It wouldn’t be a misstatement to assert that a well made saddle benefits the horse more than the rider. The right fit, size and weight of saddle can make the most notable difference between a content, comfortable and secure horse and one that’s cranky and unsafe. A bad saddle fit carries risk of serious injury to the pony. Sadly, there are all too many riders who ignore the value of the right saddle and the risks associated with the incorrect one.
If you are a mother, you have probably gone out numerous times to buy clothes and footwear for your kid. If you are a dad you almost certainly have accompanied your wife on 1 or 2 such shopping trips. Either way, the mother makes a huge fuss over all facets of each item: the size, the material, the fitting, the color you say it. That’s just the kind of care you ought to be taking over your horse’s saddle. A poorly fitting saddle can hurt your horse no less than poorly fitting clothes can hurt your youngster. You would like your saddle to sit on the pony such that he hardly notices it. It should not chafe or irritate him. Ever seen a child suffer the negative effects of an ill-fitting pair of shoes? You have seen equivalent to a horse suffering the negative effects of an ill-fitting saddle.
Humans change physical shape through their lives, and so do horses. The reasons are varied: age, shortage of exercise, fattening diets, metabolic disorders, even annual seasonal factors. Given the conditions, it is as unlikely one saddle will serve one pony through its life as it that one pair of pants will serve a man throughout his life.
Having said that, I never cease being amazed that so many pony owners never bother to perform periodic checks of the saddles used on their horses for continued appropriateness.
When an ill-fitting saddle results in injury to the pony, it is going to prevent performance. When a tight saddle pinches the horse’s back, its most common effect is to cause bruises and tenderness in the area of the withers and along the spine. If the condition is permitted to continue, it leads to permanent backbone and back muscle damage. On the other hand, saddles that are too big bring rider weight to bear on the incorrect areas of the horse’s back. This suggests overload at sensitive points, and that means lasting backbone and nerve damage. In intense cases, the horse’s performance can be adverse affected forever.
The saddle length is also very important. The saddle shouldn’t carry back to the sensitive loin area, which cannot bear weight. Saddles that abrade the loins cause the pony to suffer discomfort and agony. They can further result in damage to muscles, retarded muscle development. In intense cases, they can damage the kidneys and tissues and nerves in the vicinity of the kidneys.
The pony functions best when he is comfy, content and in a position to move naturally and without undue pressure, limitation or hitch. When a horse is made to suffer bruises, muscle strain and other kinds of pain over extended amounts of time, he is in all likelihood going to try and offset the factor that causes him this pain. He may take the wrong sort of stride, hold the incorrect kind of body posture, and continually twitch around trying to ease the affected body areas. His performance is going to suffer. If his pain is constant, he can sooner or later develop an aversion to the saddle and to being ridden. This dislike could carry on to become a behavioural issue. Pretty frequently, the effects of an ill-fitting saddle that is causing discomfort to the pony are not immediately visible, and when they are visible, lots of damage, some irreversible, may have been done. If you really care about the condition of your horse and his riders, you should make it a routine to steadily monitor the fit of the saddle he is made to wear.