For many horse owners the new year brings a fresh start, new training ideas, fitness programmes, lesson planning and competition schedules for them and their equine partner! I always think January is an exciting month to start the planning, being hopeful that the joys of winter don’t scupper well made plans too much.

We recently had a saddle check following me having a forced, very much unplanned, dismount one morning in December (thankfully I pretty much landed on my feet!).

We found that Chocolate had lost a little muscle on his right shoulder which was causing his saddle to twist to the left slightly pushing his saddle into his left shoulder.  A few days later I had the physio out to check Chocolate over to make sure he was 100% okay – he is a sensitive little sole. Bless!!

Between the saddle fitter and the physio, it looks as though Choc has some weakness to his left hind leg. The question is, is the hind leg weakness the cause of his saddle issue or is the saddle the cause of the hind leg weakness?

I highly recommend checking saddles and any other tack regularly. We can easily take our tack for granted and assume all is fine, but ultimately, it’s your horses’ comfort and your safety that could be at risk by not checking it.

Interestingly I use a clean saddle cloth every couple of weeks as Chocolate is so sensitive and any build-up of grease/hair can cause pressure points under his saddle – around the time of my saddle issue coming to light and me falling off Chocolate I did check my saddle cloth and found it had worn, especially on the left-hand rear (see picture) which proves that the saddle had been twisting to the left – I am just thankful that I found the issue quickly.

Following a saddle adjustment and a green light off the physio, Chocolate and I have resumed normal duties and are enjoying our routine of lunging and schooling, both including cavaletti and other pole work. We are limited to this currently due to the dark nights. However, I am trying to book a schooling session away from home at the end of the month – we are rather excited as we love going out and about.

What plans have you made for this year?



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