Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Another Visit From The Saddler

Spider had his yearly visit from Fred Taht of Custom Saddlery recently.  And we have good news and bad news.  But first a bit of background....

Because of his rather odd conformation, Spider has a custom made saddle.  When I bought Spider, I tried every saddle known to man on him.  Nothing fit, because Spider has absolutely ridiculously high withers.  In the end, I just decided to have a saddle custom fitted for him.  But, because the saddle is custom fitted and a horse's back changes throughout his life, custom saddles need to be checked yearly.

On to the fitting.....

Fred takes a tracing of Spider's back every year to determine if there have been any changes, and Spider has really beefed up since last year.  I'm very pleased with this.  It's a sure sign that we're working correctly and he's building up strength.  Also, we don't need to take the tree in.  The saddle is still a bit low on Spider's giant shark-fin withers, but taking the tree in further would pinch the new, super-beefy muscles on Spider's back. As his back develops more, it will lift the saddle up off his withers. That's the good news.

The bad news is that Fred was a bit concerned about a little white spot that's developed on the left side of Spider's back.  I first noticed it a few month's ago.  It's very small, but it's there and it hasn't gone away with his winter coat growing in:

The Spot.



Since the spot is on the left, and I lean to the left when I ride, and the saddle was otherwise fitting well, we decided it probably had something to do with my sitting to the left.  It's probably only appeared now because I'm asking Spider to use his back so much more.  So, I need to fix that.  But, in the meantime, I also needed something to cushion Spider's back a bit.

Luckily, I happened to have one of those sheepskin pads just laying around.  I had gotten it on super duper sale (clearanced, 75% off!) several years ago, but never really used it.  We put it under the saddle, checked the fit again and it works!

Doesn't he look thrilled?


The sheepskin pad isn't shimmed or anything, so it doesn't actually change the fit of the saddle.  It just provides a little extra cushion and "space" (via the fluffy wool) between Spider's back and the saddle.  As an added bonus, the big roll on the front of the pad helps me remember to keep my hands forward!

15 comments:

  1. Hope the sheepskin helps! I've determined that my uber-sensitive tb's latest rub spot is of my own making for similar reasons. :( We're doing sheepskin under the pad, directly on his back, plus lotion for him, plus I'm currently freaking out about how to get myself straight enough to fix it. Good luck!

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    1. Don't freak out! It's not the end of the world. In spite of his white spot, Spider is rarely ever back sore. And, when he is, it's on both sides and because we were really working on something hard the day before.

      The leaning is definitely something that needs to get fixed, but it's not terminal.

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  2. One of those "good news, bad news" reports. But the good outweighs the bad, I think.

    If the sheepskin pad isn't the answer, you might consider a gel pad. That's what I used on Toby "back in the day" when my treed saddle seemed to be causing some bumps on his back. When I switched over to the Ansur treeless, the problem disappeared. But prior to, the gel did the trick.

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    1. I think the good news outweighed the bad, too. I've never used a gel pad, I always worry about how hot the gel pads get. Luckily, Spider has no bumps, just the odd white spot.

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  3. Well you guys are doing great - a muscled up back - perfect. How lucky are you, finding the perfect saddle fit fix with your own tack?

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    1. RIght? Who knew that my inability to pass up a good deal would come in handy one day? And my husband calls me a "hoarder".....

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    2. Ha ha - and I call my husband a hoarder :)

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  4. I have a custom Custom saddle for Winston as well. I love LOVE that saddle. I'm using a sheepskin with shims underneath it right now since he is growing and filling out -- that way I only have to have the fitter out in a year instead of six months. Spider looks great.

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    1. I love my Custom saddle! I have the Wolfgang Solo with short blocks. I love the service you get from Custom Saddlery. They are so willing to work with the customer to get everything right. I had some minor stitching that had come loose on my saddle, which was not under warranty, but they fixed it for free! Their customer service is second to none!

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  5. Did he find a clump in the flocking? It seems strange that he would develop a white spot mid-tree rather than under the tree points or along the spine. Or maybe it is under the tree points. It is a little hard to tell from the photo.

    A little sheepskin goes a long way. That was a good thing to have on hand.

    Spider's weight and coat look awesome. He looks nice in the double bridle, too.

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    1. No clumps in the flocking. The spot is a bit of a mystery. It is mid-tree, and my leaning + increased collection + increased lateral work was the best explanation we could work out. Ah, the joys of owning a "unique" horse!

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  6. Sounds like good news that the saddke fit is still over all good. Those sensitive TB and their white spots. Steady developed two a long time ago and I ws afraid that even if I corrected the problem they wouldn't go away. Thankfully after a new saddle that actually fit and the shedding of his winter coat the next spring they disappeared and never returned. This will be extra motivation to tackle the leaning issue, old habits die hard.

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    1. Hopefully this white spot will disappear next spring! We are definitely working on it!

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  7. The bad news wasn't so bad I think. Good that you found such an easy fix. Dusty has a custom saddle because she has no withers, luckily it fits Blue too, another wither challenged horse. I don't even remember what it's like to have a horse that a saddle fits perfectly off the rack anymore.

    And yes, Spider does look absolutely thrilled. Handsome guy.

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    1. It certainly could have been worse. Overall, I'm pleased with the fitting.

      I still remember a time before "saddle fit" was even a thing. Every horse went in a saddle off the rack, and every pro brought their own saddle that they rode all their clients horses in. Oh, how times have changed!

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