View Full Version : Rub Marks on horse

Jun. 7, 2010, 10:25 AM
So I have noticed rub marks on my horses right side, where the billets go over the saddle pad. I ride in a specialized saddle and use a Haf pad. Easy rides I get no rub, but at an endurance ride or hard training ride I get rubs. My knees are shot so I may be leaning harder to the right? I am going to try a longer stirrup length to see if that will help....any other suggestions? :confused:

Jun. 7, 2010, 10:32 AM
You have a crooked pelvis. Go see a chiro. That was my problem too. First it was sore knees, then my upper back, and arms. Horse had tender spots on his right side near his kidneys. Although I didn't have marks on the horse, this is a sign of crooked pelvis.

Spec saddles I have heard need lots of shimming, and tweeking to get just right, then you have to check it periodically to make sure the padding is still working.

I also had the horse checked out by a chiro. One or both of you could, may, might be, or are out of alignment. For a horse, he will be traveling crooked, he will over or under stride in the hind and/or fore foot. This will effect you too.

No longer or shorter stirrup helped me, it did only temporarily.


Jun. 7, 2010, 10:40 AM
Hummm good advice RMH, I do notice when we canter I feel twisted. Had the saddle refitted not to long ago so don't think it is that. But I will def. make an appt with chiro. A friend of mine is a veterinary chiropractor so will have her look at horse. Thanks.

Jun. 7, 2010, 10:44 AM
I picked up a cheap pair of the flexi stirrups and it really helped my knees. I had ACL reconstruction in the L knee and the right knee is pretty shot too. I got my pair from Horseloverz. They don't have a lot a flex so they are still pretty stable but provide just enough to help the knees.
I ride in an English AP saddle.

No recommendation on the rubs though.

Old Mac Donald
Jun. 7, 2010, 10:49 AM
I had the same problem... People even asked me once, after such an incident, why I had so cruelly spurred my horse - I replied that I had caused the marks by accidentally putting spurs (which I never use and don't own) on the back of my knees, and would they PLEASE look at the location of the marks relative to my height and pony's height and try again...

The marks came up from ONE ride (60 minutes, trail ride, give or take) with a regular saddle pad that simply had cotton binding. On both sides, where the girth billets crossed the binding, the mare was rubbed raw. The pad was a high quality one, but even so - rubs. I now use a western shaped pad under the dressage saddle, and have felt ones made up with no binding. Only way I could get around the problem.

I used a HAF pad once, and discovered that a) my horse was allergic to any synthetic/grippy material, and b) was allergic to the point that she had such a reaction that she was unrideable for three months. The worst reaction she's ever had to a saddle pad.

Saddle pads are the bane of my existence. To work for my particular mare (who has black and pink mottled skin - the pink gets the rubs), the pad has to be natural fibres (wool, felt, cotton), clear the wither completely, have no binding material or grippy surfaces or changes in surfaces, and be completely clear of the girth. Strangely enough, I now have about 5cm of saddle flap (synthetic) and the billets touching the mare, and they don't rub her at all. Oh no, jinxed it I bet...

You aren't alone here! I'd try a pad without binding, or have your saddler put sheepskin on the hide on the pad, over the billet area, against the horse. That usually helps.


Regarding my comment re: spurring. My mare is 15.2hh but slight in barrel (Arabish). I use an Isabel saddle, and the clearance from her armpit to the end of the saddle flap is roughly 10-15cm. From armpit to top hole on billet, maybe 8-10cm. Not a whole lot of room for error there in picking the right girth length!! The girth I used left perhaps 2cm of exposed skin between the end of the saddle pad (where she rubbed under the billets) and the top of the girth.

I'm 5'11". My ankles barely touch her barrel. If I was to use spurs, I'd have to use those ones with a turned up neck to even touch her (trust me, I trialled a pair of regular dressage nobs once and they stayed polished the entire ride) and possibly have to tie them mid-way up my calf!!

There was no way the marks could of been made by anyone over 5' tall, unless they were riding a la jockey... And wore their spurs aimed directly into the horse, rather then behind the foot...


Edit: Maybe you aren't as crooked as you think - which is your horse's hollow side? Perhaps he is slightly pushing your leg on one side. My mare's hollow side (side in which she does not bend away from the leg as comfortably) often pushes against my leg slightly - I can imagine that that wouldn't help the rubbing on that side.

If YOU were truly that crooked, I would imagine your horse's wither or backbone would be rubbed (from uneven pressure in the saddle, pulling the saddle sideways), not under the girth billet. That says "stiff ribs" to me.

Jun. 11, 2010, 12:44 PM
Ok, so i went to a recommended chiropractor with 25 years + experience that is into sports med. Had a prelim workup, and he found crooked pelvis, SI sub lux. The crooked pelvis is making my left leg a little longer, therefore throwing me harder in the saddle to the right.......he is going to look my x-rays then go over everything with me next week and start correcting things. I have been wanting to go to a chiro for awhile now....glad i finally did. Hopefully this will solve the rubbing issue. If it doesn't hoping it just makes me feel better!!!

Jun. 17, 2010, 12:28 PM
So I went for the consult after rads taken. Wow, left pelvis a good hike higher than the right. Chiro started working on me today, hopefully this will solve the problem. I will have many visits to get pelvis straight again, and some follow up rads, but really glad I went. Also is working on my neck which i didn't realize was that much of a problem....I felt like a new person walking out of the docs office today. :cool:

Jun. 19, 2010, 04:40 PM
After I went to the chiro, before my 50 miles, he said one leg was 1 1/2 inch shorter on the left. He adjusted me. I rode that weekend- absolutely NO pain, which usually resolutes in my lower back. I am thinking I need an adjusting before every ride!! I did change my left stirrup a tad shorter to compensate, then I released it after he adjusted me again.

It had to have been my hips also, but was showing pain in my lower back. I need to get another job just to pay the chiro dr.

Jun. 20, 2010, 02:00 AM
read this thread its relevent


Jun. 20, 2010, 09:50 AM

That is a lot for an uneven leg length. But, I have had leg lengths like that too. And yes, my legs are absolutely the exact same length, it is the pelvis.

Before I got chiro'd, my horse had more wear on the right side of his back. Kinda a dent there, no soreness at all ever. It was from ME sitting down harder on his back there. Although I am very very light when I come down when posting in my english saddle. Yes, it seems like always one leg would come out of the stirrup more than the other one, the right leg which was being longer than the other one. My foot just wouldn't stay in place. I tried hard. I couldn't believe how unbalanced I had become either.

Over time things hash out to rear its ugly head.

I just may be at the end of my crooked pelvis and crooked back ordeal after almost 3 years. First my pelvis was out of whack, and then my upper back had to accommodate the crooked pelvis and so did my neck.

Glad you found out so soon.