Some horses suffer from muscle damage from ill fitting saddles – this can be soft spots under the front and rear of the saddle, dents under the girth straps, or visible dents in the horse’s back that mirror the shape and position of the saddle. This is the most obvious reason for requiring a “remedial fit”. Remedial fitting means we are fitting the saddle not to the unhealthy muscle shape, but more to the shape that the back SHOULD be, to give the horse extra space and support to work correctly to regain that muscle. To do that we often need to use a remedial padding system like the Mattes correction system, pads that I both recommend and stock. If you already own a similar padding system I will always try to work with that.
In these cases the horse can change shape RAPIDLY, and even small changes can make the saddle unstable, or tip it out of balance. As an owner or rider you will need to keep a very close eye on your horse, you will probably need more visits and saddle adjustments and, despite the small discounts I can offer for multiple visits in a year, it will cost you more. The horse is also likely to need treatment by a physical therapist. I do as much as I can remotely, advising on adding or subtracting shims for instance, but ultimately more visits are likely to be needed. Sending photos and videos regularly mean I can keep an eye on the fit and keep your bills as low as possible.
Other types of remedial fits can include newly backed horses who will also change shape rapidly and will need further visits. Very croup high horses, or where a rider is quite large for the size of the saddle the horse can take, mean that a form of remedial fitting may be needed, where we have to pay very close attention to saddle balance, spreading weight etc, and the rider will again need to keep a close eye on the fit over time. Others may be recovering from an injury, or suffering from a permament mechanical lameness or similar and again it may not be possible to fit the horse without assessing the resultant asymmetries or other issues.
Most horses do repair, but older horses with muscle loss are a special remedial case – it is possible that even in their late twenties muscle can be regained, but usually we are working to keep horse and rider comfortable and in work.