a great success watched in 23 countries and we have already asked Jamie and the team at Wave FX to put #srt2021 in their diary. They promised us tv quality and did not disappoint.

A date has been set! for the next Saddle Research Trust Conference! Save the date:  11th December 2021 in your diary and look out for #srt2021 on Twitter.

Finally a huge thank you to our sponsors, especially World Horse Welfare, Wow Saddles, Albion Saddlery, and DIPO. Without their support, the work of the Saddle Research Trust, the Conference and Research Workshops and the Gala Awards Dinner would not take place. All of our sponsors were in attendance – they really do want their designs, organizations, and practice to be informed by the latest scientific research so please check them out in our sponsor tab if you didn’t manage to visit their stands on the day.

Pictured above are Simon Grieve, who we kept busy all day (and all evening too), with special guests Lucinda Green and Richard Davison.





Saddle Research Trust 3rd International Conference update

We are almost ready, with 3 weeks to go and are busy putting the finishing touches to the conference plans. Very exciting!

We are thrilled to be able to offer a tv quality live stream of the Conference, to everyone, wherever in the world you may be, so if you aren’t able to attend in person don’t miss out on hearing the latest influential research.

Click here to attend via Livestream and please check the programme tab for details.

Our amazing sponsors will be in attendance and delegates will have the opportunity to visit their display stands and find out more about what they do and why they support the Saddle Research Trust, with its aims of improving the welfare of the ridden horse.

Our list of speakers is absolutely fabulous. Their presentations are for everyone: riders, saddle fitters, designers and makers, equine practitioners, vets, and trainers. We are sure everyone will benefit and enjoy the day.

The Research Poster submissions will be displayed in the main concourse with the authors present to discuss their research during the intervals.

The Gala Awards Dinner is a great way to round off proceedings with like-minded people, and to celebrate our amazing shortlist of deserving Welfare and Performance Awards candidates at the perfect pre-Christmas party. There is still time to buy tickets for this, just click this link.

The Saddle Research Trust cordially invite you to join us in the Banqueting Suite at 7pm. Dress code is smart/casual and you don’t need to be a conference delegate to be able to attend!

Looking forward to meeting you there!