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Wade Tree Saddles
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Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 02:31 pm
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Hello Indy/Clara & Carey

  Both saddles have  identical bars in the saddle tree.  The rigging is identical on both sides.  The carving is sorta like the icing on the cake it certainly adds a bit of class and beauty to a western saddle. I've never seen an English saddle that truly enhances the 'look' of a horse the way a western saddle does.

 Now I have a very good friend that is coming out to ride with me once a week. Jean is a strictly classical trainer, a serious student of the French tradition and an excellent coach and trainer. He always rides in high quality English saddles. His first comment upon mounting one of the new Wade saddles is that it felt very familiar to him. The narrow twist, close contact, deep seat and center-fire stirrups made him feel like he was riding in his favorite English saddle. What we are working out together is how to apply his training principles and techniques (arena exercises) to the reality of working cattle and trail riding on the ranch next door.  My goal is to produce a pair of bridle horses out of Uno and Dos, and this means riding & training them outside of an arena and with a obvious purpose, which can be going from place to place on the ranch or moving the cattle.

 There is a big advantage in the use of a single girth vs. full double rigs that use two girths. Usually the back girth realy is not a girth at all, it is merely a leather strap that typically is never tightened enough to do any good, and it it were it would be uncomfortable and probably chafe the horse. In some old timey saddles you see full double rigging that used two mohair girths, front and back. Both could be tightened when the horseman was actually working, probably roping calves and security was of the essence. But when the back girth is tightened it can squeeze against the horse's belly, not the sternum of the rib cage. This has to restrict breathing and certainly can't be very comfortable. The idea behind the flat-plate rigging is basicaly the same as the fore and aft system. The metal girth ring is embedded into a triangle shaped leather flap that is doubled for strength. The flap is built into the saddle so that it pulls down front and back when pressure is applied. Same goes for the fore and aft system. One difference is that the fore and aft system provides for closer contact, i.e. fewer layers of leather between you and the horse. The other difference is that you can adjust the relative tightness of the front to back pull to insure that you get even distribution.

 Young horses have to build up sort of a callus, or at least their skin has to toughen up to withstand the pressure and chafing from a girth. I doubt this ever happens with a full double rig, where the back girth presses against the soft underbelly and not the sternum

 Uno and Dos are half-brothers born just a couple of weeks apart in May of 2004 and while Dos is in a tall/leggy and lean stage of growth Uno has a broader back, but both of them have well-formed withers with no tendency towards a dippy back. This particular saddle tree has the front of the bars flared so that there is plenty of room  to provide for shoulder freedom.

 We met the saddle maker that built these saddles at an expo in Santa Barbara. Ca last November. I had three of my horses there. Dos, Navegador and Rafieq.  These are three very distinctly different horses.

 Dos is  narrow and tall, Gater is built like a small Lippizaner (according to Dr. Deb who met him on a visit to our ranch a few months ago) and Rafieq is a 15 hh Arabian, well muscled but not at all tank-like as is Gater. The common factor is they have good withers with no dippy backs. The system the maker uses to fit a horse is a set of fiberglass forms that mirror the bare saddle tree. You can place each form on the horse's back and compare it to the other forms that all differ in, width, angulation and curvature (front to back) .. Of the ten different forms one fit Uno and Gater nearly perfectly. There was a similar form that may have fit Rafieq just a tad better it was a very close call. The difference was that the form that fit Rafieq  best was very slightly flatter front to back.

  Dave mentioned in a previous post the erronous notion of micro-fitting for each and every horse. Now there may be some  horses that are so oddly formed there is no choice but both I and the saddle maker agreed that the one form  that fit Gater and Dos was close enough to use on Rafieq as well.  

 I am a fan of keeping it simple and so I opt to use a thin wool felt pad under a handwoven wool blanket. The blankets are double-weight Navaho reproductions made in Oaxaca, Mexico in a small community in the mountains where they have been weaving for about 1500 years, (which is about 1000 years before the Spanish came along with horses).

 Earlier in the summer we went to ride in the White Mountain Wilderness area near Ruidoso, New Mexico. Typically we rode five or six hours a day. The first part of the ride was up the side canyons on BLM trails. We camp at the trail head above Bonito Lake which is at about 7000ft, then climb up another 2000 ft to the Crest Trail that runs along the spine of the peaks. We take a lunch and break to give the horses time to breath and graze, then ride along the crest enjoying the 40 to 50 mile views.Then there is the decent back down the often steep and sometimes rocky paths down the sides of the canyons.  I notice rivulets of sweat running down the sides of other horses that wear the neoprene pads while my horse arrived back to camp barely damp, though the pads are noticeably heaver because they have absorbed the sweat.

 I palpated my horse's back before and after each ride and I did not  notice any symptoms of discomfort, even after a week of daily excursions up and down the mountains.

The attached picture shows one of the fiber glass forms used to fit a horse. This seems like a well thought out method. The forms are actual molds of the tree.

 The reality of asking a tree maker to build a custom-tree based on the unique angles and curves of your horse is a hypothetical proposition. Having a set of standard trees that can be duplicated seems a more reasonable approach

Allen

 

 

Attachment: tree form.JPG (Downloaded 306 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 02:48 pm
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Joe,

I totally agree that triangular configuration has been used since the beginning of time. What I think it is fair for me to take credit for is showing how to take a double rigged saddle and turn it into a triangular rigged saddle by using the a couple of extra long latigoes. However,I realize there is very little new in the saddle game so I won't be at all surprised if someone can show me something from the distant past that did exactly the same thing.
David Genadek

Joe
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 02:53 pm
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Dave:

Please accept my apology for wording that badly.  I was not questioning your contribution at all.  Quite the contrary, I was trying to point out that you have made it work whereas our ancestors had problems.

I was also agreeing completely with your assessment of the problems caused by many saddles and suggesting an reason why things may be so bad.

J

David Genadek
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 03:04 pm
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Alan has brought up some really good concepts here. Historically double rigged saddles had two mohair cinches. And the rear cinch was attached with a latigo just like in the front. I've put in an illustration from a 1908  Sears catalog where you can clearly see this to be the case. Another thing you should notice is that all of the cinches had safes. A safe is a leather protector to prevent the buckle from chafing the horse.
David Genadek

Attachment: searscatalog.jpg (Downloaded 303 times)

Joe
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 03:11 pm
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Note that most of the seats are much flatter.  Do you know when and why stock saddle builders moved away from that?

Joe

David Genadek
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 03:28 pm
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The picture that  Allen posted brings up one of the main questions of saddle fit ,where to put the saddle?I have taken the picture and put in an A and B point . In my opinion the A point should be moved to the B point. I have marked in yellow where this form is encroaching on the lumbar span. This can prevent the upward flex that is needed to release the stifle so it is just as bad if not worse than  having the saddle sitting on the shoulder. Although the saddle should not rest on the shoulder either. The only place you can put the saddle so it does not interfere is from the base of the whither to the anticlinal vertabra. If what I am saying seems strange then I would encourage you to buy Debs new video as it will make it crystal clear.
David Genadek

Attachment: tree-form-improved.jpg (Downloaded 306 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 03:31 pm
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Joe,

No I really don't, but from what I can tell it used to be they called the Jinta seated saddles work saddles and the brida seated saddles show or parade saddles. Somewhere along the lines the students didn't get the distinction and now the work saddles have parade saddle seats.

David Genadek

Joe
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 03:50 pm
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Dave:

Very interesting annotations to the illustration.  I am a lifetime behind you on the curve here but studying like mad and will get Bennett's new CD for sure.  Also keep intending to order yours.  Maybe this week...

Anyway, there is a relatively small ideal placement, for relatively large human bodies.

FWIW, back in the day when there was a push to develop an ideal cross country saddle, yet another big problem was found with long bars.  When horses would land after a jump, the ends of the bars would dig into the backs of some of them, doing organ damage.  It seems that people wanted long bars as a way of distributing load -- back when everyone who traveled on horseback had to carry something besides himself or herself.  However, he point we keep returning to applied -- they just didn't "get" the mechanics of the beast.

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 04:32 pm
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Dear Dave: Thank you for mentioning the part about the seat encroaching on the lumbar bones...It makes sense that if the seat is too far back than it will   push down and cause the stifle to become blocked in its movement. So if i understand correctly you don't want the bars of the saddle to extend back beyond the 18th rib, because then the action of the bars pushing down will basically tell the horse not to flex the stifle....And because as Dr. Deb says the stifle, hip and hock are reciprocating- meaning that movement in one causes the others to move... and because not  moving  one necessarilly means the others cannot  move, pressing down on the stifle thereby freezing it essentially shuts down the back end, or at least mistimes the horses footfall pattern...
Joe-- U.S. Military saddles 1812-1943 has a line drawing on page 5 of a Walker hussar style saddle with the laced up suspended seat bridge. I think you could tighten the lacing towards the front or towards the back thereby creating a low spot for the riders seat bones to nest in so as not to impinge on the lumbers of the horse.. Would in your opinion  that be doable? What say you?
Many thanks
Bruce Peek
P.S. Now the ideas of seat placement and sending mixed messages to the horse via inadvertent aids because of poor saddle fit are becomg clear- thanks again

Joe
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 08:59 pm
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Bruce:

Really don't know. According to a friend who rode thousands of miles (no typo) in a British UP, the laces always loosen up after a few days in the field, and of course, leather will stretch in use.  I also have some doubts about just moving the placement of the seat when the weight is being distributed in some manner for better or worse over the bars.

However, that is just guesswork on my part.  Dave is the guy who really understands these things.  I'd value his opinion.

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 09:31 pm
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So, how about designing a set of lockable hinges for the bars to either allow the front to be flared if so needed, or for that matter the front could be flexed inward more steeply for a narrow withered horse... Then rig it ala ginetta with a y shaped 04 mclellan centerfire girth.. Topped off with a hammock or sling seat.. Make the whole arrangement short enough so that the bars don't impinge beyond the 18th rib.. design the bars so they are extra wide so as to provide sufficient area to reduce the pounds per square inch- thus compensating for the shorter bars.. Viola.. I'm going to start checking machine shops to see if such a thing can be run up..
Thanks Again
Bruce Peek

Joe
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2009 09:58 pm
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Beats me.  I am having trouble picturing the thing, and do not know enough about bar design to comment.  I can tell you a decent amount about saddle history, but not too much about how they SHOULD be designed.

The second and third models of the  M1904 certainly had the best version of the McClellan "centerfire" rigging, in that it was adjustable to the horse.  It could be shifted forwards and back by means of loosening or tighening the two quarter-straps that went to each girth safe (for those not up on McClellan design, the girth safe was a round piece of leather with a ring on one side and fleece on the other, to which the pommel and cantle quarter straps attached, as well as the latigo for the girth).

There were various things tried in the period between about 1895 and, say, 1928.  It was an age of development and experimentation.  Lots of the new designs never got beyond the prototype stage, or failed in trial and were forgotten.  With the Mac, despite all the adjustability, however, and despite various changes in the shape and angles of the bars, they still had trouble with bridging on some horses -- enough to be an issue. 

That, the removal of bulk from under the rider's leg (for more contact, as well as comfort), and efficiency of rigging are the reasons why the last McClellan, the M1928, took the '04 trees, cut off the squares for the quarter straps, and installed billets for a girth like a flat saddle. That was not a complete answer either.  What they really needed was saddle engineering like our friend Dave does.  But, they didn't have it.

Here are links to images and information on the M1904 and the M1928

http://www.militaryhorse.org/studies/mcclellan/m1904II.php

http://www.militaryhorse.org/studies/mcclellan/m1928.php

Joe




Last edited on Tue Aug 25th, 2009 10:01 pm by Joe

Indy
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 Posted: Wed Aug 26th, 2009 02:14 am
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The blue molds is a very interesting idea. As far as placement, in the photo of the molds on the horses back I can see what Dave is saying about it being placed too far back; however when I look at the picture of the stockier gelding it looks like it is placed ok. In the picture of the taller gelding I can again see what Dave is explaining.

Is there a reason that more girths/cinches do not have some sort of protection/padding behind the rings? It is hard to find a mohair girth that has this protection.

The pictures from the Sears ads were also very interesting. The seats are very flat. The other thing I noticed was the placement of the stirrups. They look to be either directly beneath where the rider would sit or even a bit behind.

Allen, The ride you described sounds amazing. What a perfect trip. I also like the description of what a Bridle horse is - "riding & training them outside of an arena and with a obvious purpose, which can be going from place to place on the ranch or moving the cattle".

Clara

Seglawy Jedran
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 Posted: Wed Aug 26th, 2009 04:08 pm
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Dear Dave: So placing the saddle bars from the  base of the wither to the area just short of the lumbars is the way to design the bars? Would doing so mean that the bars were shorter than normal? And would a saddle so designed therefor have what has come to be called a forward seat making it easier for the rider to adopt a cross country two point with his weight just above the bars so as not to pound on the horses back?,,, and therefor allow the horse to coil his loin for collection??
But what about stirrup placement? It seems that if the stirrups were placed exactly under the riders seat landing after a jump would cause the rider to tilt foward- possibly over the horses neck so far that the rider would become unbalanced to the front and then pitch over the horses head slamming into the ground.. Hmm I'm not exactly clear on this..Have to exercize some brain cells over it...
Thanks- food for thought
Bruce Peek

Carey
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 Posted: Wed Aug 26th, 2009 06:21 pm
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I have seen a variety of Dressage saddles with somewhat of a triangular rigging-

It is also talked about frequently in Dressage circles to not have the saddle too far back- because it impedes the movement of the back--  I must watch Debs new DVD also.  It does seem like it is a fine line between having a saddle in the way of the shoulders-- keeping it out of the way on the back and distributing the weight efficiently.  Very interesting discusion--  I am learning tons from you guys-- thanks!!!!

 


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