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 Moderated by: DrDeb  

Joined: Tue Nov 29th, 2011
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My competitive trail/endurance (hopeful) Arabian is showing discomfort, and even a "master saddle fitter" has been unable to help. My horse is large in the girth (and also not yet conditioned) - actually quite large in general. I am not sure where to post or how much detail to give at this point - could you possibly offer any suggestions as tp where to start to find a solution??? She is losing her go! -- Thanks very much for your time -- Terri

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Yes, Terri, I have several suggestions for you. To begin with, you will notice that I have edited your post so that it is written in Current Standard English. This would include proper capitalization, spelling, and punctuation. This is the desired form of communication here -- we do not speak "thumb".

As to employing a so-called "saddle fitter" -- you will want to beware of titles in this area. To my knowledge there is no master's degree given by any accredited institution in the field of saddle fitting. Most of the people who offer themselves to the public in this manner are out simply to make a buck. They are either employed by, or commissioned by, one saddle manufacturing company or another, and their ultimate aim is to sell you a saddle on which they can receive a percentage. Most of them have never had an anatomy class, or any instruction in anatomy at all, much less participated in or observed an actual dissection. Most are not master-level trainers or horsemen.

Nonetheless, their failure to be able to fit your horse is probably not their fault. The fault, in all probability, lies in the fact that you yourself don't really understand how to ride. I don't mean that I think you're falling off or teetering or don't know where the gas pedal and the brakes are. What I mean is that there is a disconnect -- a total blank spot -- in the articulation between what you're doing in the saddle, and what your horse is doing beneath you from moment to moment. Yet this is the secret of all great riders, that in their case there is a 100% total integration of what they are doing and what their horse is doing.

Now, having said this, I want you to go ahead and do two things:

(1) Go to and order Dave Genadek's "About Saddle Fit" DVD. Mr. Genadek, who is our faculty saddlemaker and a Friend of the Institute, makes this well-produced and very clear one-hour program available to you at cost, about $25. You are to view the program, consider what is presented in it, and then write back here with whatever further questions you may have. Understand that although Dave does own and operate a saddle design and manufacturing company, there is not so much as a single mention of this on the DVD and no effort whatsoever to sell you anything -- quite the opposite, as you will find out.

(2) Go to the main section of our Institute website by clicking on the "home" button at the upper right of this screen, or else go to Click on "Knowledge Base" and then download the paper by clicking the button on the right side of the screen that is entitled "Lessons from Woody". You are to read this paper and consider what it says, and how your permitting your horse to go crooked is screwing up both his way of going and his ability to wear a saddle comfortably. Again, after you have thought about this thoroughly, you may write back here with questions and for further direction.

I want to assure you, Terri, that you are very far from being alone in this situation. Just yesterday, for example, I had a private EMail from some guy who, like you, is interested in enduro and has his Arab that is always off or half-lame or sore in the back, and his saddle doesn't fit and he can't get anyone to fit one for him that doesn't apparently rub the horse (you see, it is really the horse rubbing the saddle rather than the saddle rubbing the horse, but like most people and like you, Terri, this fellow had not thought of that). And he is so desperate that he is willing to pay for an entire day of my time plus expenses to have me drive down to where he lives and then tell the bloke that what he needs to do is learn how to ride properly. But there it is.

So go and do as suggested, please, and we'll hear back from you hopefully when you have reviewed these very helpful materials. Indeed, I hope they will be life-changing for you, as they have been for other people. -- Dr. Deb

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