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Sounds Worse Than It Was

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She writes...

I have read your book on Guineas and loved it. I have 9 Guineas and 15 chickens.

Hoo Ray!!! Amazon told me someone actually bought it, they just wouldn’t tell me who. Thanks for writing! I’m so tickled I won’t even cast aspersions on you for being one of the guinea glamoured.

I have a 14 year old quarter horse that has bolted with me twice, once with my son and once with a more experienced rider. She is the sweetest horse and has tremendously awesome ground manners. She seems anxious under saddle. She is a former barrel racer. She has just had her first Equine Chiropractic visit and will continue. I would love to read the “bonder”. I am currently recovering from her last time bolting and I went off and landed in a fence and broke 6 bones in my thoracic back. Sounds worse than what it really was that happened. I want to get my confidence back and get back in the saddle. The doctor has cleared me for riding in March 2012. The accident happened January 2012.

Let me take a guess here… She’s an Appendix Quarter Horse. For those who haven’t heard the term before, she’s a qh/tb cross but is considered by the Quarter Horse registry to be a Quarter Horse.

Why will she continue with the chiro? Not that I’m against it, I just wonder if anything was found. Particularly around the withers or front thoracics.

I would have the horse looked at by a CESMT (Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist) and look for back issues more up to the front of the horse but not ruling out the lumbars totally.

Horses move toward pain or the expectation of pain. Appendix horses, very common in barrel racing, tend to be more streamlined than full Quarter Horses with less depth of flesh between saddle and bone. It is crucial TB’s, Appendix/QHs, warmbloods and horses with “razor” withers have proper fitting saddles.

Improper fitting saddles often jab them there and drive them forward. Even a proper fitting saddle can aggravate the chronic injuries of a former bad fitting saddle, hence the CESMT.

For a basic saddle check put the saddle on the horse uncinched and walk it around until the saddle sits where it settles. Where you think it should go and where it will go are often very different spots. It will go there, or attempt to go there, during your ride. Once the saddle is settled mark where the front and back of the saddle fall on the horse.

If the saddle comes to rest other than where you think it should go you will need experienced saddle help or training in where a saddle should go.

Take a Staedtler Mars Flexible Curve 24 inch ruler and match points on the horse’s back to the saddle by bending it over the horse’s back then carefully applying the top of the curve to the corresponding part of the saddle. If they are not close, you have a static saddle fit problem, the saddle doesn’t fit the horse before it even starts moving.

If the saddle doesn’t match the horse’s back that needs to be corrected. If there is a position fitting problem, that needs to be corrected as well.

Another thing is to make sure the saddle is the same on both sides and equal from the center line. Many saddles twist over time. We are taught to ALWAYS mount from the left side. Don't ask me why, it's a military thing from back in the days when they actually had horses and swords in the Cavalry. Eventually, that pulls the saddle parts in that direction. All the distances, angles and thicknesses should be the same on each side.

If the saddle becomes a suspected bolting cause, and I suspect it is from what you report, you’ll need a good saddle fitter or a good health plan.

Broke 6 bones in your back crash landing into a fence and you say it sounds worse than it was?? Hmmm… Maybe you and the guineas will get along after all.

My last saddle disaster didn’t sound worse than it was. It sounded every bit as bad as it was and more. I could hear my screams echoing off every tree in the neighborhood.

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