This is driving me crazy so I have to just say something here.
Those pockets as termed, of muscle depressions behind a horses withers are not a natural element to a horses shape and conformation!
Poor fitting saddles, improperly placed saddles, improperly strapped on saddles and/or poor horsemanship create these pockets and they should not exist on a horse.
In my over 50 years in this business, have I ever ever created these pockets on any horse and work hard to build a horses shape back up to eliminate them on the training horses that come in with them. I would kick my self into a ditch if I did, feeling so bad that I had created this to happen to any horses back.
Also no saddle should be fitted or shaped to fit a horse that have these pockets, but have enough flare to the front of the tree bars that the horse can build these muscles back up in proper condition filling that space.
It is so sad that what was known as" wrong" and undesirable in the industry is now thought of as right today. This ignorance has got to be stopped to help horses, in turn keeping horses from being in pain and riders from getting hurt and/ or thrown. When a horse is in pain and discomfort, I never think of that as a safe horse or one that is completely open to any teachings. . When a horse is to the point it has pockets then the whole spine and body need to be addressed by the proper practitioner.
Another myth that has evolved today is that gaited horses have more curve to there spines that their non-gaited counterparts. This is not true, and another sign indicative of saddle issues and or poor horsemanship practices in the industry.
I am just trying by this to help folks and their horses, this is not about me, but about you, keeping you and your horses safe, sound, so you can save money and heart ache in the end.
Don't be a follower of the crowd but get educated, open your eyes, help yourselves.
Please don't chose to learn this the hard way folks.