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Wow, I had no idea how much difference a well fitting saddle makes!! When I tried Maverick out, the owner had been using a small fitting saddle (that would explain the white hairs!) and in the test ride I thought he was quite behind the leg - in fact the owner always wore spurs!

I just got the saddler fitter out yesterday and had her check out my two saddles (one jumper, one dressage) and try a demo dressage saddle as well. With the minor flocking corrections and using a different pad, it was obvious he liked having his shoulders and wither more free with my dressage Zaldi.

When I tried the demo dressage saddle on him gone were the ears half backward, the gait was free, much more forward and the trot was big and bouncy. He was throwing me all over the place and it had me in fits of laughter.

His manner of going was relaxed and happy. When I see so many horses appear not comfortable in transitions or their way of going, I suspect less than optimum saddle fit is the issue. It is so common to see but maybe not addressed.
 

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I completely agree with you that ill fitting tack is a big issue. At my old barn, the saddle “fit” if your horse didn’t buck you off and you were comfortable. I rode my mare in an HDR saddle (terrible saddles, btw) and see never would go into a frame, had a fast canter, high head carriage, I could go on and on. My trainer passed it off as me not riding her correctly and her not being a quality horse. I switched barns and had my horse saddle fitted, and what do you know, her saddle pinches, slides, and fits her horribly. I am now in the process of getting her a custom County saddle, and for a while I borrowed one that fit her decently from my trainer. The improvement was remarkable. She goes into a gorgeous long and low frame, has more freedom of shoulder movement, lifts her back, and is developing some beautiful movements. I think a lot of people really don’t understand how much damage an ill fitting saddle can cause and just how important it is.
 

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Yes! Great that you have 'seen the light'. 'Behavioural' probs under saddle are very commonly due to saddle fit. Yes, pressure over the shoulders is a common issue, as they are commonly made/fit to sit over the scapula.

They should not put pressure on the scapula at all - the front weightbearing area should start a couple of inches back from the rear of the scapula. Channels are often too narrow or not high enough, so the saddle puts pressure on/too close to the spine. Saddles may have too much 'rock', and fit the horse well at a stand still, but cause pressure points & fail to distribute the load well when the horse is working well... or it will actually prevent them being able to work well - so they become 'star gazers' & 'will not collect'... yada yada... Often 'lazy' horses are that way because they are restricted by the saddle - they CAN'T go more energetically without pain, and pressure studies on ill fitting saddles have shown that pressure points are far 'stronger' when the horse trots or canters rather than when they're just walking.

There's an English mob, 'Balance International' who had some great info on their site - haven't looked them up for years tho, so hope it's still all there for you.
 

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Misty is a spirited, talkative, lovable little brat! 14 hands, Grulla, speedy, naughty, and perfect1
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Try Ghost saddles out! They are amazing! They are made to fit any horse, because the panels are velroded in and can be moved under the seat to fit any horse. The panels only sit parallel the spine, and don't bind the shoulders. The saddle fits freely and the horses holders are more free. These saddles are amazing! The ONLY saddle that would fit my horse Misty. She loves it, I highly recommend checking it out! Here are a few links. Dealers near you, How it works, and Product overview. The dealers near you link suggest a list of websites were you can buy them that are near you. Product overview and what models are available, will depend on what website you look at, or what dealers are near you. I love this saddle, it will fit any horse forever and be the only saddle you use forever since it is garenteed to fit any horse. I think everyone should take a look!
 
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