It's the saddle, stupid! - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By trailhorserider
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post #1 of 2 Old 03-16-2012, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,338
• Horses: 2
It's the saddle, stupid!

Sometimes you don't know your saddle fits poorly..........until you buy a new one!

I am posting this because I thought it might help someone else somewhere down the line.

All last summer I rode my Fox Trotter in a FQHB saddle that seemed like a decent fit. She had some dry spots on her withers, maybe the size of a tangerine, but I didn't think it was a bad fit. The only real physical sign the fit was less than ideal was after I did one long trail ride she had a raised bump on her spine on her back towards her loins. Like the saddle was rubbing her spine. We did a lot of mountain climbing on that ride and some cantering too. So I felt bad about it and started using a pad with a channel in the center after that. And that took care of the spine rubbing. But still, I certainly didn't think the saddle was a horrible fit.

Well by a blessing of fate, I now have two additional saddles and my mare moves so much better than she ever did! She gaits better, moves freer, and low and behold, doesn't trip nearly as much as she did! As a matter of fact, during one several hour trail ride she didn't trip once!

The whole time I owned her I have been concerned about her tripping. I keep her feet fairly short and make sure I rasp or trim them whenever they need it and never let the toes get any excess growth. Still, I couldn't cure the tripping. I was starting to think either she was getting old and arthritic (she's 18) or it was because of her conformation (she toes out on the front).

Well I am so happy to realize much of the tripping was the saddle! She moves so much better in her new saddle! Both of the new saddles are an improvement, but the last one (a Saddle King I got for cheap) fits like a charm! Who knew you could cure tripping with a new saddle? Or your horse would move freer and happier in a new saddle? I didn't even realize she was unhappy.

She's always been sensitive when I would brush or run my fingers firmly down her back (to check for soreness). I was starting to wonder if she was just sensitive in general. Well yesterday we rode 13 miles and today I ran my fingers down her back and no soreness! And rode her for about an hour today to try out a bit I was borrowing and thought she would be tired after yesterday. Nope, she was eager to go!

I guess some of this sounds elementary. And I've even suggested to other people on this forum that if the horse is acting grouchy it could be the saddle. But never did I realize just what my saddle was doing to my own horse! And now I know! And I'm so happy to have realized it and found a saddle that fits her great. It must have been divine intervention, because I never knew I had anything more than a minor fit issue. And now she hardly ever trips and her back isn't sore and she is eager to go again the day after a long ride! I'm so happy!

And the interesting thing is, the saddle that didn't fit was FQHB and the new saddle that fits perfect is also FQHB. But they fit a bit differently (the new one isn't as wide). So you just never know until you actually ride a saddle for a good long time how it is going to fit your horse.

I hope this might help someone else.
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post #2 of 2 Old 03-17-2012, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 573
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That is a great story Trailrider! I don't think many people realize how a bad saddle or bad conformation (that can be fixed by a vet chiropractor) can affect a horse's attitude. I am going with a saddle fitting thing right now with my two horses, wanting to make sure that it fits as it can be quite an investment. I was trying to do it on my own but do not trust my judgement so have called a local saddlefitter in a nearby town that has fitted a couple horses at my boarding stable. I just couldn't stand it if my horse was in pain and know you understand. Your horse thanks you!!
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