Saddle reflocking: Be aware of what lies beneath

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Adjustments to muscular changes can be made via adjusting the wool flocking on a regular schedule.”

The ones who state what they think is true, rarely provide evidence. We instead question traditional as well as unproven beliefs, in the light of new knowledge. We provide, paraphrasing Paul Graham (Seven levels of a disagreement hierarchy), a pin for popping such balloons.

Under the skin, lies the cutaneous trunci muscle, which covers the entire body.
Under the skin, lies the cutaneous trunci muscle, which covers the entire body.

Under the skin, lies the cutaneous trunci. The muscle covers the entire body. It is the muscle that the horse shakes to remove a fly. Superficially, the muscle is closely adherent to the dermis. Just under the skin, the superficial fascia contains extensive fat deposits.

The saddle rests on the cutaneous trunci suggesting that adjusting the wool flocking might fit the fat deposit before muscular changes occurring underneath.
The saddle rests on the cutaneous trunci suggesting that adjusting the wool flocking might fit the fat deposit before muscular changes occur underneath.

 

The cutaneous trunci, which has been moved in this picture, is quite thick. One inch is average, up to two inches in some places.
The cutaneous trunci, which has been moved in this picture, is quite thick. One inch is average, up to two inches in some places.

 

The trapezius thoracis, which is underlined with a black line in this picture, is often emphasized in saddle fitting theories as a reason to place the saddle further back on the horse's thoracolumbar column.
The trapezius thoracis, which is underlined with a black line in this picture, is often emphasized in saddle fitting theories as a reason to place the saddle further back on the horse’s thoracolumbar column.

The thought of “liberating the shoulders’ is over exploited. Properly placed, the saddle does cover, without nuisance, the caudal part of the trapezius.

Moving the saddle too far back does induces abnormal pressure on the thoracic vertebrae behind the wither.

If one wants to place the saddle behind the trapezius thoracis, they will have to place the saddle a long way back
If one wants to place the saddle behind the trapezius thoracis, they will have to place the saddle a long way back.

Indeed, if one wants to place the saddle behind the trapezius thoracis, they will have to place the saddle much farther back.

The latissimus dorsi is a much bigger muscle moving the scapula-humeral frame backward during the stance or propulsive phase. The muscle is inevitably under the saddle but also under the cutaneous trunci.
The latissimus dorsi is a much bigger muscle moving the scapula-humeral frame backward during the stance or propulsive phase. The muscle is inevitably under the saddle but also under the cutaneous trunci.

 

The latissimus dorsi is quite thick, as illustrated in this picture where the latissimus dorsi has been removed, showing two sections underlines in black, where the latissimus dorsi have been cut.
The latissimus dorsi is quite thick, as illustrated in this picture where the latissimus dorsi has been removed, showing two sections underlines in black, where the latissimus dorsi have been cut.

 

By comparison, the trapezius thoracic is not very thick.
By comparison, the trapezius thoracic is not very thick.

 

The muscles which really move the thoracolumbar column, the longissimus thoracis, (thoracic element of the longissimus dorsi,) is situated deeper under.
The muscles which really move the thoracolumbar column, the longissimus thoracis, (thoracic element of the longissimus dorsi,) is situated deeper under.

The saddle needs to fit the lateroflexions, transversal rotations and dorso-ventral flexions that these muscles create.

The stability of the saddle, the capacity of the saddle to remain stable whatever the horse’s move, the accuracy of the saddle and therefore the absence of shifts or any movements distorting the precise relation between the horse’s thoracolumbar spine and the rider’s vertebral column, is what saddle fitting is about.

Jean Luc Cornille

Jean Luc Cornille M.A.(M.Phil) has gained worldwide recognition by applying practical science to the training of the equine athlete. Influenced by his background as a gymnast, Jean Luc deeply understands how equine training can be enhanced by contemporary scientific research. A unique combination of riding skill, training experience and extensive knowledge of the equine physiology enables Jean Luc to "translate" scientific insights into a language comprehensible to both horse and rider. This approach has been the trademark of his training. - read more about Jean Luc

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