What Your Horse’s Sweat Patterns Mean
It can be hard to know if your saddle has been fitted well – your horse can’t tell you when something’s wrong, so you have to keep an eye out for some key indicators.
One way to do this is to look at the sweat and dirt marks left on your horse’s saddle pad.
By looking at these signs, you can get a sense of your saddle’s fit and what needs to be adjusted.
The two key concepts.
These are the most valuable things to remember when looking at sweat patterns:
- Sweat and dirt marks should be symmetrical.
Symmetry means that the saddle is sitting evenly on your horse. Sometimes non-symmetrical marks don’t indicate a bad fit and sometimes a problematic fit can still result in symmetry.
But as a general rule of thumb, this is a great one to go by.
- The centre line of you saddle pad (the gullet) should be dry.
Under no circumstances do you want the saddle to be rubbing or touching the spine of your horse.
How to interpret sweat and dirt patches.
Larger amounts of dirt and more darkness generally suggest that more rubbing is occurring in this area.
Ideally, rubbing is minimal and is spread out evenly.
Dirt at the front of the saddle pad means that the saddle is too wide and is being pushed forward.
Dirt at the back of the saddle pad could mean that the saddle is the wrong shape, or that the rider is sitting too far back in the saddle.
Diagonal dark patches indicate the points at which the saddle is swinging and rubbing. Diagonal points usually mean that the saddle will need to be custom adjusted to your horse.
Heaving rubbing on one side means the saddle is leaning to the opposite. In the diagram above, the saddle is leaning to the right.
This can also be caused by the way the horse is ridden, or the length of your stirrups.
Sweat and dirt patches are a rough guide. The most important step to getting a comfortable saddle fit is being attentive to your horse; their mood, their sensitivity and any tension in their muscles. Contact a saddle fitter if you suspect you aren’t able to get your saddle to fit nicely.
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10 Genius Horse Hacks
1. Use emery board to remove minor stains from suede.
Dirtying anything suede can be a disaster. It’s almost impossible to get a stain out. Picking up an emery board and giving you suede a light rub can help roughen up the fibres and remove the stain.
2. Use vet wrap to stop blankets slipping.
Prevent blankets from rolling right off their racks. Wrap vet wrap over the rack to give them a bit of extra grip.
3. Use a dustpan to fill water buckets.
Can’t fit your bucket into the sink? Use a hollow-handled dustpan to funnel water out of the sink and into the bucket.
4. Use tall socks as a tail bag.
Cut off the ends of an old pair of knee-high socks and use them as a makeshift tail bag.
5. Use pool noodles to keep your boots in shape.
Want to keep your riding boots in line? Cut some pool noodles to size and slip them in.
6. Make a DIY bridle rack.
Nail some empty tuna cans to a plank of wood for an extremely simple DIY bridle rack.
To take it up a step and go for a classier look, use old horse shoes screwed into the board.
7. Use coloured zip ties to identify your equipment.
If you’re at a show and you don’t want any of your stuff to go missing, attached coloured zip ties to your things so you can quickly identify them.
8. Use a pool skimmer to remove mess from your horses’ drinking water.
It’s the simplest way to clean up the drinking water. If a pool skimmer is too big, consider using a pet fish net.
9. Line your buckets with garbage bags to prevent spillage.
Instead of pouring water directly into a bucket, line the bucket with a garbage bag. You can then tie the bag close and use a wheelbarrow to transport it without any spills.
10. Bandage your own leg.
Forgot your chaps? No problem, just bandage up your own leg to avoid pinches.
BONUS – Use an old halter to suspend a pot plant.
A great little idea that will make you backyard a little more interesting & unique.
READ MORE: 16 OTHER equestrian tips & tricks