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RE: More Saddle Woes

Title: RE: More Saddle Woes


The marks you are describing are most likely from pressure, lie you already deduced.  They're also called "heat bumps", but have NOTHING to do with heat at all.  Pressure from the saddle (or other tack) exceeds the bodies abilities to send and receive fluids/blood to the area.  The cells respond to this "starvation" with edema and potentially cell death.  Friction and burning were probably not the culprits for the white hairs.  The hair follicles ability to produce pigmentation was damaged by the pressure.  In severe cases, the hair may be lost altogether, or he may even develop open sores.

I wonder if your horse may have developed some more muscling in this area with his work out, or if his weight has gone up? 

First, stop the pressure!  By not riding & getting a saddle fitter, you've done that.

Second, the area that reddened & peeled is dead tissue that has to come off - it won't heal.  It's much the same as skin sloughing after a girth scald - friction injures the skin & skin in the girth area sloughs off.  Using sunscreen to protect the area won't hurt.  New epithelial tissue is subject to worse sun damage than mature skin.  It will take time for complete healing...  It's hard to say how much since horses heal at different rates and it is hard to "see" how much damage might have occurred through the internet.  :-)  If you are using sunscreen & tack up, be careful to sponge the area clean.  The sunscreen may hold dirt/sand to the area despite routine grooming.

Once the skin turns pink, it will more than likely stay pink (ie lose its dark pigment).  That's one way to see evidence of injury on a gray horse.  The white hairs may or may not lessen with time.  You will generally see them in the seasonal coat that was in when the damage occurred.  (If it happened in winter, the white hairs will come in with the winter hair.)  As the site heals, there may be some roughening or thickening of the skin under the areas.  With your change to a properly-fitting saddle, this should clear up over time, too.  You may have to mark off the white areas as part of a joint learning experience with this horse, or maybe invest in Clairol or Just For Men coloring.  :-)

Thicker saddle pads are very seldom the answer to tight saddle fitting woes, in my experience.  If my shoes are too tight, adding an extra pair of socks will not make them more comfortable!  Same for the horse/saddle/pad.

There's no reason to think that the horse won't recover.   You actually did learn a valuable lesson that may happen again.  Tack that fits well at one distance may not do as well in longer distances.  The added stress of going longer & farther will eventually show tack that is a marginal fit!  What works at 15 or 25 miles may be a problem at 50 miles.  What works at 50 miles may not work at 100 miles.  You get to know the horse and learn to make adjustments.  Watch his attitude & way of moving for early indications of poor saddle fit - you can sometimes see a difference if a saddle fit isn't just right.

Good luck when the saddle fitter comes out.  I hope you have another saddle that will fit this guy, even if it is a temporary fix.  I was stuck in a 50 lb roping saddle for part of a year once (long ago) since it was the only thing we could find to fit the mare.  I hated pulling tack on & off at vet checks with that heavy old thing, but we made do.

Linda Flemmer

-----Original Message-----
From: []

 For the first time in 9 years
my horse has developed pressure points/burn marks on each side of his back
just below the wither.
He has had this burn (that is the best way to describe it) for over 3 weeks
now, how long will this take to heal?

He has had over 3 weeks off now, and I have been keeping the burn area
clean and putting sunblock on it as well
as novasan, but his burn has barley healed in three weeks and the white
hair on the other side looks very "thin" to me.
It looks like even if the red burn area heals, the white hair area will
burst open and also turn into a burn area.

 can any of you give me any hope of
ever riding  my horse again?  Do you have
any secrets to help heal his burn area?  I don't want it to heal fast to be
able to ride him again, I just want it to heal
quick so he looks move comfy and happy.

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