Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Saddle Stuff

I went out to the barn today to swap my wide gullet with the extra wide one that I ordered from SmartPak. I took a few before pictures of the saddle on Lilly's back and then a few after I was done swapping. All the pictures here are of the new gullet.

It was interesting to observe her reaction to the saddle, though. All I did was place the saddle gently on her back and she started to get extremely fidgety. She was moving around and even started shaking her head up and down. It seemed like she was anticipating some type of discomfort from the saddle...

Plenty of clearance for her spine.
Before installing the new gullet, I could quite easily fit all four fingers under the front of the saddle. Now I can barely fit all four in there, but they all fit. From what I've been reading, though, that doesn't necessarily mean the saddle is too narrow. The saddle could just have a higher pommel than other saddles.

A bit more snug...
Even though the saddle seemed to fit her fine with the wide, I like how it fits even more with the extra wide. I knew we wouldn't have to worry about it being too wide, so at this point I think wider is better.

After taking my saddle apart to exchange the gullet, I took notice of where the ends of the tree are actually located. I've circled them in red on the photos below, and you can see how far forward the flap of the saddle is compared to the location of the tree ends.

Under the flap...
From the outside of the saddle...
That being said, if we look back at the pictures I posted the other day, I'd say the ends of the tree are at least a hand's width behind her shoulder as they should be.

Her shoulder...
The ends of the tree...
The distance from her shoulder to the tree ends...
All of this is mostly for my own sanity. I want to be able to say that the saddle does fit, and that I am putting the saddle on my horse properly. I use a thin pad only, that is contoured to fit the line of her back and withers, and "tent" it in the front to keep it from putting pressure on her withers during the ride.

So if the saddle fits, why the heck does my horse seem to hate it? I'm starting to think that it isn't necessarily the saddle itself that is causing discomfort, but rather that the saddle is aggravating something else that I've been overlooking. She seems to be a lot more comfortable since Alex did the muscle adjustments on her, so perhaps she has been having back pain?

I do think the saddles I had before didn't fit her nearly as well as this one does, so regardless, I needed a new saddle. Perhaps she has was overcompensating with her back to relieve the pressure on her shoulders, thus leading to some back issues? I've had this new saddle for over 3 months now, so why this is just showing up I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with being on stall rest for so long? Maybe it has nothing to do with me, my saddles, or the stall... I'm not sure if you've noticed, but my horse bucks like a professional saddle bronc and LOVES to run like a lunatic in her pasture. Perhaps she tweaked something new, or aggravated something old?

I think I can feel good about eliminating the saddle as the actual cause of the discomfort, though. I don't see any areas on that saddle that should cause the kind of pain she displays...

Did you figure it out yet, mom?


  1. How about a breast collar? My saddle fits when it's in place but both my English and Western saddles tend to slide back. I put a breast collar on Mocha today and she really seemed to be much happier with it.

  2. It's a puzzle, that's for sure.

  3. Silly pony! I know Key used to protest unless I used his 'waffle' pad--it wasn't very thick but it was what he preferred. Have you thought of those thinline pads? They're pretty thin and are pretty awesome--maybe pretty princess will approve.

    I hope that maybe it was just the size of the tree and she'll be happy now for you!

  4. Joycemocha, I don't have any trouble with the saddle shifting, but I do have an old breastcollar I could try. You never know, she might like it!

    Terry, Lilly likes to keep me guessing!

    DIJ, I looked into the Thinline pads a while back, but for whatever reason never got one. Perhaps if she continues to complain, that'll be my next step. What the princess wants, the princess gets! LOL

  5. Weird, at least mysteries make life more interesting right?

    BTW- I meant to comment before about how impressed I am with your progress with Lily. Riding with only a neck ring is something I aspire to do someday.

  6. It darned sure can be a conundrum. I think you are doing everything you possibly can to alleviate any discomfort Lilly may be experiencing. Don't forget to look at other areas besides just her back though. Stifle and hock soreness can show up as back pain/irritability, as well as if there is soreness in the front legs from the knee down, although if Alex gave Lilly a thorough going over, she probably would have found that and commented on it.

    How are Lilly's feet coming? Has the growth started to realign?

  7. Hey girlie!! Sorry I havent commented in so long.

    I hope this fixes your problem! I loved hearing how well she liked her muscle adjustment from Alex the other day. I bet that will help a LOT. Keep us updated!

  8. I have just started fallowing your blog. I stumbled across it and read all the back posts. Let's just say you can tell you sure love that mare.

  9. Thanks, Smazourek!! It was really a lot of fun, but I can't say I'd want to do it anywhere other than in the round pen for now. :)

    Cowgirls, someone else mentioned to me that Lilly could be having issues with her hocks. He said it might also explain why she pulls her shoes off so often, but she usually pulls them off with her front feet. She chould have something going on with her stifle, though... every now and then she still gets "stuck" and I haven't been able to figure any of that out either. :( Her feet are doing really well, though! Nice and solid and her shoes are staying on. We've been trying to keep them really dry, so I know that's helping tremendously!

    Hey Britnie! Thank you! I hope you and Chloe are doing well... she's so cute!! :)

    Thank you, Barbara... I really appreciate that! :)