The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:56 am
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Location: Austin, Texas, USA
I am eager to hear where his went. The Equestrian Director is an Ansur rep and has the new saddle. We ride her Selle Francaises (Sp?) in it. They do not have huge withhers, and they have the wide backs that are easy with the treeless. She does make sure to ride them in the big heavy duty pads designed for treeless saddles. The entire program uses them. The more withery horses tend to use the big pads plus the shoulder shims. Did you take pics? Was Ansur helpful?

As for seatsavers, if you need one, go for it. They make nice gel ones just like the gel pads for horses, which are nice as they can be thinner and still give great shock absorption. However, if you can ride in a saddle which does not make you cry out for such a seat saver, that is great too, as in my mind we want to avoid a princess and the pea situation, stacking up layers after layer of stuff.

I have had many different saddles and other things I have wanted to use for Belle, but she has crazy saddlebred withers. Of course the saddle that fits her perfectly is one which I felt taken on on ebay and it makes grumpy. It is all discolored and its left kneel roll padding is all sagging down. But both my trainers have been in it and raved about what a comfy old couch it is :) You just never know, do you?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:56 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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I have never ridden in a treeless saddle but have seen quite a few. I don't understand how the spine could be protected like in a treed saddle. Maybe a thick pad would help with a horse that does not have a prone spine but it's hard to imagine for me how a horse with a more prone spine could be comfortable unless nothing touches in the middle. I heard there is a Len Brown Corrector Pad now that is made for treeless saddles, which is supposed to help with this but don't know how it works.
Birgit


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:42 am 
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Location: Australia
Ok finally got some pics. I've in Perth (long, long, way away) for 2 months being a grandmother but I am now back with my herd. Went for a forest ride with Gandalf and the Ansur and as much padding as I could. Still found dry pressure area all the way along the spine.

This is not nme but my friend Andrea. Note how close the front of the saddle is to the wither.

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my friend andrea holding gandalf showing padding
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side
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after ride
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top view
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Of course I wouldn't get on with no pads but included the pics to show what the saddle is like by itself.
If I add the front shims, it clears the wither a little better, but I still have spine pressure. I'll send this to Ansur and I realize I'll have to buy some kind of padding. I'm guessing either on of their front lifter pads or I saw a German one (I'll post the url when I find it). I guess I'm just a bit annoyed that the saddle doesn't have enough spine clearance because I think that's what saddles are for (for the horse anyway).

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:31 pm
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Location: maryland
your horse is certainly different shape from mine. You are right, you need padding and lots of it to make up for the lack of muscles next to the spine.
I'll try to take pictures of my Ansurs. The saddle can rest on the spine under the rider with no problem is the spine does not stick out. In a well muscled horse it should not be a problem. But the edge of the pommel should not rest on the wither


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:49 pm 
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Hey Andi:

I hope you figure this out! I'll be really interested to hear what the Ansur people say.

To my eyes, it looks a bit like it's sitting too far forward??? (The second photo, with the pad, looks better to me...)

Stardust is built similarly to Gandalph -- not quite as high in the withers, but close. My saddle has just a bit more room under it than your pix show yours -- and I do, as I mentioned in a post before, place it a bit farther back than that.

Perhaps this is my lack of knowledge, but is not having sweat on the spine a mark of an ill-fitting saddle or simply less contact? My understanding of looking at sweat marks is that they can be indicators of both?? I was taught that even sweat marks on the sides of the saddle but not along the spine was normal -- to look for specific areas where the sweat is uneven, but that if it's the entire spine, evenly, that's not an issue...

Like Gandalph, Stardust is a bit roach backed -- a fairly prominent spine (worse when he's out of shape, but it never completely goes away).

For me, the decider about this saddle was his reaction to it -- he was adamant he hated every other saddle I put on him (I tried four or five) and has not hated this one...how is Gandalph responding to it? Is he a horse that will tell you if it's not comfortable?

(And what a cutie -- a fleabitten gray! Stardust is one, too...just love 'em...) :)

Good luck! And please, do, share what the Ansur people say in response to your photos -- that would be GREAT for me to hear, too!

Best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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Leigh,
I think you are right. When there is no contact in a treed saddle that area would be dry completely many times as the sweat evaporates so quickly. When I ride with my bareback pad I get a completely even sweat pattern that includes all of the spine area. I don't understand enough how treeless saddles are made but assume most are much more like a bareback pad than like a treed saddle. I'm wondering if thicker shims along both sides of the spine in front and back would get the saddle off the spine. I made my own saddle pad once to try to address a saddle problem with too little spine clearance. I used two layers of 3/8 inch wool felt (taken from a commercially available wool underpad I cut apart). I took some pics:
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The one change I would make to it is to sew on an elastic strap in the front where the withers are to run in front of the withers to help keep it from digging in behind the withers.

Birgit


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:56 am
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Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Nice job on the DIY shim pad Birgit. Definitely one of the important things is to not just stack padding up and up until you are cantilevering like a modern building way above your horse. Shimming is very important. The big pads I referred to are very structured, but they are lighter and thinner and more flexible along the spine. There is some lift, but not as much as there is shim. As with any saddle, no one treeless is going to be the answer for the majority of horses. They are however very adaptable. I love the ansurs, but between cash and Belle's build, I have just never even tried to go in that direction.

If you do not get good answers from ansur central, let me know and I'll see if Amber can weigh in. As I said, most of the therapeutic program here (of which she is director) uses them, so she works with horses of different builds with them not only to fit, but on an every day basis where she is responsible for their health and fitness. She is headed for baby break though, so I can't promise that even me batting my eyelashes will make it happen according to timing.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:53 am 
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Location: Australia
You should start mass production Birgit! I'd buy one.
About dry areas - I think that is an age old argument. I think dry areas are caused by pressure, not allowing the area to sweat at all. That seems consistant with what I've seen. Certainly, with the Ansur, I know there is pressure along the wither and the spine and that is the dry area!
A few months ago, I asked a UK forum member who does thermal imaging (maybe Celtictotem?) if red areas corresponded to dry areas, but I don't know the result of that yet.

Tomorrow I am taking Gandalf to Natalie Skillings http://www.horse-connection.com.au (she sells treeless saddles and luckily lives nearby) for pad advice and fitting. Over the phone she suggested the Christ pad http://www.horse-connection.com.au/haf-saddle-pads.html. The alternative is the Ansur Dorsal front lift pad https://www.ansursaddle.com/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=24 which I would have to order, get by post and hope it works. Or, get my local saddlery to make one based on Birgit's design.
I WILL solve this problem.

On another track, I want to go bitless with my horses (I have just recieved The Path of the Horse DVD and feel very guilty :sad: for what I've done in the past). Has anyone a recommendation for a bitless bridle or side pull for a horse that has raced for a few years and can get excitable in company or a process of eaching him to go from bit to bitless?
Thanks Andi

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:33 am 
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Location: Austin, Texas, USA
I am far from the voice of experience on this one, but I think that like saddles it is a very individual to the horse situation. I have researched heavily and every bridle has well spoken big fans and detractors as well. I am working with Belle in a Nurtural bridle. She seems comfortable, but we are still working out the finer points of communication. Some days I want the bridle to be wrong and be able to go and buy the one that will make her as advanced as she was in a bit the moment I put it on her head. That's when I know I need to let it go.

I'd say go to lengths to borrow some different ones and try them out.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:20 am 
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I have split this topic, so now La Jaquima has its own thread over here: La Jaquima con Fiador Y Mecate


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:31 pm
Posts: 58
Location: maryland
two years later and I have been riding in the Christ Lamsfelle pad and like it so much that i am selling my Ansur Carlton, keeping hte Ansur Classic. I use the stirups for mounting and posting!


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