I have an arabian horse,Benny. I’ve had him for about a year and a half.
I have two saddles and both give him white spots on his withers and the one
always slips. I think the bars are to big and was looking at a classic
equine esp pad that one of my friends recommended for me because it is a
thicker pad. It is also a bit on the pricey side. I am 13 years old and am
starting Benny in gymkhana. Right now I am using a blanket and pad from my
feed store. I don’t know if I should look into a new pad or a new saddle
with arabian bars. I was looking for other opinions and will be looking
forward to yours.
Thespina S. – Queen Creek, AZ
Thanks for the question. I want to just touch on a few things first.
Most saddles have a wood tree in them; the wood tree does not always fit our horses’ backs like they should. The tree can be too big, too narrow,
or just not the shape of our horse’s backs.
What causes the white hairs is a pressure point from the tree that kills the hair follicles, sometimes permanently.
Sometimes building up the pad in the front of the saddle (shimming) is what you need to do to relieve the pressure off your horse’s withers.
Saddles usually sit down hill on our horses, meaning the back end pops up and the horn sits lower. This should be the opposite of how the saddle should sit on our horses, that is why shimming up the front of the saddle will help. Why most saddles need to be built up in front is because most horses do not have the amount of muscle they need right in that hollow spot behind the withers, so the saddle pushes down on them there too much. Also, the tree in the saddles are not always made to be the best fit on a horses back. Unfortunately most saddles do not fit horses and our poor horses have to put up with it because most people do not know what to do.
Also, where exactly, are the white spots? If they are in the hollow behind the wither all the above applies. But if they are on the top of the withers then this means that your horse has too high of withers for your saddle and that your saddle is sitting down on your horse’s withers.
Going to a smaller tree, like Arab bars, is usually not the right thing to do. Most of the time saddles need to be built up in the front, not thinner bars. It is very rare that a saddle is too wide, they are usually not wide enough.
I would play around with building up your pad.
I would also like you to think about coming to my Clinic in Phoenix. It will be at Joan Haldimans Boarding Facility, off Baseline RD. The dates are Feb. 27th 28th and March 1st, that is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The clinic starts at 8:00 and goes till 4:00 each day. The clinic is my Foundation Clinic, the first day is ground work, the second day is ground work and round penning, and the third day is riding. It costs
$285 for all 3 days, I also have family and friend discounts, call if interested in them.
I also do saddle and tack fitting and would be able to really tell you what is going on with your saddles and how to fix it.