Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Flash Gives Us a Challenge

Flash's western saddle is hurting his back.  This is a new development.  The saddle isn't even two years old yet and Brett purchased it to replace his previous western saddle that was pinching at the withers.  His current saddle fit like a dream at first, but lately Flash has been having a very sore back after wearing it.  We first noticed it after the cattle play day at Reed Valley Ranch.  Flash had the saddle on for most of the day -- trail ride in the morning and cattle sorting in the afternoon.  The next day, his back was very flinchy.  It resolved in a day or two with bute.

Last Friday, Brett and Flash went on a four hour trail ride with a group in Orange County that he enjoys riding with.  I was working so I didn't go --but even if I hadn't been working, four hours in the saddle is a bit much for me.  The next morning, Flash was VERY sore.  Again, a couple days of bute restored him to a flinch free back.

We've been trying to figure out what is causing the saddle to, all of a sudden, hurt Flash.  He's 16 years old which isn't old, but isn't young either.  He's getting a very slight sway in his back, although he is nicely muscled from his dressage work.

  I think he's a bit heavy, and the saddle seems to be very tight on the sides where his belly starts swelling outwards.  ...Brett took offense to me calling his horse fat, but honestly they are all overweight.  They don't get grain, but they do get a lot of grass hay.  Kalvin and Flash have hay bellies, Jackson is extra meaty all over, and Winston is starting to get a belly as well.  Not good! 

Brett is trying to get an appointment tomorrow with our farrier's uncle, who makes western saddles, and get his opinion.  I initially thought that the saddle was bridging, given the slight sway, but when we put it on him this afternoon it didn't seem like it was.

Meanwhile, Jackson is shedding like a madman.  Every other day I'm taking the shedding blade to him and he still leaves patches of white on the ground where he rolls.  This afternoon, I groomed him in the pasture and big ol' hunks of hair were coming off.  He was leaning into the shedding blade and even tried to groom me back.  He's almost down to his summer coat already. 

It was 70F today and the mud has pretty well dried up.  Jackson managed to come through the last rain/hail/snow storm without an acute flare up.  I am SO happy! 

Of course, while I was grooming Jackson this boy got jealous.

He wants all the attention, all of the time.  Silly boy.


  1. Where on his back is Flash sore??? All over?

    Love that look Jackson is giving you- too cute!

  2. Flash is sore towards the back -- where the back of the saddle sits which is why I suspected bridging.

  3. Is there a pad that can compensate for the way the saddle fits? You may be right, that the extra weight changes things. Jackson is looking great. Berlin really has a low back now...she will be 28. I have a mattes pad that I can put shims in...and it usually works. How does Flash feel with the English saddle? I would compare the reaction.

  4. I learned so much from finding an English saddle for Hickory. A western saddle...boy, how can you even see if it's bridging? Good luck!

  5. I used to love brushing a horse. Anxious to hear more about the saddle.

  6. hope brett can figure out what to do to help flash... glad jackson did well!

  7. Awww! I love that last picture.

    Good luck with the saddle!

  8. Hi Annette,luckily you have easy access to good saddle fitters and should find the solution to the fitting problem!

  9. Well you can't groom one horse and not the other....silly girl!

  10. Awesome Jackson!!!
    Flash is a looker,love that first picture!
    Hope you figure it out...

  11. Jackson is looking good, all shed out.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.