Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
It's amazing what a slight pinch can do though... Have you ever had a wrinkle in your sock that starts rubbing inside your shoe when you're walking around? We take saddles too much for granted, in my opinion; horses are generally stoic creatures and they cannot tell us directly "HEY! My saddle HURTS!" so we must (as their caretakers) watch carefully for signs of discomfort. Horses change shape as well, which can make a saddle fit okay one season and not the next. As they build (or decrease) muscle tone, that can change the fit of the saddle.
The canter is the only unequal gait, having 3 beats to it. This is the gait that can tell us a ton, because of its unevenness; many pain or saddle fit issues don't crop up until the canter, because it rocks weight from the outside hip across to the inside hip and outside shoulder, finally onto the inside shoulder - this more extreme localized pressure can tell us quite a bit.
Years ago, a friend of mine was testing saddles on her mare. The mare was extremely picky, and would be fine with 80% of the saddles at the walk and trot, and be VERY opinionated at the canter or - if they got that far to it - jumping. I kid you not, she tried dozens of saddles to find the one that worked for both her and the mare.
Anyways, just an anecdote to sum up my thoughts.
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com