Looking at a high-withered horse, you might say to yourself, "Oh I'll never buy a horse with a back like that." I said the same thing to myself, but I am the proud owner of LL Arabian Night.
Recall that conventional wisdom your mother taught you: Don't judge a book by its cover! Apply that wisdom here. This little horse does it all: lesson horse, trail horse, and show horse. We've won a cabinet full of colorful ribbons including five first places and seven second places at local and class A shows. However, it was a rocky road getting to this point.
For more than a year, I rode Night in a saddle that bridged his back. It wasn't until he stopped coming to me, when it was time to ride, that I realized something was seriously wrong. After a vet visit, Night was on muscle relaxers and no riding for six weeks. I consulted a professional saddle fitter and found an English saddle, with the help of a Skito pad and custom foam inserts, that accommodates his Mt. Everest withers, broad back, and big barrel. A short time later I found a Western saddle to fit him as well. The new saddles and new daily stretching exercises improved both of our lives tremendously.
Now three years later I still have the English saddle, which I use to train and trail ride in, and a year ago I purchased a custom-made Western show saddle. Every day, Night and I do his stretches, butt tucks and tummy lifts. We also work hard training his stomach muscles to lift up his back and round his frame in proper collection. Night is proof that conformation is not everything.
It is important to assess proper saddle fit for all horses, not just ones that have low backs. Dixie, with her mutton withers, fat deposits behind the shoulder blades, and broad back makes it difficult to find a saddle that fits her properly.
Poor saddle fit, to the horse, is like us walking around for hours in shoes that are too big or too small for our feet. Pain, as a result of poor saddle fit, may be the cause of your horse?s undesirable behavior.
A horse's muscle shape and contour changes over time with or without exercise, so consulting a professional saddle fitter at regular intervals would be beneficial to you and your horse.
Kim Baker and Night compete in Western Pleasure, Trail, and Mounted Native Costume at Arabian Horse Shows. They also enjoy trail riding and horse camping. Kim has been working with horses for seven years and is currently studying with two leading natural horsemanship clinicians to become a professional natural horsewoman. One of Kim?s passions is to develop an educational program encompassing holistic practices for improving the partnership and relationship between horses and their owners. Kim is also certified in Reiki I & II, and studying animal communication. Contact Kim Baker at: email: email@example.com or cell phone: 303-981-2127