This is a subject that has been on my mind almost since I joined NHE over a year ago. It was not new to me that riding young, unprepared horses with poor fitting tack was going to do damage to their backs. Recently newer information coming out seems to indicate that despite all our best efforts if we are spending more than 10-15 min. on our horses back we are causing them pain and doing lasting damage. This has been distressing to me and I am very interested in getting more feedback and information on this topic. Just today the new issue of Horses For Life came out, and with it an article by Stormy May about the horses back. This article is reprinted from one she wrote on the NHE website. It would seem from the facts presented there that no matter what the type of saddle or how good of condition your horse is in, their backs cannot sustain being ridden for more then a few minutes. I have to wonder though about the horses I have seen over the years that did not seem like they have suffered physically from being ridden. The horses that greet their owners at the gate seemingly eager and willing to head out down the trail. How do we explain this? Are they hiding their pain? My feeling has been that if you don't start horses young , and give them time to mature, then you work at developing them in hand to strengthen their backs and then do your best to make sure you have a truely proper fitting saddle that the experience of riding can be pleasurable for both horse and rider. But maybe I am wrong. I have not touched on the emotional issues surrounding riding our horses because I feel that people here at AND are already very aware of buuilding a relationship with their horses and being aware of their actions. This is already a group of people who don't look at horses as purely a means of midless enjoyment for themselves. This discussion for me is mostly about the physical aspect of riding and wether or not we are causing pain to our beloved friends.
Thank you to eveyone who shares their thoughts and knowledge.
I didn't find the right solution from the internet.