Stepping Under? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-25-2011, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Stepping Under?

My mare has a hard time stepping under herself. Especially at the canter. She has a little back pain due to an ill-fitting saddle. Could this be causing it?

Until I get my new saddle do you have any exercises or tips on how to build up the correct muscles? Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-25-2011, 10:12 PM
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Nope, if the saddle is hurting her, then there is no way to make her overcome the pain to collect up properly. And, yes, the poorly fitting saddle most certainly can cause her to travel hollow and strung out.

If the saddle is so ill fitting that it immediately causes her pain, then I wouldn't be riding her in it at all. The longer she is ridden in pain and hollowed out, the longer and more difficult it will be to re-train her brain to collect up properly and comfortably.
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-25-2011, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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The saddle fitter came out gave me a pad to make the saddle more comfortable. She rounds up well and actually has gained topline and is stepping under herself more. I have to ride my mare and I don't have any options until the saddle comes in.
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 11:03 AM
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Can you ride her bareback?

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 11:20 AM
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If I sound "flip" please don't take it that way, I just want to understand more of what is going on. I don't understand when you say you "have to ride?" What is your immediate, goal...are you working towards show readiness etc?
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by xoxsherwoodxox View Post
My mare has a hard time stepping under herself. Especially at the canter. She has a little back pain due to an ill-fitting saddle. Could this be causing it?

Until I get my new saddle do you have any exercises or tips on how to build up the correct muscles? Thanks!
I would definately invest in a Chiro and a massage therapist - if this is left untreated, it can progress isn't permenant damage.

Most definately, the answer to your question is yes. If your horse is not able to use their back freely, without pain, you are going to run into a ton of issues if allowed to continue over time. Ranging from small signs to start with, to bigger and bigger as it progresses.

You need to invest in a saddle that fits your horse, if you know that the saddle you have does not fit properly, then I would start looking for another option.

Why doesn't your saddle fit? What is the issue?

There are many great exercises you can do from the ground - carrot stretches are very benefitial. Lunging as well.

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post #7 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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When I say I have to ride, it means I need to get ready for the winter show season. My pony will be making her green hunter debut on the A circuit.

I have had a saddle fitter who is also a chiropractor come out and look at my horse. He gave me a foam riser pad to use until I get the new saddle. He knew the correct tree that would work for my mares back and that saddle should be coming in some time in the next couple of days.

I can ride my mare bareback, but it's not as effective and she likes it if I can stay off her back more.

The saddle does not cause immediate pain and my mare has been feeling a lot better. Much of her pain is gone but the sensitivity is still there. My mare does have the concept of rounding up and using her back.

I do lounge her occasionally with side reins. But I prefer to ride her.

I know the saddle is affecting her and I just wanted a comformation that it was affecting her movement.

I would just like some exercises that will help her ability to step under herself.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 09:20 PM
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Sorry, I don't want to sound rude, but if the new saddle is coming in a couple of days, what is the issue with giving her a little time off until it comes in? Sounds like she could use some rest to help her back heal anyway. A few days now could make a world of difference later on; if you just keep riding and don't let her sore muscles rest, the issue will never resolve. There aren't really any exercises that can help a horse overcome pain.

Whenever I run into soundness issues with my horse, I just think of the long-term. I would much rather put my training on hold so that I won't have training issues or health issues in the future, than carry on just for short term results. My horse is just seven and I know I will have him for the rest of his life....there is plenty of time for him, I just need to get it right with him, even if that means putting my goals off for a later time... we both have our whole lives ahead of us, as I am sure you do too.

I also find that a thick bareback pad greatly improves both horse and rider comfort on sensitive horses. My mare didn't like bareback either until I got my pad. With it she moves better, which is more comfortable for me and thus is easier to ride, which ultimately makes it better for her too. Even if your horse doesn't like to ride bareback at faster gaits, doing some good foundation work such as lateral and suppling work, or even learning new skills at a walk will give you something to do for a few days and be benificial to your horse. If it's only a few days, I don't really see what the issue is....
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 09:40 PM
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Honestly, I would give your mare some time off. you might get a better feel for how the new saddle suits her if she has had some time to get the memory of pain out of her mind.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-26-2011, 11:08 PM
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I agree, I would give time off so that she can get rid of any residual soreness before she has the new saddle on as well as give her some time to relax. You also need to be careful of over training.... some horses need a break now and again and do even better at shows for it. Heck, I sometimes even give Cinny a whole week off before a show as long as I give myself at least 5 days straight to fine tune him. He works a LOT better that way.
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