Tired of feeling that your horse is just not going as well as you think he should? Check your saddle !
It could well be your saddle. Poor saddle fit is one of the main causes of musculo-skeletal and behavioural problems in horses. The sad part is, that is usually not identified until the horse displays serious behavioural problems such as biting when the girth is tightened, rearing, and bucking. By this stage the horse has muscle damage and is in chronic pain. We would never expect to wear shoes designed on the ‘one size fits all’ concept, but we often expect our saddles to fit many horses. Horses and ponies come in all shapes and sizes, and we have a wide range of saddles to select from in today’s market. The problem starts when the owner tries to select a saddle to suit their needs, and that of their mount. Careful saddle selection and the correct fitting of the saddle are imperative if the horse owner wishes to minimise the damage the saddle will cause to the horse’s muscles. By better understanding the direct and indirect impacts saddles have on the horse’s muscles and knowing how to correctly fit the saddle the horse owner can minimise the damage that may otherwise result.
Why it is so important to make sure your saddle is working for you not against you… muscles need to be free to move! they need to fully relax between contractions, they cannot do this if there is constant tension from discomfort or pain from the saddle. Tension then spreads through the horse’s body causing further injury; a tight muscle is more likely to tear during exertion.
A horse with an uncomfortable saddle will find it difficult, if not impossible to engage his hind legs to any great degree and so lift his back. Other problems that will arise over time or directly when a bad fitting saddle is used are:
Enpower yourself and check your saddle !
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