You Can’t Fix Saddle Fit With Padding, Until You Do

Awareness of the outside world. Blackout Day.
~~~

This is wrong. The horse is happy. While it’s not quite as thick as the photo makes it appear, there is a lot of padding stuffed in there.

How did we get here?

The minions can be slow.

The Week Before. Rodney was a star. Cantered to the corner of the pasture. A first.

Week off for rain.

Day One. Not a good ride. Hey, we all have off days.

Day Two. Walked at length, calmly and quietly. Cranky at trot. Again. Too cranky. I’m not riding this. Got off. Had him lunged. Horse shirty for a while then settled.

Day Three. Acted as if he would run off, or go sideways, or both, if I asked him to trot. Old habit resurfacing. Light began to dawn. [Evil Twin, note the discussion over there was prior to the padding epiphany.]

Day Four. Change padding, Halfway through ride, horse was over it & back to being happy and calm. Rider took a while longer.

Upward progress ever since.

Padding History
Because of course my horse has unusual padding demands that need to be tweaked every few months.

Back in September, we put a felt pad to fill in the divot in Rodney’s back. Magic. [Rodney’s Padding]

Sometime between then and now, we added a thinner grey felt pad as the black pad began to squash down. Cut from a trimmed remnants of Milton’s grey felt pad. [Milton’s Padding]

The latest change was to swap out the old grey pad for a new black one. He now wears double black pads. The original, shaped pad and a new one for thickness. So, when Rodney decided that he absolutely could not function under these conditions, he HAD padding. Quite a bit. He wanted more, or different.

Examining the rejected grey felt, I wonder if the issue is thickness or stiffness. Or a combination thereof. The grey is not that much thinner than it was but it is much more flexible. Maybe the rigidity of the felt keeps the saddle from banging around on his back. Once it gets floppy, it doesn’t work as well.

This will be on ongoing experiment. I can tell.

The space along one side of his withers is from an old, severe injury. The muscle is atrophied, scarred, or simply missing. Lately the depression has been getting deeper, thereby leaving more space to fill. Either he was adding muscle along the rest of his topline (a dog can dream) or bulking up the fat pockets he likes to carry on his shoulders (more likely).

Fill space => saddle sits on back better => horse is rideable. Goes against all standard saddle fitting theory. Hard to argue with the results.

The key moment for Rodney is asking for the second trot. At that point, he’s trotted once and has decided whether or not the saddle arrangements meet with his approval. If he trots off quietly, we good. If he thinks it is going to be uncomfortable to trot again, he makes his feelings known.

Noted. Will keep in mind for future.

Final padding post because I find this one amusing, [Recent Changes, When You Find Out You Are Not As Good As You Thought You Were].

Stay safe. Stay sane,
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Horses

4 replies »

  1. I feel like with horses there is an exception to every rule, and this is a great example! Glad you found a solution that works. I feel like a lot of saddle fitting rules don’t take injuries like this into consideration!

  2. So interesting- I’m experimenting with that myself on my very asymmetrical horse. Glad to know I’m not the only one to see positive results!

  3. 🙂

    “I feel like a lot of saddle fitting rules don’t take injuries like this into consideration!” A lot of theories in the horse world don’t seem to take reality into consideration.

    “… on my very asymmetrical horse.” Wasn’t sure which horse is asymmetrical. Nice jumps with both!

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