Slippery horse, I need ideas! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-15-2010, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Slippery horse, I need ideas!

Hello! I'm new here and I need ideas for how I should solve my horse problem!
It's a bit complicated so the story is long, I apologize for that, but it wouldn't make sense if I made it shorter.

I have a minimal tobiano filly named Diamond. She is an altogether happy, healthy and sound horse, with a sweet disposition. But she has one of those "quarter horse backs" with strong muscles that make her shoulders broad and round. Her withers are also practically non existent. But the weird thing is that the skin on her back seems to float on a layer of fat (but she is not a fat horse) and slides back and forth when I ride her.

I should include that I consider myself a very good rider. I have been on the back of a horse my entire life, and for the part few years I have been taking english lessons on a big, athletic gelding. I also ride a friends horse bareback all the time, with no balance issues.
But on Diamond, everything is different! I have raised her since she was a tiny baby, and I was the one that tought her how to ride. We always had the problem of the saddle being very slippery and hard to balance. But now that we are getting into more advanced things, I have had to give up the saddle entirely. The saddle kept slipping onto her belly and terrifying her. It was becoming nearly impossible to keep the saddle centered and I was worried for diamonds safety.
So I tried riding bareback, which both of us like. But her back is so slippery that even though I can stick to her back, the skin moves and throws me off balance. Lately all we have been able to do is walk with some trotting, which makes me sad because I don't want us to be limited to this. I am not afraid of falling, because when we ride bareback there is no saddle to slip and the horse and I are both okay with it, but it is hard to concentrate knowing that if Diamond or I move just a little bit to the side I will hit the dirt.

I'm not really sure what to do about this. I am willing to try things, but I have a limited amount of money to work with. I have heard about alliance saddlery and I think they would be a fantastic solution, but they're waaay out of my price range.
I am considering bare back pads. I thought that maybe with the help of a girth I could have that extra bit of grip I need. But I have never tried a bare back pad before and I don't know what they're like. Does anyone know if they could help?
Thank you for any ideas or advice you might have. I really appreciate it!
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-15-2010, 05:05 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Glue? :) I know my sisters horse was like that she had no withers. Saddle slipped often. I don't know what you do and am sure someone here will tell you. I just figured I would save you money on a new saddle and just use glue but that could be messy.:p good luck
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-15-2010, 05:09 PM
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What about a Thorowgood synthetic saddle for broad backed horses? Sit in that saddle and you won't go anywhere! Affordable too. You can get them in the closeout section of the Dover Saddlery for about $400.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-15-2010, 05:52 PM
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Why is her skin so loose? If you are an experienced bareback rider and have a hard time keeping balanced due to the "floating" skin, I really don't think any saddle is going to work. A bareback pad is going to give you the same trouble as a saddle. Maybe you can get a neoprene pad that "sticks" better to her skin/fur? Then a well-fitting, wide saddle might work. See if you can "try before you buy." Maybe from another horsey person in your neighbourhood.

I would be worried about the skin thing. Was she fat at one time? Is she well-hydrated?
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-15-2010, 07:04 PM
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In all honesty, the first thing that came to mind for me was HERDA. You might want to have the vet test her for it.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-15-2010, 07:13 PM
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The only thing I can think of is trying one of those non-slip pads.

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post #7 of 15 Old 10-16-2010, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for replying!

Mbender, people have recommended glue, Velcro, and tying myself to the horse! Sometimes it's tempting. . . XD

MyBoyPuck, that sounds interesting. I will have to look in to that, thank you for suggesting it!
Do you have any personal experience with this saddle?

NorthernMama and Smrobs, I'm convinced that there isn't anything "wrong" with her. It's just difficult to explain the problem without it sounding gruesome.
I did look up HERDA though. I don't think Diamond has that but it is very interesting. It would be terrible to discover your horse had something like that!

Lastly, I should have included that I have tried various "sticky" pads in the original post. Unfortunately, these haven't helped much, but thank you for the suggestion.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-16-2010, 08:09 PM
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One on the horses at my barn has the exact same problem. What we've done for her is to switch to a wide tree saddle and layer your saddle pads. We put a neopreen saddle pad on her first for the extra grip then layer two calvary saddle pads (really thin) on top of that. They also started using a breast collar on her. And make sure the cinch is good a tight. It'll still slide a little bit but with mutton withers (kinda what it sounds like she has) it helps a lot.

If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong.
~Pat Parelli
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-16-2010, 10:10 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NC
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Could you maybe post a picture so we can see her conformation? That might help with suggestions.

ETA sorry, didn't think to look in your barn first. *smacks head* nevermind...

"Keep a leg on each side and your mind in the middle"
apachiedragon is offline  
post #10 of 15 Old 10-16-2010, 10:30 PM
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Location: Arizona
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I don't have any suggestions for bareback, but if you do try a saddle again, I will second the breast collar recommendation. It will not help fix a saddle fit issue, BUT it will keep the saddle from rolling completely under the horse and causing a major wreck. I am even convinced using a breast collar save my life on two occasions when the saddle would have otherwise rolled under the horse. Think of it as a seat belt for your saddle.

It really sounds as if she doesn't have a properly fitting saddle though. I can't imagine a horse so slick that a saddle wouldn't hold at all. My Mustang is terribly round and I finally, after probably two years of going through saddles, found one that fits him great. But it took kissing a lot of toads before we found the perfect one.
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