QUESTION: My 5 year old gelding has developed a scrolled part on his withers. The hair is falling out and it is tender looking? So I switched my saddle pad. I cannot afford to buy a new saddle plus it fit my last horse anyway! He sweats a lot and I leave him lots (tied up) with the saddle on. I am still riding him but it appears to be getting worse? What should I do?

ANSWER: Do you mean "Scalded Withers"? If scalded, the horse must not be rode until the skin and underlying tissue heals completely. The hair will grow back in white. If ridden before complete healing, some horses may end up with a "permanent sore that won't heal". Plus it can be painful causing the horse to learn to resent being ridden big time!!!

It is caused by an ill fitting saddle and/or poor riding habits. Often the two combined. A rider who is not balanced can sore a horse up easily as can a poor fitting saddle for that horse. I have seen saddles that are perfectly fine for dozens of horses, then scald another horses withers or back. Cinch ring scalds (sores) are generally from being improperly saddled or the cinch ring fitting the horse in the wrong place. Dirty cinches can also scald a horse in the cinch area. Saddle pads (many of the new kind included that are to firm with not enough give) and dirty/sweat incrusted saddle pads are also to blame.

It is not so much sweating but "Pressure Points" created by a saddle that simply does not fit that particular horse. Or poor balance in the saddle by the rider themselves!

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