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Zab 03-16-2009 04:26 PM

Saddle rubs the coat off! Help!

I'm starting to have a problem now. My horse doesn't have the most un-breakable coat, but he rubs it off very easily. Just leave the halter on him in the pasture for a few days and he'll have bald spots all over his face where it rubs.. :/
This far I've managed to keep him nice without too much trouble tho, by putting showsheen on his back and hips especially when he wears a blanket (to ease friction), making sure to have a smooth inside on the blankets, removing the halter during the day in the pasture and so on.

But now when I've started riding him more, I noticed that the hairs under the back of the saddle was ruffled and now it's a lighter area there with way too short hairs. He's not sore or anything, but I'm afraid he will be if I can't stop this progress, and that if he gets sore, he'll get white hairs at that spot.. not so neat on a dark brown/black bay.. but of course the worst is if he gets sore.

I figured that the hairs got ruffled and broke a bit when my saddlepad got really dirty for a while. I didn't notice anything back then, but I think it could start there and then the friction increased as the coat was damaged and now it's going downhill..
I have of course washed the pad (too two rides to get it stiff and bad again - bleh! it was expencive too) and I hoped it would be enough, but now I see it's getting worse.
So now I've given him a bath despite the weather (He loves to roll in mud and no matter what I do, brushing, vacuum cleaning etc for hours I can't get him un-dusty unless I bathe him) and given him a thin blanket to keep him clean. I've started using showsheen on that area to make it smoother and I have soft blankets closest to him when I ride (the saddle is a bit too wide, I am looking for a new one. But that would hardly affect that area of his back, not with this saddle)..

Giving him a vacation for several months to let the hairs grow out isn't very fun when I just got him good to ride (green broke) and afterall it feels silly when he isn't in any pain.. he just have a ruffled coat..

Any helpful advices, please? Ideas? Anything?
Could a reindeer skin with the hairs down do any good? I remember a horse in school that needed that..

Skippy! 03-16-2009 05:38 PM

Be very careful with the Show Sheen! That saddle might slip right off! =)

I can see where a very crusty sweaty pad could make the hair rub off, but you also need to make sure that the pads, as well as the saddle you are using on your horse are right for him =)

Where in particular is the hair coming off? On each side of the wither? or near the hips?

Dont ya hate when stuff like this happens? LOL!

Zab 03-16-2009 06:02 PM

The saddle is secure enough :P I'm more worried that show sheen will damage the hair more, making them dry or anything..

And the saddle is very good for him, although it is a size too wide (I've ordered a new, more narrow front to it so that's already being fixed) and cause me to have more/thicker pads under it. But, both according to me and everyone I've asked that should know some about it, it's unlikely that the saddle has caused this problem even if it is too wide. We believe that the blame is simply that dirty pad that ruffled the hairs up in the start, and his overly sensetive coat..
He doesn't have any sore or anything at the spot.

It's near/towards the hips, but not close enough to be caused by the saddle being too long. :) There is still a few hands between the hip and the rubbed area.

I will try to give vitamin B for his coat and add a lambskin or reindeer skin to ease the friction against the rubbed part...

And I hope she can get hold of a K3 front to that saddle soon, even if it didn't cause this problem, it's still not good for my horse.. :/

saraequestrian 03-16-2009 07:03 PM

My horse had this too, and it was because of an ill fitting saddle.
Can we see some pictures of his back?

onetoomany 03-17-2009 12:04 AM

What type of surface is the underside of your pad made of? If you think it is the pad why not get a new pad...?

Peggysue 03-17-2009 08:48 AM

sounds like the saddle is a tad too long or the pad material is irratating him

Zab 03-17-2009 02:37 PM

It's not the saddle, it is the pad. It got dirty, ruffled p the hairs and started it that way. I have changed pads, trying to get a smooth surface bt the already rugged up hairs caused more friction despite the new pads and on it went..'

I've bought a shepskin today, I hope that helps untill the hairs grow back. His coat is extremely sensetive.

onetoomany 03-17-2009 02:58 PM

Sheepskin has a tendency to get icky and balled up when it gets sweaty and dirty. When it gets like that it can start pinching hairs and it also becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. I would think using sheepskin would exacerbate the problem, it looks like it's nice and soft but gets icky fast. Again- what type of backing are you currently using?

G and K's Mom 03-17-2009 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by Zab (Post 271781)
It's not the saddle, it is the pad. It got dirty, ruffled p the hairs and started it that way. I have changed pads, trying to get a smooth surface bt the already rugged up hairs caused more friction despite the new pads and on it went..'.

Sorry, but the problem is both, dirty pad and a saddle that doesn't fit.

When you place the pad on the horse's back and secure a well fitted saddle the pad does not move, when your finished your ride you should be able to lift the saddle and the pad is in the same place you started at, in fact this is how you check that a saddle fits in the first palce, by checking for hot spots. If the saddle is not done up enough, bridging, too low or high in the gullet or has too long of skirt your going to have problems, especially with a western saddle. You can sometimes make up for a small short fall in fit by using a thicker or thinner pad or if your riding lots of hills a breast plate can help. In the end saddle fit is the most important part.

Some horse's may have a reaction to certain pads, some pads don't wick sweat as well as other's which may cause a problem for sensitive skinned horses. I found that some chestnuts or sorrels have this problem more so than a bay or other colour.

Zab 03-17-2009 05:27 PM

Sheepskin is often used for horses that rubs the coat, I'll just have to keep it clean... somehow. :/ Probably buying another one and wash them often.

The pad doesn't move or slide away, neither does the saddle (I've ridden in it and forgotten to tighten the girth, leaving it completely loose, and didn't notice untill I got off), but the horses back does move under the saddle and naturally rubs against it. The pads get equally dirty all over the saddles contact areas/panels after a ride.

This is a horse that gets bald spots if he wear a halter, with or without soft fluff on it, for two days in a row. It's not that weird that he got a rubbed spot after some hours riding with a dirty pad, or that the spot got worse once it had started... it's more weird he hasn't had it before. Concidering the muddy weather, wintercoat and it being too cold to shower him; there might have been sandy dust on the spot to start with. I do groom him, even wacuum clean him, but this time of year it's impossible to keep him dust-free. I did shower him now, poor freezing thing, and make him wear a blanket. I'm just afraid the blanket will rub the fur off other parts of his hips now *sigh*
The saddle is a bit too wide as I've said, which is already being fixed. Untill then I'm padding it up and the pads generally gets evenly dirty/sweaty after a ride. But none of us (including prof. saddle checking people, dunno the english name) believs that that can cause a rubbed spot at that place.

He's getting supplements for his coat too, and his food is checked to avoid any lack of vitamins or so.

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