Rugging in Winter is a hot topic every year, with a lot of information out there, so we will keep this as simple as possible!
There are both benefits and drawbacks to rugging horses, such as:
Some benefits include:
- Prevents your horse from growing a long Winter coat
- Can help to prevent your horse from dropping weight, as they don't need to burn extra energy trying to keep warm
- Helps to keep them clean
- Keeps their coats smooth and shiny
Some drawbacks include:
- The possibility of over heating and heat stress
- Weight gain can be an issue for a horse that is prone to weight related laminitis
- The necessity of unrugging in the morning and rugging up every day, which could be difficult and time consuming if you do not have easy access to your horse twice a day
- Rugged horses need to be checked at least once per day to make sure they are not tangled up in their rugs
*Please note, that these guidelines are to be used as a reference only, and you need to take into consideration each individual horse's body weight, age and work load.
Let’s talk about saddle fitting!
There are a multitude of ways that a saddle can fit poorly and create ongoing issues for you and your horse, both under saddle and when the saddle is nowhere near them!
Imagine you buy a pair of shoes, they look GREAT but they are really tight, you decide to wear them to work anyway in the hope you can stretch them out a bit during the day. By lunch time you are getting blisters on your blisters, but you can’t take them off because you don’t have any other shoes with you. You don’t want to move, you can’t even really think of anything except how uncomfortable and sore your poor feet are. You finally get home, kick those horrible shoes off and feel some relief, but you still have blisters and sore feet even after a few days.
The same thing happens to your horse! Except your horse has to wear a tight or bridging saddle for an hour or two every other day, and you’re asking them to work, jump or even compete in that saddle!
Long term, ill fitting gear, especially saddles, cause long term physical and mental problems for your horse. Here are some signs that your saddle doesn’t fit:
- Uneven sweat patches
- Dry patches where the saddle sits
- Your horse’s behaviour has changed when you approach with the saddle – tail swishing, ears laid back, head tossing, pawing, walking away, etc.
- Frequent tripping/stumbling under saddle
- Reluctance to go forward under saddle
- Refusing jumps
It is good practice to check your saddle fits your horse regularly, particularly if your horse has grown, had weight or muscle fluctuations, you have noticed white hairs coming up in places where the saddle sits, or any of the above behaviours or changes in behaviour.
There are lots of things to look for when checking that a saddle fits your horse, briefly, these include:
- Balance, does the seat of the saddle look “straight” when it’s placed on your horse’s back?
- Can you fit about four fingers between the top of your horse’s wither and the pommel of the saddle?
- Can you see daylight peering from the pommel down the horse’s spine to the back of the saddle?
- Can you run your hand down the front of the saddle, and feel that the saddle is sitting off the horse’s shoulders, giving them plenty of room to move?
- Does it look like the saddle has even contact along the panel of the saddle along the horse’s back?
If the answer is “no” or “maybe not” to any of these questions then we highly recommend getting your saddle fitted!
We have a mobile saddle fitting service for new saddles, or your current saddle and would be happy to help you and your horse be achieve maximum comfort again!
To book, simply call Ros directly on 0417 721 471 book in!