White/dry patches and sensitive wither - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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White/dry patches and sensitive wither

My horse gets dry spots on either side of his wither, where there are white patches from past badly fitting saddles. They aren't painful to touch, occasionally he will twitch as though itchy, but rarely. He shows no pain response along his spine. These patches are also pressure points; if the saddle is too far forward and rests on them, he will buck. I've had him chiropractored, and the saddle fitted twice, and they still occur. (by occur I mean the pressure points if the saddle is too far forward) I'm wondering if the damage that caused the white patches and pressure points may have injured the sweat glands? I know the saddle is resting there as the hair is disturbed. Larger patches have recently come through, but I know the saddle fits and he doesn't have any muscle damage... I ahve been told white hairs can take a year too come through so it is possible these are as a result of his last saddle. (I have had him about 6 months)

Also, once or twice after long periods of hard work i've noticed the white patches raised about a centimetre or so. They weren't painful to poke but he did twitch his skin as if they were itchy or sensitive, but no pain response (for him ears back, trying to bite)

And one more thing in that area, his rug leaves disturbed hair on his wither. There are no actual rubs or marks or sores, but to touch he twitches compulsively and throws his head/tries to bite. Same as when i go to straighten the rug.

Could he just have very sesnsitive skin in his wither/wither pocket area? I can't figure out what is causing the dry patches, which is really frustrating, as I want him to be as comfortable as possible.

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post #2 of 18 Old 04-25-2009, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Bumpity bump...

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post #3 of 18 Old 04-25-2009, 09:24 PM
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I'm not sure what to say about the patches from the saddle, I got kind of confused. Pictures might help.

As far as the blanket rub, you can get a shoulder guard. It's just a slinky for the chest and withers and it buckles at the girth.

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-25-2009, 09:59 PM
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Maybe try scrubbing it really good with some betadine scrub and see if that helps after a while. Make sure to stop using all the things that are rubbing him while you do this to see if it gets any better also. That's what I would do at least.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-27-2009, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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I'll see if I can get some pictures.

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post #6 of 18 Old 04-29-2009, 10:18 AM
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White spots and dry patches are often caused by an ill-fitting saddle. If the horse was ridden in a bad fitting saddle long enough, then the hair folicles and/or sweat glands can be permanently damaged.

I would recommend getting a ThinLine pad (just the regular thickness pad, not the Ultra or sheepskin pads) or Skito pad to help alleviate the pressure and encourage healing. I would have a massage therapist and accupuncturist give him a few treatments as well.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-29-2009, 10:30 AM
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The white patches can take 6 months or more to show up. If you have replaced the saddle it may just take awhile for the white hairs to go away.
Make sure you are placing the saddle in the correct place. I have a bad habit of placing mine too far forward
I finally had to do some research as to where the front of my saddle tree is. Then line it up with her body parts. Know where her scapula is and place it behind them
Here is a great photo example


Check out this entire article, its very informative. How to position the saddle on your horse: Proper Placement


I was getting the dry spots as well and tried the Thin line pad. It didn't help at all (sorry it may work for some) I had to return it. I ended up getting a Clinton Anderson PRS pad (expensive at $200 something) and it has stopped the dry spots.


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Last edited by Vidaloco; 04-29-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-29-2009, 11:17 AM
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If the damage is extensive enough, the white patches may never go away.
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-29-2009, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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The white patches won't go away, they have been there for a long time now. That doesn't bother me too much.

Thats a really good picture/article Vida! I had figured out the correct saddle placement on him, I too was guilty of having it too far forward, but he would let me know it was wrong by bucking, lol! So it's always in the right spot now.

Luvs2ride, my chiropractor (horse one) has just bought a saddlery and become one of the first to sell skitopads in australia. Once I have a bit of money (lol!) i'm thinking about getting one. Have you used one? good?

He has been worked on by a chiro a few times, and had his saddle fitted and re fitted twice, I think. I guess i'm kind of worried that the bad fitting saddle in the past may have done permanent/lasting damage... Has anyone heard of sweat glands being damaged by the same pressure that kills the pigment in the hair?

Oops just saw you mentioned that, Luvs2ride, lol. That's interesting...

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post #10 of 18 Old 04-29-2009, 11:22 PM
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i would say not just poor fitting saddle but poor fitting rug too. i got a new rug for my old fella recently and it ended up being a poor cut therefore a poor fit and its caused the white marks that were already on his wither to get much worse. consequently ive put that rug in the emergency rug pile :)

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