Saddle issue? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Question

Hi, I'm new here. My daughter (13) has a Curly mare who is 15 years old. She is typical short bodied horse and is 14.2 hh and seems to be high withered. She is alert and respectful.
Back in November, when I was out with my son at piano lessons and my husband (very inexperienced) decided to saddle her up (with daughter's help) and take her out. He is heavy and has no experience except for trail rides when he was young with 'rented' horses. He is the proverbial bull in a china shop.
Ever since then, I put a saddle with cinch tighted and she walks like she is on a tightrope with her front feet. I can cinch it up normal or just barely and the result is the same. She rides bareback just fine. We gave her some time to 'heal' if it was something pinched or something, but 2 months later, she still does it.

I am looking for some ideas on fixing it. I changed her cinch. That did nothing. I haven't tried a different saddle yet. I'll try to enclose a picture of her but I don't have one on my computer right now.

I grew up with horses but as a kid was not given all information from parents. I basically would get my horse ready on my own and ride anywhere I wanted to. It really worked out. I am more of a 'helicopter' parent when it comes to my daughter and horses. I want her to be comfortable and know the ins and outs of riding and caring for her horse. We got her at the end of September. My daughter is allergic to horses so this is the only possibility.

Any ideas????
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 12:35 PM
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Sounds like your husband hurt her back, was most likely too much pressure. She does not have a long back, so very small area that she can support the weight of a rider. Do not let your husband ride her anymore.

Please take her to a vet for xrays, before doing any more riding. Also if you can locate a vet who is also a chiropractor, would be helpful.


Hopefully the mare will be ok, she sounds like a saint.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 12:40 PM
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Welcome to the Group! Lots of really smart and experienced people here.

I assume everything was good prior to your husband's ride. Did he use your daughter's saddle or is there a saddle that better suits a larger person? My guess would be that some damage was done due to the ride. I might think that the saddle does not fit well.

I would have the horse checked by a vet and one that also is a chiro would be a bonus. Saddle fit is so important. I would not ride until the mystery is solved and the horse heals.

I had a horse seen by a vet/chiro/saddle fitter. I took 3 saddles along and lucky for me my favorite saddle was a match. Matching horse and saddle can be a challenge but so is an injured horse.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 12:45 PM
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I agree she should be looked over for any damage to her back. Vets here have portable X-ray machines, but palpating her might also reveal sensitive areas that need readjusting. Maybe you should bring in a chiropractor.

I was the same as you as a child - parents knew nothing about horses, but bought me a horse anyway and let me just do my thing. It worked out somehow, but I wasn't a very good horse owner then. Things are different now, we know more, and that means we have an obligation to apply that knowledge to our equine friends.

You may want to look at saddle fit too. We have a short-backed Arab with a fairly sprung rib cage, and he is very, very hard to fit. My daughter rides English and we've had great luck finding saddles from British makers (they are often made for ponies so they have short backs and round barrels). I'm not familiar with Western brands as much (I assume you're talking about a Western saddle since you used the word "cinch"). If you have access to a saddle-fitter, that's the quickest and easiest way to figure out what your horse needs. If not, take wither tracings and send them into some saddlers. Even if you don't want to buy one of their new, expensive saddles, once they tell you what size you need, you can start looking for used models if that's your preference.

Remember though that horses shouldn't carry more than 20% of their weight. Some horses can carry more of course, but some cannot. Be careful of letting just anyone on your daughter's horse in the future.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 12:47 PM
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Have you tried riding her with a different saddle? If your husband is quite heavy or rode her more aggressively than he should have, I wonder if it could be that some part of the saddle really pushed into her and did some permanent damage. One of my horses has permanent bumps on her spine from being ridden (by heavy people) in a particular saddle that didn't fit her. So maybe your horse is now tender in the places where this particular saddle contacts her body, but might not be affected by another saddle.

I agree with finding a reputable chiro / bodyworker to come look at her. Just make sure you find one that is reputable. A good chiropractor or bodyworker and really put you back on the right track.

Oh, I just re-read the post and see that you mentioned not trying a different saddle. Yes, I would definitely try that. Plus the chiro / bodyworker.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 04:05 PM
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Does she palpate sore anywhere? Not only her back, but under her belly, between her legs, ect. Does she stretch her front legs forward if you ask, with and without a girth?

Have you done some tests too determine the source of the reaction? Meaning, saddle only, no girth, how does she walk? Different tightness of girth? A soft rope wrapped around the girth to simulate girth pressure?

Does she walk out of it at all?

Could be there was some damage if she was girthed roughly or pinched and isn't resolving on its own. Could be she has developed a learned reaction to the girth from some temporary pain at the time.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 04:13 PM
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What I think we are all saying, is the problem is not really a saddle issue at this point (although the saddle may not fit) the issue currently is the horse's health and wellbeing.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-17-2020, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
I agree she should be looked over for any damage to her back. Vets here have portable X-ray machines, but palpating her might also reveal sensitive areas that need readjusting. Maybe you should bring in a chiropractor.

I was the same as you as a child - parents knew nothing about horses, but bought me a horse anyway and let me just do my thing. It worked out somehow, but I wasn't a very good horse owner then. Things are different now, we know more, and that means we have an obligation to apply that knowledge to our equine friends.

You may want to look at saddle fit too. We have a short-backed Arab with a fairly sprung rib cage, and he is very, very hard to fit. My daughter rides English and we've had great luck finding saddles from British makers (they are often made for ponies so they have short backs and round barrels). I'm not familiar with Western brands as much (I assume you're talking about a Western saddle since you used the word "cinch"). If you have access to a saddle-fitter, that's the quickest and easiest way to figure out what your horse needs. If not, take wither tracings and send them into some saddlers. Even if you don't want to buy one of their new, expensive saddles, once they tell you what size you need, you can start looking for used models if that's your preference.

Remember though that horses shouldn't carry more than 20% of their weight. Some horses can carry more of course, but some cannot. Be careful of letting just anyone on your daughter's horse in the future.
A portable x-ray machine can't do anything above the hocks. Only a high powered one at a clinic can x-ray big bones with clarity, and none are portable or abundant as of yet. We only have 2 in this province and the cost is prohibitive. A good, experienced vet should be able to do field tests to give you an idea of what is wrong or or at least figure out what is not wrong.
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Last edited by waresbear; 01-18-2020 at 12:15 AM.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-18-2020, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
A portable x-ray machine can't do anything above the hocks. Only a high powered one at a clinic can x-ray big bones with clarity, and none are portable or abundant as of yet. We only have 2 in this province and the cost is prohibitive. A good, experienced vet should be able to do field tests to give you an idea of what is wrong or or at least figure out what is not wrong.
That's what my vet said, too, when my Pony had a hurt back. No portable X-Rays for the back, so you have to find someone who is good at figuring out what's wrong from feel.
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"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-18-2020, 01:51 PM
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The back can be xrayed with a portable. The SI and pelvis, no, but I've had my guys whole neck done on a farm call and another lady had her horses back done to check for kissing spines. I've even had a shoulder xrayed portable. (To be pedantic, stifles and elbows are above the hocks are definitely xrayable).

It is going to depend on the machine your vet has available.
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