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Bald spots/rubs behind saddle pad?

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  • Bald spots/rubs behind saddle pad?

    My friend's young horse has developed 2 bald spots/rubs behind the saddle pad on either side of his spine. He is 4, and is still growing and filling out, but she is concerned about them and finding out the cause. They are not where the saddle sits, but just at the back of the pad. She has started riding in just her sheepskin half pad to see if maybe the pad has irritated him as he is shorter backed. Any ideas on what would cause this and how to help the hair to grow back?

  • #2
    The back of the saddle pad on a Hunt Seat saddle can wear the hair off in the spots along it's back edge you mention this time of year, probably because of the winter coat. Seen it mostly on previously body clipped horses. The hair on the clipped ones sort of stands up more as it grows back instead of laying flat and is more subject to rubbing off at the ends. But I have seen some unclipped woolies do the same.

    Pretty much like a blanket rub on the shoulders.

    Not all do this and I have never seen it with Western or Saddle Seat saddles, only the Hunt Seat. No earthly idea why and it does not seem to bother them. Probably the forward seat of the rider lightens the back of the saddle and makes the pad brush more then the other types of seats/saddles do.

    Probably a good idea to rotate a few different sized/shaped pads to avoid hitting that same spot every ride.

    It goes away when they shed out.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • #3
      Does she normally use the half pad with another saddle pad? Any chance the half pad has the "roll" at the back? If so, the fit of the pad to the saddle should be checked carefully. Rear rolls can cause issues.


      • #4
        Having the same problem on one of mine, exactly as findeight says. I'm going to put a square jumper pad under my half pad to see if that covers the area where the half pad ends and slides over the hair better.


        • #5
          Think catmando has a good point on the rolled hem/edging on some pads too.

          Seems to me I had a pad with a rolled, contrasting color trim used with a sheepskin half pad I had to stop using one winter about this time as it was taking the hair off along the back edge. That was awhile back but catmando jarred that memory.

          So watch the hem on that Jumper pad. IIRC I just used a different pad every day and stuck to mostly the light, thin baby pads of different sizes as well as using a different size half pad ech ride or leaving that off entirely for just light hacking.

          Have no idea if that worked or horse just shed out and/or the clipped hair got long enough to lay down better. But it was gone by mid Feb.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            Had the same thing happen with my jumper pad,
            Mine stemmed from wrong saddle fit that swinged back and forth which irritated those hairs . So I had to use my sheepskin pans directly on his back so I would not get bucked off!!


            • #7
              Also, check that the saddle has not slipped back after riding and is actually pressing the edge of the pad down into the hair, creating the rub. As horses backs change, saddle fit changes, so even though it doesn't appear that the saddle normally sits over the rubs when you first put it on the horse, doesn't mean that when you are done it is not sitting in that position. That is what was going on with a friend of mine's saddle and the reason for the new rubs.


              • #8
                Same thing is happening with one of my student's horses. She showed me and I almost had a heart attack until I realized that it wasn't actually someplace where the saddle or back pad could reach. It also isn't being cause by his blankets. I will check and see if the saddle pad the kid usually uses falls in that spot... it seems like that could be exactly the cause...
                ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
                Proud member of the artists clique


                • #9
                  My guy has this going on right now too. It seems obvious but also just double check that you are getting the girth tight enough after walking and riding for a few minutes just to make sure the saddle is not shifting.

                  I use the Shapley's M-T-G to get the hair to grow back - stinky stuff but works very well.

                  Dappled Grey

                  When you count your blessings, count your horse twice.


                  • #10
                    Yep, my guy gets that too. 2 bald spots each side of the spine just behind where the saddlepad goes. Im sure its from his winter blankets though, as 2 years ago he wasnt ridden at all over the winter and still had these rubs. Tried so many different blankets, just think its his conformation.


                    • Original Poster

                      Glad to hear it's not a huge issue! Thanks for the input everyone!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                        Having the same problem on one of mine, exactly as findeight says. I'm going to put a square jumper pad under my half pad to see if that covers the area where the half pad ends and slides over the hair better.
                        I'm getting the rubs too, and I think they are actually caused by the square jumper pad that I use under the half pad--half pad causes the back seam of the square pad to rub. It does not seem to bother Mo, but I'm looking into other pad arrangements.
                        Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


                        • #13
                          Hm. Then I guess I'll live with it until I get him clipped. Horse also has heel marks (that are depressingly high up his belly, no wonder sometimes I think he has no idea I'm up there ) and shoulder rubs. Sigh. He doesn't have a thick coat, because I blanket well and early, but he does grow long hairs that I think break easily.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                            Hm. Then I guess I'll live with it until I get him clipped. Horse also has heel marks (that are depressingly high up his belly, no wonder sometimes I think he has no idea I'm up there ) and shoulder rubs. Sigh. He doesn't have a thick coat, because I blanket well and early, but he does grow long hairs that I think break easily.
                            I'm also getting the same high on the belly rubs. Sounds like we have the same horse. They've been a mystery--thought they might be from either the turnout blanket, or the bulky suede half chaps I use in the winter. I'm going out to the barn now and am determined to get to the bottom of it. I know my heel does not get that high, but maybe one of the velcro tabs on the half chaps...?
                            Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


                            • #15
                              Can you post a pic? Is it where the cantle would sit, or really beyond the saddle pad? I've seen it under where the cantle would sit, and it indicates a saddle that rocks/moves and doesn't fit right.


                              • #16
                                My horse has had this problem in the past as well. When inspected carefully, I have noticed that it starts just after my horse begins to get the first hairs of his spring coat in (right about now.)

                                My theory is that the edge of the saddle pad - particularly the ones with thicker bindings, or rolled sheepskin on a half pad - accelerates the shedding of the winter coat in that area before the spring coat can grow all the way in. The winter hair is already on the way out, so to speak, but the pad just helps it along faster (and thus, there is no soreness as you'd expect to have with a rub like that) but it's definitely a bit unsightly.

                                I slather Corona on it and that seems to keep everything moisturized... by mid February it's always gone.

                                I will say that since I switched to the very thin Dover shaped baby pads (under a half pad) the problem has all but disappeared. I save my thicker square pads for other seasons.
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  I agree must be the spring hairs- and combo of blankets.
                                  The only time it happened to me is when I clip before going to Florida which is usually now.

                                  Note: Be care to follow the hair pattern when clipping .
                                  When you clip against the direction of growth , really watch the pattern up there if you don't it will really make it bad.

                                  The pad I had to use was a fleeceworks pad that had full panels that are removeable. Now I never not pack that pad!