Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Discussing Sweat Marks

I thought it might be a good idea to document where Milo's sweat marks occur, and put it up for review or discussion. On average, Milo gets worked 4-5 times a week, roughly 45 minutes to an hour each. Some days are more on fitness building, and others more directed towards discipline specific. While I always ride with a lifted, engaged back, and maintain subtle cues along with working on maneuvers that will ultimately help our reining patterns, some rides I simple long trot, or work on the "Arena Interval Training".

I have noticed that Milo sweats in the following locations: behind the ears, throatlatch, girth area and under bareback pad, heavily in stifle/belly area, and thigh. Now, I cant determine which areas sweat first being that Im on him when hes sweating, but I do notice that behind the ears starts to sweat after roughly thirty minutes into work, so probably one of the first indicators that he is starting to get a workout.

Last summer I noticed a lot of sweat on his neck and shoulders, this winter however, I rarely notice any sweat on his neck. Now sweat obviously shows us the muscles that are working, or where friction is, so I think its a good thing that the sweat patterns have moved away from the forhand area and gravitated more towards the rear.

Naturally, sweat marks show up under the bareback pad in the same location of my seat, and at the girth area where the pad is cinched down. This makes me remember something Sarah told me when I first started working with her, as I was discussing Milo's dry spots under the saddle. She said "My horses only sweat where I was sitting. If you took the saddle off you would see my seat area, and leg, no other place under the saddle". I thought it was interesting at the time, but thinking back to it now, It makes sense. If the saddle is fitted correctly and off of their back, unless there was an extensive workout or high tempertature, there wouldnt/shouldnt be any need for excessive sweating under the saddle. And certainly shouldnt be dry spots. Im glad that this seems to be the case for Milo and I lately, although we will see what patterns show up one I have him under saddle again, although with a properly fitting saddle and correct riding position, I dont anticipate much change.

Milo's most notable sweat locations are in the stifle/gaskin/belly region. I would take a photo but Milo probably wouldnt appreciate delicate areas being publicized online. But you get the idea on location. This indicates to me that hes working hard on lifting his back and holding his belly up. That seems to be a good sign. There is also light sweat on the rear of his thighs below the cheeks. This also indicates that hes using his hind end to lift and drive, another good sign, dont you think?

What do you think? Do these changed sweat patterns show good improvement, average sweat marks, or bad change?


CedarCreek Performance said...

Sweat marks are right on track for what you are doing! Huge changes for the better, Nina. Melissa had a similar experience with Bailey years ago.... Cool

Story said...

It's funny, other than as the traditional test for saddle fit, I'd never given sweat patterns much thought until getting that equine fitness book and it mentioned following sweat patterns as a mark of fitness and now I find watching sweat patterns very interesting! Of course much of this past winter was so darn cold that there wasn't much sweating going on, but I've noticed lately that Dee is sweaty on her neck and belly area for the most part, and a bit around her stifle. I'm watching anxiously for any changes. I think it's really neat that you've seen changes in Milo's sweat patterns. I think it's a sign of progress.

in2paints said...

I'm with you, Story... I hadn't given them any thought until I got that book! Lilly only sweats on her neck and shoulders (unless it's just crazy hot outside when I'm riding) so hopefully once we're back into a regular routine she'll start changing.

I would definitely say the change in sweat patterns with Milo is a good sign! Especially considering the new areas he's sweating!

paint_horse_milo said...

I have always been super cautious of sweat patterns..mostly in the saddle region especially when I was dealing with poor saddle fit. I was told that sweating on the rear is the best so I was also super concerned about why he was sweating so much on his neck, but now I know its due to the way I was riding him.

The book has been me revisit it a bit, but I just became very aware of the changes last time I rode.

Chloe said...

Hey i just found you blog, i clicked on the link somewhere because i have a horse named Milo to, although he mostly used for babysitting my wild stallion, he used to be a fantastic dressage and jumping pony!

Yep sweat patern indicate where mucsles are working, iw ouldnt worry about your boys. Also a horse that lathers when it sweats means it not fit.

Anyway check out my blog two, its about my journey with my horse from the wild