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What does Saddle Fit have to do with learning Massage?

saddle fit caricature funny

One of the Basics I teach is Saddle fit and Placement. Not all Schools teach this-but over the last 10yrs I’ve realized that if it’s not taught to students, then they will miss out on finding the CAUSE of most of the pain in horses.


If a client puts a saddle too forward, it not only causes pain in the withers and back, but it also throws the rider out of balance.  It presses on the withers, causing pain and also on a nerve that runs from the shoulder to the head! It causes the horse to throw his head in the air to try and get away from the pain as well…so what do riders do?? They don’t think to move the saddle back-they just WANT THAT HEAD DOWN-so out comes a tie down, martingale or draw reins to MAKE  the ‘horse behave’. So now you’re ignoring some serious pain issues in the horse, and most likely not building any correct muscle. In fact, this helps  a horse to brace even more-creating a tighter brachiocephalicus muscle on the lower part of the neck, lowers the back..and the hind end trails behind.

saddle forward skeletonsaddle fit accessory nerve with skeleton

The above pic shows the nerve that the saddle sits on if on the withers!

Riding a horse in this manner for a while-and the horse gets an ‘attitude’ problem-so would I and so would you! I have people contacting me about horses that have been ridden this way, and they don’t know what to do for them-they are usually also cranked in so much as to be ridden behind the vertical because they won’t ‘put their head down’…so they are punished with even harsher hands.

nancys exaggerated flexion rolllkurBehind the Vertical by Dr. Nicholson

rollkur cool skeleton with hot spotsThese are the main areas of pain when the horse is ridden like this continuously-I’d say more likely, the entire neck and back are in exteme pain-and a weak hind end.

If a Massage Therapist cannot see what is happening and realize that all of the horses problem goes back to the saddle placement-then the Massage isn’t going to help. It will for a week or so, but as soon as they go back to riding, the same way-the same problems will come right back.

So we need to address proper saddle fit/placement in class, so we can actually get the horse to be saddled properly-and show the client that the horse isn’t being ‘bad’, the horse is simply in pain.

So in order to get there..we need to learn MORE THAN MASSAGE-The Amassage Method teaches that and how to ReConnect, ReBalance and ReBuild!

riding nice hunter pic finally

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