Horses don’t lie

If your horse starts swinging its butt away at the mounting block and fidgeting when you try to mount, could it be telling you something?


If only we would pay attention…

Or maybe the horse is rushing under saddle, bracing, has an under neck muscle, has difficulty coming onto contact especially through transitions or in lateral movements. Do you think saddle fit MIGHT be the problem?

I’ve only had Starlight a couple of weeks, but I was having all of the above issues and trying to figure out how to solve them. If I’d known her better, I would have diagnosed saddle fit faster, but 10 days into it, I realized it might be the saddle. I borrowed a flex-tree saddle (The Ansur Saddle) from a friend, and what an immediate difference! Happy horse!  Bending, flexing, no problem!

Unfortunately, this can’t be the long term solution for us because Starlight is such a wide backed mare that the Ansur becomes too wide on her for my hips to be comfortable. However, it’s a workable interim solution.

Moral of the story: if the horse is acting weird or giving you a problem, look first for pain. 

Horses are honest and they don’t lie or plot ways to make our lives difficult. They live in the moment and just tell us what they are feeling. We owe it to them to pay attention and do our best to make their working lives comfortable and rewarding.


Starlight: much happier in the Ansur saddle. Too bad about the ugly water truck in the background. Strange color as she sheds out her bleached winter coat.

13 thoughts on “Horses don’t lie

    • Saddle shopping is only one level removed from horse shopping hell. You have to make both you AND the horse happy, which sometimes seems impossible. Good luck to me! Oh well, at least I have the Ansur saddle meanwhile, for a few weeks anyway, so I’m not currently hurting her back. My hips, on the other hand…This is a really, really wide mare. WOW. But it’s fun to watch her muscling starting to develop, slowly but surely. Each week I am seeing changes in her body.


      • It’s awesome to get to see that muscle develop! She turns 6 this summer? (Got foggy on the details, but I think you said 2010.) She’ll be large and muscled by next winter for sure!
        Wishing you all the best with the saddle shopping. I’m thinking about scheduling Lemke to come out for yet another saddle fit before end of May. Not sure if I can make it happen…


      • Yep, six at the end of May. Lots of development and changing from somewhat flabby to muscular ahead (I hope). She’s already changing! It’s kind of fun to see.


      • Yep. That’s why I’m leaning toward a saddle with the ability to be adjusted…she’s going to change a lot over the next year, probably several tree sizes. Oy vey!


      • Yeah, some shimming and padding can be done, but nothing beats being able to widen the tree on the same saddle.
        I’m starting to worry what the next fit will tell us… I hope I don’t have find myself saddle shopping too!!

        Did you sell the Lemke already?
        Perhaps she has something to barter with if the Ansur is getting too uncomfortable…


      • I have not (yet) sold the Lemke. It’s a 2015 17″ #4 fit, if you’re interested! Sheryl is going to sell it for me, but I can also sell it privately. One cannot shim or pad a saddle that is too narrow, by the way – it’s like adding more socks to shoes that are too small. Just makes it worse. Shimming helps with unbalanced muscles/saddles, but only as a temporary fix, I find. Anyway, Star has clearly told me the Lemke is way too narrow, unfortunately, so I’ll be trying other saddles and seeing what I can find. I do not want to special order from Sheryl she doesn’t (at this point) have anything on hand wider than my current saddle in the right seat size. Phooey. Love the Lemkes!


      • Aha, you may well be in my shoes in another year. These PREs…wow, they are WIDE! I’ve watched video of Starlight’s g’pa and he was a TANK of muscle, but huge around. You will have time to wait and search for a used saddle if you see it coming, because your girl is a bit younger. I’m in a hurry because I need it right now…

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  1. She is lovely!! Can’t wait to follow your progress together. I’m currently dealing with saddle fit issues too. Clay is changing and his saddle has started to slide forward on him. Living as rurally as we do, it’s hard to get good saddle fitters to our area for re-flocking, etc. I’m trying to decide if I go through the whole rigamarole of saddle shopping (online, ugh…) or just get a custom one made ($$$$, ugh…) and be done with it. I loved my Verhan Odyssey while it fit, though. Check them out, they’re made for Baroque type breeds so it might work for your new girl!

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    • I’m going to be trying a WOW Classique next week. I’ll try to post a review of it afterwards. You can change the gullet plate an infinite number of times as the horse changes, and it is wool flocked so it’s adjustable that way, too. Stay posted and fingers crossed…

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