Saddle Review 


By Dr. Steve Engle, DVM A graduate from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, 

Dr. Steven Engle first practiced traditional veterinary medicine at Teigland, Franklin & Brokken DVM in Miami, FL. While practicing in South Florida, Dr. Engle became interested in alternative equine therapies after completing the IVAS Acupuncture and the Options for Animals Chiropractic courses in 1995. itial CENTRAL PARK Olympian Margie Engle on Royce, 2018 Horse of the Year. 

"Many riders ride what feels good to them, and they pad up or down depending on the horse they are riding. Riders have 'their saddle', but few horses have a saddle they can say feels just as good to them. 

Back soreness due to poor saddle fit is a huge issue in the show ring, from World level on down." says Dr. Steve Engle, former US Team Veterinarian. "In addition to sore backs and related soundness issues, one of the most common things we see watching a horse in a poorly designed or fitted saddle is behavior while competing that is written off as a training issue or attitude; things like rushing fences, swapping leads, bucking or difficulty regaining balance on the landing side. 

More often than not, horses are expressing discomfort and pain, and many times it is due to saddle pain." An advocate of County saddles, Dr. Engle has watched horses transform from un-rideable to adding years and earnings to their competition careers. 

TRUE STORY Married to Olympian Margie Goldstein Engle, he recalls a particular horse they had with horrible pain issues. "Alvaretto was a Grand Prix horse, 15.2 at the wither, but about 14 hands in the middle of his back. So swaybacked you would never believe he could jump at all, but being all heart, the Saddle Review horse produced a massive, tremendous jump. 

Plagued with horrible back pain, he would be almost evil when having his back examined. Kicking and biting, he made it clear he did not want his back touched. There was simply no saddle we had tried that worked for this horse." During this time, Margie won a County custom fit saddle while competing on another horse, and Steve (Dr. Engle) suggested they have their win fitted to Alvaretto. 

Gene Freeze, the owner of County Saddlery was contacted, and Freeze created a saddle for this horse that changed his life. Dr. Engle recalls the change in the horse: "Over the next few weeks and months, Alvaretto's back changed at least 2 inches in height as he was able to now lift his back and his back pain dissipated dramatically. He went on to compete in seven World Cup events with my wife Margie. 

He retired sound and solid legged, although still swaybacked as hell," he laughs. "The relationship my wife Margie and I have with County Saddlery began with that horse, and it continues to this very day." Margie has ridden in County ever since, and counts a huge part of her success to the County saddles her horses use. Her recent horse, 2018 Horse of the Year (Royce) is another testament to the comfort of a well fitted County saddle. SR At the Master Saddler's Association (MSA) Convention, Dr. Steve Engle, Veterinary Consultant to the (MSA) Demonstrates Palpation Techniques used to Identify Areas of The Back Most Commonly Affected by Poor Saddle Design.

24th Feb 2024

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