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White hairs under saddle bars....later?

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  • White hairs under saddle bars....later?

    So, I took blankets off yesterday and my gelding has developed a sprinkling of white hairs that seem to be in line with the bars of my saddle. He's been off for about 7wks, due to the weather. While in heavy training last season he was never sore-backed and always received good scores at vet checks. Should I be worried about saddle fit? He's a tall, good withered QH, and I ride him in a Prorider barrel saddle, semi-QH bars. It appears to fit him well, doesn't pinch his withers at all. I've ridden him in this saddle for 3 years, but last year we rode a lot more that in past years. I use a 100? wool felt pad, (the really thick kind). Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Typically, existiing hair doesn't turn white. When new hair grows in, in an area that has had excess pressure or trauma, that new hair will be white. So the damage being done to your horses back was probably going on for some time. The saddle fits too tightly in the area that the white hair has appeared. Using a thicker pad just makes the fit even tighter, like wearing shoes that are too tight then putting thicker socks on.

    Going to a thinner pad may help, but it may not be enough. This is what is so frustrating about saddles with rigid trees. A few treed saddle have adjustable panels which can allow you to adjust the fit as the horse changes.

    Anyway, many horses are very stoic about their saddles. I had a mare that always got A's on her back but routinely got white patches as I had her saddle reflocked and reflocked and reflocked!!!!!!! What a waste of $$$$$

    Bonnie S.

    Comment


    • #3
      If the white hairs are just appearing where the bars of your saddle are then I personally would be concerned.
      Unfortunately some horses are very stoic and won't "tell" you their backs are sore.
      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dumb question but:

        What if your horse is white over his back and doesn't show soreness?

        (I'm not saying I suspect my guy is having problems, I just want to know for future reference as he seems the stoic sort)
        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

        Comment


        • #5
          My suggestion would to call in a saddle fitter. I had that same issue with a saddle that was made for my mare - however with time there back changes and when she came out, I was able to fix the problem with a shim pad - it raised the saddle up off her shoulders where all the pressure was. You can put in shims or take out shims in different places - wherever you need them. Instead of wasting money trying this or that - just call in an expert from the get go. She said in most cases the owner don't need a new saddle, just some adjustments! Good luck, I know how frustrating it is

          Comment


          • #6
            I was told that white hairs where your saddle sits can mean that the saddle is possibly not allowing blood to flow properly to those spots and they in turn will become white. Probably best to check with a saddle fitter.

            Good luck!
            http://www.minuspride.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Yep, I've got a horse that shows the 'delayed reaction' via white hairs too. He's on his 3rd western saddle (sucker just keeps growing) and I'm having the saddle fitter out on Monday to check out the English saddle. He's a hard to fit horse, weird conformation including asymmetry- but the only time he really complained by dancing a bit was first time ridden in a couple of months, when he had outgrown that saddle during the off time!

              Happily, because I do constantly check fit- this horse literally changes shape over night, sometimes- white hairs that have cropped up have shed out on the next hair growth cycle. But- when it occurs, those hairs show up without any complaints from the horse as to saddle fit- including hard all day riding on mountain steeps where you would 'think' saddle pain would cause complaints!

              Comment


              • #8
                Just to eliminate other possibilities, is the horse blanketed? Could the blanket be causing rubs/white hairs?
                Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had this issue with my horse too, no back complains but white hairs! So I got a new saddle and pad (I was using a neoprene one before and think that may have been a contributing factor too?) and have been riding in it for about 2 months....the white hairs are still there though. No new ones, just the same ones as before. Does anybody know how long should it take for them to go away? Just wondering if perhaps this new saddle isn't fitting him right either.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cowgurly View Post
                    the white hairs are still there though. No new ones, just the same ones as before. Does anybody know how long should it take for them to go away? Just wondering if perhaps this new saddle isn't fitting him right either.
                    If they do go away i don't have a clue how long it would take but sadly if much damage was done they probably won't.
                    I've got one here who I bought with a white patch on either side of his withers.
                    Poor guy. He evidently was ridden in a terrible saddle for a long time.
                    Hopefully if you just have white hairs and not solid white it will go away.
                    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pj View Post
                      If they do go away i don't have a clue how long it would take but sadly if much damage was done they probably won't.
                      I've got one here who I bought with a white patch on either side of his withers.
                      Poor guy. He evidently was ridden in a terrible saddle for a long time.
                      Hopefully if you just have white hairs and not solid white it will go away.
                      Thanks! They are just white hairs, not solid, so I hope they go away. I bought this horse in August and only rode him for 2 months in the old saddle/pad when I noticed the white hairs. I borrowed a different one that seemed to fit him better until my new one came in. There's not many, but it is noticeable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The white Hairs are caused by too much pressure on the hair follicle which because of lack of blood circulation is damaged and causes the pigment to come out of the hair as it grows

                        Depending on severity of a bad Saddle fit, it can take 6 months to a year to show up, also depending on severity and length of time said Saddle is on, many Horse will always have the the white hairs.

                        If the hairs are in a straight line it is a very bad saddle fit, if the hairs are sporadic and in small circle, this could be a lesser problem such as too thick of padding, not having the Saddle in the Pocket (wrong place) or not keeping or having the cinch tight enough, these hairs can come back out in a year or two the correct color.

                        On White Horses about the only way to tell is a major dry spot when all other areas around the dry spot are wet.


                        .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SouthernTrailsGA View Post
                          The white Hairs are caused by too much pressure on the hair follicle which because of lack of blood circulation is damaged and causes the pigment to come out of the hair as it grows

                          Depending on severity of a bad Saddle fit, it can take 6 months to a year to show up, also depending on severity and length of time said Saddle is on, many Horse will always have the the white hairs.

                          If the hairs are in a straight line it is a very bad saddle fit, if the hairs are sporadic and in small circle, this could be a lesser problem such as too thick of padding, not having the Saddle in the Pocket (wrong place) or not keeping or having the cinch tight enough, these hairs can come back out in a year or two the correct color.

                          On White Horses about the only way to tell is a major dry spot when all other areas around the dry spot are wet.


                          .
                          Great info! Thank you! I only had the one ill fitting saddle on him a couple of months, as soon as the white hairs showed up I took it off him. And they are sporadic so hopefully they will go away eventually now that I have a better fitting saddle. Thanks!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes check saddle/pad fit, white hairs appear after follicle damage. Our mare liked to stick her head under the fence for grass and rubbed a spot raw, once we got it healed the hair grew back white.

                            Another possibility is that the coat is just changing, have a reg. sorrell QH, registered at 5 months, now is 8 yrs and is a red roan, roaning is heavier when she has her winter coat.
                            "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

                            "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SouthernTrailsGA View Post

                              On White Horses about the only way to tell is a major dry spot when all other areas around the dry spot are wet.


                              .
                              That's pretty much what I figured. *sigh* (at least that's a quicker way to find out than waiting for white hairs to show up? Assuming I ever work the big pony hard enough for him to get really sweaty)
                              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                it doesn't have to be in an ill-fitting saddle for a long time for permanent white hairs to show up- I know of a horse who was ridden lightly for all of three weeks in a clearly too-narrow saddle ("waiting for the new one to arrive"), was then put into a professionally fitted saddle; three months later when the winter coat came in, so did white hairs where the saddle bars sit. And stayed white for years.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Nike13 View Post
                                  So, I took blankets off yesterday and my gelding has developed a sprinkling of white hairs that seem to be in line with the bars of my saddle. He's been off for about 7wks, due to the weather. While in heavy training last season he was never sore-backed and always received good scores at vet checks. Should I be worried about saddle fit? He's a tall, good withered QH, and I ride him in a Prorider barrel saddle, semi-QH bars. It appears to fit him well, doesn't pinch his withers at all. I've ridden him in this saddle for 3 years, but last year we rode a lot more that in past years. I use a 100? wool felt pad, (the really thick kind). Any thoughts?
                                  get your saddle looked at and flocked as saddles should be done at least once a year

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Since it is a western saddle, flocking isn't an option. What about a gel pad? I know the Impact Gel pads are supposed to be really good. Anyone have success with that? This is all assuming I don't need an entirely new saddle.
                                    For the record, he is not a stoic horse. He's affectionately known as The Pansy. That's why I was surprised at the white hairs, since he's not one to suffer in silence.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Whether a gel pad is an answer- or whether, in general, 'more' or 'less' padding is the answer, really depends on where you are getting the pressure. And, if you fix 'that' area (along the bars of the saddle if I recall your original post)- do you do something somewhere else?

                                      I know that with my 6 yo, whose very pricey saddle does fit well- I use either thin navajo or thicker felt pad throughout the summer- depending on changes in his musculature. Mostly the issue with him is ensuring that the crupper is on when we need it for steep terrain.

                                      Put the saddle on with out any padding (or with very thin padding, even a bed sheet folded over) and check for pressure points. Then, I like to ride for an hour or so with a clean single layer navajo that is light in color, and can tell if there are pressure points that way - if you have really clean spots standing out, that is where the saddle is perhaps too tight.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I had this happen with a horse. He was in a semi-QH bars Western saddle. He never complained or showed signs of a sore back. I bought a wide, full-QH bars saddle, and voila, no additional white hairs.

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