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[RC] sore back help! - Jane Rodrigue

I just completed my FIRST 50 mile race (Foxcatcher) - we got the turtle award, which is fine with me since my goal was to finish and have a healthy horse. I should be thrilled, but the luster is taken out of the accomplishment because I feel guilty for her sore back. My mare's report card went as follows: after 25 miles - all A's; after 40 miles - all A's and 1 B for back/withers; after 50 miles - all A's and a C for back/withers. Additionally, I noticed today, the day after the ride, that there is some chafing along her ribs/ sides.

I currently ride her in a Bob Marshall sports saddle with a 100% wool Skito pad. She is a small arabian (14.2-14.3 hands), with little to no wither, a wide, flat back, and a well-spring rib-cage. She is not one of those big-muscled stocky types, just a delicate female with a wide back and ribs. I did not think I had any problems with this set during our limited distance rides (25 and 30 miles) last year, and her back has seemed fine during our training rides, but it obviously shows up after a long ride. She received mainly A's for her back last year on her LD cards with a couple of B's on the final check. I chose this saddle type because prior to starting endurance, I was riding her in a wide tree Wintec all purpose saddle that seemed to pinch her, and she did not like that. I thought a treeless saddle might suit her body type, and she does trot out and move nice and long in it, but I am starting to think it is too flexible and too long down her sides (too much "stuff" on her). So, I have decided not to try another 50 until I resolve this problem. Does anyone have any answers for the following questions?

1. Should I continue to ride her in this saddle for training until I find something that works? Or will the cumulative effect be too much for her back?
2. There are a lot of endurance saddles out there, does anyone have a suggestion on where to start looking for a mare with this general type of build? Or am I crazy and it is just the way I am riding her?



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