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Not the answer I was looking for...

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  • Not the answer I was looking for...

    Total whine post. You have been warned!

    If you've read my other posts, I've been looking for a new saddle for the Goobinator and myself. I've mostly ridden in my Crosby PDN, yes a pancake saddle, for events. My trainer at the time checked the saddle and said yes, this would work. I bought an AP late last summer at my trainer's strong suggestion for out last event in August and foxhunting. I thought my saddles fit my horse decently, plenty of wither clearance, no obvious pinching or bridging. I ride him in a plain saddle pad and a sheepskin half-pad.

    I noticed him acting "cold backed" this winter, which is a new thing (owned him for 7 years). I took it as him living outside and not staying in a cushy stall before I rode, making his muscles "colder." I had my vet check out the fit of these 2, plus my dressage saddle in April. Saddles were cleared as "fitting." I noticed a very reactive spot along his spine on both sides this Spring (I don't remember exactly when), asked my trainer when the Chiropractor was going to be out. Trainer made calls, couldn't reach Chiro for a while.

    Chiro finally came out yesterday. NONE of my saddles fit my entire horse! Apparently, my horse is the equivalent of a pear shaped woman, narrower at the withers than at the thoracic vertebrae. Which is why my saddles fit through his withers/shoulders and I haven't had any glaring issues. I pulled out my trainer's new saddle that I was going to purchase, but she beat me to it. The one where my horse stretched up through his back and said "oh, yeah, that's the one!" Nope, not going to work either...

    So I feel like a complete failure at horsemanship at this point. Letting my horse deal with a crappy saddle fit for SEVEN years and ignorant me, didn't have a clue! Blaming him for being lazy/clever for not coming through his back and me not riding him "tough" enough to get him pushing off his hind end. I've had other Chiropractors out and they didn't catch it either, so it makes me feel like not a complete "newb."

    Good news: New Chiro has saddler contacts! I'm going to send her wither/back tracings and pictures and she's going to help find a saddle that fits my horse's back. And she only charged me a travel fee, since according to her "I can't do anything now, it will just go back as soon as you ride in your saddles again!"

    Bad news: New(to me) saddle is going to cost more than my original budget of $1000... I can sell my others, but I have to ride in something until we find the needle in a haystack and my other 3 aren't going to bring in mucho dinero (maybe $1000 for all three).

    Anyone have some good cheese?

  • #2
    I would get a second opinion!


    • #3
      Originally posted by smokescreen View Post
      I would get a second opinion!
      Agreed. This new chiro COULD be just better/more observant/ better saddle fitter than the other chiro's you have used. Or she could be full of it. If other chiro's have given you the all clear, get a second opinion with a saddle fitter, maybe one the chiro doesn't deal with. Who did she recommend?


      • #4
        Chiro may make commission or get referrals for making referrals to saddle fitters. If everyone else thinks it fits, I would get an independent, reputable saddle fitter out for another opinion. There are many reasons horses don't use their backs well, saddle fit is only one.

        We all are left to the knowledge of the people we hire to work on our horses. You have had your saddle checked in the past. I see nothing that makes you a bad at horsemanship. I have had countless differing opinions on horse situations, medical care and farrier services over the years. All we can do is educate ourselves as much as possible, get recommendations from respected horse professionals, and give it a try.

        Until horses can explain in a more detailed, verbal manner, we will be left to make the best possible choice we can for them, given the situation. Sounds like you are doing that.


        • Original Poster

          I am planning on doing a wither tracing and sending it to multiple saddle fitters for multiple opinions on what would be the best fit.

          This chiropracter is highly recommended in this area, however it is my first time using her services.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Heliodoro View Post
            .. This chiropracter is highly recommended in this area ...
            By who? Sorry to be a little hard to please ... it is not hard for a product or person to get a good rep among people who do not feel they are experts in the field, simply through self-promotion. And when there are so many factors at work, if there is a change, it can be hard to say exactly which factor was responsible, or which combination. If that makes sense.

            Personally I'd go by the riders with the most expertise of their own, and more importantly, the most at stake. Serious competitors who are good at keeping their horses healthy and in the game. The level doesn't matter as much as their commitment and track record of healthy horses.

            I'm noticing that you are more excited about what this chiro has to say than others who you have worked with in the past. Usually when more than one expert agrees on something, that strengthens the evidence it is correct. This chiro has given you a different answer than the others. No idea myself who is right. Just an honest question - what makes her better than all of them?


            • Original Poster

              The new chiro has been recommended by multiple trainers, friends, an old farrier and clients of my current trainer(including racing TBs). Half the time they were singing her praises, I wasn't needing chiro services or asking for references.

              I don't think she's in it to make a quick buck or commission. I am leery of the whole "everything you have is wrong, let me see what high end saddle I can find just for you!" However, I have been having a hell of a time finding a saddle that seems to be the right fit. Four people at my barn have been searching for saddles and each saddle that looks like a remote possibility has been thrown on his back "just to see if it would work." The cold backed issue this winter hints at my most current purchase, the AP, as that's what I generally rode in all winter.

              That and her explanations were easily explained to me, but not dumbed down or overly technical. We brought out a few saddles and she was able to put pressure on one area to demonstrate the effect on my horse's back. The chiro looked at a fellow boarder's horse first, she's also saddle shopping (new horse) and was explaining how that horse's back contours would work with different types of saddles and what to look for. After that small session, once I brought my horse into the aisle, I could see before she said a word, that the painful area was not "normal," like a weakening in the muscles (not quite atrophy). That's what this woman narrowed in on. But I almost wonder if it's a chicken-egg question...


              • #8
                I'm in WNY too, just curious, who was the chiro? I only know of two in this area... Feel free to PM me.

                I used Christian Lowe several years ago and he was wonderful. Turns out my saddle fit the horse fine bar a few adjustments that were made with a shim pad. I was really pleased he didn't try to "upsell" me, and the horse was happy with the result too.

                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                • #9
                  Off topic from saddles, but I suggest you try chiro and accupuncture together. My vet does both and it has done wonders for my horse (and this is from a previous skeptic!). I had a dressage saddle that took me a while to realize didn't fit him - several months! I got rid of it 6 months before the vet came to do chiro/accu, but there were still effects. In fact, one accu site caused his back hair on the left side to stand up in the EXACT shape of my old dressage saddle's panels. Crazy!

                  Anyway, we have tried chiro previously, but the combination of chiro/accu did wonders for him in many ways.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                    I'm in WNY too, just curious, who was the chiro? I only know of two in this area... Feel free to PM me.
                    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
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