What will an ill-fitting, hard-treed saddle do to your horse?
Common problems with hard-treed saddlesThe back of a horse moves vertically a lot, when the horse rounds his back, is collected or jumps. A normal treed saddle can fit properly (=have an even contact to the contour of the back) in only one of the numerous positions of the back. A hard-treed saddle will inevitably cause pressure, hit the horseís back, resist the movement and restrict the muscles from working at least part of the time.
Usually problems occur fairly slowly, so that the back becomes stiff or hollow over the years. Unfortunately itís rare that a horse who has had a hard-treed saddle for years still has a loose and flexible back when heís old.
Common problems with hard-treed saddles often have to do with the fact that the horseís shape changes all the time when the horse gains or loses weight or muscle, grows, gets old etc.
The panels of a treed saddle usually get uneven in time, often asymmetrically. When the saddle wonít adapt itself according to the horseís shape, this asymmetry causes uneven pressure and painful pressure points.
A rigid hard-treed saddle is a hard object equally to the back of the rider. Sitting in the trot eventually damages the tissue between the vertebrae. The horse under a non-flexible saddle feels the same pressure and hitting in his back. Many riders can ride in a flexible saddle with no problems with their back, hip or knees that get sore in a hard-treed saddle.
What does an ill-fitting saddle do?An ill-fitting saddle restricts the horseís movement. The movement becomes shorter and the horse may have difficulties in moving in the way and in the form the rider wishes. Pain causes stress and makes it difficult to concentrate. A horse may resist going to work, saddling or mounting, or he may buck when heís asked to canter or collect, or he may move reluctantly etc.
Different breeds and individuals express their pain in different ways. Many cold-blooded or pony typed horses have a high pain treshold. Some breeds have been bred to be very quiet and obedient.
A hard-treed saddle is a hard and unforgiving object against the soft tissues of the horse and the rider even when itís padded to prevent it from hurting them.