I hope this email finds you and yours healthy and well this holiday weekend. I know for me, staying healthy is on the top of the goals list these days.
I am sure you have noticed that when you give your email address to someone, you will immediately start receiving numerous endless emails from that person/company.
I get the big sale, last chance, vote now emails every day. And I get all the stuff that Larry signs me up for too because for some reason he remembers tpeiper@aol but he can't remember larryepeiper@gmail.
And don't forget the surveys. Everywhere you go, there is a requested survey about your experience. From the post office, to the hotel I was at last weekend to Amazon, everyone sends a survey. Here is mine-
Please, don't hesitate to contact me with your comments and concerns regarding your saddle fitting appointment, saddle or pad purchase. I want to hear from you.
No worries here. Clearly, I am not going to send you tons of emails. I haven't even had time to do the monthly newsletter since April.
Here is the April 2020 newsletter in case you missed it. It was basically a summary of the most common saddle fitting myths or untruths.
Gloria A. Peiper June 19, 1939 - April 25, 2020
Sadly the very next day after the April newsletter went out, Larry and I went to be with Mother Ann, the Peiper family matriarch in PA for a few days before she went to be with our Lord. Her guidance and love is already greatly missed.
JUST A REMINDER
With everything that is going on in the world, it is easy to forget your annual saddle check up. If you have one of our adjustable saddles and it has not been looked at in over a year, it is past due. The beauty of having an adjustable saddle is that we can adjust the saddle so that it continues to fit the horse as the horse changes or if we change horses.
HOW DO HORSES CHANGE
I think the easiest way to explain how a horse's body changes is to compare it to a person going to the gym. If I were going to a gym to work out, I would gain muscle, probably lose weight and stand up straighter because my core would be stronger. If I was going to the gym and my posture did not change, then obviously I was just playing on my phone. Those are the horses that are not using themselves correctly or just not riding very much.
When a horse strengthens his core it will push the back up, which pushes the vertebrae up and makes the horse taller with a steeper shoulder angle. Since the saddle tree angle has to match the horse's shoulder angle to allow the shoulder freedom to move under the saddle, the tree angle needs to be changed. If the tree angle cannot be changed, you need to change saddles.
This is an example of a western tree angle that is too wide for the horse. The bottom of the bar is not touching the horse so it will be pinching the shoulder. Saddles that fit like this will shorten the horse's stride. When we shorten the horse's stride in front it is difficult for it to track up from behind and use the hindquarter joints correctly. These horses have trouble getting a rhythmic gait. They develop arthritis in the hocks because they are traveling out behind instead of under and engaged. They also have damage to the soft tissue and bones in their feet because they don't land and absorb the shock down through their pastern joints.
Here is a good western tree angle to compare.
The tree angle on the english saddle follows the piping on the sweat flap. Take the knee or thigh block out of the way and look at the piping on the panel where the wool is. That is where the tree point is.
With one whip following the angle of the piping and another whip laid on the shoulder, you can check and see if your saddle angle matches your horse's shoulder angle. The one in the picture below is close but still a little bit wide on bottom. The 2 whips should be parallel.
Karen Loshbaugh of ArttoRide Saddlery just published a YouTube Video discussing dressage billet placement and shoulder angles. It is easy to see in her video how the shoulder angle matches the shoulder angle.
Horses also change the amount of muscle and weight over their ribs. Saddles slipping to one side while riding are often caused by a tree angle that is too wide in the rear, abnormal muscle development and saddle pads. Saddle pads are often too thick and cause more harm than good. It is important to evaluate the saddle with and without the saddle pad.
Some saddles have adjustable gullet plates that change the tree angle. Some saddles have trees that can be adjusted with a tree machine. Some saddles have a fitting system that allows the saddle or pad to be changed with shims and cushions. All of these saddles can change all or some to accommodate the horse as he grows, develops and changes. There is more up front investment but in the long run more money is saved on buying and selling saddles.
As always, thank you for reading my newsletter. Thank you for considering your horse's comfort and keeping an eye on his saddle fit. I also want to thank everyone again for all the referrals. It is definitely the kindest compliment, but mostly you are helping me help the horses and I thank you for that.
May God Bless you and yours during this troubling time. Stay well everyone!
Terry Peiper, Fit Right Saddle Solutions.
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