Saddle Fit

Saddle

WHY IS A CORRECTLY FITTED SADDLE SO CRITICAL?

BEHAVIOUR INDICATORS LINKED TO BAD SADDLE FIT:

  • When the saddle is brought towards the horse he may exhibit some or all of the following behaviours: he puts his ears back; moves away; kicks out and/or bites.
  • When the saddle is settled on his back he may demonstrate some or all of the above – if the situation is very severe he may even try to remove the saddle with his teeth or start bucking.
  • The horse demonstrates aggressive behaviour when girthed up and it could take a long time with breaks in between before you are able to girth the horse up sufficiently.
  • The horse is hypersensitive when being groomed in the saddle area.
  • The horse is difficult to shoe/trim especially the front feet (but not limited to)
  • The horse starts to buck while being ridden and sometimes does not want to move forward.
  • The horse is restless and unable to stand still.

PHYSICAL INDICATORS LINKED TO BAD SADDLE FIT:

  • Obvious sores in the saddle area.
  • Rubbing marks and hair loss (even very slight indicates a problem) in the saddle area.
  • White hairs in the saddle area
  • Swellings in the saddle area - directly after the saddle has been removed.
  • Muscle atrophy around wither and shoulder area.
  • Hard knobs or lumps in saddle area.

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS LINKED TO BAD SADDLE FIT:

  • Resistance of work
  • Taking a long time to warm up.
  • Starting well and deteriorating through the training
  • Bucking or rearing regularly
  • Unwilling or unable to work from behind and round his back while working
  • Difficult to collect
  • Swishing of the tail, grinding of teeth, flattening of ears, rolling of eyes.
  • Stopping at jumps
  • The first indications could be as subtle as rushing transitions.
  • Front leg lameness, stumbling or hind leg lameness, stiffness
  • Shortening of gaits/strides.

When taking the nature of the horse into consideration – that being that they are flight animals – the severity of these behaviour, physical and performance changes become more apparent.  The horse will only show pain when it cannot hide it anymore.  That means that by the time the horse is trying to bite us when we try to saddle him it is very far gone.

The horse is normally trying to communicate the distress to us.  Please try and consider that your horse might not be misbehaving just trying to communicate the distress he is in.

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Note that no information given on this website should be considered a substitute for consulting your veterinarian or relevant professional.