I am always striving to say what is so important for horses about saddle fit in a way that will resonate with people. Tight shoes analogy is getting a little old and most of our feet change slowly… so that one is going by the wayside. I have been thinking about Arnold… yes, aaaahhhnald… you know, the big guy.
Now, while I am not promoting any politician these days, his days of a bodybuilder are what I am focusing on. Imagine Arnold in his early years of becoming Mr. Olympia, Mr. America and Mr. Universe. Can you picture him staying in the same clothes as he sculpted those body changes? As we train our horses, striving for higher levels in competition, or change their work levels, our horses’ muscles are changing (and honestly, I have seen some Arnold-worthy changes in some of the horses I work with). They can change in unexpected directions. Seemingly small workout changes can produce some nasty saddle problems. Maybe you just started cross-training… a little more trail riding interspersed with your normal workout. Almost every muscle change can bring on a potential problem.
And the “clothes” I am talking about are wood, rigid plastic (and iron in some cases). When saddles don’t fit horses, they are super-uncomfortable.
We are asking our horses to sculpt their bodies to become better athletes but we are not changing the clothes that will allow for the larger muscle or fit the trimmer athlete. Think of Arnold in rigid clothing… how far do you think he would have gotten?