Soft Fluid Lumps

26th September 2023

I recently went to see a new client who had noticed soft fluid-filled galls appearing on one side, at the base of her horse’s wither, after exercise. These painless lumps would disappear after an hour or so, only to reappear after exercise the following day. The foam panelled saddle being used had been fitted some years before, since when the horse has apparently filled out considerably and it was now tight behind the shoulder. I fitted a new, flocked saddle with a much wider head and wider through the twist – which the rider took time to get used to – and happily reports the lumps have not appeared since.

I have experienced these lumps before – notably on one of my own horses – and in my case they took some time after a saddle change to stop appearing. It is thought that they are caused by the change in pressure when the saddle is removed, so a longer cooling off period can help, i.e. after exercise, I recommend dismounting and walking the horse around with a loose girth for 10 minutes or so before taking the saddle off. But of course, first and foremost, have your saddle checked to make sure it is as comfortable as possible – prevention is always better than cure!

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