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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

May 14, 2010

Trouble shooting...

Phebes has developed small "knots" on her topline under the saddle right where my seat bones land. Checked saddle and pad and everything seems fine. These feel firm like an insect bite would, only they aren't a bite, do not involve the skin at all, it is in the muscle. Dr. Fehr's noticed them a C.Chase and said I should watch those. I try to be light as a fat lady can in the saddle, and ride at two point a lot. So for lack of another solution I ordered a new pad with 1/2 inch of padding under the bars of the saddle vs. the 1/4 inch I've been using. If my seat is causing pressure points there hoping that the little extra padding will offer more protection. Each place is about the size of a nickle, one on each side. The fur is intact, just little knots in the muscle on the topline under my seat bones. I'm perplexed how my seat bones could translate through the bars of the saddle + saddle pad? Any of you ever noticed this? She doesn't act like it bothers her, but it sure bothers me.

So today my Polar Transmitter arrived (I've killed one already) and the new lift pad from Crestridge. I felt the saddle fit was fine, and she seemed pretty "springy" today in her movement so I don't think we created any new issues. These pads are neoprene shaped to fit the bars of this particular saddle, then the rest of the pad is football jersey material with no padding at all to kind of let the heat out. The only place this pad can build heat is under the bars, but I think any pad would due to the compression of the saddle and weight of the rider.

We are still working hill intervals at the trot, and another location at a hand gallop. The trotting intervals up the steep hill are about a half mile of long gradual climb, the hand gallop intervals are about a fifth of a mile starting out gradual and getting steeper, steeper, steeper until her heart rate peaks at about 220, then we reverse down the hill and she drops to aerobic rates within a few yards of the turn around. It takes us about five minutes to go around the field and point ourselves at it for another go. Wish I knew how many intervals it is "safe" to do of these. I don't want an injury, but I do want to push her comfort zone to continue building fitness. I'm not concerned with the trotting intervals, we could likely do those for several hours without issue in good footing. But I do feel that there is a limit to sprints and a balance where you are building fitness vs. flirting with disaster. I'm trying to be conservative in my approach. Was thinking that if I keep a record of her repetitions and try to add one or two reps per session (one if we are doing both types of interval, or two if I'm only concentrating on one type (trotting hills, or cantering hills being the types).

We got our rep's done tonight and our total ride was nine miles.



  1. Farley gets those exact things too! Not sure what they are caused by, but a lot of people think heat. Here's a post where I talk about my experiences:

    (here's the one where I first talk about how they are)

    (this is the update post where I say why I think they are heat bumps)

    I did talk to my vet about them the last time I was in and he seemed skeptical it was heat and said I should focus on keeping her back and my pads miticulously clean during long rides, since he thinks it might be a sensitive skiin reaction.

    My cooler pad is also easier to keep clean (my Haf pad) so either explanation would make sense, since I have noticed less of them since I started using the haf pad.

    Hope this helps!

  2. The pad seems like it worked out okay. I was worried the extra thickness would bind her at the shoulder, but she seemed pretty springy, and moved out fine. Her sweat pattern was good. So we will see if the muscle bump thing goes away now.

  3. Mel,

    Having read your post I don't think we are talking about the same thing at all. You can't see these visually, you can only "feel" them when you palpate her top line.

    If Dr. Fehr's is at the next ride I'll have to ask her what causes these and what I can do about them.

  4. My gelding got something of that nature as well, but that was before he ever got started under saddle. It was about nickle sized, raised maybe an eighth of an inch off of his back, all around his spine and the tops of his hind quarters. The hair was still covering them, too. I couldn't tell if it was just under the skin or deeper down, but either way, they all erupted after a while and left little round raw patches on his back that I had to keep clean and keep salve on.
    I figured it was probably bee stings or something like that.