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question about losing weight, gaining muscle, saddle fit

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  • question about losing weight, gaining muscle, saddle fit

    Ok everybody--

    Gully is a wide Connemara who, ever since I got him 9 years ago, has presented a fitness/weight challenge. I keep him in a grazing muzzle, sometimes put him on a dry lot, feed him 8 oz. of Triple Crown Lite a day, and work him 5 times a week--but he was still not usually as fit as I wanted, and he still scored 7 or 8 on the body scale.

    Last year I bought new (to me, anyhow) dressage and jump saddles. They were fit to us by a good saddle fitter, and they were fantastic.

    This March two things happened: Gully went lame for 10 weeks, and the vet put him on Thyro-L. Since then he's dropped about 150 pounds. He looks great--probably right where he should be.

    Now the saddles are too wide--still usable, but no longer ideal.

    He's back in regular work and has been for a few months, but I think we've got a ways to go in building muscle--I'm working on some specific exercises now, and I'm ramping up his work to get back into competition, with an eye for the T3DE in mid-October.

    My question: as he gets more fit, will he get broader again? What should I expect will happen to the saddle fit? I need to get the saddles adjusted, but I hate to do it now, only to find him broadening as he gains muscle in the next few months.

    Advice?

  • #2
    I wouldn't get the saddle adjusted right now, because as he gets more work, he'll build topline and may get a little wider, but I doubt he'll get back to pre 150lbs wide.
    Once he's back in top condition, that's when I'd have the saddles readjusted, IME. I know with my Morgan, since he got the winters off, I'd start the season again with a half pad and normal thickness AP pad until he had gained the muscle in his back again, and then it was down to the normal AP pad.

    ETA: If you could get your hands on a Mattes or ThinLine pad, something with shims, that's even better. You can shim the places where he doesn't have muscle yet, then remove them as needed.
    Last edited by hightide; Jul. 31, 2011, 05:51 PM.

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    • #3
      Pads are your friend. :-)
      Life doesn't have perfect footing.

      Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
      We Are Flying Solo

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      • #4
        Also if he is getting REALLY fit, his musculature will change towards the narrow - their withers come up. My XC saddle is a hair wide for Star in the spring when she's, well, Reubenesque, and I use a thinline and a square pad. When she is really fit ( T3D or Prelim), I use a sheepskin and the square pad. She does not have a TB wither, but she really changes from pretty round, maybe there's a wither in there" to "yes, definite wither" when she is not fit/fit. So I think his back shape will change again on you but he won't get super wide. I am a huge fan of sheepskin for padding (against the horse for best benefit).

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          The biggest change in him that I can see is that he's actually got withers now. I have a sheepskin I've been putting under the dressage saddle; I'll start using it for jumping too.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hilary View Post
            Also if he is getting REALLY fit, his musculature will change towards the narrow - their withers come up.
            I have found this to be true.

            My issues were all solved with the Equinity Performance Pad.

            If you do a search you'll find a thread about it. (I mentioned it in two threads)
            http://kaboomeventing.com/
            http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hilary View Post
              Also if he is getting REALLY fit, his musculature will change towards the narrow - their withers come up. My XC saddle is a hair wide for Star in the spring when she's, well, Reubenesque, and I use a thinline and a square pad. When she is really fit ( T3D or Prelim), I use a sheepskin and the square pad. She does not have a TB wither, but she really changes from pretty round, maybe there's a wither in there" to "yes, definite wither" when she is not fit/fit. So I think his back shape will change again on you but he won't get super wide. I am a huge fan of sheepskin for padding (against the horse for best benefit).
              ^ditto this.
              Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

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