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Saddles and the excersize rider.

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  • Saddles and the excersize rider.

    I have my horse being ridden a couple times a week while I cannot ride for about a year.

    Horse has a saddle that is a little on the wide side. I have ridden her several times with a thick sheep skin pad and square pad. She is the same horse. (occassionally balks and pins her ears. Does this part way into a ride.).

    I've tried many saddles on the horse. This saddle does not bridge, has nice wide panels. It is not pommel high or cantle high (or low either). It is a little wide up front (I'd like to fit one extra finger in there).

    My rider recently told me that she doesnt think the saddle fits and could be pinching the horse in the shoulders due to the afore mentioned behavior.

    Here's the clincher.

    The horse comes into heat year round. I do not know if she is in heat right now, I havent seen her in a while. When she is about to come into heat, she gets balky and pins her ears and gets crampy. She has done this for the entire time I have had her (except when she was on Regumate).

    No signs of back soreness (I have checked all the time). I've done the Mag restore route, the ulcer route, the massage route. I've had other people ride her (including this rider) and say "she is just a WB mare and some times, they hit the "done button" like that and need to be finessed into continueing."

    I like the rider, she is very good and seems very knowledgeable. I did tell her I have an old saddle that fits my horse better, but she hates the brand and has not ridden in it.

    I like to have the rider work my horse, but I really don't want to buy a saddle for her (since there is no money changing hands) and I cannot try the saddle (I'm pregnant, cannot ride).

    I put a call into the saddle fitter, but honestly, I know my horse...she's just prone to have a witch fit occasionally.

    I told the rider she could use the other saddle, but I'm not buying another...

    Any ideas? I *know* my dressage saddle is wide (not "on the withers" but wide for her) and I was in the process of getting a fitter out to make adjustments, then I got pregnant. Am I an ass for not wanting to invest in something I cannot use? Is it wrong of me to steer the rider towards my other saddle?

  • #2
    I'm not letting anyone ride my horse in a saddle which I know doesn't fit. Period.

    It's up to your judgment how bad that "doesn't fit" is, and how much you think is the mare just acting up. If you only want your horse ridden in a specific saddle, it's up to the person doing the riding whether or not she wants to ride in it, but your word should be IT as far as what's used. I do think you should have a saddle fitter out if you were going to have one out, because it's unfair to your horse if you don't. If your horse is only getting exercised, not really worked/schooled, it's also very likely her back is narrower now than when you last rode, so the saddle fit could be worse.

    I worked a horse from a friend in a saddle I will not ride in again - but she has a hunt saddle which fits him as well, and I will ride in that. Her dressage saddle fit her horse poorly in my opinion AND was painful to ride in with a too small for me super deep seat. I wouldn't expect her to buy a saddle so I could work her horse, but not being a trainer I can refuse to ride in any saddle I want because it doesn't affect my livelihood... and being the owner of the horse, she can refuse to let me ride in any saddle she wants.
    If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


    • #3
      I'd arrange a meeting of owner, rider, saddle fitter & 2 saddles in question (oh & the horse ) & go from there ...
      perhaps this rider & the saddle fitter will demonstrate your mare in a new light in a saddle that fits her properly ...
      & then you can decide where you want to go from there ...

      I don't recall if you were considering breeding your mare, but that can sometimes improve heat cycle issues
      (of course a new saddle is probably cheaper )


      • #4
        If she's working less now, she may have gotten narrower, causing the slightly too wide saddle to fit worse. If that is the only issue, a half pad may do the trick for now.

        If the saddle fit is bad enough that you planned to have the saddle fitter out for you- then yes, you should definitely have the saddle fitter out for the other rider. The horse shouldn't have to suffer because you aren't the one riding her.

        If the other saddle fits well, then yes, you can tell the rider that she has to use that saddle and not the one she is currently using.


        • #5
          I've lost track of how many horses I exercised in my teens and early 20s, and in all that time I don't think my own like or dislike of a saddle was ever taken into consideration, and I wouldn't have expected it to be! (And that was back when they were darned unfriendly to the female physique). I'm pretty sure I was in my 30s before I rode in a saddle that truly fit ME.

          Of course the fit of the saddle to the horse should be checked by a pro, and it can only really be done with the rider in question on board. Slight differences in weight and riding style can change the fit of a saddle, particularly if it's not perfect to begin with. And as others have said, maresy may have changed shape with the lighter workload. You certainly don't want to cause any problems over the next few months that will present themselves just when you're ready to get back in the saddle. Get the current one checked with the new rider, or just take it away and replace it with the one that does fit. Your rider is exercising a horse here, not training it or competing it - she'll be fine!
          Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


          • Original Poster

            I have a call into a fitter. Rider messages me and said she would use the other saddle, which is good.
            I did not even think of the weight/ muscle thing...duh...she moved barns and lost weight. She was a big fat fatty and now she looks good. I can't believe I didn't think of that!

            I do plan on the rider coming to the fitting. I'm not sure how much narrower the saddle can be made...huge bummer since it's a 14" flapped Albion that I love! It took years to find too...
            Unfortunatly I can't try out a new saddle any time soon. Hopefully the fitter can make some use out of it with pads and shims until she fills out with muscle.

            Id love to breed her (she's had 2 already) and would have, had I known I'd be prego!