03-13-2012, 11:56 AM
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If your saddle is too far forward or restricting the movement of her shoulder blades (they will rotate back close to an 1 1/2" to 2" when her front hoof has swung completely forward) she will be short strided and even swing her leg from the elbow rather than move the entire shoulder. I see it quite a lot in dressage horses and eventers ridden in fad-ish narrow treed saddles but it holds true is western as well. A wider saddle set a bit further back can help them open up the front end without rushing forward with small choppy strides.
Put her on a lunge line first with no saddle to help her find the open free stride. When you add the saddle does her stride change? Play with a few different saddles and pads as well as placement and see if there is a change. I recently changed the width on a client's saddle to wider and her mare who was scoring low on movement in dressage is now off the charts. Judges love her big, free stride. The woman is scoring in the top of her division now.