THE Suitably Mounted Group (SMG) was founded by show organisers, researchers, and experts in veterinary and equine welfare, as well as human mental health specialists, to tackle the lack of industry resources and support for determining a suitable horse-rider combination. The group includes vet and social media phenomenon Dr David Marlin.

What constitutes a suitable match between horses and riders has become a much-debated topic in recent years, and this was the inspiration for establishing the SMG. On Monday, the Group launched a survey about the factors that should be considered when matching riders with horses or ponies. Dr Tamzin Furtado, one of SMG’s founders, has highlighted previously that although the focus often falls on rider weight, many other factors may need to be taken into account when determining rider suitability, including equine conformation, condition, and fitness.

Now SMG’s Research Working Group, comprising Dr David Marlin, Dr Jane Williams and Lorna Cameron, has devised a short online survey to capture the views of equestrians about which factors are the most important to consider when aiming to match riders with horses.

Dr David Marlin explains: “It’s important that we try to understand what riders, officials, vets, and in fact anyone involved in equestrianism, thinks about how to suitably match horses and riders in order to support horse welfare. The results of this survey will be shared in the public domain, and this information will inform future research, guidelines and education.”

The survey, which can be completed by scanning the QR code or logging on to The survey is anonymous, consists of 14 questions, and is open to any equestrians over 18. It should take around 8 minutes to complete.

When completing the survey, participants are asked to consider each of the factors in isolation. For example, where the survey asks about horse age, the question should be considered on its own and not in relation to other factors, such as health, back strength, and rider height.