Can seamstress adjust flysheet to minimize rub on high wither?

Scarlett 001

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Skeeter is blessed with an enormously high wither - like a sharkfin. He is also blessed by a super sensitivity to bugs, so he *really* likes to have a fly sheet on - he gets so miserable around even a few bugs, let alone in the field when they are everywhere. This is not me wanting to baby him - he really gets irritated beyond all reason by insects. He is quite melodramatic about it all.

Anyhow, I'm having a hard time getting a fly sheet that will not rub his wither. It is fine when standing, but when he bends down to eat, it tends to get too tight. The one I bought this year was not so great at all, so I switched back to the one I used last year which is a bit better in terms of wither pressure.

I was just wondering - can anyone think of any adjustments my seamstress (she specializes in horse blankets) can do to make the fly sheet have more wither relief and give him more space there, without compromising the rest of the fit. What kind of tailoring might work I wonder? I'll call her to see if she has dealt with this issue before and has suggestions, but I am curious if anyone can think of what she could do - any ideas anyone??? :)
 

Daffy Dilly

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You could see if she could put a lyrca insert in. Perhaps a triangle that goes over the withers and down to the chest, and maybe a strip up the neck over the mane?

Ideas blatently nicked from the Masta flexi-neck system. ;)
 

Jessey

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I know the problem well, but haven't been able to come up with any ideas of how to fix it, other than to put an elastic sirsingle on to hold the rug forward (I find it is worse when the rugs slips back a bit).

J x
 

drookitsheep

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I've often wondered why companies sell hi-wither style numnahs, but no one seems to have cottoned on to this for rugs as well?! Sorry I don't have any suggestions, but my boy is the same so I sympathise!
 

galadriel

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If it goes all the way over the wither and up, you could probably insert a diamond shape above the wither, diamond long side aligned lenthwise with the horse. This'd make some more room for the wither.

If the sheet ends at the bottom of the neck (and doesn't continue up the neck), you could simply cut out the wither area and seam it up.

You can adjust the front buckles so that the top strap is looser than the bottom. This allows some give for the neck to go down and up. You could probably have the straps replaced with elastic if it seems like that would help him.
 

Scarlett 001

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Great ideas. I wonder which idea will work best for which fly sheet? Anyone care to elaborate more and tell me which idea will work best for which fly sheet? :) I think it adds to the problem that he has a large chest too. I may replace all his front blanket straps with elastic ones to help with the chest, then also adjust these fly sheets for the wither.

This is the fly sheet he is now using. This one does not rub too much, but still may as well optimize it.
skeetersnack2nome.jpg


This is the other fly sheet. I could just sell it, but any other fly sheet will do the same thing. It is too tight as you can see in the picture. I feel awful as the mane is rubbed down all stubbly at the top of the shark fin - oops I mean "wither". When I bought Skeeter, he had white hair over his wither due to ill-fitting saddles sitting on that huge/long wither - but now I am thinking that this flysheet added more white hairs or maybe the white hair where the mane was rubbed was never in that spot before and I caused this! Feeling guilty. :( But he was so much less irritable with it on. Anyhow, I stopped using this flysheet, but I have to say he really appreciated this at the start of insect season when things were bad as he had dozens of huge welts all over his neck. (Oh yes, I did take the tail bag off - I forgot to do so for these modelling shots!).

skeeterflysheet3.jpg

skeeterflysheet2.jpg
 
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galadriel

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On the first one, I'd try cutting out the top seam area from the very front to a few inches back. I don't know what this will do to the integrity of the sheet, but that's what I'd try if it were mine. It'll probably need to have a new extra-strength seam put in on either side of the wither.

On the second one I'd try inserting a diamond, or perhaps an oval, trying to get a little more clearance over the wither. If you leave it the same above and below, then it *should* still hang approximately right, so it hopefully wouldn't sag or pull away strangely.

Something I did with a sheet that hung badly on Duchess was to actually tighten up the neck area. Her shoulders are big, her wither is large, the sheet was just hanging in a way that dragged on the wither. So I adjusted the straps in front so the straps themselves started from further out, and then overlapped the front of the sheet a few extra inches. That made the top edge of the sheet sit farther up her neck, and relieved some pressure on the wither itself. And like Jessey said, since pressure is worse when it slides back, tightening up the neck area also keeps it from sliding back as much and helps tht way too.

I'm not sure how clear the above is with respect to what I did. I took the straps entirely off, and moved them horizontally a few inches toward the back of the sheet, and reattached them. Thus when I buckled the straps together, the sheet overlapped in front--evenly--more than it had before.
 

Scarlett 001

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Okay, thanks. Will give the blanket lady a phone call.

Could a fly sheet cause new white hairs on his wither? I know his saddle-induced white hairs are permament - but if we pretend there are some new white hairs from a flysheet, is there any chance they could grow back with colour (probably being naively hopeful here...)? I feel awful if the flysheet added to his collection of white hairs, as I was really trying to help him. :( My photo collection has no close-ups that show the hair there, so I will never know I guess.
 

galadriel

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Pressure points/rubbing of any kind can cause white hairs. You may have seen horses with white hairs on the poll or the bridge of the nose; these are often caused by halters left on the horse for turnout, particularly if the halter didn't fit well.

Sometimes when you catch something quickly, the hair follicles aren't permanently damaged and the hair grows back with pigment :) I've seen it with a number of horses whose owners noticed as soon as they started to get white hairs under the saddle, got the saddle fixed, and the white hairs grew back in color.
 

Scarlett 001

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Hmmm. I thought as such (that any pressure can cause white hairs).

I think there was a mixture of white/dark hairs there before, but just not sure of the percentage mixture of each colour. It appears that there is still a mixture, but the hair has been rubbed down. Maybe there are new white haris, maybe not. I'll never know for sure, so I may as well stop my guilt tripping (I say this, but I know I won't stop quite yet!) - I was trying to respond to his complete irritation at bugs and do my best for him. Next time I'll watch out for rubbing or just get blankets modified as soon as I buy them.

I've been so excited by long reining that I just did not pay enough attention to his mane I guess. :eek:
 

galadriel

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If the sheet is rubbing at the same spot a saddle would, then they might well be old white hairs from a poorly fitting saddle. A lot of saddles would rub on his wither, as you know.

Or they might even be natural. Duchess has a number of white hairs in her mane, and it seems to me there are more of them toward the base. Kat has only 3 or 4 white hairs in her mane, but they're there.
 

Scarlett 001

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Yes, there are so many possibilities, I suppose, that there is no point in beating myself up. Sometimes I think I look for things to feel guilty about. :rolleyes: :( As if Skeeter is even complaining at all - after all the sins that have been committed against this horse, I don't think he's worried if I gave him an extra white hair. I mean, of course he did not like the pressure of the rug on the wither, but that is taken care of now. But I doubt he is losing sleep over a few white hairs, whatever caused them. I am pretty sure the area where the white hairs are is about where he had bad wither sores when I bought him (due to a saddle, as he never got to wear a fly sheet or blanket just before I bought him)

But today the silly turkey went and ripped off a leg strap from the plaid fly sheet. So while the blanket lady fixes that, she can adjust the wither area perhaps. The only bad part is he is going to have to go naked so I hope the bugs don't bother him - if he goes completely insane (which is possible!) with the bugs then I will have to put that white fly sheet on for a few days and perhaps a couple of extra days won't change much anyhow...
 

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