Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
Well, the saddle sounds like the issue, that's for sure. I wouldn't quite rule out other physical issues, a vet once over might still be a good idea, but it's still looking quite plausible that the saddle is the root of the problem.
There is MUCH more to saddle fitting than "three fingers under the pommel." The saddle must sit level, the panels must be wide enough to accommodate the horse's spine, but not so wide that they exert pressure on the transverse processes, the panels can't pinch the wither ... the list goes on. I have read up on, watched videos, and had hands-on experience with fitting saddles, and I still would not feel confident saying whether or not a saddle fits correctly. There are too many factors, and the horse's well-being is at stake. Think of it as shoe shopping... you wouldn't walk into a shoe store and buy a pair of shoes based on how they look on the shelf, without bothering to check what size to get... if they're too wide, you'll get blisters and ruin your gait, if you get them too small, they'll pinch and ruin your gait - would you go on an hour long run in shoes that didn't fit well? Even if you find a correct size for your foot, you will notice that some shoes feel better than others... pretty much same goes for a saddle.
Also, generally speaking, one thing to keep in mind is if you have a cheap saddle, the chances of it not fitting (any horse) correctly is much greater than one made by a saddlemaker that puts effort into the product.
A quick Google search isn't enough - the two saddle fitters I know of in my area aren't even Google-able. I found out about them through word-of-mouth; tack stores, chiropractors, farriers and vets may have contacts with various saddle fitters as well.
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