Rocky Bay Equine Newsletter 
Happy New Year, January 2015
to be continued in February
We're planning another symposium for February 2015.  We'll continue our exploration of form and function and include an in depth look at chiropractic medicine.

Did you know that acupuncture and chiropractic approaches can be helpful in relieving discomfort caused by poorly fitted saddles?

Saddle fitting considerations are part of each initial evaluation of your horse through Rocky Bay Equine's Integrative Medicine services.
Word of the Month

Whether yours is of purposeful intent, the proposition of a motion in committee, a courageousness of spirit or the final solution to a problem, join us in resolving to be the finest possible health stewards for each and every animal in our care through out the new year and beyond.
Contact Information
office of
Dr.Bo Weeks
Dr.Crystal McRae 
    (253) 858-4529
    (360) 876-1544
call these numbers any time for emergency service

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The cycle has come around yet again.   It's one thing we can always count on, that time will pass, bringing with it new choices and new opportunities along with new challenges.  One new year's resolution you can count on is Rocky Bay Equine's promise to continue helping you resolve any health care challenges that arise for your animals.  
Indefatigably yours,

Dr. Bo Weeks, Dr. Crystal McRae, Linda Weeks
and all the tenacious team members at RockyBayEquine!


In collaboration with last months newsletter regarding the thoracolumbar region, there have been many questions regarding saddle fit. The saddle can make a large impact on the movement and comfort of your horse. The purpose of the saddle tree is to allow clearance of the horse's spine, even distribution of the rider's weight along the full length of the saddle from front to back, provide stability for the rider, and enable the horse and rider to stay comfortable.


When a veterinarian or saddle fitter evaluates the saddle's fit to the horse it is done without a pad. When evaluating the saddle when it is sitting on the horse, the saddle should be level in all directions, not tipping forward or rocking backward. The pommel should clear the horse's withers with 2.5 to 3 fingers height between the withers and the top of the pommel. The gullet channel needs to clear the spine, about 3 fingers width. Next, the panels should align smoothly along the back. Some panels are constructed of foam or wool that may become lumpy over time. It is very important to note if the panels bridge the back. When running the hand up under the saddle, you will feel a significant difference in contact between the horse's back and the panel. If there is a loss of contact in the middle of the panel, there are significant pressure points. The saddle should be placed in a manner so that it does not block the movement of the scapula. You may assess this by running your hand up the back of the scapula and there should be a hand's width distance between the scapula and your stirrup leather in an English saddle and a hand's width distance between the scapula and that first screw below the pommel in the Western saddle. Finally, the saddle should not extend beyond the last rib in the horse to not inhibit the movement of the lower back and pelvis.


It is very important to understand that a saddle needs to fit the horse without a pad. Adding padding is like adding more socks to help a boot fit that is too small or too will still get blisters! The better a saddle fits, the less padding you will need, similar to a good pair of hiking or running shoes.


Symptoms of a poorly fitting saddle include tense back muscles, hollowing out the back, horse will not stretch down, white hairs on back, dry spots under saddle when worked, poor top line development, or reluctance to move forward. However, it is very important to remember that any of these symptoms may also occur with hindlimb or forelimb lameness and that your horse and your saddle should be examined by your veterinarian.


We would like to remind you that a saddle fitting with all saddles used on your horse is included in your horse's first chiropractic evaluation and adjustment.

      Dr. Crystal  McRae 


RockyBayEquine | 253-858-4529 | 
12604 189th Avenue KPN, Gig Harbor, WA 98394
mailing address; PO Box 452, Vaughn, WA 98394

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