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Back changes - argh - now with PHOTOS
#1
So it seems like Pepper's back shape has changed, and the wide tree saddle might be too wide now -- I've been seeing dry spots on either side of her withers lately. So I dragged the templates out to the barn, and now it seems like a 6" or 6.5" Normal fits her; like there is now more slope to the muscles beside her withers. I didn't have the camera with me, but I'll take it out tomorrow and take a bunch of pictures and see what you guys think. But does that make any sense? A horse going from a wide tree to a regular tree? We've been doing a bunch of work on her collecting and not hollowing her back, and I can see where that would change the musculature, but if anything I would have expected to need a wider tree, not a narrower one...

'plash
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#2
Ok, finally managed to get some pix.

First, a couple of pictures of Pepper's back in general. She's totally relaxed here and a little slouchy because she was dozing off while I groomed her.
[Image: IMG_0440.jpg]
Don't know if you can see that it's absolutely POURING rain outside. Fortunately she was blanketed so only her neck was wet.
[Image: IMG_0442.jpg]

6.5" Normal template:
[Image: IMG_0445.jpg]
If I put it a couple of inches behind her shoulder blade (or at least where her shoulder blade is when standing still, slouchy and half asleep), the Normal fits her well:
[Image: IMG_0446.jpg]
But if I move it back just a couple of inches to where the roughed-up spots are from riding (about where dry spots would be if it were warm enough to work up any real sweat anywhere), the Normal is too narrow:
[Image: IMG_0447.jpg]

6.5" Wide template, fitting poorly closer to her shoulderblades:
[Image: IMG_0449.jpg]
... and fitting well just a couple inches further back:
[Image: IMG_0450.jpg]

Here's the saddle in place where it normally sits, without a pad:
[Image: IMG_0457.jpg]

[Image: IMG_0459.jpg]

This last picture I was trying to show how the saddle is shaped -- the padding thickens just a little back from the front edge (probably where the bars are) so that the front edge gaps out a little from her shoulder. This is probably a good thing, I think, since probably allows a little free-er shoulderblade movement.
[Image: IMG_0460.jpg]

Tell me what you think! This saddle used to give us completely even sweat marks, and the dry spots seem to have appeared about the time I started doing more collection work with Pepper; I know her neck conformation changed visibly as a result, and it wouldn't surprise me if her back changed too, but I'm just not sure what to do here -- a narrower saddle further forward doesn't seem right, and this one looks like it fits if it's back a bit further from the shoulders -- which is where it tends to ride... I just want to figure out why I'm getting dry spots...

(Of course, now that I look at these pictures a few days after they were taken, I wonder if the saddle isn't a little further forward in these than it might normally end up... just by an inch or two... I'm second guessing myself all over the place over this!)

'plash
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#3
The saddle looks to me like it is still an excellent fit. The dry spots, though, where there formerly weren't any, are a mystery. But don't dry spots usually result from a saddle being too small & tight, rather than too big? I'd think working under collection would build muscle & actually make her somewhat larger & more developed.

EZ2SPOT
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#4
My take with saddle fitting is to fit the largest area and make adjustments to the other. I would try to borrow a FQHB and see how it actually fits.

Something I do, is to make templates of the horses back. Use a piece of house electric wire (it bends easily) and make templates of her back every 3 - 4". Cut them out of cardboard. Flip the saddle upside down and sit them in. You get a great visual this way. Don't forget to make one the length of her back to check the rock.
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#5
Excellent idea, Mrs. Hook. I'll see what I can do about making something like that.

BTW, the saddle in the picture is a Tucker wide tree plantation saddle. Their wide might not be quite as wide as some other manufacturers if I remember what Chuck told me correctly. I'll see if anyone else in the barn has a FQHB saddle they'd be willing to let me try.

'plash
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#6
MY problem with Hookie's fit may be similar to yours. He needed a flatter saddle to fit across his back and a narrower withers.

My solution was a saddle with FQHB to fit his back and an extra thick felt pad to fill up the the space at his withers.

I think when you use the extra templates Fern suggested you will be able to get closer to a solution.
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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#7
Hmmmm, so what does THIS sweat pattern tell you? The spots I was concerned about aren't there anymore, but... ????

[Image: IMG_0503.jpg]

[Image: IMG_0505.jpg]

'plash
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#8
quote:
Originally posted by puddleplasher

Hmmmm, so what does THIS sweat pattern tell you? The spots I was concerned about aren't there anymore, but... ????

[Image: IMG_0503.jpg]

[Image: IMG_0505.jpg]

'plash



This looks like the saddle is bridging, touching the withers and loins with less pressure in the centre. Probably a good idea to do the back to front template and see how it fits in the saddle to check.
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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#9
It looks to me like Pepper might be getting a little sway in her back, which often happens when horses reach their teens. That will cause bridging. There are pads designed for this, though I've not used them, and can't make any recommendations. I have this problem with Butterbaby, and am going to try to make some padding to fill in the dip, that I can attach to a regular pad.

EZ2SPOT
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#10
Just wondering; did you use this saddle for your wagon train ride, and how did it do? I'd think if there were any saddle fit problems, some soreness would have been apparent after several days of long rides!

EZ2SPOT
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