Weight Carrying Cobs too much weight?

Louisa Wilde

Louisa & Rodney
Feb 12, 2007
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Surrey
Hi

I have a 15"1 Black Medium/Heavyweight Cob who is 10 years old who lives out all year. He is used primarily for hacking 3-4 times a week in the summer, for a couple of hours each time and in the winter this is cut back to 1-2 times a week and hunts about 6 times a season. I bought him last April after having him on loan he had previously been in a riding school since he was 3 teaching children & novice adults. He passed a 5 stage vetting with no back issues. I had had him on loan for approx 3 months when I bought him. In June he developed white pressure marks on his back which turned out to be a broken screw on the saddle which was fixed by the saddler. He had some physio to help with the sore muscles from where the saddle had hurt him. After 3 months the white pressure marks were all gone and he was no longer sore on his back.

However in Oct/Nov a white patch has appeared again on his left side behind his shoulder. The saddler has revisited him and assures me that the saddle fits him. It is a 16.5-17" leather heavy bates general purpose saddle. He now appears to be stiff/sensitive around the whole saddle area especially around the shoulders and the back of the saddle.(I have recently added a gel pad to his back which has not improved things) It is not effecting his paces or performance that I have noticed, he is not shying when tacking up but is sore when I run my fingers around his shoulder and around the saddle area. The physio has mentioned it might be work related as we do like to hack for a couple of hours in the winter. I have tried cutting back what we do when out hacking but he loves his hacking and his hard to hold him back when he is so eager

The concern I have is I am 95kg and am worried my horse is struggling to take my weight but everyone is too polite to say!

So I would be interested to hear people's opinions on what could be going on with him, what I could do to spread the weight better across his back - Would I benefit from a lighter but better weight spread saddle?, what treatments would anyone recommend. Could it be lack of winter condition that means his muscles aren't as developed? This is my first horse and am now worrying about what I have taken on.

Cheers
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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If it were me I would call the physio and put all these questions directly to him/her, inc the weight one - perhaps if you ask it directly you will get a straight answer :eek: I haven't commented only cause I can't convert kgs in to stones in my head :eek: I would have thought he would happily carry 15 stone, maybe more if he is conformationally very sound and you are an experianced and light (seated) rider :D

If the physio gives you the all clear I would try and find another saddle fitter to come and check your saddle - I have seen many 'professionally fitted' which don't fit at all and I am no expert!

However it is possible he has just strained something, perhaps rolling while in the field and a good massage and a few extra days off will see it right, though if there is white hairs I doubt thats the case :eek:

Best of luck J x
 

HairyCob

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Mar 18, 2002
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Hi Louisa, and welcome to the forum! I'm sure you'll find it a friendly and addictive site:D

As to your question- I had a heavyweight cob and he would happily carry up to about 16.5 stone for an hour or so... and your 95kg doesn't come close to that according to my calcualtions;)

I wonder if your cob is just not fit enough at the moment to be undertaking two hour hacks though- we all do less work with our horses in the winter, and certainly less consistent work... if he's unfit and struggling with the distance that might account for muscle soreness.

I'm no expert, but I'm sure *someone* on here will have a more definitive answer for you:D
 

puzzles

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Nov 11, 2006
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it is a fact that a well-balanced heavier rider is far less of a burden than a lighter-weight rider with a poor and ineffective position.
generally, to find out how much your horse can carry (inc. tack) calculate his weight in pounds (if youknow it in kilos then times it by 2.2) then divide it by 6 andf again by 14 to get the weight he can carry in stones.
so if your horse weighs approximately 550kg, he can carry around 14.4 stones.
look for the signs of a horse carrying too much weight; staggering the first few steps after you have mounted, before continuing normally as he adjusts to the weight; dipping his back or showing signs of discomfort (ugly facial expression, head up, ears back, nipping, tail swishing) when you tack up and/or mount. so you will need to find out how much your tack weighs too.
if your cob maintains a good level of fitness, with good muscle coverage, and is up-to-weight, then he will be all the more able to carry a heavier rider.
have a physio out to check his back and treat it reguarly, twice a year or so just to be safe and healthy.
 
P

Pink's lady

Guest
95kg is 15st, so with a Bate's saddle that's about 17st. Thats a large amount for a horse (any horse) to carry, and I certinly wouldn't put anymore than that on a horse. But for fit, weight-carrying horse with good conformation and a well-fitted saddle, that's not excessive.

It sounds more like a poor saddle fit. Personally I don't trust saddlers are far as I can throw them. And I know from expereince that Bates/Wintecs aren't good fits for wide cobs.

I would have a word with your physio and possibly ask them to check his saddle fit. And ask another saddler to come and have a look (preferably one that doesn't sell Wintecs/Bates, as they will give you a different opinion on them;)) And I would look into different saddles with very wide surface areas (endurance saddles maybe)
 

ajhainey

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I think it's also quite a small saddle which increases the pressue - I'm about your weight and would find that very small so agree with pinks lady - a second opinion/different saddle might be a good way to go.

aj xx
 
P

Pink's lady

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Didn't read the bit that said it was only a 16.5' saddle. Thats a very small saddle ( I won't willing ride in one that size due to pressure and I'm about 64kg) and definitly won't be spreading the weight well. There are very few horses that couldn't mange a 17.5 or even 18inch saddle so I would try to get as big a saddle as possible.
 

Louisa Wilde

Louisa & Rodney
Feb 12, 2007
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Surrey
Thanks for all the advise I have ordered a 17.5" endurance saddle that is reasonably light weight about 4-5kgs I think, so fingers crossed that willl help him. Like I say there are no visible signs when I mount him or ride him that he is in discomfort, only when I run my fingers around the saddle are he twitches and moves away from me.

Getting the physio to come back to him once we have the new saddle as well.

So fingers crossed that should all help!
 

puzzles

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Nov 11, 2006
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good good, i hiope all goes well; which it surely will.
you say that running your fingers down his spine causes him to drop his back, but this is a natural response found in many horses, though it can be a sign of discomfort; so don't worry.
:)
 
P

Pink's lady

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Sounds like a good plan and an wide surface bearing area is a good idea even if e's not back sore.
 
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