Dry area under tree-free saddle / potential pressure point?

mynutmeg

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Aug 23, 2015
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I've used a tree-free saddle (bought 2nd hand) and their pad (about 6 months of ridden use) on my cob mare for about a year or so with no problems at all - both of us love it, however the last couple of weeks I've started to notice a dry area under where the stirrup bar sits - obviously this is concerning me that there's a pressure area developed.
I'm not sure what's changed as we've not had problems previously. She's not sore or uncomfortable in that area and is happy to be saddled (she makes it very obvious if she's uncomfortable).

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this / what might have caused it? I have contacted the company but am waiting to hear back.
Pic is of the underside of the numnah after a 10km ride, mix of walk/trot (average speed about 7km/hour) but I'm getting the same pattern even after a short 15-20 minute ride in mainly walk.

2015-08-20%2018.08.25_zpspiozi6y3.jpg
 

mystiquemalaika

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Jan 7, 2013
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I would be looking closely at the panels on your saddle for any unevenness,and also replacing the inserts in your pad. To me it looks suspiously stirrup bar related on the pad. Some pictures of her back after a ride showing sweat marks would help too.
 

mynutmeg

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Aug 23, 2015
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Thanks. When I run my hand along the underside of the saddle there's a bump under the stirrup bar.
Her back mirrors the pad - there is sweat in that area but not as much as the rest.of the panel area of her back. I can't get pics I'm afraid as I'm away for a week so won't ride again till start of September now.

The inserts aren't replaceable - they don't come out. They're a similar foam.to the polite stuff - the numnah panels don't seem flattened - I do wonder if it's the foam in the saddle that's compressed as I don't know how old the saddle.is as it was bought second hand. The numnah was new and only has about 6 months of use and a fair amount of that has been very light. We've upped the work gradually.over the last 3-4 months as am getting her fitter now as we're starting some low level endurance/pleasure rides
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Have you started doing more rising or half seat trot? My treeless is great up to about 5 miles at 4mph beyond that I start to notice stirrup bar pressure so I only use it for easy rides now and have treed for speed and/or distance rides.
 

mynutmeg

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Aug 23, 2015
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Not really - 6 weeks ago we were doing similar to now. 7/8k 3 3or 3or4 times a week which is about what I've been doing recently. The sweat pattern is the same even if we've only done 4km at a walk when we've gone for a bible round. She does have sweat there just less than elsewhere.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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I have never had dry spots like the ones you describe.
What is the conformation of your horse?
 

mynutmeg

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She's cob cross tbxid - she's fairly wide and reasonably flat back although she has decent withers and her spine is a little above. No muscle wastage or anything
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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I would be thinking that the saddle needs sending back to Treefree so the saddler can have a look at it, and sort the uneven panels.
As it's secondhand you don't really know how the previous person rode or its age. Being made in the UK it's easy to get the maker check it just as you would a treed, you noted you do have lumps under the panel.
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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I have recently returned to treeless after having had treed for the last few years and so I'm rather obsessively interested in sweat patches. Is the pattern the same on both sides?

I'm confused by these pictures though because I first (of course) noticed the nice dry channel down the centre, which means the spine is not being touched, is that correct? But the suspected stirrup bar area is also dry, so does that mean the saddle/pad is not touching the horse in that area? Why would that be a problem? (genuinely interested, not criticising!)
 

mystiquemalaika

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I don't read the pad as dry rather more has lots more grease in the wool which to me is equating more pressure there rather than none :) at I guess I'd say the larger area is below the stirrup hanger and the bit infront is where there is possibly less coverage over the horses back,more prominent spine or a steeper rise upto the wither.
Sweat patterns are ok to an extent,a dirt pattern is usually more reliable,place a white numnah under your pad and look at the dort pattern nice even marks,nice even distribution :) a very clean mark can either he lack of contact or too much contact/pressure. For a more reliable sweat patterns you need to be able to know how your pad effects heat build up aswell as get a good full sweat, neck etc to know if you have a true full sweat under your saddle. Some pads and saddles will pass a string test all day long hut you will not have a dry line down the spine as you have a material over the area that causes heat or your horse is particularly sweaty by nature etc. Tis a minefield!
 
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newforest

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As above really. A dry large area such as either side of the spine suggests no pressure. You do actually want that
that. My pad has a channel similar to the above pad, it's always clean. So its not in contact which I don't want it to be.

However small sweat areas and small dry areas are pressure. It's either pressed to an extent that the area has overheated in relation to the rest of the horse. Or worse it's pressed down so much that the horse can't even sweat at all and the hair begins to die and turns white.

You need to consider how sweaty your horse is the day you checked the marks to as above poster said. On a hot day I can have a sweaty horse and next to nothing under my saddle, or a sweaty horse plus some sweat under the saddle. That's ok if it's symmetrical and even. I would be sweaty as well. :)
Most rides though I untack and I haven't ruffled a hair.

I have a white pad (recommended for pressure testing) and every ride I can check our pressure and dust. Though I want a coloured pad too now.
 
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