Saw an ex riding school horse today – he had only been in a riding school for 4 years, but had saddle sore marks on his withers and a bit of muscle wastage. He also showed concern when trying to put a saddle on him; he was expecting the pain to start! He also was not happy about being girthed up, probably because it had been done in a rough way in the past.
He was fitted with a treeless saddle which gave his withers nice clearance and space and softness around his withers. He stretched his back muscles by dropping his nose on the ground, which was nice to see. At the end of just a short ride he gave out big sighs.
I hope this sweet horse will be free of saddle pain from now on; new owners are under nice and gentle guidance and I am sure he will be a much happier horse from now on.
Just breaks my heart to see the sweetest horse having such mental issues and physical damage from a bad saddle; I wish riding schools would pay more attention to the signs – they are quite visible if you just look!