Happy Fall Y'All
I love this time of the year! Hopefully you have been able to get outside and enjoy time with your horses. We have been super busy here. As usual there have been lots of saddle fittings. I did the online presentation for the therapeutic instructors in PA. That is on the YouTube Channel. And I took Nic and Annie to a Working Equitation Clinic in Bulls Gap a few weeks ago.
I love working equitation because it is all about classical training and the partnership. It doesn't matter if you ride western trail, dressage, hunter/jumper or even one lady I know rides a mule. It is all about proper training. There is a dressage test to keep everyone honest. Then there is what they call Ease of Handling which is dressage with obstacles. Another phase is speed on the same obstacles just a few less and the bigger shows have a cattle penning phase. The horses really like it and riders have lots of fun. I posted a few of the videos on my YouTube Channel. Just go to YouTube and type in FIT RIGHT SADDLE SOLUTIONS
Jody Pugh Fontanetta is having a fun clinic/schooling show on Oct. 23-35 at her farm near Murfreesboro if anyone wants to check it out. Check out FB Group "Working Equitation TN"
There is another trip to Alabama scheduled for Nov. 19-21. I will be in Somerville for sure and possibly Oak Mountain and Huntsville. The next trip to Alabama will be in January or February.
If you are reading this newsletter than you have heard me say that saddle fit affects our horse's behavior, performance and ultimately the health of horse and rider.
Linda Tellington-Jones talks about saddle fit in her book Getting in TTouch, Understand and Influence Your Horse's Personality. This book was first published in 1995, this is not new information! But sadly some riders still don't understand the importance of good saddle fit.
In her book she says
"Many people don't make the connection between tack and the way a horse is behaving. An incorrectly fitting saddle, for instance, can cause a number of behavioral problems. I discovered a perfect example of this while I was in Israel in 1979, traveling close to the Jordanian border, among sandy hills dotted with the green oases of irrigated orchards and fields. I visited a stable where my eye caught a 14.3 hand, rather pitiful looking black gelding. He was a grade type of a horse that the stable used on it's rent string, but there was something very touching about him. "what's his story?" I asked.
The stable manager shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, this horse is going to the killers next week," he said. "He bites and kicks and he's extremely aggressive."
To me the horse's head type just didn't match that description at all. He had a common, undifferentiated head, and though he didn't look very smart, he certainly didn't look mean. In addition, he had one long swirl right between his eyes, usually an indication of a friendly character whoe would enjoy people.
"Do you mind if I just work on him and check his body out?" I asked.
We cross-tied the horse so couldn't bite. I reached up to check his neck, and found it very hot behind the ears. When I checked his back, I discovered that he had large, inflamed sores right behind the withers.
I asked to look at his saddle, and the cause of the sores was immediately clear. The saddle did not fit him correctly, sitting directly on his high withers and digging into the hollows on each side of the withers. This little horse was simply reacting to pain with the natural reflexes of fear and aggression. Kicking and biting were the only language he had to express his discomfort.
The stable manager was not unique in not connecting the sores on his horse's back with an ill-fitting saddle and resultant aggressive behavior. I've found that many riders - both inexperienced and very experienced - don't make these connections and often fail to recognize a problem stemming from a poor fit.
If you want to finish her story it is on page 131 in her book Getting in TTouch, Understand and Influence Your Horse's Personality. The whole book is fascinating as she teaches the reader to analyze the horse's physical traits and how they determine his personality.
And just a quick reminder, I know you have heard me say it before but there are still some folks out there saying that even sweat equals good saddle fit. It is not true! Yes, funky sweat patterns should sometimes cause some concern and alert us to check the saddle but you definitely can not tell what or if anything is wrong by looking at a dirty sweaty horse. Just last week we were looking at a horse's sweat patterns - 3 days in a row and 3 different sweat marks. I think she probably rode longer one of the days.
Yes, horse's change shape. Yes, we need to check the fit of the saddle every 6-12 months. No, sweat is not a way of checking for proper saddle fit.
As always, thank you for reading my newsletter, your referrals, testimonials and helping me help the horses. I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you! Have fun everyone, get out and enjoy fall and please pray for our country.
TTYS, Stay well and God Bless,
Terry Peiper, Fit Right Saddle Solutions
"Spreading the word about proper saddle fit and how it affects our horse's behavior, performance and ultimately the health of horse and rider."