Muscle Atrophy and the Saddle Fit Connection

Muscle Atrophy and the Saddle Fit Connection

Muscle atrophy is usually something we see happening in old people—and old horses. Muscles waste away from simple aging and lack of use. Sadly, rescue horses who have suffered starvation usually show signs of muscle atrophy, regardless of their age. In short, muscle atrophy is a decrease in muscle strength because of a decrease in muscle mass or the amount/number of muscle fibers. Atrophy can be partial or complete, causing varying levels of weakness. When atrophy occurs in the aging process, it’s referred to as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is defined as an age-related loss of skeletal muscle, resulting in frailty. It is often partnered with osteoporosis, a loss of bone density that is similarly associated with aging. But age isn’t the only cause. If your horse is laid up due to injury and his regular exercise comes to a grinding halt, you can expect his muscles to atrophy to a degree. But what if your horse isn’t old, hasn’t been on stall rest and you are exercising him diligently on a regular basis, yet you notice his muscles diminishing?

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Aufgesattelt (Tacked Up) - alles rund um den Sattel (All Around the Saddle)

Aufgesattelt – alles rund um den Sattel. Der Sattel – die direkte Verbindung zwischen Reiter und Pferd. Wer beim Sattel aufs falsche Pferd setzt, der macht einen folgenschweren Fehler. Denn ein Sattel ist nicht nur eine hochwertige Anschaffung für lange Zeit, er ist auch ein entscheidendes Verbindungsglied zwischen Reiter und Pferd. In dieser Eigenschaft muss er zwei großen Ansprüchen Genüge leisten: Er muss zum einen dem Pferd optimal passen und zum anderen auch dem Reiter ein gutes Gefühl vermitteln. PSJ-Fachautorin Jessica Kaup hat sich mit dem Thema auseinandergesetzt und einige Experten dazu befragt.

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Saddle Fit and Industry Education

Saddle Fit and Industry Education

A recent article in the Journal of Veterinary Science concerning the repeatability of 20 Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) Qualified Saddle Fitters observations of static saddle fit outlines the lack of cohesiveness in the methodology of assessing saddle fit. The SMS has committed to overhauling their entire saddle fitting curriculum within the next year or two – recognizing the fact that a) saddle making does not equal saddle fitting and b) their saddle fitting training is somewhat remedial in its ramifications. Further work is definitely necessary to standardize the criteria of what is saddle fit and how should saddles be fitted – and perhaps to develop a common language that is accepted throughout the industry...

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Many Horses But Not So Many Saddles - Saddle Solutions?

Many Horses But Not So Many Saddles - Saddle Solutions?

I am a trainer with lots of horses to ride but I cannot afford a saddle for each horse. I start a lot of young horses – some of which will presumably leave within a year or two. How do I manage to do right by all these animals (and for myself) by ensuring I have and use a saddle which works for me and works for all of them? Obviously, ideally, it would be great to have a saddle that has been made and fi􀄴ed for each horse’s conformation, but the reality is that this will seldom be the case. So, you get a saddle that fits you absolutely wonderfully, is comfortable, works with your anatomical requirements (male or female), and makes sure that at the very least you won’t let any discomfort from the rider’s end translate down to the horse. That’s the first step. Then, you have it fitted to the largest horse you have because it’s always easier to fill in the gaps and make it fit for horses with narrower shoulders, lower withers, etc. (just like it’s easier to fit shoes that are too large with insoles and extra socks; the other way really doesn’t work that well.)

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Margaret Boyce

For me as a coach and judge, we absolutely do not want to see all our years of hard work and dedication go down the drain because of ill-fitting saddles on our horses. Saddlefit 4 Life®’s amazing developments, have absolutely benefitted the riders but more importantly - for the horse's long term health with immediate and visible results. Seeing is believing! I saw a close friend of mine whose horse has been misdiagnosed for years as to why he was not happy in his work. This horse had his hocks injected; he had an MRI and several other medical procedures trying to find the answer as to why this TB gelding was so resistant even in the most basic work. This horse saw saddlers, chiropractor, massage therapist - the owner felt she did everything she could for this horse and nothing seemed to help. Even the veterinary clinic found and treated the symptoms but never found the cause for this horse's pain. In the diagnostic saddle fit evaluation, Jochen discovered several major fitting issues on this horse and immediately set to work like a surgeon, fitting the horse instantly with a new saddle and the results were beyond amazing. In all the years I have known this horse - I have never seen him produce a regular three beat canter under saddle until that very day. Once all the pressure points were relieved on this extremely sensitive horse, he moved with so much freedom and regularity and offered no resistance - as a judge and coach I just started applauding and crying at the same time!

— Margaret Boyce, Equine Canada Certified Dressage Coach and Judge

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