Monday, May 2, 2016

Saddle fit and discouragement...

The Ghost saddle may not work. And the thought of doing more saddle shopping right now makes me want to Give Up On All Things Horse.

I don't think it's the horse in general, but the fact that so many areas of my life right now are being met with disappointment and a lack of answers (specifically with health problems I am having). I guess I'm just worn out and discouraged and this is more of the same.

I'm getting some clear pressure points now that I've experimented with saddle pads that make her sweat more. Another reason for the experimentation was seeing some edema.

The edema I'm seeing shows up on her spine (as demonstrated by ghost finger above) after rides. Based on conversations with experts this is a sign there is pressure alongside and fluid is squeezing into the spine channel. This edema disappears within a minute and none of her back is painful to any kind of palpation. In fact her back generally feels good, though I feel it won't last given what I'm seeing! This is comparing to our old dressage saddle which had a more even sweat pattern, no edema, but DID make her tender to palpation! It seems like every saddle we've tried has some issue, though I have yet to have the same issue with different saddles.

I got a new Skito pad that is very shiny with a shim set I was certain would at least help. I rode 7 miserable miles in it yesterday and... NOPE. Same issues. The shim set I got for the Skito pad (which is gorgeous, by the way) was intended to fill the "dip" in her sway back... which is the area I'm seeing the pressure and edema.

My new Skito.
Possibly this problem is contributed to by the saddle wanting to slide back. It will slide back a good three inches on big uphills and I can't get my breastplate any tighter. It already interferes when she puts her head down to graze.

Another thing to note: the Ghost is treeless. The dry spots and edema are right around where my weight is. Possibly I'm just too heavy for treeless, though I am within the recommended weight range for this saddle right now.

I don't know.
Another example after a rinse that shows the curve of her back better.
I know lots of recommendations for saddles to try will come flooding in if I look for them, but I can't afford something more than around $1k right now (and that's if I sell this NEW saddle, ugh). If only saddle brands did rent-to-own stuff! Plus, there is no guarantee that a more expensive saddle will help at all. This saddle performed great in my trial and is the most comfy saddle for ME that I've tried. That's one reason I wasn't sure I wanted to make this post at all.

It would be great if I could borrow saddles to try, but Deli just isn't shaped like many other horses. Part of me thinks treeless is our only option. How else to you accommodate a sway-back, wide as hell, forward-girth groove, sensitive skinned redheaded pony?

She isn't sore so I'm going to keep riding and tweaking things to see if I can make some difference. But I'm not feeling super hopeful today.

Here's what I plan on trying:

  • Less stretchy girth (may help the saddle from sliding back but historically Deli has been intolerant of a non-stretch girth).
  • Moving shims around.
  • Trying NO shim in the Skito pad.
  • Swap back to the slimmer panel to see if that makes a difference (probably not).
  • See if I can get to a place to have a fast FLAT conditioning ride to determine if the sliding back is a contributing factor. Or bore our brains out doing laps in the arena...

I switched to the wider panel which is supposed to spread out the weight more.
Feeling very "grey" today, despite the sun finally being out.
I am still planning on our first endurance ride in late May. Conditioning-wise Deli is looking good for a conservative LD. I suppose if the greater distance does make her sore then I will have my answer and truly return to the drawing board. (And probably be out for another season. A thought which I can't stomach right now.)

Last time: Conditioning in March, 2016 – Ups (and Downs)

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