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 White Hair on Either Side of the Withers
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  11:59:51 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
Okay, I need some input here. Terra is developing white spots on either side of her withers, and no, it's not an Appaloosa coat pattern characteristic. I know these are usually caused by the saddle not fitting the horse correctly. What I'd like to know is how a saddle causes these spots and if anything outside of buying a different saddle can rectify the problem?

Note: I did notice these developed after I bought a saddle pad with neoprene on one side. I'd say the pad is maybe 3/4" thick.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown

Country Bumpkin
Advanced Rider



USA
168 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:13:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Country Bumpkin's Homepage Send Country Bumpkin a Private Message
The way I understand it is that white spots mean that the saddle is putting too much pressure on the withers. BUT I read in a Western Horseman issue that sometimes a white spot doesn't mean the saddle fits bad. Hang on,I'll go dig it up and then will post the info for you.
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Country Bumpkin
Advanced Rider



USA
168 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:13:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Country Bumpkin's Homepage Send Country Bumpkin a Private Message
The way I understand it is that white spots mean that the saddle is putting too much pressure on the withers. BUT I read in a Western Horseman issue that sometimes a white spot doesn't mean the saddle fits bad. Hang on,I'll go dig it up and then will post the info for you.
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Country Bumpkin
Advanced Rider



USA
168 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:26:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Country Bumpkin's Homepage Send Country Bumpkin a Private Message
Ok,it says that alot of times horses get white spots but they never get sore. White marks ARE a sign of pressure,but if the horse isn't acting sore,then you shouldn't worry too much.
Is Terra acting sore in any way? Is this the same saddle you've been using on her? You just changed the pad?
Here's 2 simple tests to see if your saddle fits
1. After you saddle the horse,you should be able to fit 2 fingers between the pads and the gullet.After you ride you should only be able to fit one finger between.
2. Instead of putting the pad on,place a pillowcase or other thin fabric on under the saddle.Tug on the case all around the saddle.If you can't move the pillowcase,there's a good snug fit between the bars of the saddle and the horse's back.
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Country Bumpkin
Advanced Rider



USA
168 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:26:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Country Bumpkin's Homepage Send Country Bumpkin a Private Message
Ok,it says that alot of times horses get white spots but they never get sore. White marks ARE a sign of pressure,but if the horse isn't acting sore,then you shouldn't worry too much.
Is Terra acting sore in any way? Is this the same saddle you've been using on her? You just changed the pad?
Here's 2 simple tests to see if your saddle fits
1. After you saddle the horse,you should be able to fit 2 fingers between the pads and the gullet.After you ride you should only be able to fit one finger between.
2. Instead of putting the pad on,place a pillowcase or other thin fabric on under the saddle.Tug on the case all around the saddle.If you can't move the pillowcase,there's a good snug fit between the bars of the saddle and the horse's back.
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:38:41 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
No, Terra doesn't appear to be sore, and I've ridden her on rides up to 5 to 6 hours in Hoosier National Forest in southern IN. I've ridden her in this saddle ever since I trained her to ride, and I've had the pad for a little over a year, now.

I'll try the tips you've given me the next time I ride, though at this time of year, it may be awhile. I don't like riding in cold weather. Thanks for your help.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:38:41 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
No, Terra doesn't appear to be sore, and I've ridden her on rides up to 5 to 6 hours in Hoosier National Forest in southern IN. I've ridden her in this saddle ever since I trained her to ride, and I've had the pad for a little over a year, now.

I'll try the tips you've given me the next time I ride, though at this time of year, it may be awhile. I don't like riding in cold weather. Thanks for your help.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3394 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:53:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
RH,
Annie is a chestnut, but has one white patch near her withers, had it when I got her. Ridden English prior to me, and can't even imagine a saddle, particularly English, being placed that far up on her withers, so I don't think it can be from pressure.

No explanation except she's got it.

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fracturedbones
Clinician



3394 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  12:53:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
RH,
Annie is a chestnut, but has one white patch near her withers, had it when I got her. Ridden English prior to me, and can't even imagine a saddle, particularly English, being placed that far up on her withers, so I don't think it can be from pressure.

No explanation except she's got it.

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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  6:48:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
The white hairs are from pressure. The saddle is putting so much pressure in that area that it is damaging the hair follicles. I have to disagree with WH on this one. If there is pressure enough to damage the hair then it's pressure enough to cause pain even if the horse does not show it. It's like us with a pair of shoes that don't fit correctly. If they are really nice shoes or you just don't have time to deal with digging another pair out you wear them even if they have pressure points. But the longer you wear them the worst it feels. You may put with it but that doesn't mean that you like it. Same for the horse. They may put up with it but does that give us the right to make them? If these was not aproblem before the new pad then maybe it's new pad. Is it thicker then the old one? If so it's too thick for the fit of the saddle. Is it stiffer, less giving then the old one? Try going back to the old pad.

Horses can have and develop white spots not related to saddle fit. They are mismarks(normally off white or just a light shade of the body color) or bird catcher spots. They are common in sorrel/chestnut colors.
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2006 :  6:48:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
The white hairs are from pressure. The saddle is putting so much pressure in that area that it is damaging the hair follicles. I have to disagree with WH on this one. If there is pressure enough to damage the hair then it's pressure enough to cause pain even if the horse does not show it. It's like us with a pair of shoes that don't fit correctly. If they are really nice shoes or you just don't have time to deal with digging another pair out you wear them even if they have pressure points. But the longer you wear them the worst it feels. You may put with it but that doesn't mean that you like it. Same for the horse. They may put up with it but does that give us the right to make them? If these was not aproblem before the new pad then maybe it's new pad. Is it thicker then the old one? If so it's too thick for the fit of the saddle. Is it stiffer, less giving then the old one? Try going back to the old pad.

Horses can have and develop white spots not related to saddle fit. They are mismarks(normally off white or just a light shade of the body color) or bird catcher spots. They are common in sorrel/chestnut colors.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
5985 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  05:25:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
My understanding is white spots on one or both sides of the withers where the saddle makes contact is from too much pressure as Stormie says. Your saddle is probbably too narrow at the withers and your new pad may be making it worse. Check out the how to fit a saddle to a horse templates available from Chuck at the Saddle shop and use them to check your horse withers and your saddle. May give you some information about your saddle fit.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Edited by - Hook on 01/05/2006 05:26:50 AM
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
5985 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  05:25:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
My understanding is white spots on one or both sides of the withers where the saddle makes contact is from too much pressure as Stormie says. Your saddle is probbably too narrow at the withers and your new pad may be making it worse. Check out the how to fit a saddle to a horse templates available from Chuck at the Saddle shop and use them to check your horse withers and your saddle. May give you some information about your saddle fit.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Edited by - Hook on 01/05/2006 05:26:50 AM
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  11:11:18 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
Stormie; The new pad may be a little thicker. The older pad was thick, too, but had a lot of cushion to it... kinda like what a pillow does when you lean back on it. Though I wouldn't call it stiff, the new pad isn't as flexible as the old one, either. The problem is I had to get rid of the older pad, since it was beginning to fall apart. That pad was over 20 years old and I haven't been able to find another one like it anywhere. I may have an alternative in a wool Navajo blanket I have in storage that I used for show purposes. I may dig it out and see if it helps since I'm not showing anymore.

Terra is what you would call a liver chestnut. Her papers call her a "dark brown"... and the spots are definitely white and not a lighter shade of her normal coat color.

Hook; It looks like you and Stormie are in agreement. This is something I know very little about and I greatly appreciate the advice both of you have offered. If I still have problems after switching pads, I'll look up the info from Chuck .

Thanks, everyone, for the info.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  11:11:18 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
Stormie; The new pad may be a little thicker. The older pad was thick, too, but had a lot of cushion to it... kinda like what a pillow does when you lean back on it. Though I wouldn't call it stiff, the new pad isn't as flexible as the old one, either. The problem is I had to get rid of the older pad, since it was beginning to fall apart. That pad was over 20 years old and I haven't been able to find another one like it anywhere. I may have an alternative in a wool Navajo blanket I have in storage that I used for show purposes. I may dig it out and see if it helps since I'm not showing anymore.

Terra is what you would call a liver chestnut. Her papers call her a "dark brown"... and the spots are definitely white and not a lighter shade of her normal coat color.

Hook; It looks like you and Stormie are in agreement. This is something I know very little about and I greatly appreciate the advice both of you have offered. If I still have problems after switching pads, I'll look up the info from Chuck .

Thanks, everyone, for the info.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3394 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  12:20:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
Stormie

what are "bird catcher marks"?? The TB spot is white, white and on one side but very far forward on the withers. I just can't imagine anyone putting a saddle that far up, unless it was an English pad that rubbed the area. Even that pad would be far up.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
5985 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  12:44:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Sugartyme, who is a dark Chestnut, has several white spots about the size of a dime and quarter that developed over one winter on her shouder and neck area. Best I could figure out from my research is that sometimes these can be caused by a Bee Sting around where she was stung. ( or perhaps a a bite from one of those huge 1 1/2 inch horse flies. All the spots happened at once over one winter when the new hair growth came in.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2006 :  1:04:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Bird Catcher spots are just white spots that come an go. Any color horse can have them. Sometimes the term is used as a catch all for even medical caused white spots, like from injury, or even some really odd things like jet fuel(a story in I believe HR that talked about a horse getting odd white spots, turned out to be near enough an air port that they dropped fuel over and it caused white spots on the horses). But it seems that Bird Catcher spots are a genetic cause. Some lines of horses have them more then others. There is other names for them, Acruired spots, and one I can't remember how to spell. They basicly are nothing, just white spots. No health problems because of them and some horses seem to get more over the years or they disappear over time.

The op. of them is Bend Or spots. Bend Or was a race horse that had many dark spots all over his body. they are also called Smuts. Again they can happen on any color horse but mostly seen on Chestnut/sorrel or Palomino. This also can change over time but also seem to be seasonal. They believe it is a recessive trait.

Then you have mismarks which don't seem to be genetic. Some are white but most seem to be an off white or lighter shade of the body. Normally they only have one and some believe it has to do with the foal's development before birth.

Equine color Genetics is another one of my favorite topics. I hate waiting for the foals to be born just so I can see what they look like so I took the time to learn what the color chances are.
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3773 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2006 :  7:20:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message
For those of you who may not know, there was a TB named Bird Catcher, too, and he had those white spots, which is why they are called that. I know of a QH mare in her 20's that developed so many of these spots, that it looked like an Appaloosa snowflake pattern.

But we are getting away from the subject, which is saddle fit. RH, you have another western saddle, don't you? You might try that one on Terra & see if it might be a better fit. It is possible that as she has matured & filled out, the saddle you have been using might now not be wide enough.

EZ2SPOT
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sharon
Advanced Rider



USA
232 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2006 :  12:08:46 PM  Show Profile Send sharon a Private Message
Hey RH, I don't know what kind of saddle you ride, but can the tree/bars be adjusted? Just a thought.

"You never know til you know for sure and even then its hard to tell."
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2006 :  6:57:14 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by sharon

Hey RH, I don't know what kind of saddle you ride, but can the tree/bars be adjusted? Just a thought.



LOL! No, 'fraid not. My saddle is over 20 years old. It's a barrel saddle with no identifying marks to tell what brand it is, and believe me, I've looked. It's the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned, and almost everyone whose ridden in it has asked to buy it from me. I've used it on practically all the horses I've owned without any problems.

I haven't had a chance to ride since New Years Day, and I'm going to try a thinner pad. Actually, it's a navaho blanket. I'll be sure to post how it works out once I get the opportunity to ride, again. Weather has been warming up, but I've had other things keeping me hopping and just haven't had the time.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5037 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2006 :  12:39:51 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
We've had some really nice weather for January, temperature wise. It was in the mid '50's yesterday with warm breezes. Totally unreal for this time of year! So, I went for a trail ride(more on that under the "Trails" forum).

This is the first time I've had a chance to put my saddle back on Terra since I asked about the white spots on the withers. First, I have a confession to make. The spots are gold in color and not white. I don't know if that makes any difference, but I thought I'd mention it. Second, if anything else, I think my barrel saddle is too wide instead of too narrow:

Terra is a very slender horse... somewhat similar but not quite like an Arabian. This would be the closest breed comparison I can make. When I put the saddle on her without a pad under it, I had about only a half an inch clearance under the gullet (Just to make sure we're on the same page; This is the part of the saddle that is right above the withers, right?). My hands are small, and I could just slide my index finger under it. Then, I set the saddle on top of my saddle pad. I had maybe a hair more clearance, but that was it. When I had the saddle on her back with nothing under it, I did check the fit along her back and sides. As far as I can tell, the entire saddle was touching her back. I didn't feel any place that wasn't.

I did notice when I was trail riding her all last Summer that the saddle would have more of a tendency to slip forward instead of backward after going up and down large hills. I usually would have to tighten up my breast strap a notch or two after a couple of hours on hilly terrain.

That's about all I can think of... along with what I discovered just yesterday. So, I'm wide open for comments and suggestions.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2006 :  6:16:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
It does sound to wide.

Our weather has been odd this year too. Thrus and Fri it was so nice we lost a bunch of snow but then yesterday and day we got dumped on. The temps where still nice.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1428 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2006 :  10:00:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit OnTheWay's Homepage Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Okay, I'm going to pass on to you suggestions of my farrier. Bear in mind he makes saddles and is a freak for fit probably, but it's a borrowed saddle and he said until I find exactly what I want, this was actually a pretty good fit!

That said, Cloud has high withers and also long withers. He said he would strongly recommend a good thickness wool felt saddle pad and to get one with a good wither cut-out. He then said to be sure to pull UP the saddle pad so there's room over her withers from the pad itself. Now without the saddle pad, the saddle fits lower on her. With this kind of pad, however, it adds just enough width where the saddle sits higher. So now add the thickness of the pad to the wither space. I can reach my hand pretty far down her withers before that pad is even touching her.

What's important is when you get on her. That is when you need to feel clearance. It doesn't have to be the oft-cited 3 fingers deep. It has to clear her withers and leave room so it's not bearing down on her spine. Once I cinch it up (not entirely but enough to get a feel of where it's going once I do tighten it), I'm feeling a steady fit, the same in the front all the way back down her side. It's snug to her sides but not bearing in anywhere. And the thick pad isn't "masking" a bad fit or even creating a good fit. It's just providing a natural weight distribution. The felt gives if it needs to, but it's thick enough not to crush.

The back of my saddle (which doesn't have a back cinch but those don't seem to be tight enough to alter fit anyway) DOES have a little rise under it. However when I put my weight on, it settles down.

With my English saddle, it seems the less pad the better. But when you take a look at a Western saddle, this is some serious piece of gear. It pretty much "encloses" the horse's back. I can't imagine having somethat that strong on without some good padding. And, while I don't like the idea of trying to pad out a bad fit, I really think that particular kind of saddle pad is a right thing under a western saddle. The thickness of it, the amount of give it has, and also (if not particularly) the wither cutout combined with making sure the center under the gullet is pulled up so there's freedom under it.

For whatever it's worth.

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OnTheWay
Clinician

1428 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2006 :  04:55:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit OnTheWay's Homepage Send OnTheWay a Private Message
RH, here's a photo that's VERY similar to the saddle pad I bought, and it definitely helps with wither clearance, but again, Chris made a big point about pulling it up. Sat. I think I got the best placement (which is debatable on my horse) and the over-wither part was pulled up high enough so I actually had a grab strap like on an English saddle. May not have been clear before, but you have the height of the thickness of the pad itself that's free under your saddle because over the withers is the cutout. You then pull the pad up some so that the pad itself is not bearing down. Very similar to this, except mine is a solid color. Well, in looks anyway, mine does not say "built up" -- it's the same thickness all over, maybe a little less where your legs hang.

http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/cutback-built-up-pad.html
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  1:36:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
I love my felt pads. I have Todd Slone pads, great pads. And quaility is so much better in these then ones I had used at the hill. Those ones where bad and just where a pain. I love that I can get them in different thicknesses. The only problem I have with them and just about every good brand one is that I can't get them short enough for my mare Jazz. They just don't make square cut ones that are short enough for her.
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