Joanne Forster is amazing!

Totally worth a two hour each way trip with the trailer!

Joanne was so lovely, and sooo thorough, and explained everything so well, and showed me her amazing horses, so now I know what a healthy back should look like.
I actually feel really bad at how much damage has been done to Harry's back, and I had NO idea. :help: His huge shoulders are caused by muscle damage from the overtight saddle, but lower down his shoulders are weak and under-developed, and his chest is narrower than it ought to be. And all I was worried about was the rear of the panels and the fact it was lifting...

The saddle we bought him with is far too narrow, and has caused muscle wastage behind his withers, and a dipped back. Joanne showed my her Welshies which are much older than Harry, and his is the back looks like ancient :cry:, whilst theirs look fantastic - I have honestly never seen backs which look so well developed and muscled. - Now I know what to aim for!

The only crumb of comfort is that Harry actually moves quite well still - he spends most of his time outside, and eats at low level, so that has helped, and my son is so light-weight at the moment, the damage isn't as bad as it could have been. However, his tendancy to carry his head high at trot should improve now, with encouragement and schooling.

Joanne is going to see Harry in 6 months to check progress and re-adjust the saddle, as she expects it will need to be widened again as his back improves. I am going to try to remember to take photos monthly, and track his improvement.

So I now feel guilty at the state his back is in, but happy we have found Joanne to help put it right! And thanks to Poohsmate for all his advice and encouragement:happy:
Last edited:


Active Member
Jun 3, 2005
I use Jo for Buzz and she's always a worth of knowledge, very honest and a good laugh at the same time :biggrin:

I used her with Twig and he went from having a terrible underdeveloped back to a lovely back although it took about a year of hard work including riding bareback for a month and working him long and low for a long time.

I decided to get her out as soon as I bought Buzz as he was rising 4 and I know he'll change shape. So far he's doing fab :smile:


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
You mustn't feel guilty - all is not lost, and you have him sorted now. Saddle fitting is a nightmare and to find a good fitter not easy at all.
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