Monday, June 11, 2012

Back woes and ridin' Rolex

The 2 that trail ride together, feed together!
Once again, the refrain is "Poor Harley". This time it's his back, and it's my fault. I've been using my old Crosby Mark VI saddle on him since day one with a foam wither correction pad. But as his back has changed with weight gain and more muscle, and the further we ride, the more apparent it has become that this saddle just does not fit him.

After untacking from our Memorial Weekend ride, he had immediate swelling on his back. Over the next 5 days or so, it appeared to almost blister and shed the skin. I called the vet and she recommended just putting some antibiotic cream on it. It's never been weepy, just dry and scaly. The curious thing is that it only happened on one side.

So while he recuperates, and I spend time looking at saddle alternatives (yikes--scary prices!), I'll be riding Rolex. Yesterday we did some ring work with both girls and then headed out for a lovely evening trail ride. The bugs weren't too bad despite all the rain we had last week. So I'll get a chance to try improving my seat on a different mount, while also giving her some much-needed ring work to develop balance and bending--all under John's tutelage.

Any saddle recommendations from you fellow english trail riders out there would be appreciated, or if anyone can recommend a saddle fitter in the New England area.  Harley is, I suspect, a medium width, but with those prominent TB withers!

The cleanup committee has arrived!


  1. Oh drat! So sorry to hear of the all-to-familiar saddle fit woes. Poor Harley!!

    I had an extreme sore back on my mare once like that after a 26 mile ride. The saddle was bridging and my poor mare just couldn't take it the last miles, so I walked. I gave her a "sore no more" massage, Bute and rode in my Cashel "Soft saddle" for the rest of the trip that time.
    Weird how he blistered...air flow?

    I am getting into the S.M.S. groups of folks. "Society of Master Saddlers". The training seems to be very rounded. I am sure there is someone near you that you may connect with. We found this gal in the next state over.

    She is telling us about the Hybrid and also high wither options "Thorowgood" has to offer. I like the wider panels, the girthing options for placement and the lighter weight of the saddles. With Wool flocking, and adjustable gullets. She is saying she could set us up for $650. & day trial with full return if we don't like them.

    I like her videos and also the Saddle fit tips of her site. I have now done the tracings with the "flexy curve" I got from the craft store. AMAZING- what it is telling me about my dressage saddle. I used my tracings to see that the point of width was really good, but the topline gullet was bridging, as it fell away from my tracing paper. More Wool flocking will be great.
    My saddle length is good too, staying away form the 18th vertebrae.

    Check out the site and then find someone like her nearer you.
    I am going to post my Template tracings and what they look like with the current saddle I have, soon.

  2. Thanks for the info, KK! I must admit, I'm not a big fan of the synthetic saddles, except for rainy days, but I'm open to options. I just did a tracing of Harley yesterday with the flexirule and traced it onto cardboard. Yup--just as we thought, there's gaps on both sides of the pommel region. Fortunately, the saddle fits Ruffy perfectly--she's broader through that region than 'ole Snarley. Our other saddle options are a Tekna AP which fits OK, although I'm not convinced that it's flush on his back. John's used it on him, but as we know, long rides reveal what really does or doesn't fit! The other is a Wintec Endurance that I'd have to buy another gullet in order to use. We currently have a narrow in it for little Miss Rolex. I like the seat, but the skirt is too long for AP use and for my tastes. I like a narrower twist in the seat as well. So until we find something and maybe get a saddle fitter in, it's bareback for Harley (when he's being good!) and give it time to heal up. The weird thing is how it's only on one side. Hmmm...more research to follow.


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