Sadly the Expo is over. I know it is a lot of work, time consuming, costly, the dust was horrible, the weather a little tricky a couple times but I LOVE IT! I didn't do anything except help people understand saddle fitting for 4 days straight. NON STOP!!

There were enough people at the presentations each day with comments, expressions and good questions that I knew I was getting the message across and some horses will benefit. YEA SUCCESS!

Here are just a few of the questions that came up:

What do you think about treeless saddles?

That answer could be a whole other newsletter. In fact, it was back in October 2014, Treeless Saddles. My first thought was to answer with this question to the audience, "How many people wore their bedroom slippers to the Expo today?" My slippers are so comfy. They never hurt my feet so why didn't I wear them to the Expo? Why don't I were them to the barn, walking around the block or moving furniture? I think it is easy to see that I am trying to say that my slippers don't give me any protection or support.

So, my answer about treeless saddles is maybe. Each horse/rider is an individual and needs to have the saddle fit evaluated regardless if there is a tree or not.

Can I buy a special pad?

Usually poor saddle fit cannot be fixed with a pad. Again, each horse/rider is different and needs to be evaluated. Problems a pad definitely cannot fix are:
  • a saddle that is too narrow angle or too narrow width-narrow saddles are usually too high in the front DO NOT LIFT THE BACK OF A SADDLE THAT IS TOO HIGH IN THE FRONT. Lifting the back of the saddle drives the front of the tree right into the the muscles and the back of the shoulders.
  • a saddle that is too narrow in the gullet or channel down the middle of the saddle-no horse has a spinal ligament 2 fingers wide, most are 4 fingers wide. The saddle needs to allow plenty of room for the spinal ligament & the tops of the vertebrae.
  • a saddle that is too wide angle-which means the bottom of the tree points or the bars are not touching the horse & the top is too tight. These saddles are usually sitting on top of the withers too.
  • a saddle that has the billets or rigging in the wrong place-sometimes a girth can help with that
How do I know if my horse is being bad or if the saddle is bothering him?

Since horses are hardwired to react, do the evaluation, rule out the saddle. If a horse is in pain from the elbow down, it will show up as a lameness. If the horse is in pain from the elbow up, it will show up as a behavior issue.

Behavior caused by saddle fit was the topic for Sunday's presentation. Some of the most common behaviors we see during evaluations when we know the saddle doesn't fit are:
  • bucking
  • biting when being girthed
  • not standing still to be mounted
  • trouble that starts when the horse goes down hill
  • refusing to jump
  • resistant to go round or track up
  • resistant to pick up leads
  • evil or marish
  • head tossing, teeth grinding, pulling on reins
And the most popular question for this year's Expo-When are you moving?

The answer is when the farm in PA sells and then I would say, "Do you know anyone that wants to buy a horse farm?" Our realtor gave us a list of things to do. When the list is finished, we will be listing the property. Meanwhile, the property is for sale by owner on our website.

I better get back to packing and cleaning but I want to remind everyone that Fancy is still looking for that special someone to love her as much as her Mom. Her ad is on Dream Horse. I would really love to see her go do something cool like eventing or hunting or dressage or all 3. She has a great attitude, loves attention and having a job to do. The geldings have all done their deal and are easing into retirement with Larry & I, but Fancy is in her prime and has so much more to give.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing the newsletter and helping me help the horses. Happy spring everyone!

TTYS & God Bless!

Terry Peiper
Fit Right Saddle Solutions

"Spreading the word about proper saddle fit and how it affects our horses behavior, performance and ultimately the health of horse & rider."