Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Throwing in the towel...for now.

Or maybe it should be "throwing in the towel...again" as I do have a post from last summer when Orion hurt himself that was me throwing in the towel on the Ride Between the Rivers.

This time the "injury" isn't so bad. And we still might go to the Kentucky Stampede. But I'm going to give Q a good week plus - maybe two weeks? - off from riding. I need this thing with her back to heal and quit flaking. It seems to be good then when I don't see her for a day or two I return to this:

Top photo - what I see when I arrive after getting her out of the field; Bottom photo - right after brushing it off some

Its silly. The hair is coming back in - predominantly white, but at least its coming back.

She has moved out freely under saddle and lunging this whole time. She has never flinched in sign of pain or otherwise this whole time. Her appetite is good. She is forward. She is alert. She is otherwise unbothered and affected by these mystery spots. (And yes, I know she will respond to pain because in my quest to heal her scratches she is VERY sensitive about me rubbing in medicines etc. to alleviate and fix the problem, even when I'm super gentle and slow with it she's grumpy.)

But I can't ignore that these spots occur right where the saddle hits. The hair is likely growing back in white due to a saddle fit issue. I'm going to pull a trick the packers taught me in TN tonight to see if I can figure out a little more what's going on with how the saddle sits on her back. I'm going to take an excessive number of photos, too. I've been scouring the interwebz reading my butt off studying up on as many potential problems/solutions I can. Freakin' mystery. Why do horses always do this to us? I just want to give her a halter that will help her speak like Dug and the other dogs in Up! Then this wouldn't be so hard. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

The Woolback pad will be ordered and hopefully arrived by the time she's healed. I'm going ahead and getting the inserts with it. Whether or not I use them is still up for debate, but I figure better go ahead and get them now. And yes, I recognize that a thicker pad won't necessarily help the saddle issue if its truly a poor-fitting saddle. In most cases a thicker pad augments the problem from what I've read. But if her issue is in part due to skin sensitivity from detergent and has been worsened by the saddle/riding now...then the Woolback should help her - I mean, it should help period once I figure stuff out. We've been riding with thin AP square, quilted Roma pads. Pretty much as thin as it gets.

Part of me wonders if she didn't get this prior to the race because I was using my old leather girth that led to the saddle sliding all over creation when she would get really sweaty (as we work hills all the time since flat land is harder to come by here unless I ride the old railroad grade). So maybe because the saddle actually stays put with the Coolback girth... Soooo many possibilities! Grumble. I have a love-hate relationship with puzzles like this.

Oh, I don't know that I ever mentioned it on here... Q could care less about having a crupper on. Good to know for the super steep rides when I may need it in the future.

So yes, no riding for a week or two. Lunging: yes. Ponying: yes. A good time to see how she will do with ponying. I have yet to try her. Maybe this will be a big issue and lesson for her... We'll see. Mayer could use some miles. Q could use the exercise. A match? We shall see!

If the Kentucky Stampede doesn't happen I'll be a little sad, but its far more important to me to figure this out and make sure Q isn't hurting at all. She's such an incredible mare I would hate to hurt her and not get to continue our adventures. Here's to the puzzle being solved!!


  1. Horses and saddle fitting are such a mystery. Example for you: my saddle looks like a textbook fit. So in theory, it being a nicely-stuffed English-style saddle, a nice thin pad should work just fine, right?

    Not. Tried it several times with a thin dressage square, or just the next step up from that, and Mimi pitched a FIT. Swapped out the pads right then and there for a thicker Woolback or Skito, and she went right back to her normal self.

    So I'm not sure exactly what that says, other than "opinionated pony that likes more cushion."

  2. It still looks like scurff/rain rot to me, but you can't deny the link between it and the saddle. I wonder what the connection is...

  3. One more idea: did your Wintec come with the gullet measurement gauge? If not, you can get one for next to nothing on eBay. You can measure Q with this gauge to see where she's at in terms of gullet size-the measurement is taken across the back of her shoulder blades, at the point where the buttons on the saddle would be if it were on her back.
    Even if your saddle doesn't have the interchangeable gullet option, you can still compare the measurement you get with the gauge on Q to the saddle's actual width.
    If your saddle does have the interchangeable gullet option, which color gullet is in it right now? New Wintecs come with the black standard gullet, unless you got it second hand-it may have a differenc color in. My used Wintec AP had come with a white gullet = XWide!
    Just a thought. If these are pressure sores, just inserting a wider gullet may fix the problem. If you don't have the whole gullet kit already, you can also find the individual gullets super-cheap on eBay. The gullet gauge on Q would tell you specifically which color/width gullet you need.
    The thicker pad with the inserts may help lift the saddle enough to relieve the issue as well. But you may just be able to fix the problem altogether for like $30 if you get lucky on eBay.

    I love your blog-endurance was one of those things I've always wanted to try but have always lived in climates too hot/humid for it or just didn't have access to enough trails to put training miles on a horse. I hope you do make the KY Stampede-looking forward to reading about it! :)

    I agree with you-it would be awesome if horses could just talk and tell us what their problems are!

  4. Okay so I'm a hick - but I've found my felt rope saddle pad or prochoice western pads work well with English saddles. I had a horse do that on his girth - basically ended up being a heat rash. Needed to make sure it was breathing well and really watched what materials I put on him. Chin up - you'll figure it out. :)