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Saddle Sores

No one likes to see saddle sores on their horse, because we know that we're responsible. Saddle sores don't happen on their own – they're caused by people.

The term "saddle sores" refers to sores on the saddle contact points of the horse. The sores can range from small lumps, to barren areas where the hair has rubbed off, to spots of white hair, to ugly open ulcers.

The sooner you discover and treat them (including the cause), the less severe they'll be.

horsesThe most common locations sores develop:

  • Withers – where the gullet of an ill-fitting saddle can rub

  • Loins – where the skirts or pad can rub

  • Under the belly and behind the elbows - where an improperly adjusted or dirty cinch can cause sores and friction burns

  • The shoulders - where a too narrow saddle will pinch

The main causes of saddle sores:

  • Ill-fitting saddles – too loose tack (friction burns) or too tight tack (pressure sores)

  • Improperly adjusted saddles – cinches too loose or too tight, saddle place too far forward or too far back

  • Dirty tack and dirty horse – dirt, debris, broken or worn tack, and bunching

  • Poor riding technique – riding off balanced puts more pressure on the contact points

Saddle sores are a very visual sign of poor horsemanship technique. We all owe it to our horses to take the time to ensure a proper saddle fit, to take care of our tack and to develop our riding skill.

 

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