Due to continued use of ill fitting saddles, it is easy to see the advanced stages of muscle wastage. The condition of the horses back (top line) is usually a reflection on how well his saddle fits, this has a direct bearing on his performance, attitude and well being.  When your horse is initially assessed a tracing is taken of the shoulder/wither area, this shows where your horse has muscle wastage and in some cases over-developed muscle mass. These can be compared to future tracings to determine the success of your recovery programme.  I am proud to say every horse so far that I have had the privilege to reassess had improved in their back shapes, along with so many other wonderful results.

Here are some of our results


This horse is ridden most days, pleasure riding and natural horsemanship. The horse was 6 years old at her first assessment, good body score condition. Although we have no weight recorded, her body score condition has remained consistent as she has matured. The shoulder/wither tracing will: Show you how quick and easy it would be for a horse to out grow their current gullet size. If: The horse was originally fitted to either the pencil or green line. Or to an imaginary line, between the green and blue line. Total Gains For the Left and Right Side Are: Top: 1.5cm, Middle 3.5cm, Bottom 5.0cm, Overall Total Gains: Top: 3.0cm, Middle 7.0cm, Bottom 10.0cm. The Base of the wither tracing will: Show you how easy and quick it would be for a horse to out grow their current tree size. If: The horse was fitted originally to the shape of its first assessment (green line). Total Gains for the Left and Right Side Are: Top 0.8cm, Middle 1.5cm, Bottom 2.5cm. Over All Total Gains: Top 1.6cm, Middle 3.0cm, Bottom 5.0cm



This schoolmaster 14.2hh pony mare is ridden most days dressage, jumping and pleasure riding. This is a fairly new combination of pony and rider, so these problems are inherited. Her first assessment was 14 April 2002. There are bulges on top of both shoulders but it is very pronounced on the left. Muscle wastage either side of the withers. They have been caused from: Using a saddle with a gullet/tree that is to narrow for the pony. Resulting in the top of the shoulder blades hitting, rather than sliding under the saddle. The Bulge usually is overdeveloped muscle, swelling and gristle. The pony was not symmetrical. Muscle wastage green line at the top and over development/swelling along the bottom. General appearance of the pony was that the left shoulder was much bigger than the right. Symptoms: The pony was girth shy, Napped (ears back, tossed head to the inside) when asked to go into the canter transition from the trot, on the right rein. The Recovery work undertaken was: Ridden work in a correctly fitting Citori Saddle. Exercises used: Long and Low (5minutes) for warm up and down, before normal ridden work. All work (ridden) was carried out by a delightful 11 year old girl who weighs 33kgs.

Before Photos


First Assessment (Green Line of Top of the Wither Tracing) Top Left Photo, You can clearly see that the left shoulder is bigger than the right, with the right shoulder falling away. There is a distinct bulge on top of the left shoulder with a smaller one evident on the right. The muscle wastage is quite pronounced on either sides of the wither. Bottom Left Photo, Viewing the left shoulder from a different angle. Here the unnatural shoulder shape and muscle wastage is obvious.

After Photos


Second Assessment (Blue Line of the Shoulder Wither Tracing). Top and Bottom Right Photo, Here we see the significant improvement in the left shoulder. It is almost the same as the right. The bulges have almost disappeared and the wasted muscles have almost returned to normal.

The second Assessment Within a short period (1 month and 3 days) the changes were amazing to see!! The blue line shows that the bulges have almost disappeared. The pony is almost symmetrical in its shape. The girth shyness is almost gone. The napping into the canter transition only occurs occasionally.

Overall Reductions: Bottom: 1.8cm, Overall Gains: Top: 0.6cm,



What a lovely consistent gain you have had with your horse  Thrilling to see, a wonderful symmetrical back shape after 6 months, under his Citori Saddle. Overall gains are: For the Left and Right Side; Top 1.11cm each side, Middle 2.0cm each side and 3.0cm bottom each side. As he is still a young horse his back shape will get bigger. Keep up the monitoring to ensure that he doesn’t outgrown his current gullet size in his Citori.



What an amazing difference between our first assessment. Over all gains are: Left Side; Top 0.5cm, Middle 2.10cm and bottom 4.5cm. Right Side; 1.0cm, Middle 3.0cm and bottom 5.7cm. In July we had muscle swellings both sides of the wither, muscle wastage left and right side. All of that has now gone, and your horse now has a lovely symmetrical back shape.



Well done for the huge effort you have put in and for achieved your goals you set for your horse. “Jenny Craig”, weight loss. Her weight was 575kgs, increased to 610kgs, and decreased 525kgs. A total weight loss of 85kgs. She looks just wonderful with her new found figure. The weight loss has show up on the wither/shoulder tracing even on both sides so that is great. Your overall reductions for both the left and right side are: Top 0.5cm, Middle 1.8cm and bottom 2.0cm. What is amazing is that I almost do not recognize your horse as the same horse you first showed. She is so calm and happy within her self, but what is most noticeable is that all the stress and tension she once had has now gone. A wonderful credit to you for all the extra hard effort you put in to turn this horse around.



What a wonderful difference . Your horse had a bigger left shoulder with some muscle wastage on the left, very slight on the right in. Your overall gains are: Left Side; Top 0.5cm, Middle 1.0cm and bottom 2.0cm. Right Side; 0.5cm, Middle 1.5cm and bottom 3.5cm. Excellent result.



What a nice difference between our first assessment. As your horse is just a baby, we can easily see how his back shape is growing in size. Excellent to see that the muscle wastage show in May’s wither/shoulder tracing has almost disappeared in November. Your overall gains are: Left Side; Top 1.0cm, Middle 1.0cm and bottom 0.5cm. Right Side; 0.5cm, Middle 1.0cm and bottom 1.0cm. Excellent results



Interesting to see the results of your horses shoulder/wither tracing. It shows up the effects from your saddle that was leaning to the right, as it was in bad need of a repack. On the whole quite a pleasing result, with a 0 .5cm gain on the top, 0.5cm gain middle and 0.5cm gain bottom. The loss showed up on the right with 0.2cm top, 0.5cm middle and 1.0cm bottom. Over all quite incredible, since your first assessment. Total gains for the left side are 1.0cm top, 2.0cm middle and 3.0 bottom. The right including the loss; are 0.5 top, 1.0cm middle and 1.5 bottom.



In 2 months this high withered TB has gained a total of 9cm. 3.5 On the left side and 5.5cm on the right side. BE had a strong right shoulder. Muscle wastage on both side but mostly on the right. He has one of the biggest TB withers I have ever seen. His owner undertook a recovery programme of equine massage therapy and bareback riding for approximately 1 month, until their Citori arrived. What impressed me the most with the re assessment was how his whole body had changed. His whole body looked bigger and stronger especially in the quarters and along the top line. The look in his eye just said it all. He is one happy beautiful horse. This horse prior to the first assessment was consistently breaking down with sore back and lameness. BE has not broken down since his first assessment due to any saddle related problems. His back is well developed and strong. His right side of his body was more developed than his left, which was noticeable from his first assessment. Now he looks quite symmetrical. BE no longer stumbles or hops into the trot from the walk. He is going from strength to strength within his competitions



In 2 months this horse has gained 5cm in total with the shoulder wither measurement, 1.5 for the left and 2.5 for the right. He had a strong right shoulder with most of the muscle wastage on the right side. His back was also tender. I almost did not recognise this horse there is so much difference with his attitude towards work. His body and eye is just so soft and kind in comparison to what I saw at the first assessment and he was extremely difficult and agitated to ride. By my accounts, BE was a horse not to be ridden by a novice. During the 2 months he was ridden bareback. The owner told me that she was shattered at the thought of even attempting to ride this horse bare back, as he was so difficult. I admire her braveness to follow the advice I had given her to help her horse recover his natural back shape. At their first effort in a yard with her husband hanging on to a lead rope just in case, BE changed immediately into a big gentle, safe, kind softie, much to her husband’s surprise.



In 2 months this horse has gained a total of 5 cm in total with the shoulder wither measurement. 2.5 For the left and 2.5 for the right. SA back had started to roan out from pressure. Her whole back was sore and there was allot of wasted muscle on both sides of the wither but mostly on the right. She also had muscle wastage along the sides of her back. I was very concerned about this horse; I couldn’t wait to visit her again. I did a double take when I re assessed this mare 2 months later as this horse had just about redeveloped back, her natural back shape. Most of her recovery work had been on the lunge. The corrugations, sore muscles and damaged muscles have all returned back to normal. SA is one of the few horses that I have assessed who have gained so much within a short time. I am very impressed.



In 2 months this horse has gained 3.0cm in total with his should wither measurement. 1.5 For each side. JA is one of the very few horses that I have ever had the privilege of assessing as he already has a wonderful natural back shape. If I had to compare this horse to a human he would have to be a professional body builder. He is so well muscled, quite symmetrical; one would think that he could not possibly improve. He has been mostly ridden bare back, along with lunging, during the last year, as E current saddle did not fitted him. With in 2 months he had gained 20kgs. I was told by his owner that his back shape had got bigger with in the last 3 weeks since JA had been under his Citori saddle. In case anyone is wondering, Yes JA owner is enjoying having a saddle to ride in.



In 2 months this mare has gained a total of 2cm, in her wither shoulder measurement. 1.5 For the right and 0.5 for the left. When I first assessed this horse she had a strong right shoulder with muscle wastage on both sides but mostly on the right. She had a tender sore back with muscle damage on the left side. 2 months later at the re assessment all symptoms had disappeared, as she has almost evened out becoming symmetrical on both sides. Her recovery programme was bareback riding, massage and has been under a Citori Saddle for the last 4 weeks.

She is happy now to extend in her paces now and use her back freely. The gullet in her Citori saddle has been changed from a wide to an X wide to accommodate her new natural back shape. It was not possible to put this mare into an X wide from her first assessment, as it would have sat down into her withers. MA needed time to redevelop, and then we needed to change her gullet size. I am really looking forward to her next re assessment, as her back shape will get bigger.



In 2 months this mare has gained 7.5 cm, in her shoulder wither measurement. 3.5 For the left and 4.0cm for the right. When I first assessed this mare nearly every muscle in her body was tight and over developed along with scare tissue which has built up into a mass, along with swelling on both of the tops of her shoulders. SA is a very wide horse with her back shape; she had muscle wastage on both sides but mostly on the right. Her left quarters were more developed than her right. Her owner had brought this horse and inherited these problems. She was receiving regular equine massage release therapy along with handling to help her over come her fear of almost everything. Also included in her programme was lunging and bare back riding. SA weight was 575kg. When I re-assessed SA, she had gained weight to 610kg. She is now on a maintenance diet to lose some weight. SA is now a much happier quieter horse. I was very impressed to see that the muscle mass and tightness throughout her whole body had improved so much. Although her back shape has become bigger with no muscle wastage evident now, she is now showing her true natural back shape which is one of the biggest I have ever measured. Her owner is waiting for her Citori saddle and I look forward to another assessment to monitor this wonderful mare’s come back



In 2 months this horse has gained 4cm in his shoulder wither measurement. 2.5cm on the left and 1.5 on the right. When I first assessed this horse he had most of his muscle wastage on the left, he also has a very high TB wither. He was a very agitated and tense horse to try and ride. He would buck every time he was mounted for a few minutes then he would kind of settle down and try to go faster and faster. He was not a horse that I would have cared to ride. His recovery was doctor grass (turned out) for 1 month with an occasional ride with his Citori saddle. GI has gone from difficult and hard to ride horse to a horse whose rider now has to wake him up and remind him that he is a horse. The transformation is amazing like chalk and cheese. He use to have many unsoundness and lameness problems with on going back problems. He has not had a problem since, and I am expecting now that he is back in regular work to find on his next re assessment his back shape will improve more.