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Wade Tree Saddles
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Joe
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 Posted: Thu Aug 27th, 2009 01:55 pm
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Bruce:

Here are side views of the second pattern McClellan and the 1928 modifications.  these are the actual army blueprints, courtesy of the Quartermaster Museum at Ft. Lee.  If either you or Dave would like to see the tree details, I'll try to get and post them.

The nice ting is that you can clearly see the quarterstrap riggng and how it was adjustable. up and down by means ot the buckle, and fore and aft (to a degree) because of the floating girth safe.  Interestingly, when the Mexicans took this pattern and modified it for their own needs, they used four separate Q-straps each with a buckle.

By the way, this blueprint also shows that I was not thinking in my earlier post when I referred to pommel and cantle q-straps.  US saddles had only one q-strap per side, whereas some their countries had two. I could have walked down to my tack room and looked at several, but did not.

The fact that the Mexicans adapted the McClellan makes an interesting historical, because the Mac was heavily influenced by Spanish /Mexican saddles in the first place, back in 1857.  Mexican cavalry may still use Macs, I don't know, but they certainly did through the 1970s.

Despite its shortcomings, the McClellan was in active field use somewhere in the world right through 1980.  It may still be.

The '04 here is labeled for artillery.  There were only two differences between the artillery and cavalry models: Artillery saddles used D rings fore and aft to snap into harness, and they used steel stirrups as opposed to the cavalry's wooden ones with leather hoods (as shown on the M1928).


Last edited on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 01:59 pm by Joe

David Genadek
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 Posted: Thu Aug 27th, 2009 04:46 pm
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Bruce,
I see the correct bearing area being from the base of the whither back to the anti-clinal vertebrae. At this time I am viewing the last two ribs as part of the hind end and as such I would prefer to avoid them whenever possible.  I remain skeptical about being able to create a saddle with adjustable angles that will actually do the job. This goes back to the concept that measurements do not define shape. I have a attached a picture of some pieces of wire that I have been into various shapes. They were all done with the 24 inch piece of wire. So that one 24 inch measurement can clearly create an infinite number of shapes. So you see whenever you change any angle anywhere on the saddle there has to then be a corresponding overall change in the shape to accommodate the change in the angle. In my mind a better strategy would be to make different shapes of panels and have a seat with tabs that could be inserted into the different panels. In order to do this different shapes would need to be defined which they have not been. And even this strategy goes out the window in the second if the rider is unable to govern the five essentials of riding.
In regard to the length of the bar, here is where a collision of realities occurs. We have a very limited amount of space on the horse's back which is actually capable of bearing the weight and supporting the rider without negatively affecting the horses movement. one day I went measured 17 horses that we had here at the time. I measured from the back scapula to  the last rib and  came up with an average of 20 inches for the 17 horses. I also measured from the back of the scapula to the point of the hip and came up with an average of 26 inches. The average bar of a Western saddle is approximately 22 inches long the bars of English saddles average around 21 inches. Interesting isn't it that in English and Western saddle have nearly identical amounts of bearing surface, so the reality is fitting an English and Western saddles is the same problem they just look a little bit different. So when you look at an actual anatomy making saddles longer puts bearing surface on areas that will do damage. You mentioned making the bar wider which is absolutely the best way to increase bearing surface. Unfortunately, the saddle industry has been narrowing up the key bearing surface for years. Looking at the length of the bar we have to have enough to build the saddle and it just so happens that the amount that we need is greater than the area that the horse has to put the saddle on. This is why using rigid materials makes sense. Just because the length is there does not mean it needs to be bearing weight. Think of the tip of a ski, it makes the ski longer but does not add to the bearing surface of the ski. In movement the upward curve of the front of the ski prevents it from digging into the snow.
As for stirrup position I try to place the stirrup the distance between the heel and the ball of the foot in front of the low point of the seat. Your goal is to line up the heel , the hip and shoulder not  The ball of the foot, the hip and shoulder.  Get Debs new dvd set and it will all become clear.  Better yet do the anatomy and skeleton class and your world will really change.
Clara,
I have been looking into the whole cinch buckle thing pretty aggressively as of late. All the old catalogs that have looked at show all the cinches having safes on them. Why this stopped happening is beyond me. I do know I'm currently working on patterns for safes and I am going to heavily promote the idea when people buy cinches from me. 
Carey,
The triangular configuration is often used on dressage saddles. A common mistake is that they attached the billet to the front arch, this has the effect of pulling the arch into the horse. It is also common for English style saddles to have a center configuration where the billet should be attached in the center of the saddle right under the low part of the seat. Unfortunately, these saddles have evolved from jousting saddles and many have the billet too far forward rendering the rigging ineffective. There are three configurations that can be used to tie the saddle onto the horse, center configuration, triangular configuration or a double configuration. If the maker is not crystal clear on that these three configurations and how they work the rigging can be constructed such that it will completely negate any fit that might be present.
Joe,
How appropriate for you to bring up the McClellan. When I was looking at saddles it had double rigging where the rating was too far forward I thought hmmm why don't  I rig that like a McClellan.
David Genadek

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Carey
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 Posted: Thu Aug 27th, 2009 05:05 pm
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What about the idea that the long back muscle is not a weight bearing muscle?  From what I understand the only way the horse can carry the weight of the rider- without discomfort- is if the long back muscle is alloud to freely swing.  So I just wonder how to create bars that are the right dimensions so that the weight is distributed but the back is able to swing??  I sort of can see how a wider but shorter bar would accomplish this-- but It does seem to get complicated with all the different backs and comformations that are out there. 

Last edited on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 05:06 pm by Carey

Joe
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 Posted: Thu Aug 27th, 2009 05:11 pm
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Dave:

There was also a double-rigged version of the Mac, with shorter bars and a horn.  It was designed for mules.

With today's larger people, it would seem that the issue of saddle length and how much interference you get with the horse is going to be a compromise no matter how you look at it.  I was looking at just this last night.  I am a large person -- not fat, just big at 6'5".  I generally ride a short-backed horse (an Arabian).  The saddle therefore cannot as long as would be ideal for me.  Yet it has to be long enough for me to fit in it.  If clear of the scapula, the weight bearing portion tapers out over the beginnings of the lumbar spine.  Fortunately the padding for this (flat) saddle does curve up towards the ends, so not all of the length of the bar is in contact with the back most of the time.  In fact, as this guy is not a jumper, I can't quite visualize a normal circumstance in which it would touch.  However, there is no doubt that some weight is born in the beginnings of the lumbar area.  I palpated his sides to find the ribs.

That said, your other point about correct riding is the really critical one. The saddle is just a tool.  The rider is more important.  Even at a very basic level, quite a few riders today don't understand and think about the importance of how they sit the horse.  I see them all the time, even in pictures they post here, sitting towards the cantle or worse, slumping on the cantle.

You know, a good saddle can help the horse and the rider and a bad one can impede both. Some saddles almost force a bad seat.  However, even the best saddle cannot make a good basic horseman.  They have to be horsemen before they climb aboard.


J

Last edited on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 05:38 pm by Joe

Joe
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 Posted: Fri Aug 28th, 2009 03:45 am
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Well, Dave -- here I am wrong again.  I was out tonight on the Arab, in the saddle mentioned above (A Stubben Tristan).  I have a good seat, and do not slump into the cantle or ride on my pockets at all.  Although it would have put my seat off a bit, I reached back under the ends of the bars. There was pressure.  It was not great, but at the top of the hip movement at the walk, he pressed into the padding.

I think that to get clear of the scapula and not overhang the lumbar on this horse I'd have to ride a 12" Mac (can't fit into smaller ones), or perhaps a short-treed Hope or Texas saddle if I had one less than 150 years old.

According to the blueprints, the McClellan tree was 18 1/4 inches long in the longer=st dimension of the bars. 

Joe

Last edited on Fri Aug 28th, 2009 04:10 am by Joe

Seglawy Jedran
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 Posted: Fri Aug 28th, 2009 08:01 am
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Dear Joe--Does the the 18plus inch specification for the Macs refer to overall length.. I presume so because a certain re-enacter supplier in Arkansas lists Macs in 11, 11 1/2 ,and 12 inch lengths-- but I suspect that is the seat size not the length of the bar size..This certain supplier had pretty good quality stuff a few years back. Haven't seen any of his stuff used here locally recently so don't know if the quality is still the same..
Also I remembered that one of my distant anscestors served at fort davis in the 9th U.S. that would be southwest texas. He died there and i'm not sure if they shipped his remains back to Michigan or not. I know they did have a post cemetary there but don't know if  Captain James Birney was buried there or not..Is re-enacting organised in Texas to the extent that there are commemorative groups to get in touch with.. Sort of a friends of Forst Stevens type group to your knowledge? Would appreciate any info you might have about Fort Davis
Thanks much
 Bruce Peek

Joe
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 Posted: Fri Aug 28th, 2009 02:16 pm
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The sizes of Macs are just what you suggested- seat sizes as measured the official way.

Other than knowing a few and knowing that they do it, I don't have much interaction with reenactors and don't know anything about how they are organized in Texas.  There certainly are some here.  It seems though that the number who have horses, or even rent them for events, is relatively low nationwide.

Ft. Davis is in the Davis Mountains west of the Pecos and abouit a hundred or so miles east of El Paso, in the part of Texas that is south of New Mexico.  It is on the edges of the town of Ft. Davis.  The old fort was originally constructed before the War Between the States. to guard the overland stage route to California (it sits at one end of Wild Rose Pass.  Only a few foundations are left from that.  It was rebuilt later as a cavalry outpost by the 9th, a buffalo soldier unit, and operated until the late 19th century.

Ft Davis is now a National Historic Site.  The Park Service has done a very good job with it, leaning heavily on a group of volunteer restorationists.  Unlike many old forts, no town has grown up around Davis so it has the same feel it did 150 years ago.

I go out there about once a year.  A good friend has a nearby guest ranch. As it is at 5,000 ft or so and dry, the summers in the mountains there are much cooler than here in Dallas where our altitude is 580 ft and we have humidity.  The surrounding peaks go up another 2,500 feet or so.  There is a major observatory on one of them.

Good fun all 'round.

Joe

David Genadek
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 Posted: Sun Aug 30th, 2009 03:57 pm
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Carey,
When you talk about weight-bearing muscles you need to understand that the notion is that they are carrying the weight of the horses body not your weight. The horse is just not designed to carry weight. That is why the five essentials are essential. They are what you need to govern in order to allow the passive dorsal ligaments system to support your weight.  The horse will naturally use this system to the degree it needs to in order to carry its own weight. However , our weight changes the whole equation so the horse needs to be trained and taught how to use the dorsal ligaments system with your weight on his back. Clearly, when we ride there is going to be pressure on the horses back. What we want to do as much as we can is float the saddle on the top of the horses back. This is one of the functions of the wool on a Western saddle. Of course this function can be completely negated by over tightening the cinches or an overly heavy rider, by overly heavy I am not just referring to the rider's weight but also their posture and how they are carrying themselves.
Joe, but I might not be quick to say that you were wrong about the rear of the saddle. You are leaning back trying to feel it could have caused the problem. It's interesting to me that the cavalry figured out that you only had about 18 inches a weight-bearing servicer no matter what you do. This is where the concept of the ski tip comes in. By abruptly cutting off the bar and 18 inches you create an edge that can't dig it by adding a few inches you can create that ski tip that will prevent an edge from digging in.
    The seat size and is also interesting to me. Today we talked about 15, 15 ½, or 16 inch seats. The interesting part is if we were to compare the amount of leg opening in the McClellan to that of the seats today they would end up being very similar. The big difference is that the cantles were more straight up and down on the McClellan then they are on today's cantles. This is a great example of why seat size measured in this way really has little or no meaning.
David Genadek
 

Joe
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 Posted: Sun Aug 30th, 2009 05:09 pm
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Agree on all counts.

Interestingly, in so called "english" saddles, seat sizes are talked about ad 17, 18 and 19 inches.  It is really all in how and what you measure.

As to your comments about "heavy," riders -- from early times, most cavalries of the world would severely discipline troopers for slumping in the saddle, even when dog tired in combat conditions.  This was NOT for the sale of military appearance.  It was because they understood the additional strain
on the horse.


J

Last edited on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 05:14 pm by Joe

Carey
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 Posted: Sun Aug 30th, 2009 10:00 pm
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One thing that I have thought about recently--mostly do to a recent gift a friend gave me-- a book on Horses in Native American Cultures-- is the treeless saddle.  I know why people are against treeless saddles-  but it does seem like some tribes made what they call pad saddles.  I find this interesting so much of the culture of our own land is just not available unless you dig it up.  Then eventually -probably from seeing the cavalry they adopted a treed saddle.   OR from watching the Spanish or booth.  And I think the Far eastern cultures also used saddles that were not treed in the western sense-- had  front and a rear stablility.  I find this interesting.  Especially when you realize how small and area really is available for weight to be distributed-- not much bigger than the average rear.  I am slightly inclinded to believe that the treed saddle lets the human be more sloppy in there riding without damaging the horse as much-- whereas a pad saddle or something would require a real athletic rider-- especially out on the hunt or in battle.    SO it is interesting. 

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Last edited on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 10:18 pm by Carey

Joe
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 Posted: Sun Aug 30th, 2009 10:44 pm
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That is  beautiful pad, for sure.  What a wonderful gift.

Remember that the tribes had no horses at all until the got them from various sources including the Spanish (too complicated for this thread, but the trade routes for horses ran from the south, north and east).  Some at the ends of the routes may never have seen horses under saddle, but many had been introduced to them along with saddles.  The tribes themselves tried lots of ways of riding --everything from bareback to a variety of saddles made of wood and horn.  The most likely reason for riding bareback or with pads was that it was hard to come by the materials and tools to make saddles.

In my youth I rode hundreds of hours bareback.  There is no doubt that if you want do do anything more than walk around, you have to be a pretty balanced rider. However, saddles confer benefits on horses ridden by the best of riders.

Joe

Delly
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 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2009 11:20 am
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I have recently changed from riding in an english style saddle to a western. It is a well made and well fitted saddle. (purchased David's DVD first) I would like advice as to the best type of saddle pad - in particlular the thickness as I have had several different opinions. In the natural materials I could choose between a wool lined, wool filled, with woollen material upper or a plain felt pad. I am currently using a thick navajo cotton and wool blanket doubled with a thin felt pad in between.

Many thanks.

Carey
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 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2009 03:01 pm
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I almost always use a wool felt pad and a wool woven pad-  I have a few thicknesses of felt pads, so I change depending on the horse.

Delly
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 Posted: Tue Sep 8th, 2009 10:09 am
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Carey - thanks for that.

saddle-maker
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 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 01:46 pm
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DrDeb wrote:
You appear to realize that there are a number of different manufacturers who claim to produce a "Wade" tree. However, there is only one saddle shop in the world that actually does produce the Wade tree as designed by Mr. Wade and his friend back in the 1940's. That saddle shop is located in Sheridan, Wyoming.


 

I am not sure where you facts came from but as I understand it the wade saddle was first made in a shop in pendelton not sheridan, I have heard this first hand from a saddle maker in Idaho falls whom I used to work for, he made Ray Hunts saddles for over 30 years. Also from my understanding Buck has had his saddle made from a maker whom in now in Billings, He used to be in Sheridan when he started making saddles, he worked at a long time saddle shop in sheridan that also makes ropes. I used to work at this shop also back in the late 80's, they did not make saddles on wade trees at that time. I am not sure if this is the shop you are thinking of in Sheridan or not. I am not trying to be a troll here just stating the facts as I know them. here is a link to the true wade tree history that will not be disputed from just about all of the "" master saddle makers of today. http://www.cowboyshowcase.com/wade_saddle.htm

I will agree with you that a large number of tree or saddle makers that claim to making wade saddles are not using the true original wade pattern, but there are many top tree and saddle makers that build on the true wade pattern.

thanks much


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