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Symptoms of Improper Fit

Symptoms of Improper Fit

For the Horse

Visible Physical Symptoms - Short Term & Long Term

  • Swelling, heat and pain in the muscles under the saddle
  • Sores on the back
  • Atrophy of the muscles on either side of the withers
  • Scar tissue around the shoulder blades
  • White hairs under the saddle
  • Acute and chronic muscular tension in the Neck, Back and Hindquarters
  • Joint problems in the hocks and stifles
  • Obscure hind limb lameness
  • Concussive problems in the front feet
  • Front leg lameness -- tripping and stumbling

Common Behavioral Problems - Due to Improper Saddle Fit

  • Bucking and rearing
  • Cold-backed especially when rider is mounting
  • Unwilling to move forward or extend and collect gaits
  • Slow to warm up or relax
  • Resistance to work, Resistance to training aids
  • Excessive shying
  • Lack of concentration on rider and aids, varying from mild to unrideable
  • Rushing to and from fences - Refusing jumps
  • Rushing downhill or pulling uphill with the front end
  • Unable to use the back and hindquarters properly
  • Inability to travel straight
  • Unwilling or unable to round the back and/or neck
  • Swishing the tail
  • Pinning the ears, grinding the teeth
  • Tossing the head
  • Difficult to collect, find a soft feel or maintain impulsion
  • Twisting over fences
  • Ducking out of turns, turning wide
  • Starts the ride responsive and gets more resistant throughout the ride


For the Rider

Physical Pain and Discomfort- Due to Improper Saddle Fit

  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Muscle Strain

Common Position Flaws

  • Inability to stay with the motion of the horse
  • Inability to keep proper elbow, hip, heel position while riding
  • Lower leg instability
  • Inability to sit smoothly to horses gaits
  • Inability to feel secure in the saddle
  • Inability to use effective leg aids