ESI Q and A Forums Home
 Search       Members   Calendar   Help   Home 
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 

Improved poll for sitting position
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
Poll
I would like to sit on my horse in position
   
   
   
View Results
 
 Vote 
AuthorPost
David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 16th, 2008 06:51 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is a real picture to vote on.

Attachment: positions.jpg (Downloaded 1668 times)

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 12:45 am
 Quote  Reply 
I'm sort of confused by the question. I 'want' to sit wherever the best position for the horse is. Going by the video I took of me riding in your saddle on my horse today, I was in position B.

Helen
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 14th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 147
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 02:46 am
 Quote  Reply 
Well then Christie, I think he's asking what position you think is best for the horse - in other words, if you had to design a saddle, where would you put the seat?

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 12:37 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Christie,
    I am asking; Where do you want to sit? Once more people have had a chance to respond to the poll I will give an explanation of where I came up with the three positions. In the mean time try placing your saddle further forward and see what happens. Then place it further back and see what happens.
   I would expect this simple question to cause some confusion as there is much conflicting information out there. At the same time you have every right to sit where you want to sit and how you want to sit. The question then becomes would you sit where you are currently sitting if you fully understood the ramifications of your decision? 
   Remember the poll is anonymous.  Opinions can not be right or wrong as they are yours but they can be based on poor or mis information so what we will attempt to do here is gain some clarity by hearing different perspectives.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 12:47 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Helen wrote: Well then Christie, I think he's asking what position you think is best for the horse - in other words, if you had to design a saddle, where would you put the seat?
Helen,
     You bring up an excellent point here.  I never mentioned anything other than where you want to sit. You have have presented the position that you think the welfare of the horse should be the first and most importatant criteria. I agree but is that the perspective of those designing saddles?  Oh the plot thickens!!
David Genadek

ozgaitedhorses
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 30th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 55
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 05:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David, I have to agree that your model looks a lot better than the skeleton I pinched from someone else's closet... ;-)

Is there a way to keep this topic at the top of the list - a sticky or something? Fancy soft ware like this should have an option....

This is going to be a very interesting one!
Looking forward to your view of the industry!
Cheers,
Manu

Helen
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 14th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 147
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 05:49 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David, I understand - but if she wants to sit where is best for the horse, then your question 'Where do you want to sit?' extends to ask her where she thinks is best for the horse... because that's where she wants to sit.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 06:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Helen wrote: David, I understand - but if she wants to sit where is best for the horse, then your question 'Where do you want to sit?' extends to ask her where she thinks is best for the horse... because that's where she wants to sit.
In her case yes and I like her way of thinking. But what if some one wanted to sit in position C so he could whoop the horse in the ass. I wouldn't agree but it would still be where he wanted to sit.
One of the personal questions I am looking for an answer for here is; Am I working to design a saddle no one really wants? Thats why I'm interested in what people are thinking weather I agree with it or not.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 06:55 pm
 Quote  Reply 
ozgaitedhorses wrote: David, I have to agree that your model looks a lot better than the skeleton I pinched from someone else's closet... ;-)

Is there a way to keep this topic at the top of the list - a sticky or something? Fancy soft ware like this should have an option....

This is going to be a very interesting one!
Looking forward to your view of the industry!
Cheers,
Manu
Well I have kind of messed up and we have three threads going on the same thing maybe Jeff could combine them. Interesting how the A and Bs have reversed since we we got some flesh.
David Genadek

Cyrus44
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 09:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I will continue my ongoing saga of  saddles here.

AANY HELP IS SO NEEDED.. and thanks dave for the DVD on its way..  I guess I might be back to being saddleless..

I will ad the saddle I have ended up with last year, I took photos etc.

I worked with person who does NOT sell saddles, but a riding teacher to help me.

I believe the aim of the person trying to help me find a saddle was to

1. Make sure we  no longer crippled my poor appis shoulders.

2. make sure it cleared his withers and gave good clearance either side of his spine.

3. They insist, even tho he has a long looking back, its really short , so they were trying to avoid pressure on his last rib.

4. Accomodate me, a dressage saddle and I am a bigger rider- who is not really built to ride either, sitting on a 44 gal drum horse. hes VERY wide.

5. Find a tree that suited his back, which seemed to take a "sudden drop" after being left out for year and not being ridden, plus he just kept getting fatter and fatter.

6. make sure it had as even pressure front to back

7 Seat me in the middle of the saddle and try and keep me balanced. (old roundshouldered and NOT thin)

I tried a few saddles which I hated, not at all comfortable to me.

The costs become a very limiting factor, with the vet bills, etc etc.. different shoeing, feet xrays... $$$ are scarce, and I am also not working.

 

If I ride this horse bareback- I slide off all the sides, slip left, and and up back in position C myself. Its quite different to my other horse, he has a much higer wither, and I sit up near B and A in my saddle and bareback, and its easy to stay  put at walk trot and canter, in comparison.

 

This is the saddle I ended up with, some days it seems fine, other days it rubs under my right shoulder area, sort of scrubs his hair about.

 

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT RE GOOD OR BAD PLEASE

Me and my horse- the lastest saddle I have



 

Without me- when it was first bought



he is a bit  thinner now-  but

 

This is how his back looks



Riding in the saddle- hes a lot happier now than he was then, but still not right.



 

Previous saddle- the one Dr Deb saw me riding in at her clinic- but he got so wide & dipped in his back,  it missed his back by 3cm.



 

Last edited on Mon Mar 17th, 2008 09:11 pm by

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 19th, 2008 10:26 am
 Quote  Reply 
Jennefer,
"I worked with person who does NOT sell saddles, but a riding teacher to help me."

Selling saddles or not, is not an determiner of integrity and knowing how to teach rideing does not always translate to understanding saddle dynamics.

"This is the saddle I ended up with, some days it seems fine, other days it rubs under my right shoulder area, sort of scrubs his hair about."

Sounds like you need to read Lessons from Woody in the Knowledge base section.
David Genadek

Cyrus44
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 19th, 2008 03:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have read woody, I try my best to keep this horse straight ( at times I think my own crookedness, as I often have a sore back, makes this worse for him as well)

I do ride other horses and they do not apprear to have the same problems as this one.

Will woody help with physical issues, and if so reading woody did not really help me work out what is the best approach, presently I don't  really understand the exercises that would help my horse, apart from doing the ones Dr deb used in her clinic when I met her here. I was by no means a favourite student of hers.

But she felt my horse had paiffe and passage to offer, to me it was a pain response to something, and if it hurts too much hed rather help me off, in my opinion.

I still cant figure out what causes the pain( but it could be feet/ shoeing )  or if the new saddle makes it worse.

He has a much larger shoulder on the left than the right, and has been this way all his life.  The whole odd problems began about 2 years ago, and I would canter right, and when we would stop my saddle seemed to drop to left, as if his muscles collapsed.

It seems to be that the other ideas here suggest that finding a barefoot shoer, returning to barefoot, might help most.

 I have little choice so far, but to try peoples ideas,  and see what happens, as there are lot of people out there who think what they believe is always right.

I just know my horse is not right.

Last edited on Wed Mar 19th, 2008 04:07 pm by

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 19th, 2008 07:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
at times I think my own crookedness, as I often have a sore back, makes this worse for him as well)
   Ahh that does sound like the place to begin.  I have been dealing with some cronic pain issues myself and I can't tell you how very important it would be for you to get some help. Cronic pain has many very negative side effects. One of which is poor sleep which leads to a total break down of just about everything in your body.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 19th, 2008 07:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I’m getting ready to call this election but before I do would anyone care to share their reason for why they choose the position they did.
For instance:
 I chose A because it makes sense to me that I would want to be close to the support of the front legs.
I chose B because it is obvious I need to be there to stay out of the way of the shoulder.
I choose C because it just makes sense that if I want the front end to be light I would not want my fat @#$% there.
David Genadek

Adrienne
Member
 

Joined: Tue May 8th, 2007
Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 34
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 19th, 2008 08:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi David,

 I voted for A. I would think B would be best, simply because you would avoid either extreme (A or C). But I picked A because I grew up riding bareback and if you wanted to stay on and WITH the pony's/horse's movement A was by far the best place to be.

 Right now I ride with a western type saddle(it was the only saddle I could find that fit him) that puts me at "C", on a race bred Arab gelding. He has a very short back even for an Arab, is barrel shaped and is very leggy.
 So when riding him I just have this overwhelming urge to sit at A and shorten my stirrups a bit and just "go", as he just loves to move out freely.

 I want a Mongolian saddle for him. I found an old book for sale online that is a step by step guide on how to make your own Mongolian saddle and I'm hoping to order it and give it a try. The saddle type seems to be designed to place the rider near A or at A depending on the horse/saddle and from all I've read about the Mongolian people I think they should have worked out a saddle design that is good on the horse by now.
 I guess I'm saying I think you can design a saddle that would put you at A without interfering  with the horse's shoulders, like when riding bareback.

 So my reason summed up is; I think A is the best place to be to stay with the horse's movement and out of his way.

Last edited on Wed Mar 19th, 2008 08:10 pm by Adrienne

Cyrus44
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 19th, 2008 10:20 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have looked in many corners for help. No one has an answer yet really.

So I quit the  race and live with it.  I feel best when riding really.

I have become pretty sure, that when my hips are unlevel, and all my muscles change, I really compensate as well.

But I do ride other horses, and they do not seem to have the same problems as my appy. So i figured if its all me, I should cripple every horse. But it must be a combination of ideas  and factors that all ad up.

I just dont seem to think he dislikes my saddle, as he never  bucks in this one, but he still has moments of great energy and freedom, then he feels cripple.

 

Helen
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 14th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 147
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 03:14 am
 Quote  Reply 
I chose A because that position requires the least effort from the horse in order to maintain bascule. Sitting in position C is almost directly over the thoracio-lumbar joint (the last joint of the spine that has ribs attached) which is the very weakest part of the horses back for bearing weight. Position A also makes it easier to 'stay with' the horse though I'm not certain enough about the actual physics of that to say why... I just know, as do many here, that it's where I would sit if bareback.
However, I would definitely not feel comfortable positioning the saddle I normally ride in (all-purpose English) in such a position that I would be sitting in that position - the saddle flaps, pommel etc would almost certainly interfere with the horse's movement. However I got the feeling that wasn't what you were asking.... was I right?

fancy
Member
 

Joined: Sun Nov 25th, 2007
Location: Fenton, MI, USA
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 08:45 am
 Quote  Reply 
I choose B because A helps the horse shift weight onto his forehand because my weight would be over the forehand.  C is waay too far back.  C appears to stress the horse's back in a very bad place.  B gives me the best chance at staying in sync with the horse herself.

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 09:39 am
 Quote  Reply 
I keep thinking and thinking about this. I'll have to pick B finally.

B/c although I feel like I'm more in A when bareback, I've learned that bareback doesn't distribute the wt evenly and putting uneven pressure on the horses' back. And, while in B in my ATH saddle, I feel just fine and balanced. Yesterday we were riding in some short hills, and it's muddy/slippery now, and when he slipped and jerked a little to regain balance, I was snug and balanced in position B.

Ben Tyndall
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 47
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 10:41 am
 Quote  Reply 
One interesting thing to me here is how close A and C are. There are only 3 or 4 inches between them, and yet when you look at the 3 pictures, one looks right and the other two don't. And clearly not everyone sees it the same! One unfortunate aspect of this poll setup is that you can see how everyone else has voted before you cast your ballot. I suspect if it had been more of a blind poll, that C would have received more votes.

I chose B, probably because I think that's where my seat bones end up when I ride in the saddles we have, and I'm not unhappy with being there. My sense is that to get your seatbones up to A, the pommel would be way up on the withers, and to compensate, the rear part of the saddle would have to be jacked up much higher to keep the saddle seat level. And I don't want to be raised up any higher than necessary.

Aside from those practical construction considerations, I have never felt any great urge to have a saddle place my seat bones more forward. On the other hand, it has occurred to me occasionally that it might be interesting to try a saddle that placed them at C, just to see how it would feel and what effect it would have on the balance dynamic. Obviously you can't have it so far back that the rear part of the saddle is sitting where the horse's back can't support it, but I don't think C is that far back.

David mentioned this already, but there is the whole question of where should the rider's weight be to help the horse shift HIS balance back off the forequarters. I don't pretend to have the answer to this, but I know its something I have thought about lots. I also know from direct experience that a horse will respond to fairly subtle shifts in my upper body position fore and aft. He will tend to speed up when I tilt forward and slow down if I lean back. And he will stop at a jump if I lean too far forward. Instinctively, this makes sense, that leaning forward places more weight on the front of the horse and leaning back places more weight on the hind end. But when I think about it (dangerous), it seems to me that regardless of how I position my upper body fore and aft, the distribution of my weight through the saddle onto the horse's back can't possibly change more than a millimeter or two.

...Ben

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 03:27 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I chose "B" for where I would like to be sitting with a saddle because that position allows adequate amount of room between my seat and withers to accommodate the front of the saddle without interfering with shoulders.  Also this position seems to put you more over the balance point than the other two positions.

However having ridden bareback most of my early years with horses, all the pics that I have of myself riding show me in position "A", and thinking back this position felt the most stable, less width to straddle I guess. 

Cyrus44
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 04:46 pm
 Quote  Reply 
How much does the shape of the horses back also affect where we end up sitting.

With the rider on the horse in the photo we lose seeing the shape of the back.

Then of course the riders shape also affects all of the places each person seems to want to sit. A thin rider, verses one a lot bigger like me.

If I read old books by Summerhays, I should only ride sidesaddle as my rather thich thighs are not made for sitting astride a horse :(

I am sure I sit in C or worse on my appy, but I find it ok( Im not so sure he does)

Another horse I have has become dippy backed as he ages, his wither is much more pronounced and high. The shape of the back I sit on changes where I feel I would like to sit as well.

 

LindaInTexas
Member


Joined: Tue Oct 16th, 2007
Location: Waxahachie, Texas USA
Posts: 32
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 08:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I chose B.  I have ridden A up and down mountain trails when a loosley fitted saddle slipped me into it.  It felt like I was riding on top of a pile driver.  B puts me in a position that lets me feel the back end of the horse and the mid-line muscles.  It seems to be more comfortable for most of my horses, too.  C seems like it could be a position that would put the saddle back where it would be uncomfortable for the horse.

coach1
Member
 

Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 08:11 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Ok I'll jump in here.

I think 'B'. 'A' puts too much weight in the withers and will stop the horse from lifting up through that area and 'C' will stress the loins, so 'B' puts the rider over the centre of gravity.

Of course this will  depend on the rider's  over all correct base of support. A correct base of support allows the legs to fall correctly under the hip:  Legs too far forward - rider will fall back, legs too far back, rider will tip forward. The rider needs to be correct in their position and needs the tack to allow that.

Does anyone think that maybe Cyrus' 44 saddle is too small for her? Cyruss 44 - do you have room in the tack  behind your seat? It may fit your horse but is it comfortable for you? That is spoken as a coach not a saddle fitter.

That's my view from Canada
Susan

Cyrus44
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Mar 20th, 2008 09:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
thats the biggest one they have ... 18in, supposedly

I do agree with you for sure and I doubt Ill get much thinner, it just dont seem to happen.

and they supposedly were trying to accomodate the horses short rib lenght that was measured at approx 14 in of area to place a saddle.

 

I just did what I was told.

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 21st, 2008 11:34 am
 Quote  Reply 

cdodgen wrote:
I chose "B" for where I would like to be sitting with a saddle because that position allows adequate amount of room between my seat and withers to accommodate the front of the saddle without interfering with shoulders.  Also this position seems to put you more over the balance point than the other two positions.

However having ridden bareback most of my early years with horses, all the pics that I have of myself riding show me in position "A", and thinking back this position felt the most stable, less width to straddle I guess. 
   
What do you mean by balance point? I hear that and center of gravity a lot and I'm not sure what people are meaning by that.
David Genadek

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 21st, 2008 11:56 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave, What I mean by balance point is that point around which both ends of anything (horse, see-saw, etc) can find it's equilibrium.  I would like to think I could find a "spot/point" on the horse where my weight becomes a neutral factor on the horse's overall balance, in other words my weight alone would not make him heavy on the front-end nor shutdown the hindquarters.  Hope I'm making sense :0). 

Cheryl

AdamTill
Member
 

Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 291
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 21st, 2008 01:36 pm
 Quote  Reply 
My perspective on center of gravity and balance might be a little different. I'm not so much concerned about c/g as I am with a dynamic sense of balance.

Take, for example, a situation where you need to carry a 20 lb weight over a certain distance. Would you rather carry that weight cradled in your arms (essentially stationary relative to yourself), in a backpack (stationary, but a distance away from yourself), or winging it around over your head on a string? It's the same weight, but being carried in different ways makes it variously more or less difficult to carry.

The point I would look for would be the center of motion, not the center of mass. In my mind whether this is the same point as the center of mass or not is relatively unimportant.

Of course, that "point"will change with different gaits and motions, but from everything I've learned it's further forward then 95% of saddles will allow. That's probably why riding bareback scoots people forward...with good rider balance taken care of and no particular restraint to sliding along the back short of the withers, the motion of the horse will tend to scoot people to the "stillest" point on the back.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 21st, 2008 09:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
In regards to position A, B and C I chose each for a specific reason.  Position A I would consider the ultimate goal for any saddle maker however there are constraints to getting a saddle to allow a rider to be in this position.   It is also the position that riders have told me they want to be in.  It is the position that I have always thought people rode bare back in. However, recently another saddle maker explained to me that the position you ride bareback in is position B.  So while I had Liz on the horse I asked her why anyone would think you wanted to ride bare back in position B?  Her reply is pictured below.  No one has mentioned the horse in any of the conversation but do notice how the horse has reacted to her position.  This is also very telling in the previous three shots. To gain a better understanding of this I made a model and filmed it. Here are a few links:
High speed



 As for B that is the position that seems to be the general consensus amongst makers for where they think they are placing the rider. My understanding is that they are using T14 as the basis for the center of the saddle.  I consider T14 the back most limit of the seat and don’t think it should be the center.  So in my way of thinking a properly designed saddle will put you in between the A and B position.
Lastly we have Position C. C is where you will end up if you place your saddle in the current popular position.  For you English riders you are being told to go three fingers behind the scapula. Here is link to  a clip of Nuno Oliveira clearly he had an ignorant saddle fitter. http://youtube.com/watch?v=4TJkDYo1BPA&feature=related   I have measured several English saddle and have found them to be roughly  11 inches from the front to the low point of the seat  ( Jineta  style seats  Brida style seats you would need to add several more inches) This measurement is about the same on western saddles .  If you add two inches on to that for what "saddle fitters" are telling you that you need for shoulder clearance you end up with 13 inches.  Attached you will find a PDf file with a quick study we did on the horses we have here right now.  You will see that they average 20 inches from the scapula to the last rib. There for if you use the current method of saddle fit you will end up in the C position. 

David Genadek

Attachment: bad-bareback.jpg (Downloaded 698 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 21st, 2008 09:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is the Pdf

Attachment: back measuremetnts.pdf (Downloaded 163 times)

iceryder
Member
 

Joined: Sat Aug 18th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 8
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 11:48 am
 Quote  Reply 
"Position A I would consider the ultimate goal for any saddle maker however there are constraints to getting a saddle to allow a rider to be in this position."

So... what to do?  How can a saddle maker / manufacturer design a saddle to put the rider in Positon A?

In regard to the video, how does this align with Caprilli's thinking on the forward seat?

Judy

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 08:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Well they have been building saddles to put you in position A less a few layers of leather since the beginning of horsemanship. All you have to do is look at the Nuno clips and you will see it used to  be common practice. You bring up a good topic though and that is how we are drawing conclusions by seeing things done incorrectly. For instance some have drawn the conclusion that treed saddles are bad but they should have realized that is that there are just a lot of saddles with bad trees.  Some have concluded that bits are bad but they should have concluded that there are a lot of poorly designed bits in untrained hands.

I'm not real familier with Caprilli but my understanding is that he was a proponent of a forward seat but I imagine his theories were subject to the confusions of his time as all ours are.

David Genadek

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 08:36 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Fascinating discussion, David - thanks for starting this.   Regrettably I could not play your video clip but there are a couple of questions that have been on my mind from the start.

The horse in the still photos appears to have a somewhat downhill build which I think would inevitably cause the rider to end up in position A if riding bareback.  Would this also happen if the horse had a level back or uphill build?

Are we talking about a saddle that would suit the greater proportion of the horse-owning public who are not able to induce their horses to lift their neckbase and back?  Or are we assuming the horse will be ridden with a raised back for most of the time?  Either way I think there will be a difference in where the rider finds that 'still' spot.  Or does that factor not impact on saddle design?

Was there any special reason for the rider in the photos to be sitting in a chair (brida) position?  On that basis I chose position B but if the rider had been sitting with ankles aligned with hips/shoulders then I think I would have gone for position A.   Riding bareback chair style, I'm thinking there would be much more weight directly borne on pointy seatbones rather than distributed more evenly on thighs as the major weightcarrier - would this make the horse more uncomfortable for position C due to less muscular padding, i.e. past the end of the thoracic trapezius?  I'd be interested to know if the horse reacted the same way to the 3 positions with a saddle.

Best wishes - Pauline


Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 23rd, 2008 11:24 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hello:

    I Just joined a few days ago, and find the discussion interesting. SO, I'll add my opinion if that's OK.    I've been a saddle fitter for 15 years, so I'll leave it up to the moderators to decide if they want to leave my opinions up or delete them..

In my opinion:

Because of this horses anatomy (withers, Back/loin and Rib cage), if ridden bare back,  the persons butt will end up be somewhere between A & B .... but if this particular horse is saddled, then I vote B for the correct butt position over this horses back.

As far as riding bareback in general:..   the horses rib cage is going to determine where you sit -regardless of where you WANT to sit.  If the horses rib cage is well sprung- the anatomy will force your leg (and  butt) more forward.  If the horse is slab or flat ribbed.. then you may have more of a choice to sit further back and actually be able to stay there.

On a saddled horse:

Anatomy (withers, back/loin) , and especially Rib cage anatomy is also very important for deciding the correct *Rigging position*.  Rigging position is just as important as tree fit, and it will determine where the saddle settles, or ends up - regardless of where you WANT it. 

 If the rigging position is too far back on a saddle who's tree fits, the saddle will still creep forward as the girth seeks the natural girth groove... and the saddle will end up too far forward.  If the horse has low withers, it could end up really far forward.. and if the horse has high withers- then the withers and shoulders may stop it from moving forward (but it could jam the withers or shoulders).  In some cases I've seen some people who use the tail (with a crupper) to hold the saddle back. (This really isn't recommended)

The horses anatomy determines where the rigging position should be - but alot of low end (western) saddles don't give options for the position.

Barb

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 23rd, 2008 12:57 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pauline,
     You bring up some critical issues.
First of all I want to remind everyone that the subject is where to sit to sit not how to sit.  Secondly in the photos above our purpose in the experiment was to explore how it felt to sit in different positions.  One of our questions was how much does the shape effect position.  So Liz on her part just tried to sit as the situation called for not how she knew she was supposed to sit.  There was no motion involved in the sample shots so in each case she was where she was because she placed herself there with no influence of movement.  After I took the pictures she further explored the positions with movement.  As far as we know this horse had never been ridden bare back and it was the first time it had a bosal on.  In the A position she asked for a turn on the haunches and got it with no hesitation. She then went to the B position and had to ask repeated times before the horse responded.  So we learned a lot from our experiment but think how much more we could all learn if everyone else on the list repeated this for themselves and reported back.  Pictures would be wonderful but to even just know how the positions made you feel would broaden all our perspectives on saddle fitting.   As always though put your safety first.
Would this also happen if the horse had a level back or uphill build?
This is a major issue missing from the saddle fit debate.  The saddle should be orientated directly opposite the horse’s orientation.   What is happening in the market place is that there is a focus on width not shape so everyone is making saddles wide which in turn gives the saddle a downhill orientation which just means it will fall further before it causes pressure.   So from this we learn that one of the fundamental criteria for any saddle is that it creates a level platform for the pelvis (Jineta thinking).
Are we talking about a saddle that would suit the greater proportion of the horse-owning public who are not able to induce their horses to lift their neckbase and back?
Maybe if they had a properly designed saddle and a fundamental understanding of horsemanship this wouldn’t be considered such a difficult task.  You’re talking baby basics here.   There is a fundamental base of knowledge that any person should have before they get on a horses back.  I will agree that at this point in time many are not getting the instruction they need and I include the horse in this.
Or are we assuming the horse will be ridden with a raised back for most of the time? 
In my opinion I have to assume the rider has basic skills or as a designer I will be designing to pathologies not healthy conformations.  Morally this puts me in position of refusing orders and directing my customers in the proper direction of the help they need. There is currently a saddle fitting system that is gaining ground that is based on designing to pathologies.  On one hand I see the practicality and on the other I feel that if someone is passing themselves off as a professional saddle maker that they should have enough of a grasp of anatomy to know the difference between a healthy back and a pathological back.  This to me is what makes a saddle maker a saddle maker and not just an upholsterer.
Or does that factor not impact on saddle design?   Same as above.
 
Was there any special reason for the rider in the photos to be sitting in a chair (brida) position?
Refer to the opening answer.   Here again I would urge everyone to go and sit in different positions and see ho wit feels.  Another side note on the rider   over a several decade show career she never lost a bareback riding competition.  Her secret was a hunk of foam stuffed the front of her pants.  Yet another clue as to why we want to ride with a saddle.
 I.e. past the end of the thoracic trapezius?
Fist let me say that I am currently in physical therapy to get my thoracic trapezius to release so I can regain the movement of my scapula so this subject is very personal to me.  Here again we need to change our thinking to shape rather than width.   If  you go look at the thread Two fundamental questions of saddle fit  and look at the pictures Adam posted  you will see he has marked the edge  of where the Thoracic trapezius  goes into the body with a hunk of tape.  This is the forward limit of the weight bearing area. You will also see he is designing the saddle to set further forward than that line.  He understands that it is ok for a plane to fly over his house but he doesn’t want it to fly in to his house.  The trick here is to create funnel type shape in the front of the saddle so it will allow for the movement  As you look at Adams design ask yourself  how critical the rigging is going to be  to keep the weight back off the trapezius?
I'd be interested to know if the horse reacted the same way to the 3 positions with a saddle.
  Great notion! Unfortunately, to get an accurate assessment  as to just the effect of the position you would have to have three different shaped trees so the shape of the tree was matching the shape of the horse in the different  positions or you would have the effect of a poorly fitting tree effecting the result.
David Genadek

lighthorse
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 23rd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 23rd, 2008 08:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hello.  Monte Foreman, years ago designed a saddle for atheletic and speed events.  He didn't use jinta or breida terms.  The saddle featured bulkless rigging, flat seat, and forward hung stirrups.  This allows the legs to hang in the "rider's groove" (where the legs naturally go when riding bareback) and when leaning forward or standing, the rider's legs are supporting them, not getting behind them.  So, it would just depend on what the rider wanted....to ride like a Comanche on the warpath or a knight wanting to run someone through with a lance. 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2008 06:04 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Barb,
    One of the wonderful things about shareing perspectives is that by doing so we expand the thinking on a subject.  My perspective as designer and maker differs from yours in regard to the rigging.
    From the perspective of a saddle fitter everything you said in regards to rigging is accurate with in your experience, because with in your experience you have no control over the elements that could shift the reality.  From my perspective I know if I change the saddles orientation the issue of the rigging pulling the saddle forward will go away in most cases.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2008 06:27 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Lighthorse,
    Monte Foreman is another excellent example from the past of a proponent of the forward seat.  Unfortunately, he is also a good example of what happens when trainers try to design saddles.  Although much of the thinking was good the flaw was that he tried to accomplish the forward seat by placing the rider’s legs further forward instead getting the seat itself forward.  This causes the rider to use their legs improperly (refer to the recent thread   Core strength and iliacus for a great explanation).  This move on his part made the rigging feel very bulky so he teamed up with Slim Fallis who invented the bulk less rigging.  I have found this rigging to be extremely hard on horses and unnecessary if the rider is positioned correctly they will not feel bulk under their leg.  Despite major design flaws these saddle have a cult like following to this day.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2008 08:18 pm
 Quote  Reply 
What about this?

lighthorse
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 23rd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 01:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
David G:  Thank you for your information.  Hmmm.   Your post may explain a few of my questions through the years.  I'll order your saddle fitting DVD and I am reading the post you suggest.

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 08:36 am
 Quote  Reply 
David - As you will have easily seen, I know zilch about making saddles, so thank you for your thorough reply.

Today I followed your suggestion and experimented with one of my own horses, trying to replicate the 3 positions in the still photos to see what it felt like.  This horse also has not been ridden bareback (at least not in the 11 years with me), has not previously been ridden in just a halter and has not been in regular work for the last 18 months.  He is a TB with a high wither, prominent ridgeline to his spine and is built for sprinting with a strong downhill orientation despite the level withers/croup.  He is deep and wide through the ribs.  It's as close as I can get to your experiment.  Here's what happened.

I scrambled aboard and started at position A with no thought about any particular body alignment, just let my legs dangle where they would.  Both completely relaxed, we walked a small circle and did a turn on the hauches in each direction for each of the 3 positions.  My dear old horse did everything asked of him instantly with no difference between the 3 rider positions, but we have known each other very well for a long time so perhaps this is not a good comparison.  I could not detect any difference in his posture or opinion between the 3 positions.

Position A - This was where I felt most stable and would have been comfortable if I'd had Liz's hunk of foam.  Didn't have a mirror or any other way of checking, but felt like my legs were closer to jineta style, hanging longer beneath me.  Less weight on seatbones, more on thighs.

Position B - This also was comfortable but a little less stable than A and my legs felt a little more forward.

Position C - Felt rather precarious here, rolling around a bit.  More weight on seatbones, legs even further forward.  Glad to leave this position.

Hope this is helpful - Pauline

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 11:57 am
 Quote  Reply 
Pauline,
    How wonderful that you actually tried it!!! 
The horse Liz was on is in for training so it is a new relationship. It has me wondering just how much they fill in for our lack of clarity once they figure out what we are trying to get them to do.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 10:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Ok my neck film bombed so I'll try to come at it from a different direction.  Lets say you just bought a brand new John Deer tractor and you had to park it on the bridge below. Where would you park it?

Attachment: bridge.gif (Downloaded 594 times)

Adrienne
Member
 

Joined: Tue May 8th, 2007
Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 34
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 10:50 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi David,

 I was able to get out tonight and ride bareback in all three positions.

  I used my brother's old Arab cross gelding who is often ridden bareback.

 "A" is definitely where I always ride bareback at. It was secure and I felt very "stuck" to the horse, it was easy to become "one" with him. The horse seemed to like it just fine and understood what I was asking him to do, he moved freely.

 "B" was the position I only ever used to jump bareback, I would slip back a little to get my knees up a bit to be able to get onto my thighs to jump.
 It was not secure just sitting normally though and the horse didn't seem to like it as much. He also respond to my requests in a different way. And his movement seemed a bit different.

"C" was ridiculous and the horse did not like it.His movement seemed heavy.  It was very unsecured and the horse responded in a completely different way in "c" than in "A". His turn on the haunch turned into more of a bottle spin.

 I grew up ridding bareback in position "A" and still do occasionally ride bareback. I don't find it uncomfortable at all, I don't feel like I move very much either, maybe that is why it's comfortable for me? I sit slightly on/snugged up against the whithers, depending  on the horses conformation. I ride in "A" on horses that have low whithers or high sharp whithers and both is comfortable.
 I'll post pics of two different horses and the three different positions if you want. Do you want them at a halt or in motion?

 I would park my tractor at the well supported end of the bridge, the left side or nearest the horses whithers. In my opinion  lifting the base of the neck would strengthen the horses ability to support our added weight and would be most effective when our weight was nearest it and not further out from it toward the less well supported area of the back.


 This little test has answered allot of questions for me.
     Adrienne

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 10:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Wonderful Wonderful!!!!!

We would love to see the pictures.

David Genadek

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2008 07:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David:

You said:

QUOTE:From the perspective of a saddle fitter everything you said in regards to rigging is accurate with in your experience, because with in your experience you have no control over the elements that could shift the reality.  From my perspective I know if I change the saddles orientation the issue of the rigging pulling the saddle forward will go away in most cases. END QUOTE

 

David:

Actually,  there has been several instances where I did have control over the reality.

In cases where a saddle fits the horses back, but moves because the rigging position is incorrect:   by having  a saddler change the riggings position,  subsequentially does change the orientation of the saddle's position in general... and  perception about the saddle changes also (from gee this  saddle doesn't fit) - -to OK now this saddle does fit.. ( reality) 

And it saved the owner $$!.

Respectively, Barb

 

 

 

Callie
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 26th, 2008 10:18 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I want to add something here, that may or may not be useful, helpful, or correct, but here goes...

Bareback, if I am sitting at position A,B or C, my weight is influencing at that location.  In a saddle however, hypothetically at least, I could be seated at any position, but depending on the rest of the construction of the saddle, the vector of my weight could end up influincing the horse at any of the other positions.

Really, I think that's what great saddles in any form really end up doing, is getting the vector of your weight up to position A, regardless of where your tush is actually placed.

So the parts I can imagine in my compleate lack of saddle making experience would include the way the shape of the saddle and the shape of the tree interact, and the way the riders pelvas ends up seated in the saddle.

Sorry about the spelling, I have been up a very long time today...

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 28th, 2008 03:55 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Barb,
    What I was refering to was a saddle fitters inability to adjust a saddles orientation.
Restuffing  can effect it to some degree however  to  truly get it right it has to be done when the saddle is built. If the Oreintation is to far off adjusting the rigging won't have much effect.  I will do a sheet on rigging concepts as I have time.
below you will find some illustrations of the concept of orientation as it applies to
saddle fitting.
David Genadek

Attachment: orientation.pdf (Downloaded 139 times)

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 28th, 2008 05:26 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi David, 

 Haven't had any luck seeing the pdf file on orientation or the little films but enjoying the thoughts this question is provoking!  Had a look at where I would park my new tractor and its more towards the left where there is the most support. 

Did this experiment  with Giant Shet yesterday, he wouldn't move when I sat in A so I figured he didn't think much of it and seemed his usual self when I sat in B and C which surprised me.  I don't envy your task as a saddle maker, there seems to be so many variables and how on earth would you come up with  a concept to fit all horses and all rider shapes! 

The saddle fitter we have spoken to is adament you don't fit the saddle to the atrophy of the horses back, you might have to build him a back with shims/pads etc till the right work and good saddle etc improve the horses back.  So we are working along those lines.  It would seem though the wider you make the saddle in front the more rock the saddle produces, am talking about a GP saddle here, is this where if you changed the rigging so it had a balance strap and shimmed the front of the saddle it would improve things for the horse?

The elephant ride sounds exciting!

TTFN  Sam

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 28th, 2008 05:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam,

Hmm You may not have adobe reader on your machine here is a link where you can down load it for free.  http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
I can't imagine why you can't see the film as the player seems to be imbedded in the forum so you must have a preferance clicked on your machine or your using a browser that doesn't support it. Maybe there is a computer geek on the list that knows?

"there seems to be so many variables and how on earth would you come up with  a concept to fit all horses and all rider shapes! "
There is no concept to fit all anyone that says there is, is con man.

It is interesting that your horse did not move in A. If you trained him in B and C then that would make some sense. Most people will find they are sitting in C because the math of the philosophy dictates that you will end up there. I have been digging through Liz's library looking at rider positions. That  has been very interesting.

I think if you can down load the reader and look at the pdf your queston will be answered. Basically if you widen the front with out changing shape of the underside of the saddle you have only changed the saddles orientation and the front will just fall further before it causes a problem. Rigging can help or make it worse depending on the situation.
David Genadek

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Mar 29th, 2008 01:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks David,

Our computer connection is reallllyyyy slow so that could have something to do with it, do you talk about orientation in your video?  Also was having a little think today re your tractor on the bridge question, I spose if I didn't park the tractor with the hand brake on my John Deere would end up in B or C.  So no matter where I put my saddle it will end up where it want, so to speak?! 

Kind Regards Sam

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Mar 29th, 2008 09:11 am
 Quote  Reply 
David:

We're just using different terms to say the same thing (I looked at your PDF file).

You're  final orientation on the back depends on the shape of your tree.. I'm not disagreeing.

I understand.  I was talking about the rigging position (with the assumption the saddle was correct for the particular back).

In western bare tree fitting- there are terms used to spec the tree that differ from english fitting. It's more like boat building because the tree is a larger (and usually wood). The terms for the components of the bars are: rafter angle(at the withers) Rock (how much bend  behind the wither to meet the  Twist (angles under the thigh) All these have to be correct- to correctly orientate (your word) the saddle on the horse.

Then the rigging position has to be correct to keep it there. 

Barb

 

 

DAVID SAID "Barb,
    What I was refering to was a saddle fitters inability to adjust a saddles orientation.
Restuffing  can effect it to some degree however  to  truly get it right it has to be done when the saddle is built. If the Oreintation is to far off adjusting the rigging won't have much effect.  I will do a sheet on rigging concepts as I have time.
below you will find some illustrations of the concept of orientation as it applies to
saddle fitting.
David Genadek

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Mar 29th, 2008 09:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
Sam:

On the surface of it, I'm inclined to agree with your fitter- but need more info.

Was it injury or was this horse ridden into atropy? How bad is it? Most importatly WHICH muscles are involved? Has it changed the horses way of going? DOes the horse have pain?

And the most important is- is the atropy the same on both sides of the horse or is it asymetrical atrophy?

 In some instances an English saddle is the only correct choice because it may require several saddle changes over time- and sometimes that can be accomplished with re-stuffing or one of the adjustable saddles on the market today.... so you have more choices with English brands. 

Re-habbing this type of horse is where you will get many differing opinions as to the correct course of action to take.

I've seen symetrical horses ridden into asymetry - and that takes about a year or more - so to bring them back usually takes as long or longer.. and what comes back depends on the amount of damage, and what muscles were involved.

If the horse's atropy is asymetrical- the job is harder, because then you really do have to be a shim/shim material and saddle pad expert - along with being a fitter -

Have you described the atrophy in an earlier post?

Barb

 

SAM SAID in PART:"The saddle fitter we have spoken to is adament you don't fit the saddle to the atrophy of the horses back, you might have to build him a back with shims/pads etc till the right work and good saddle etc improve the horses back.  So we are working along those lines.  It would seem though the wider you make the saddle in front the more rock the saddle produces, am talking about a GP saddle here, is this where if you changed the rigging so it had a balance strap and shimmed the front of the saddle it would improve things for the horse?


Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 04:53 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Barb,

We had the pleasure of hosting the before mentioned saddle fitter and got to see him fit and repack a few saddles.  Luckily my horses don't have a huge amount of atophy, (after studying Dr Debs works they seem to have posture problems we are now working on),  but we saw horses that did, it kind of looked like the muscles of the back especially behind the shoulderblades still had the impression of the saddles.  These were the horses he suggested 'building a back' for using a progression of shims, so as the back developed you could take out a shim, as most folk don't want to keep getting new saddles.

TTFN Sam

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 06:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Barb,
    You are correct that there are no stadardized terms in the saddle industry. How ever between english and western there are many terms that are the same but since the english tree has evolved from Brida style jousting saddles most of the terms are relative to the rider. The western tree has evoled through the jineta style of riding so most of the terms  refer to the horse. I say that English saddles are built from the butt down and western saddles are built from the back up. Twist in english saddles refers to how the seat fits the horse. The term twist in the western world refers to how it fits the horse.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 07:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam wrote: Thanks David,

Our computer connection is reallllyyyy slow so that could have something to do with it, do you talk about orientation in your video?  Also was having a little think today re your tractor on the bridge question, I spose if I didn't park the tractor with the hand brake on my John Deere would end up in B or C.  So no matter where I put my saddle it will end up where it want, so to speak?! 

Kind Regards Sam
Sam,
    This may be true because the saddles you have are designed to be placed way far back as many on the market today are. That is why I posed the question about where to sit so people will understand that what they think they are buying may not be the same as what the seller thinks they are selling.
David Genadek
  

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 07:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is a some info on rigging . I began by pilfering some info from The Inner Horseman Volumn 6 No1 January 2002 on the subject of the ring of muscles and how functions inteh course of movement. I have expanded that info into the saddle shape which leads us to a model of how saddles can function on the back in motion from that point, how you tie things on should begin to make some sense. Teh fileit to big for postin so I will post several pdfs.
David Genadek

Attachment: spine movement.pdf (Downloaded 163 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 07:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
fit zone

Attachment: fit zone.pdf (Downloaded 175 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 07:35 pm
 Quote  Reply 
rigging position

Attachment: rigging position.pdf (Downloaded 152 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 07:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
configuration

Attachment: rigging configurationsm.pdf (Downloaded 156 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 10:33 am
 Quote  Reply 
David Genadek wrote: Barb,
    You are correct that there are no stadardized terms in the saddle industry. How ever between english and western there are many terms that are the same but since the english tree has evolved from Brida style jousting saddles most of the terms are relative to the rider. The western tree has evoled through the jineta style of riding so most of the terms  refer to the horse. I say that English saddles are built from the butt down and western saddles are built from the back up. Twist in english saddles refers to how the seat fits the horse. The term twist in the western world refers to how it fits the horse.
David Genadek
Opps bad typo on this one where I said:
Twist in english saddles refers to how the seat fits the horse it should have said
Human not  horse.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 11:35 am
 Quote  Reply 
If the horse's atropy is asymetrical- the job is harder, because then you really do have to be a shim/shim material and saddle pad expert - along with being a fitter -

It is not with in the realm of  the saddle maker or fitter to correct staightness. If they try they generally add to the problem. The issues creating the asymentry should be addressed before the fitting takes place. It could be the teeth,the shoeing, bitting, internal issues,training or the rider but the saddle should be fitted straight. If shimming needs to be done then it should be done straight. 
David Genadek

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 12:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David:

Let me explain what I mean about  the asymetry I mentioned in my previous post..  Actually I see it quite alot, usually because someone calls me and says thier saddle is "crooked".

I do have to deal with this problem as a fitter & I agree with you that the saddle has to be fitted straight. And the saddle has to be of good enough quality so it IS straight (and not a piece of junk) or you can really proceed.

I see alot of clients who think their saddle is crooked, when it's not. 

Here's an example:

If a rider posts on the same diagonal, and/or always allows the horse to use their favored lead when loping, and rider rides OFTEN in this mammer, then over time the horse will develope one side more than the other.  Couple that with a rider who also caves their body to the same side the horse favors - and you'll end up with a horse more muscled on one side than the other - and a rider complaining the saddle is crooked.

So,  in the case of asymetry:     when the  horses shoulders are viewed in shilloutte from behind - one shoulder will look higher than the other, and one will have more of a dip behind the shoulder blade than the other.   ANd there is varying degrees of this- from slight to really obvious even to the untrained eye when it's pointed out.

Now (we know) this problem started from the (mis) use of the rear (engine) of the horse.  But the results are more easily seen (and felt) seemingly in the front .

This becomes so obvious to the owner when it's pointed out.  And condition will make the saddle feel like it's falling to one side because it IS falling to one side. 

That is the type of case I was talking about.

In some instances- I had seen and evaluated the same horse 4 or 5 years prior - and the animal had symetrical shoulders/body then with a previous owner/rider.  Some horses are ridden into crookedness as opposed to being born crooked.

So, in reality- the owners of these horses are *not*  going to stop riding.  AT least not the ones I meet.  So if their saddle  fits, then pad shimming has to happen (and be done correctly) and hopefully the rider changes their ways.. if the rider doesn't change then the horse won't.

Barb

 

DAVID SAID:

" It is not with in the realm of  the saddle maker or fitter to correct staightness. If they try they generally add to the problem. The issues creating the asymentry should be addressed before the fitting takes place. It could be the teeth,the shoeing, bitting, internal issues,training or the rider but the saddle should be fitted straight. If shimming needs to be done then it should be done straight. "


 

 

 

 

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 03:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi David,

With a bit of cunning plan I got the above files open, thanks so much for posting them, you are great at keeping things simple and easy to understand.  I have a much clearer picture of what I am looking at regarding rigging and orientation in a saddle.  My western saddle has inskirt rigging in all the wrong places, no wonder it won't sit on the horse properly...might have to turn it into a barstool?!   A good look at Giant Shet, and he is a saddle fitters nightmare as far as I can see.  Hammer headed and ewe necked, his wither sits down between two big shoulder blades, so saddle wants to head up behind his shoulders, his orientation in down hill, and a saggy tummy pushes the girth towards his front legs! (english saddle)  In spite of all this he tells me of no saddle complaints...touch wood.   The interesting thing for me was the other day he offered me a great gift of a moment of coiled loins and raised base of the neck...where did I end up sitting...blow me down A!!  Am learning heaps, thanks for sharing David.

TTFN Sam

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 08:04 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Barb Peck wrote: David:

Let me explain what I mean about  the asymetry I mentioned in my previous post..  Actually I see it quite alot, usually because someone calls me and says thier saddle is "crooked".

I do have to deal with this problem as a fitter & I agree with you that the saddle has to be fitted straight. And the saddle has to be of good enough quality so it IS straight (and not a piece of junk) or you can really proceed.

I see alot of clients who think their saddle is crooked, when it's not. 

Here's an example:

If a rider posts on the same diagonal, and/or always allows the horse to use their favored lead when loping, and rider rides OFTEN in this mammer, then over time the horse will develope one side more than the other.  Couple that with a rider who also caves their body to the same side the horse favors - and you'll end up with a horse more muscled on one side than the other - and a rider complaining the saddle is crooked.

So,  in the case of asymetry:     when the  horses shoulders are viewed in shilloutte from behind - one shoulder will look higher than the other, and one will have more of a dip behind the shoulder blade than the other.   ANd there is varying degrees of this- from slight to really obvious even to the untrained eye when it's pointed out.

Now (we know) this problem started from the (mis) use of the rear (engine) of the horse.  But the results are more easily seen (and felt) seemingly in the front .

This becomes so obvious to the owner when it's pointed out.  And condition will make the saddle feel like it's falling to one side because it IS falling to one side. 

That is the type of case I was talking about.

In some instances- I had seen and evaluated the same horse 4 or 5 years prior - and the animal had symetrical shoulders/body then with a previous owner/rider.  Some horses are ridden into crookedness as opposed to being born crooked.

So, in reality- the owners of these horses are *not*  going to stop riding.  AT least not the ones I meet.  So if their saddle  fits, then pad shimming has to happen (and be done correctly) and hopefully the rider changes their ways.. if the rider doesn't change then the horse won't.

Barb

 

DAVID SAID:

" It is not with in the realm of  the saddle maker or fitter to correct staightness. If they try they generally add to the problem. The issues creating the asymentry should be addressed before the fitting takes place. It could be the teeth,the shoeing, bitting, internal issues,training or the rider but the saddle should be fitted straight. If shimming needs to be done then it should be done straight. "


 

 

 

 
Barb,
     Before you embarrass yourself any further I would suggest you spend some time and read the Lessons from Woody article.  In fact since you are passing yourself off as a professional saddle fitter you should take it to the next level and actually build the model and play with it.  Once you fully grasp the paradigm you will then understand that the issue is outside of your realm.  You will then also understand that to do what you suggest will lock the crookedness in place and encourage it further and totally prevent the rider from being able to feel  what they need to feel.   I would also encourage you to find a skilled rider with rehabbing experience to partner with so that you have a place to send your clients for the help they really need.   As for the moral issue I can only hope that once you have a clear understanding of what you’re actually saying you will see the error of your ways.
David Genadek

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 09:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David:

    All I can say is WOW.    Ask youself:  why the hostility and the need for condescension?

 I didn''t realize this was a board with only one opinion... and it's quite telling you feel the need to chastise and marginalize  my opinion in an open forum. .. quite telling.

Barb

David said in part"

"As for the moral issue I can only hope that once you have a clear understanding of what you’re actually saying you will see the error of your ways. "
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 10:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam wrote: Hi David,

With a bit of cunning plan I got the above files open, thanks so much for posting them, you are great at keeping things simple and easy to understand.  I have a much clearer picture of what I am looking at regarding rigging and orientation in a saddle.  My western saddle has inskirt rigging in all the wrong places, no wonder it won't sit on the horse properly...might have to turn it into a barstool?!   A good look at Giant Shet, and he is a saddle fitters nightmare as far as I can see.  Hammer headed and ewe necked, his wither sits down between two big shoulder blades, so saddle wants to head up behind his shoulders, his orientation in down hill, and a saggy tummy pushes the girth towards his front legs! (english saddle)  In spite of all this he tells me of no saddle complaints...touch wood.   The interesting thing for me was the other day he offered me a great gift of a moment of coiled loins and raised base of the neck...where did I end up sitting...blow me down A!!  Am learning heaps, thanks for sharing David.

TTFN Sam

Thank you Sam.  You must have offered Giant Shet something for him to offer you his gift. Thats when it gets really fun!!

David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 1st, 2008 05:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
  It seems this notion of creating crooked saddles for crooked horses is gaining some ground in the market place today. I would urge every one to read and understand the Woody article as it is clear that many of the so called equine professionals have skipped this very important lesson.  Today I watched some video of another saddle maker explaining why you need to stuff a saddle crooked. People are actually listening to this so buyer beware!!!

"The farrier, veterinarian-chiropractor, massage specialist, or other "support professional" is not a horse trainer, and horse owners must not call on him or her to do what is morally and practically their job. It is up to the rider to straighten the horse, not the others mentioned; yet they too must understand straightness in order to support the horse owner and see to it, for example, that the animal is trimmed and shod properly. Because I view the whole process as a team effort, not only aspects of horse training but veterinary-chiropractic and farriery are all integrated in the article below." Deb Bennett From Lessons From Woody

David Genadek

Ben Tyndall
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 47
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 10:23 am
 Quote  Reply 
David,

Your response to Barb's post about horse asymmetry was unbelievable! I can't imagine what you read in that post that you could find offensive or threatening. I have re-read Barbs post three times. Maybe there's something in there that's too subtle for me, but I only see a simple clarification about lateral asymmetries based on her direct experience. I don't see how her comments can be read to dispute  the idea that riders/trainers are responsible for teaching straightness to the horses they ride.

....Ben

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 12:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I see the moral dilemma. If the fitter isn't going to try to help the person help the horse be straight, then they are supporting the pathology. Maybe a Woody model in the truck to use for the teaching....?

David's lengthy post up thread about that very moral issue struck me sound. What a difficult place in which to be working! If the saddle is straight and would fit the horse if the horse were straight, the work to do is with the person. And good luck to anyone telling people what to do with their horse (or telling them that what they're doing is wrong)! Some of the most difficult people (pathological I swear) I've ever met are in the horse world which is one of the reasons I stay home most of the time. Conversely, it's quite a terrific experience to get to clinics that are directed by those who understand this, seek to teach this, and attended by students who are open to learning it. (And sometimes, students don't come back b/c they cannot or will not be taught) If you love horses, you will agonize over this. David, it must consume you at times?

I sat in all three positions bareback and saddled last night. My gelding is slightly swayed so bareback, I end up b/t A & B. He stepped under himself most easily when I was in that natural place bareback, seem mildly bothered when I'm back further. He rocked back onto the haunches easiest in the natural position too.

Great discussion. In restudying Birdie Book, this is hammered home over and over.

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 01:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Ben:

         Thankyou Ben, you understood my post. 

In addition, I wasn't suggesting that saddles be built crooked or stuffed crooked for crooked horses.

I was talking about my (fitting) experience in the real world with real people and real horses . 

 None of the horses (or riders) that call me are perfect - most are having problems or they wouldn't be calling.   I use my experience to help people who want the help to understand what the horse needs, how he may have gotten the way he is  (if he is crooked or sore) and hopefully be able to either give them what they need in the way of knowledge, or equipment, or be able to point them in the right direction to fix their particular problem.  I wasn't trying to pass myself off as anything other than what I am.

I fully agree, as HORSEMEN (and I don't use that word lightly) we have a high degree of responsibility to the horse. 

  I also understand from working in the real world (with people of various financial means ) most  people usually WANT to do the right thing by the horse. 

But then I meet quite a few people that don't care... who simply USE the horse.. and that's when I'm  there for THAT horse.  -   That's MY ethic - I do what I can when the opportunity rises - for the horse.. 

I don't view this whole 'understanding and helping the horse" as a competition.

Respectfully,

Barb

 

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 01:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Ben
    I would be happy to explain my comments as I think it is really important for horse owners to learn to listen to the people they are hiring to help them with their horse issues.  First let me make it very clear that I don’t know Barb and have nothing against her.  The things she has stated are common beliefs with in the saddle industry.  These ideas are injuring horses and their owners.  
If there is a Holy Grail of horsemanship it is straightness.  It is a foundational concept for anyone in the saddle trade and it is essential that anyone passing them off as a professional saddle fitter, maker or seller has enough of a grasp on the concept to know when the issue is outside of their ability to fix. When it is they should refer the customer to someone that has the qualifications to correct the issue at the cause.  They should never adjust the saddle to the problem.  The problem should be resolved before the saddle is fit.
 “So, in reality- the owners of these horses are *not*  going to stop riding.  AT least not the ones I meet.  So if their saddle  fits, then pad shimming has to happen (and be done correctly) and hopefully the rider changes their ways.. if the rider doesn't change then the horse won't.”
So ask yourself if you’re paying this person as a professional to help you with your saddle issue should they ignore the real issue and just pad the saddle in a way that will lock in the crookedness and prevent the rider from feeling that which they need to learn to properly support?  Or would the professional thing to do, be to help you understand straightness and refer you to someone that can help achieve it?
David Genadek

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 02:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David..

Big Sigh.

If you were my client, at this point I would cease listening to you and listen only to the horse.

It is obvious we cannot communicate on this topic.  Please re-read what I said:

" None of the horses (or riders) that call me are perfect - most are having problems or they wouldn't be calling.   I use my experience to help people who want the help to understand what the horse needs, how he may have gotten the way he is  (if he is crooked or sore) and hopefully be able to either give them what they need in the way of knowledge, or equipment, or be able to point them in the right direction to fix their particular problem.  I wasn't trying to pass myself off as anything other than what I am.
END QUOTE

Barb

 

David said in Part:

 QUOTE:  .................. and it is essential that anyone passing them off as a professional saddle fitter, maker or seller has enough of a grasp on the concept to know when the issue is outside of their ability to fix. When it is they should refer the customer to someone that has the qualifications to correct the issue at the cause.   END QUOTE

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 3rd, 2008 10:58 am
 Quote  Reply 
My intent with this thread was to bring to light some of the contradictions in the industry starting from where the industry says they are trying to get you to sit to where you actually end up.  I have put up several postings to demonstrate concepts that I see as critical for the horse owner to understand to be able to make rational informed decisions.  It is essential that horse owners have information that can help them decide what kind of help they actually need.  As a horse owner you have a constant flutter of people trying to tell you that you need their services, as a rule; if they have to tell you that you need them you don’t.
Currently flexible trees are all the rage.  This is what you’re told:
“Building a saddle with a flexible bar that can adjust to the confirmation of the animal significantly widens the range of animals that will fit any particular tree design. Perhaps an even greater benefit to a flexible tree is the fact that the tree will move with the horse instead of against it. When a horse turns or bends his body the tree will "get out of the way" of the animal's shoulders and hips. Whether riding for pleasure or in competitive events the xxxxxx tree will adapt to a wide range of motions.”
Here is the reality.







David Genadek

Ben Tyndall
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 47
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 3rd, 2008 12:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I've never heard of a flexible tree. I have seen advertisements for saddles using flexible panels with similar claims to those noted in David's note, i.e. that they won't restrict the horse's bending back. In theory, this sounds great to me. As seen in the video in David's note, implementing such ideas can be challenging. We certainly don't want to have the tree jabbing the horse's spine every stride. I'll have to check with the local saddlery to ask about flexible trees and see what they say.
...Ben

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 3rd, 2008 10:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Flexible Panel Systems





Marilyn Indiana
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 31st, 2007
Location: Indiana USA
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 4th, 2008 11:20 am
 Quote  Reply 
I wasn't able to view the videos for some reason and I also have slow dial up but today I discovered how.

When my cursor arrow goes over the black video screen, a window appears at the top that says "Download This Video", just to the right is a down arrow and an X to close. Clicking on the down arrow brings up a menu with the option to Save video as... Clicking on this option starts the download and eventually when that finishes, the video plays.

Hope this is helpful to others that also haven't been able to see these videos.

Very interesting. Thanks David.

Marilyn

Indiana

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 4th, 2008 04:53 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David, I've owned two flex panel saddles, and while I liked them, I found that with a horse with super high withers it didn't work.  The saddles tend to plunge the rider forward and onto the withers.  In other words, there is no support up front.

Have you ever had to fit a saddle to a horse with huge withers?

Regards,

Pam

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 4th, 2008 09:20 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Flexible panels are indeed silly; the latest in a number of efforts to create a saddle that adjusts to the horse.  Both the Britisha and the US Calvalry tried pivoting bar systems that failed to conform properly to the the back, and also had structural weaknesses that caused failure.  I forget the designation of the Britich saddles (they were a UP varient),  but the US experiment was the M1912 Experimental Saddle.

I guess in actuality, that a properly flocked stock saddle or a properly stuffed "english" saddle, each reasonably fresh and flexible ARE as good as flexible panels get.

Joe

Sophia
Member


Joined: Sat Apr 5th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 8
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Apr 5th, 2008 03:42 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David,

        I'm struggling to understand a lot of what you are explaining about rigging and panels in relation to riding in an english seat. Do you still want any style english saddle to sit beginning at the high point of the wither? What about the rigging for them?

tricolchin
Member


Joined: Sat Mar 31st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 13
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Apr 5th, 2008 11:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Great video--I e-mailed Liz about a year ago with this very question regarding flexible panels--she explained exactly what your videos shows.  This is the same reason we are warned, when buying a used saddle, to beware of a broken tree.  Spine clearance is key!

 Regarding English saddles (Sophia's question), would placing girth at middle and last buckle be considered centered rigging?  Are 'spring steel trees" in English saddles causing similar challenges as the flexible panels in your video?  Thanks for the info., David! 

~Katherine

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 6th, 2008 01:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pam wrote: David, I've owned two flex panel saddles, and while I liked them, I found that with a horse with super high withers it didn't work.  The saddles tend to plunge the rider forward and onto the withers.  In other words, there is no support up front.

Have you ever had to fit a saddle to a horse with huge withers?

Regards,

Pam

Pam,
Withers are a really common concern.   Some will think their horse has no whither when it does.  Others will think their horse has a huge whither when it has a normal whither.  What we all need to learn to see is the state of the muscles around the whither.  If they are really tight and drawn in it may make the whither appear to be large because the muscles that usually fill in the space around them don’t have the healthy mass that they should.  Flexible panel systems are extremely good at producing this type of situation.  Likewise some horses have a lot of muscle mass around the wither, so they don’t think the horse has a wither.  You need to look from the base of the neck to the top line to get an indication of how big the withers actually are.  In most cases if you focus on fitting the rib cage the withers will take care of themselves.   
   Deb wrote an article for Equus a while called the wonder of withers.  Back then the editor felt strongly that it was the whither that held the saddle on that they had trouble with Deb’s comments about fitting the rib cage and not the whither now the saddles are being placed so far back it is less of an issue.  
    Another really good resource on this subject is what Deb wrote for The Inner Horseman Volume 6 No1 January 2002 Her series of drawings on in this article is just wonderful  to give you perspective on just what comes in to play in regard to saddle fit.  My Bridge drawing above is my one picture summation of what the stabilizing forces on the spine as I have interpreted them from this article.   This becomes a critical concept because if those muscles around the whither are being improperly used then you are affecting the stabilizers to the spine.
This is from Wikipedia:
They are made up by the dorsal spinal processes of the first 5 to 9 thoracic vertebrae (every horse has 18 thoracic vertebrae), which are unusually long in this area. The processes of the withers are less than 6" in height on the average horse. Since they do not move relative to the ground (as does the horse's head), the height of a horse is measured from the ground to the withers. Horse sizes are extremely variable, from small pony breeds to large draft breeds. The height of the withers on an average Thoroughbred is 16 hands (5' 4").
I guess whoever wrote this does not know about raising the base of the neck.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 6th, 2008 02:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sophia wrote: David,

        I'm struggling to understand a lot of what you are explaining about rigging and panels in relation to riding in an english seat. Do you still want any style english saddle to sit beginning at the high point of the wither? What about the rigging for them?
Sophia,
     It might help if you think in terms of where you want to sit rather than where the front of the saddle is as that can vary a lot. You also have to keep in mind where the saddle was designed to sit which can also vary. If it was designed to sit back and you place it forward it will cause a problem. The high point of the whither works as a general rule on my trees but cannot be used as a stead fast rule. 
   The rigging should hold the middle of the saddle quetly on the horses back.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 6th, 2008 02:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
tricolchin wrote: Great video--I e-mailed Liz about a year ago with this very question regarding flexible panels--she explained exactly what your videos shows.  This is the same reason we are warned, when buying a used saddle, to beware of a broken tree.  Spine clearance is key!

 Regarding English saddles (Sophia's question), would placing girth at middle and last buckle be considered centered rigging?  Are 'spring steel trees" in English saddles causing similar challenges as the flexible panels in your video?  Thanks for the info., David! 

~Katherine
Katherine,
    As a rule using the middle and last buckle will help direct the pull toward the middle of the saddle but as to if it is single configuration in the center position depends on where the billets tie into the saddle tree.  On a practical level stick your saddle where you want it to be and pull on the billets and see what happens. If they are to far foreward( which is really common) the back of the saddle will pop up.
    I am not  familier enough with a spring steel trees to make a comment but I did see one yesterday at a clinic and saw no problem with it. That has me questioning if they are just talking about a material and not a function. What claims do they make about them?
David Genadek

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 6th, 2008 04:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi David,

Will have to have a read of that Inner Horseman, it is yet to make it to my collection.  Internet is too slow to see the videos, what is a flexible panel...I have seen the military saddle with hinges in a museum are the modern versions similar and why do they cause a problem, ( I know the answer is in the vid but can't see it)  Is this the same as a flexible tree.  If I grab the front of my saddle (GP) and the cantle I can twist it and it is not rigid, it moves/twists.  Is that any advantage/disadvantage for the horse? 

This has been so interesting to me.  I have set up a V rig on my western saddle, and it actually sits on Muffy really well, no longer digs in behind the shoulder blades.  Your images of the rocking chair on the horse have helped hugely.  As to Giant Shet, we are still having a play with his saddle, will the concept of fitting the rib cage take care of/ help with regards to fitting the saddle on him, downhill, really wide ribcage, wither sits down between two big shoulder blades that sort of sit out from his body.  Hope this makes sense!  Those shoulder blades insist on running into the saddle, is the front still not wide enough, so does that mean the back of the saddle needs to be even wider/lower?   Again thanks for sharing your insights and knowledge, lots of light bulbs going off down here.

Regards Sam

tricolchin
Member


Joined: Sat Mar 31st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 13
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 6th, 2008 07:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David,

From the following link, it looks as though the "spring" has to do with webbing tension and the tree.  The panels and wool flocking are added later.  So I'm thinking this is NOT the same as a tree that is made of material similar to tire rubber...the kind of flexible system a well-known gaited-horse 'expert' sells.

http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/saddlecraft.htm

~Katherine

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 6th, 2008 08:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David - That was a good reply to Pam's question and reminds me of the not infrequent occasions when clients tell me their mature horse has recently "grown a wither".  What has really happened, as you stated, is that the musculature of the topline has fixed itself into a permanent defensive contraction which locks the spine into an extended profile.  Superficially, this makes the withers look more prominent than when the topline is relaxed.  I think of this as a 'locked-down back' - these are the horses who cannot lift their backs in response to a stimulus on the midline in the girth area and are likely to react with laid-back ears, neither can they touch their nose to their front toes while standing square.  This muscular contraction can be released with an hour's deep massage and stretching but unless the primary cause is removed, the extended spine will return within minutes.

You are right that a saddle digging into the shoulders will produce this wither/spine shape, usually accompanied by sore spots at the points of contact just behind the scapula.  Another cause I've come across frequently has to do with feet - when the coffin bones of the hind feet are in a negative plane orientation, or even just too low for that particular horse without actually being negative.  This causes all the joints of the hind limb to be stressed and the horse protects his spine by locking it down into an extended outline.  An easy way to prove this is to make some temporary wedges out of any material  that's lying around (cardboard, newspaper, foam, whatever) and use duct tape to attach to the hind heels.   Five minutes of hand walking is enough for the horse to realize it's safe to release the topline muscles and the spine will return to a normal neutral position.  Next step, of course, is to permanently address the problem in the feet.

David, given this scenario my advice is generally that the horse should not be ridden until the feet have been fixed.   Mostly, this problem has been there for a long time and it is likely a saddle was fitted while the horse had that locked-down shape.  Will a saddle fitted to the ribcage allow for the wide range of back profiles going from an extended, lock-down shape to (hopefully) a raised, flexed spine?  Or should the rider understand that a new saddle will be necessary?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Best wishes - Pauline



David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Apr 7th, 2008 07:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam wrote: Hi David,

Will have to have a read of that Inner Horseman, it is yet to make it to my collection.  Internet is too slow to see the videos, what is a flexible panel...I have seen the military saddle with hinges in a museum are the modern versions similar and why do they cause a problem, ( I know the answer is in the vid but can't see it)  Is this the same as a flexible tree.  If I grab the front of my saddle (GP) and the cantle I can twist it and it is not rigid, it moves/twists.  Is that any advantage/disadvantage for the horse? 

This has been so interesting to me.  I have set up a V rig on my western saddle, and it actually sits on Muffy really well, no longer digs in behind the shoulder blades.  Your images of the rocking chair on the horse have helped hugely.  As to Giant Shet, we are still having a play with his saddle, will the concept of fitting the rib cage take care of/ help with regards to fitting the saddle on him, downhill, really wide ribcage, wither sits down between two big shoulder blades that sort of sit out from his body.  Hope this makes sense!  Those shoulder blades insist on running into the saddle, is the front still not wide enough, so does that mean the back of the saddle needs to be even wider/lower?   Again thanks for sharing your insights and knowledge, lots of light bulbs going off down here.

Regards Sam
Sam
Flex trees and panel systems are different.  A flex tree is made of a flexible material and the whole tree should flex but not so much that it can’t support the weight as in the film we showed.  In most of the western flex trees only the bars flex but the arches remain rigid which defeats the purpose and actually causes more of a problem but it sounds really good in ads.  I have put a picture of the promotional material used by the company that made the saddle we filmed folding in half.   As you can see they have now added new elements to the design.  The front and cantle are rigid which breaks a common sense rule that if has a flexible tree the whole tree needs to be flexible.  The ad is worth reading carefully so you can learn to pick up on the difference between what companies are saying and what they are actually doing.  Note the comment about the ground seat, talking about years of experience hand crafting, on and on then look at the seat.  There is no level place for the pelvis and the fenders are placed to far forward and the shape of the fenders accentuates that even further. It is a Brida seat.
Flexible panel systems use a rigid tree and then place four pivot points on the tree and suspend a flexible panel from them and claim that the panel will shape to the horse. What actually happens is the four pivot points dig in and injure the horse.   
Sadly these ill conceived designs are pushed into the market with really good marketing.  I can sure see why any caring horse person would think these are the way to go.  It is unfortunate that at this time the average horse owner has little idea of what correct is any more.  When pathologies are the norm it is hard to notice that a saddle design isn’t performing.
As for Giant Shet it would be impossible for me to tell you what you need to do without seeing the situation but it sounds like your getting a pretty good handle on it.  You may find Pauline’s post of interest.
David Genadek

Attachment: cyad.jpg (Downloaded 825 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Apr 7th, 2008 08:05 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pauline Moore wrote: David - That was a good reply to Pam's question and reminds me of the not infrequent occasions when clients tell me their mature horse has recently "grown a wither".  What has really happened, as you stated, is that the musculature of the topline has fixed itself into a permanent defensive contraction which locks the spine into an extended profile.  Superficially, this makes the withers look more prominent than when the topline is relaxed.  I think of this as a 'locked-down back' - these are the horses who cannot lift their backs in response to a stimulus on the midline in the girth area and are likely to react with laid-back ears, neither can they touch their nose to their front toes while standing square.  This muscular contraction can be released with an hour's deep massage and stretching but unless the primary cause is removed, the extended spine will return within minutes.

You are right that a saddle digging into the shoulders will produce this wither/spine shape, usually accompanied by sore spots at the points of contact just behind the scapula.  Another cause I've come across frequently has to do with feet - when the coffin bones of the hind feet are in a negative plane orientation, or even just too low for that particular horse without actually being negative.  This causes all the joints of the hind limb to be stressed and the horse protects his spine by locking it down into an extended outline.  An easy way to prove this is to make some temporary wedges out of any material  that's lying around (cardboard, newspaper, foam, whatever) and use duct tape to attach to the hind heels.   Five minutes of hand walking is enough for the horse to realize it's safe to release the topline muscles and the spine will return to a normal neutral position.  Next step, of course, is to permanently address the problem in the feet.

David, given this scenario my advice is generally that the horse should not be ridden until the feet have been fixed.   Mostly, this problem has been there for a long time and it is likely a saddle was fitted while the horse had that locked-down shape.  Will a saddle fitted to the ribcage allow for the wide range of back profiles going from an extended, lock-down shape to (hopefully) a raised, flexed spine?  Or should the rider understand that a new saddle will be necessary?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Best wishes - Pauline



Pauline!!!
     What a great reply!!!  Some things that are worth noting here: 
First the time frame that a release could be achieved.  Professionals know how to achieve straightness and maintain it.  I see horses brought in to Liz all the time that are really crooked with locked down spines and within a few weeks they have transformed into healthy looking horses.  Understanding this should be the goal of every rider.
The attitude, that you address the root cause and fix it before you move on.  Can you imagine a baseball coach trying to teach a kid with a broken arm to pitch?  If the feet or anything else is messed up it has to be fixed before training will be effective.  There are no exceptions to this.  What the owner wants does not change this reality.
In regard the saddle if it was fitted to a locked down back in all likely hood you will need to redone.  The number of rib cage shapes is limited the ways we can distort the shape is unlimited.  The reason people get so overwhelmed by saddle fit is because they are trying to fit messed up horses.  If the industry adapted the attitude that they would only fit healthy horses the problem would become manageable.
David Genadek

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 8th, 2008 06:33 am
 Quote  Reply 
David - Thanks very much for your reply, I kind of thought that's what you might say.  As you can imagine, I'm frequently not at all popular - first I tell someone their horse shouldn't  be ridden for a while, then I suggest they might need to change their farrier/learn to do it themselves, then I say they'll need a new saddle - and that's just for starters.  If they're still listening at that point then there's a reasonable chance they genuinely care about the horse.  If not, well ...we won't go there.  I expect you face the same dilemma, not easy is it?

Best wishes - Pauline

Last edited on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 06:51 am by Pauline Moore

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 8th, 2008 03:40 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi David,

Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I will study the add posted.  Thank you too to Pauline, really interesting posts, full of useful information.

Kind Regards

Sam

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 8th, 2008 08:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pauline Moore wrote: David - Thanks very much for your reply, I kind of thought that's what you might say.  As you can imagine, I'm frequently not at all popular - first I tell someone their horse shouldn't  be ridden for a while, then I suggest they might need to change their farrier/learn to do it themselves, then I say they'll need a new saddle - and that's just for starters.  If they're still listening at that point then there's a reasonable chance they genuinely care about the horse.  If not, well ...we won't go there.  I expect you face the same dilemma, not easy is it?

Best wishes - Pauline

Pauline,
     It is tough and sad. Tough because there are many people who are so self centered that they will never listen or care to listen and one can do nothing but sit back and watch them destroy one life after another.  All the reason in the world cannot penetrate their committed ignorance. They are in it for themselves and the horse is merely a means to their own end.  It is much like the pornography industry where people are pursuing their own fantasies and will exploit whoever they need to for their own gratification.  Sad because there are many wonderful people seeking to see and know their horse but the tough ones have built a wall between them and the truth.
   As a saddle maker I choose between these two worlds.  I build a product. From a business perspective my goal is to make money.  Therefore I can choose the market I target.  If I choose to market to the tough side my life is pretty easy all I have to do is work within the framework of the popular perception. It won’t matter if the product actually works only that I make the purchaser feel as though it is part of their fantasy. After all they don’t know enough to tell the difference.  If I choose to market to the Sad side, things become more complex.  These are people who do care and are willing to work to find the truth.  They ask a lot of questions and can see beyond their own needs. For them the product must actually work.  To sell to them I first have to spend a lot of time educating.  It is much harder to make money.
 It is the same in all areas of the horse industry.  A trainer must make the same choice but for a trainer to choose those that want to learn is almost the same as taking a vow of poverty.  Oh how mad those that are living in their horse fantasy get when faced with reality. Amazing how fast they will sign checks to those that will support their fantasy.  The really sad part is that the reality is far better than the fantasy but you have to have the courage to face yourself to get there.
Here is where I go in my mind when it really gets me http://aboutthehorse.com/prmn/index.htm  I have attached a click of one of those special moments when you realize you have to keep trying.  The clip is of a wild horse in the mountains. The mare brought the baby over to me. The sky shot is when I was being sniffed until my hat blew off.






David Genadek



Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 10th, 2008 06:08 am
 Quote  Reply 
Wonderful photos, David - thank you for sharing them, where is that?  Forget the elephant ride, those mountain horses would be the experience of a lifetime for me, and as for that foal ..... just exquisite.

I don't have photos or memories like that to draw on but for me the driving force is the look of innocence deep in every horse's eyes.  Easy to see on the face of a youngster like the foal in your clip, but nevertheless still there behind the mask of anxiety or dejection seen all too frequently.   No trouble at all to say 'No' to an owner but for the life of me I can't find a way to say 'No' to a horse that needs help.

Best wishes - Pauline

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 10th, 2008 08:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pauline Moore wrote: Wonderful photos, David - thank you for sharing them, where is that?  Forget the elephant ride, those mountain horses would be the experience of a lifetime for me, and as for that foal ..... just exquisite.

I don't have photos or memories like that to draw on but for me the driving force is the look of innocence deep in every horse's eyes.  Easy to see on the face of a youngster like the foal in your clip, but nevertheless still there behind the mask of anxiety or dejection seen all too frequently.   No trouble at all to say 'No' to an owner but for the life of me I can't find a way to say 'No' to a horse that needs help.

Best wishes - Pauline
    The shots were taken in the Pryor Mountains in between Montana and Wyoming.  I didn’t think anything would ever distract Liz from the horses but the elephants did.  Both were wonderful experiences though.  You are supposed to stay 50 feet from the mustangs. When the mare brought the foal over to me I almost left to keep my distance then I decided to just stay where I was sitting and accept the gift.  I knew I could not have a thought out of place. That foal could have gotten me good with a hoof.  Any miss thought or a change to a negative energy would have brought the mare down on me as well.  I don’t recommend any one try this but I’m glad I had the experience.
   We both had a sense of how poorly horses are treated in the human environment but neither of us was prepared for the extreme contrast that these wild horses living in this harsh environment presented us.  Their physical and mental health was wonderful to be around.  To see them living and practicing their purpose as it was meant to be affected both of us to a degree that it was hard to once again immerse ourselves in the world of man.
   Crookedness was not part of the paradigm on the mountain.  Unfortunately it is part of the paradigm when we force them to live in the world of man.  For me it made it clear that if you don’t understand straightness you have no business owning a horse.  I have posted a picture of two riders; one rider understands straightness one does not.  I would love to know what everyone sees because you need to know how to see this before you can understand saddle fit.

Attachment: straightness.jpg (Downloaded 602 times)

AdamTill
Member
 

Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 291
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 10th, 2008 10:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Horse and rider on the right are "straight on the turn" together, whereas the horse on the left is attempting to bend to the right while his rider maintains a bend that would appropriate for moving straight ahead.

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 06:55 am
 Quote  Reply 
I had the impression the rider on the left is beginning or is in the midst of a half pass rather than going into a turn. That left fore leg certainly looks like it is about to cross in front of the right fore

Last edited on Fri Apr 11th, 2008 07:01 am by Tasha

AdamTill
Member
 

Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 291
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 10:24 am
 Quote  Reply 
   Tasha wrote: I had the impression the rider on the left is beginning or is in the midst of a half pass rather than going into a turn. That left fore leg certainly looks like it is about to cross in front of the right fore

There's still a bend involved in that though...

Ben Tyndall
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 47
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 12:31 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Adam wrote: " There's still a bend involved in that though..."

So, this is a bad thing?

...Ben

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 02:42 pm
 Quote  Reply 
The rider on the left appears to be pulling too much on the inside rein.  I wish I could see where his other hand is though.  Still shots of a ride can be deceiving too -  I prefer to see movies of a ride to determine what is really going on.

 

AdamTill
Member
 

Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 291
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 03:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
 Ben Tyndall wrote: Adam wrote: " There's still a bend involved in that though..."

So, this is a bad thing?

...Ben

Not at all, I just meant that the rider didn't seem to be following the horse's bend as shown in the photo.

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 05:53 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pam wrote: The rider on the left appears to be pulling too much on the inside rein.  I wish I could see where his other hand is though.  Still shots of a ride can be deceiving too -  I prefer to see movies of a ride to determine what is really going on.

 

I don't know about the left hand pulling too much but like you I really would like to see what that right hand is doing too. I think having video with still shots would be even better, because the video would allow any still shots to be seen in context of the what the horse and rider are doing before and after.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 06:57 pm
 Quote  Reply 
This is from the woody article.
David Genadek

Attachment: woody_019.jpg (Downloaded 544 times)

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 07:55 pm
 Quote  Reply 
OK, I looked at the Woody article and noticed in the picture of Harry Whitney riding the TB, that they have two birdies and they are out in front of the line of travel.  Rider and horse's eyes are in alignment. 

If you look at the dressage rider and horse above, their birdies are not in the same line of travel in front of them. So, wouldn't that in essence make the horse crooked?

Last edited on Fri Apr 11th, 2008 07:56 pm by Pam

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 10:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Bill Dorrance talks about straightness as simply pointing yourself and the horse at some target and going straight toward it. If horse waivers even slightly, you redirect back minimally just then, and keep horse focusing out frontward to the target. I think it's as much about birdies as bodies (the high road). He says to try to keep the lightness with it too.

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2008 11:33 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David, the diagram in the woody article is a good one but I'm not convinced that the  dressage rider is a real life version of the disharmony part of the woody diagram, unless you're indicating that the horse is being dragged to its right while it is focused on going to the left.

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 08:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
Tasha - Try thinking of it a different way, i.e. which side of the horse is bearing most weight in each image? Are the riders being thrown to one side in either of the images?  If the left foreleg was removed would either horse fall over, if so, to the inside or outside?

Best wishes - Pauline

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 11:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
Pauline Moore wrote: Tasha - Try thinking of it a different way, i.e. which side of the horse is bearing most weight in each image? Are the riders being thrown to one side in either of the images?  If the left foreleg was removed would either horse fall over, if so, to the inside or outside?

Best wishes - Pauline

Pauline,
     You inspired me to get on all fours and give it a try with my own body. Man you go over quick when you rotate your head. In another life I coach gymnastics and there we preach nuetral head constantly it seems the same is true here.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 03:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Permission
Several of you have hit on a very important element of straightness which is permission.  You cannot help your horse to be straight unless they allow you to.  You have to get them to care what you think and grant you enough trust that they will give you control of their body.  Think about what a huge thing that really is.  This all begins far before a ride ever occurs.
Below is some footage of Liz approaching a mustang stallion. She has to ask permission for every step.  Yes you could chase the horse for days and annoy it until it can’t stand it anymore and submits or you can just ask permission.  Let me strongly emphasize this is not something everyone should go try with a wild horse.  However, everyone should learn to do this with their own horse.




David Genadek





miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 06:31 am
 Quote  Reply 
Would it be possible to have the birdie attentive and out front and still have crookedness?

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 10:00 am
 Quote  Reply 
My guess is yes, if pain/discomfort and poor balance are behind.  But I guess then the Birdie would not be in front.  Never mind...  Gotta get the CD... 

Hi everyone~ Just loving all the info and tutorials on this site.  Incredible stuff - tons to learn and experience. ~Mary Ann

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 11:07 am
 Quote  Reply 
miriam wrote: Would it be possible to have the birdie attentive and out front and still have crookedness?
Miriam,
    Yes if the body just won’t allow it. Recently I was over at the Mayo clinic and they have pianos in the lobby and people come and play.  There was woman in a wheel chair and another wheeling her around to the music wheel chair dancing with great delight.  Her birdie was soaring but her body was not.
    It might be helpful if you think of not just one birdie but a whole flock.  You want the horse’s whole flock flying with your flock. Look at the Photo of Liz riding above you will see their flocks are together but if you look at the left ear you will see the horse has left some of the flock directly on Liz.  It is a young horse and it has just had few rides but because she has gotten permission, the horse is letting her guide him and is using her for security. When the trust is great enough, the horses flock will fly back to the rider for redirection when bad things happen.  What normally happens is the flock disperses in a million directions and you have a wreck.
     Some may look at the footage of the mustang and think it is pretty boring.  If you look carefully though you will see it was a very intense interaction.  The mustang never even needed to lift its head.  Liz was happy for him to give her one of the flock and he was paying extreme attention to how she was handling that one birdie. Some of his flock was on the grass some were on the mares around and some were on the other stallion that was around and some of the flock always remains in the tree of life. Some of the flock was just sitting around checking out the surroundings ready to call the whole flock back into a directed action if needed.  Liz was watching them very carefully and when their feathers got ruffled you can see her get smaller and if that didn’t do it then she would back up.  Many domesticated horse don’t even know their birdies can fly in flock mustangs do know and they can focus the flock intensely where they want them to go.  They have so much purpose in their lives.  
This is one huge facet of the overall equation of saddle fitting as it directly relates to straightness. However, it is hard to tell people that you can’t help them with saddle fit because their horse’s consciousness is scattered and because of that the body is crooked.  Such a notion would seem insane to most of my peers in the industry.
Here is some footage where you can see Flocks of birdies coming together.  The footage is unedited so at times Liz was grabing me and pulling me out of the way. While there you could feel the birdies.  As Liz said Wow  Wow Wow! 



David Genadek

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 07:57 pm
 Quote  Reply 
What beautiful horses!!!

David, I understand scattered consciousness and crookedness, unfortunately.  When I ride my horse at my barn at night and nobody else is in the arena, my horse usually goes crooked!  When I ride on the weekends, during the day, with other people and horses around he is just fine, a different horse.  He is so worried about what's out there in the dark and just wants to get back to his stall and eat and watch over the other horses, so it is almost impossible to get him to want to pay attention to me at night.  I have noticed he watches over the other horses alot.  So, I think he thinks he has too many jobs to do at night when we ride and gets on overload.  That's just my observation anyway.


 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Apr 20th, 2008 03:20 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Straightness has a physical component and an emotional component.  These two components are woven together in such way that if you affect one you will affect the other.  It is also entirely possible for a horse to be both emotionally and physically straight but not care what the rider thinks. This is actually what you are seeing in the film with Liz and the Mustang stallion. The stallion is completely ok with himself and is physically straight.  He has no reason to give Liz the time of day; her task was to convince him that her thoughts could have a value to him.  This is always the first step of training.  Can you get them to hand over their flock of birdies to you? 
 Here is the thing that people seem to have trouble with; you have to do this every time you go to your horse.  You have to ride the horse you have on a given day.  Not the one that was there yesterday but the one that is right there right now.   In the wild they are always testing to see who has the most alert flock of birdies and who is best capable of assuring the safety of the herd.   This instinct does not go away in captivity. Although you do not want to be another horse because the horse will win it its world every time weather you know it or not.  What you do want is a horse /human relationship where the horse has learned that you are the most capable of assuring safety in the artificial world of man.
So what does this have to do with saddle fit?  The saddle cannot make the horse straight it can cause crookedness by causing pain.  Every time you do something to cause the horse pain you are proving to him that you are not capable of assuring safety in this captive world.  If you prove that he can’t trust you he will look elsewhere for his survival.  The saddle maker or saddle fitter’s job is to get the saddle to do nothing. The saddle should be acted upon but it should never act upon the horse in any way.
In this clip you will see horses testing each other.  Notice that it is never about power or control as we think of it. On the end of the clip you will see the mustang stallion begin to care about what Liz thinks.  Think about that here he is in the mountains with no reason at all to need to give her a second thought, but yet he did.  It wasn’t much at his point but the fact that he cracked open the door tells you that they will come more than half way if we can get our birdies in order and open our heart to them.  
David Genadek



David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat May 10th, 2008 08:49 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Ok everyone here is link http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=2913&hl=  to a thread on the leather site that I think is worth your reading so you can understand what your up against when you go to buy a saddle.
I would love to hear your perspective on this.
David Genadek

Barb Peck
Member
 

Joined: Sat Mar 22nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun May 11th, 2008 08:41 am
 Quote  Reply 
David:

       I think it would be interesting if you would send your tree (as requested) so these makers can physically look at your tree rather than just a picture.

      It's a reasonable request. So why don't you do that?

      It's also a reasonable request that you respectfully converse with other people who  do not share each and every one of your opinions instead of the disrespectful way you communicate with those who disagree with you. 

 When you are disrespectful- you turn people off.  No matter what you're saying- everyone except novices will cease to listen.

 

Barb

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun May 11th, 2008 11:13 am
 Quote  Reply 
Barb,
Firstly, any one with honorable intent would contact me privately and ask to purchase a tree.
Secondly, the broader perspective that is being offered here is that the horsemanship is what is really driving the saddle fit debate.  It would serve no purpose to hand a tree that is designed to place the rider forward to someone that believes you need to sit back on the horse to create lightness.  Conversely, nothing would be proven for them to hand me one of their trees as within my structure of beliefs their tree would not work because I would not place it where it was designed to be placed.  In short this is really not about trees it is about how people think horses actually function. 
   For the horse owner this means when they go to purchase a saddle they need to be clear on what their ideas of horsemanship are and then try to find a saddle maker that is of a similar mind.  This of course can all be done completely ignoring the bio-mechanical realities.
David Genadek

Ben Tyndall
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 47
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon May 12th, 2008 11:59 am
 Quote  Reply 
David,

Thanks for the link to the leatherwork site. The linked thread doesn't make much sense though unless you also read the prior thread, "Help for a novice horse owner". It also doesn't make much sense if you can't view the images posted, which requires "joining" the forum (which I did).  I thought the original discussion had a pretty good overview of what riders need to look for and think about when shopping for a saddle.
But then you came along and interjected your thoughts on the matter with respect to rider position (the A, B and C positions you have been discussing on this forum over the last couple of months). I thought the ensuing discussion was great, including the perspectives from various cowboys and other posters who I infer are also saddle makers. There seems to be some disagreements along the way, but I couldn't really follow what the points of contention were. Must have been too subtle for me!

....Ben [I need to go check if I can feel any collar bones inside my dog :)]

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed May 14th, 2008 11:09 am
 Quote  Reply 
David and Dr Deb,

How long and far CAN we ride bareback without worrying about problems? Should we go ahead until the horse says 'stop-this hurts', or should we avoid bb riding altogether?' 15 mn, 30 mn?  There is nothing quite so close as feeling the horse whilst bb.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed May 14th, 2008 05:39 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Miriam, this has been gone over many times before. What is the basic purpose of a saddle tree? Of all the highfalootin' ideas that may be out there, there is one basic purpose that a properly fitted saddle tree, and nothing less, can fulfill: and that is, to ensure that nothing presses on or bangs into the skin-covered dorsal processes of the vertebrae.

Bareback riding always contains the chance that one of the rider's seatbones will bang into a dorsal process. The longer the bareback ride and the more vigorous the pace, the greater the chance. The result of a "bang" is trauma to the bursae that overlie the dorsal processes -- between the bone and the overlying skin. When banged they swell, temporarily if you're lucky, permanently if you're not. Prolonged or repeated banging or pressure will initiate exostosis (bony proliferation).

This has all been known since ancient times. The first wooden saddle tree recovered from the archaeological record dates to ca. 500 BC. There were probably wooden saddle trees before this, and there were certainly stuffed-fabric trees (like those used today by the Argentinian gauchos) dating even farther back.

All ancient horse-nomad cultures also used (and continue to use) remudas. A remuda is a group of six or so horses owned by an individual within the tribe. They saddle up horse no. 1 at the beginning of a day's trek, ride him for no more than two hours, then switch to another horse. Another method, not as good but still very worth remembering, was used by American cowboys in the 19th and early 20th century, and by the U.S. Cavalry whenever practicable: stop every two hours, take the saddle off, hobble or picket the horse, and let it graze for a half-hour or so.

The bottom line lesson here is that even with the best-fitting saddle, you need to allow the horse's back to stretch, air off, and "breathe". This is generally taken care of by the fact that most riders don't ride longer than one or two hours on a daily basis anyway. But it is best not to forget WHY -- it isn't really the person's work schedule, but consideration for the horse, that should drive this habit.

As to "feel": Miriam, you continue to ask about the birdie and that's certainly OK, but that question along with this one makes me want to advise you to go read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" and/or "A New Earth". What I am saying, Miriam, is that you have an inner body.

Bill Dorrance, and after him, Ray Hunt, often say: "you need to feel of your horse -- feel for your horse -- and let him feel back to you." What could this possibly mean?

Here is what it means in Tolle's terms: You have an inner body. Your horse also has an inner body. Connecting these two bodies is what "feel" is. To do that, you must reach from your inner body, through your outer body, through your horse's outer body, so as to touch his inner body. And you must permit him to to the same. When you are able to do THIS, then the saddle totally disappears, and there is no difference at all in the degree of your being able to feel the horse whether you ride with a saddle or bareback. Hence, so long as your saddle fits, there is no need to ride bareback.

The "emotional" process that Dave G. has been speaking of in this thread is, simply, this. "Asking permission of the horse" comes automatically to anyone who can feel of the horse, and who permits the horse to feel back to them. "Feeling of" each other is the essence of communication. This can occur, as Liz approaching the mustang on the ground shows, not only from the saddle but from anywhere. And there are greater lights than this, Horatio: I have seen Ray Hunt do this to a herd of horses from more than a mile away.

Cheers, folks, this is a very good thread. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed May 14th, 2008 06:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb, The way you describe "feel" just reminds me of what good old-fashioned manners are.

Pam

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu May 15th, 2008 02:36 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Everyone,

This whole permission thing has been giving me so much to think about.  Just before David G posted his big bold PERMISSION post, I had been riding with Dr Deb in NZ and one of the many things she said to me was "Stop asking that ponies permission"! Huh?     Finally I am reaching some form of understanding.  For the inside of the person to talk to the inside of the horse, I have found the inside of me has to be chocka full of self worth and self belief.  Since I have approached my four legged teacher believing I have value, showing him all I would like him to do and how much fun we can have if we operate together, there is now a feel that comes from him and talks to me, he has stopped trying to run off on me and a lot of brace has gone.    So I spose it all comes down to balance, two beings having a discussion, both showing each other the benifits of each species interacting.  This whole thread is giving me tonnes of food for thought.  Can't see the videos but can imagine!  Thanks.

Regards Sam

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu May 15th, 2008 04:07 am
 Quote  Reply 
Aye, there's a difference, isn't there, between wimping and cringing and letting the horse make the functional decisions, and "asking permission" in the sense that Liz and David mean it.

In the first instance, the rider or handler is essentially saying to the horse, "you do all the work." When we go for a horseback ride, there are two kinds of "work": planning work, and physical work. We decide which of these jobs the person ought to do based on our rational ability to look at our God-given gifts and talents. As the person has built the environment and this environment is not in any sense natural to the horse; and as the person and society have compelled the horse to inhabit this environment; and as the person can read and speak to other humans who are the most dangerous things in that environment -- we look to the person to do the planning. On the other hand, as the horse can outrun us, is larger and far stronger, and is generally a durable sort of body, we look to the horse to do the physical work.

But when the person wimps, cringes, doesn't hang in there when there's a little shy or jiggle, and generally pussyfoots around the animal exuding guilt and uncertainty -- in other words when she is a lot more concerned with herself than she is with looking up, looking out, and getting on with the job -- then she is saying to the horse, "I am not willing or able to focus and plan, not really able to govern this ride, you, or myself." In such a case, the animal can't believe in or really trust the rider, and it is truly a miracle that he doesn't just buck the person off and leave; just as much as if she had subjected him to continual beatings.

This whole scenario is a world away from the kind of "asking permission" that Dave is talking about. In this case, we have a confident and experienced horsewoman who knows ahead of time exactly what the whole outcome is destined to be. As you heard me say in the clinic -- this is a joke, but I mean it too -- ultimately we always have control; I don't know any barn, anywhere, we couldn't get a gun and just kill the horse if the situation got bad enough. Any horse in a pen or enclosure of any size, no matter how large, is already caught and permanently caught. All that therefore remains is how we are to introduce ourselves to the horse so as to minimize the fear that he is usually going to have at first.

You saw Eyjolfur Isolfsson doing masterful work in the roundpen with the Icelandic horse on the tape I showed the class: he comes toward the animal soft and steady, he comes in on the "slice" three-quarters from the front toward the shoulder rather than broadside, and when he reaches out to touch the animal -- it is almost more than the animal's curiosity will bear -- he is careful not to tip the animal's feelings over from curiosity to fear. As soon as his touch is accepted, Eyjolfur withdraws, and then, miracle of miracles -- the horse can't stand for him to leave, and so he hooks on and follows! And so the right kind of relationship begins.

Sam, to handle horses of course you need to be chuck full of good feelings toward yourself. Anyone needs this at any time. Jesus said, "love thy neighbor as thyself." Don't forget the "thyself" part, m'dear -- it comes first, and without that part being there, you have nothing to love thy neighbor with. -- Dr. Deb

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon May 19th, 2008 06:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Ben Tyndall wrote: David,

Thanks for the link to the leatherwork site. The linked thread doesn't make much sense though unless you also read the prior thread, "Help for a novice horse owner". It also doesn't make much sense if you can't view the images posted, which requires "joining" the forum (which I did).  I thought the original discussion had a pretty good overview of what riders need to look for and think about when shopping for a saddle.
But then you came along and interjected your thoughts on the matter with respect to rider position (the A, B and C positions you have been discussing on this forum over the last couple of months). I thought the ensuing discussion was great, including the perspectives from various cowboys and other posters who I infer are also saddle makers. There seems to be some disagreements along the way, but I couldn't really follow what the points of contention were. Must have been too subtle for me!

....Ben [I need to go check if I can feel any collar bones inside my dog :)]
 Ben,

   You can boil the points of contention down to where to sit and how to sit and both of these are directly connected to how the rider thinks the horses’ body works.  From my perspective I see the other tree and saddle makers working off a model of collection where the body functions like a simple lever where you engage the hind quarter and the front end lifts up.  In this model it makes sense that you would want to place the saddle further back so there is less weight on the front end.  In this model the legs will create the movement.
     In the model I am working off of the spine is not a simple lever  but a complex mechanism governed by the ring of muscles In this model the legs are governed by undulations of the back. You control the range of undulation through combinations of engaging the hind quarter and lifting the base of the neck.  This model takes into account structural influences on the spine.  Since there are more things stabilizing the spine toward the front I have taken the position that as a group we should be trying to move the rider further forward.  Apparently this notion challenges the current paradigm that the saddle makers are working off of.
David Genadek

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon May 19th, 2008 07:28 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam,
     The thing you have to ask is; what are you trying to get permission to do?  Let me tell you a human story that might make what I am saying clearer.  A couple years ago Liz asked me if I wanted to go riding in the Bear Tooth Mountains with a couple of friends. I spend my life in a saddle shop not on the back of horse so I’m a novice rider and now I was asked if I would like to go in to a remote wilderness with three skilled horse trainers.  One of which had been a Game Warden.   So we get on plane and fly out to our friends and we load eight horses up and head into the mountains.  They were kind enough to give me a trained horse the other seven were green.  So I find myself in an environment that I don’t really know a whole lot about. I also had to be honest with myself and admit that I didn’t have the level of horsemanship skills I really needed for this trek.  I did know that the other three did, so I gave them permission to make me do whatever I needed to do in order to stay alive.  They said jump, I jumped and asked my questions later. 
    Before we went I asked our friend about Grizzly bears.  I said if you find yourself in the presence of a Grizzly you play dead right?  He says “No I want you to wiggle long enough from me to get away.”  I almost with drew permission right then.   That aside they never let me down on the trip if I didn’t know what to do they made me do what I needed to and they could because I granted them the permission to do so.   Now, If they would have rode me into a grizzly bear I would taken away the permission real fast and tried to survive on my own. I was counting on them to make me do what was needed. If they would have stopped and asked for permission every time I needed help or support by the time the interaction was over my horse and I would have been at the bottom of a gorge.
David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon May 19th, 2008 08:49 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Perhaps thoughtful saddlemakers have a model (mental or otherwise) of the working of the spine.  I suspect, howerver, that almost everything about good many saddles has to do with fashion -- selling a "look" to the market.

Joe

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue May 20th, 2008 01:59 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you David, for your thoughtful and helpful post, can see why you just about withdrew the Permission re the grizzly bear fodder!!!  I think I am finally starting to understand.....if my horses are going to live in this world it is my job to keep them out of trouble and to do this I have to show them I am a reliable, centred, dependable guide, and if I say to them 'do this' with a clear intention they had better do it or there could be a wreck.  At the same time I don't want to 'train' the horse out of them coz if there is a time when my judgement is flawed, the horse must feel like he can get himself out of trouble.  Is that making sense?  I will go and have a re read of your tale. 

Ta Muchly Sam

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue May 20th, 2008 11:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
Sam, your horse will always and under all circumstances have the wherewithal to save his sorry hide in your absence. The question is: when are you going to be willing to be present? Only then can you govern your horse.

David's story about giving the other people permission to guide him is right on. Note that he had his doubts at several points. Horses are more OK about giving people permission than any human probably ever is. However, even they need you to show that you are reliable and consistent, and that your intention is to lead with a sure hand. This is what requires your presence.

Being present on horseback requires work. It requires that the person be alert to their own mind and thoughts, i.e. when are you beginning to drift or thinking about what you did at work that day, etc. You are not allowed to just 'go for a ride', at anytime, whether you're in the mountains like David or not. That's because, to govern your horse, you need to see the world through his eyes -- so that you don't ride him right up into trouble. Riding the horse right up into trouble is one good way for you lose the horse's trust and respect. The other major way is for you to wimp, simper, cut out, be indecisive, not be focused, or not enjoy the speed and motion that the horse sends up when he moves.

So, Sam, I'd appreciate it very much if you would quit making excuses, and get on with the job. As I said to you in the clinic, your pony would be suitable for use in a handicapped riding program -- every time your heart goes up into your throat, he just stops. That's fine, but you also need to get over why it is your heart goes up into your throat so often. When you do, you'll find that the pony is also capable of being governed and willing to be governed, instead of having to govern you. You want your riding to stop being such a total role reversal, because that's so very hard on the animal. You say you love your pony; so start showing it. -- Dr. Deb

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue May 20th, 2008 02:40 pm
 Quote  Reply 
DrDeb wrote: ...enjoy the speed and motion that the horse sends up when he moves.  ...

I would think that right there would put birdie in the right place and keep fearful heart out of your throat. 

~Mary Ann

LindaInTexas
Member


Joined: Tue Oct 16th, 2007
Location: Waxahachie, Texas USA
Posts: 32
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon May 26th, 2008 02:10 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam, to handle horses of course you need to be chuck full of good feelings toward yourself. Anyone needs this at any time. Jesus said, "love thy neighbor as thyself." Don't forget the "thyself" part, m'dear -- it comes first, and without that part being there, you have nothing to love thy neighbor with. -- Dr. Deb

............


Struck me ...just wanted to comment on how important this has been in my relationship with the horses of my life.  I'm so much better for them when I'm ok with me.  They sense it in a way that is almost spiritual. 

I remember a comment by an amazing trainer who said he had not connected with a horse in a really deep way since his wife had died.  What I saw in him was awesome, but he knew there was something amiss.  We have to get over our own personal demons, griefs, fears...whatever, if we want to be useful to our horses, I think.

 

kindredspirit
Member


Joined: Sun Apr 1st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 127
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue May 27th, 2008 06:47 am
 Quote  Reply 
LindaInTexas wrote: ............


Struck me ...just wanted to comment on how important this has been in my relationship with the horses of my life.  I'm so much better for them when I'm ok with me.  They sense it in a way that is almost spiritual. 

I remember a comment by an amazing trainer who said he had not connected with a horse in a really deep way since his wife had died.  What I saw in him was awesome, but he knew there was something amiss.  We have to get over our own personal demons, griefs, fears...whatever, if we want to be useful to our horses, I think.
Yes, I know this amazing trainer and know his story too.  He also mentioned the same year his wife died he connected to two horses in such a way the horses called for him when he left them.  It was more than he could bear at the time.   So I can only imagine what he would offer the horse if he did have that wall erected.  Your comment about being ok in yourself and the spiritual aspect is so true!  BE HERE NOW.  This is what the horse demands of me.  But I should demand no less of myself either.  In working to deepen my relationship with my horses I realize how much the changes must come from within.  My horses wait patiently for me to realize this.  An incredible journey it truly is!  

 

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu May 29th, 2008 05:40 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Back to position;
Intellectually I know that there is closeness with or without the saddle. Here's a situation that is very marvelous for me; I tie the mecate around my waist, ride the bike to the horse, drop the bike, put the rope on him, get him ok, find a rock to get on and go awhile. And we don't go so far but we will go 'around the block'. And the 35lb saddle and blanket are a long ways away. I believe there is nothing else like bb, nothing to compare to the sensation, and I just feel closer to God. My horse doesn’t bend as easily with the saddle on so that’s a topic I’ll have to take up with you Dave. When in the saddle, I’d like to be sitting in the bb position. Can you come to Harry’s clinic in Eagle Lake this summer for a saddle fitting, and to design a proper one for my pony?? If not, then I’ll have to follow your measurement guide on the ATH website.

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu May 29th, 2008 09:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Miriam:

Setting aside the all-important question of saddle fit to the horse, one thing I genuinely dislike about stock saddles is the amount of leather and the weight.  I have ridden many miles in them and certainly would always use them first for farm and ranch work -- and have many times.  However, the lightness and degree of contact with a McClellan or a good dressage or forweard seat saddle is much better.  Furthermore, you not only get the decrease in weight and improvement in contact, but you also still distribute your own weight better for the benefit of the horse.

I got to where, barring work that required roping or dragging or hauling stuff, I was just unwilling to haul all the weight out and hoist it on a horse.

Cheers!

Joe

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu May 29th, 2008 11:48 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Reading Miriam's and Joe's posts, I am moved to ask how y'all actually manage to drive a car.

When you get in the cab of the car, do you just "get in", put the key in, turn it, back out of the driveway, and go? Or before turning the key, do you habitually pause a few moments to feel of your car's wheels?

I always do this -- feel of my car's wheels. And I not only do it when I first get in, I do it all the time while I'm driving too. I can't imagine driving a car without sending my feel out throughout all parts of the car -- sending it out like a fine network of roots that penetrate every part of the car.

I'll give you an example of another kind of driving. My handyman Tommy, who does general construction around my place, is also an expert mechanic. One of our neighbors, a guy whom we like very much, is just the opposite -- totally not mechanical, not into tools or cars. This guy's son has just gotten his license. Recently he was driving the family van on the freeway and had to pull over because there was smoke coming out from under the hood. Turns out the kid cooked the head gasket. I said, "well, the kid doesn't have much experience, and his dad probably didn't show him anything." And Tommy grinned and said, "yeah, and he cooked the engine because he thinks those blinking red lights on the dashboard are for Christmas."

I cannot tell you how many crashes I have driven out of. Stuff you would not believe, where it was right on top of me or cars were spinning out on both sides of me and I drove out of it. One time I went through an intersection and a guy didn't stop and would have T-boned me, and I drove right around the front of him on two wheels, and still didn't hit the parked cars or either the telephone poles. One time I saved a man's life by intentionally sideswiping a van, in the process signalling the driver of the bus behind me to do the same -- i.e., decamp with promptitude to the lane to the left, so we did not rear-end the bozo who had pulled out in front of me.

I can also out-accellerate almost any teenaged boy (or grown man) -- you know what I mean, when you're all pulled up at the light there downtown and it's going to go green. I notice they are always three beats late. And then they are burning clutch to try to keep up, and I've just pulled away smoothly because I can feel the clutch plates. This last week we've been pouring concrete for some gate footings at my place, so the wheels on the underside of these heavy wooden gates will have something smooth to roll on and that will support the weight so the hinges don't sag. So I had to go rent the two-ton trailer that you get from the ready-mix place that has a yard and a half of concrete mix in it, hook that onto the back of the truck. Unfortunately all our soil is soft sand. So I had to pull it in and then back it up to where you could dump the slurry out where it was supposed to go. Gonna dig some holes there if you're not careful -- but if you can feel the clutch plates, then you can always rock your way out and you don't burn the clutch up, either. My car is an '89 Honda Civic on its second engine, and my truck is a 1979 Chevy three-quarter ton, also on its second engine. My Honda never gets less than 32 mpg, often over 40 -- you can't do that unless you can feel your car.

So do you understand what I'm telling you here? It's the same when you ride a horse. There is no saddle there, no more than there is a seat there in my car. The important part of myself is the part that penetrates the seat and reaches out to the engine, the clutch plates, and the tires, so that I can feel what's going on with the car and so I can feel how the rubber is meeting the road. I said this before, essentially, in another post but maybe if I put it in terms of automobiles that everybody drives, you'll understand it better.

This is absolutely not to deny that saddle fit is crucial. If the saddle is gouging the horse, the horse will shrink away from it and that will cause him to disallow your feeling of him.

And "fit" goes both down toward the horse AND up toward the rider. I need to not be fighting my saddle, just as I would adjust the seat in my car. But the seat adjustment is not for my comfort; it is rather to get that position which best enables me to feel through my keester to the wheels.

I agree too, Joe, that the typical Stock saddle is heavy. It is, after all, a design essentially unchanged since the Renaissance, as far as materials and construction. It does take quite a heave for anyone to push it up over the horse's back -- though the swinging technique taught by Buck Brannaman and Ray Hunt helps considerably. But we also remember old Bill Dorrance with his pulley system, because there comes a time even for a real cowboy when the saddle could get too heavy.

But the heaviness of the traditional Stock saddle is not a reason why it would prevent us from feeling through it. The seat in your car I am sure weighs more than 35 lbs. So what I am encouraging you guys to investigate is what in the world I could be talking about when I speak of "feeling through the car to the engine and wheels." Because if you just DISMISS this, you are missing the whole heart of riding, the very most essential thing that makes it all work. Instead of pleading for bareback, or griping about saddles, what I want you to be doing is asking: HOW CAN I GET TO WHERE I CAN DO THAT 'FEEL' THING ALL THE TIME MYSELF.

Food for thought, I hope. -- Dr. Deb

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri May 30th, 2008 12:32 am
 Quote  Reply 
No argument here.  I can certainly feel a horse through a stock saddle.  It is different, but still perfectly adequate.  I just prefer lighter, less bulky saddles.  To use your simile, it is like prefering a light sedan to a crewcab dually for daily use, while admitting that the truck is a fine vehicle and indttspensible for some jobs.

Gotta tell ya, I have no trouble lifting a saddle to any height, including over my head.  I can after all throw a 60lb bale of hay well over my head. The saddle thing is just a preference I developed after hundreds of miles in several varieties.

Cheers!

Joe 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jun 1st, 2008 10:34 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe wrote: Dave:

Perhaps thoughtful saddlemakers have a model (mental or otherwise) of the working of the spine.  I suspect, howerver, that almost everything about good many saddles has to do with fashion -- selling a "look" to the market.

Joe
Joe,
   That is truly the reality but I would add it is fashion dictated by the fantasy of the horse owner.  Many trainers play into the fantasy in order to empty wallets.  Fundamental design elements are changed based on market whims or just plain ignorance of how the horse actually works, I have been guilty of this myself.  Add human fear on top of those elements and you have the formula of confusions that shape the saddle industry.
 In most cases the people are well meaning they just have never found the broader perspective that includes the horse.  Once you have been in the industry a few decades it becomes clear that if you can allow horse’s to be what they are, they can easily accommodate any reality the human may be pursuing without a war of any kind.  Without that allowing the whole horsemanship experience becomes layers of conflicting confusions that result in a never ending stream of products that are produced to solve problems that have no need to be.
Like you, I also view the “English” saddle as a sports car and the “western” saddle as a truck. Both have their place but I will say that from my perspective the real differences in all saddles aside from construction are how the maker answered these two questions: Where do you want to sit?  And how do you want to sit?
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jun 1st, 2008 10:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
miriam wrote: Back to position;
Intellectually I know that there is closeness with or without the saddle. Here's a situation that is very marvelous for me; I tie the mecate around my waist, ride the bike to the horse, drop the bike, put the rope on him, get him ok, find a rock to get on and go awhile. And we don't go so far but we will go 'around the block'. And the 35lb saddle and blanket are a long ways away. I believe there is nothing else like bb, nothing to compare to the sensation, and I just feel closer to God. My horse doesn’t bend as easily with the saddle on so that’s a topic I’ll have to take up with you Dave. When in the saddle, I’d like to be sitting in the bb position. Can you come to Harry’s clinic in Eagle Lake this summer for a saddle fitting, and to design a proper one for my pony?? If not, then I’ll have to follow your measurement guide on the ATH website.
Miriam,
   I doubt I will be able to make it up to Harry’s clinic, Liz will be in Canada so I will be on animal duty.   I could try but I couldn’t promise.
 It is pretty hard to get someone in the Bareback position you can get close but the thicknesses of the saddle will put you a bit further back .
    Now let me share a recent observation since you mentioned a bike and Deb mentioned a car. One of the things that seems to confuse people about straightness is the word ride. We ride a bike and when we do we lean it to make it go in a direction .  We drive a car and to get it to go in a direction we steer it. A horse is more like a car but people like to ride them like a bicycle which makes them go crooked.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jun 1st, 2008 11:08 am
 Quote  Reply 
In our barn their hangs a quote from Liz it says: "True horsemanship is a place of being before a means of doing."
  Some might question what this has to do with where to sit or how a saddle fits.    What I have come to know is that it has everything to do with it. If you put the means of doing before the place of being the horse will often be crooked then you will look for a means of doing to correct the problem, like shimming uneven or getting a bigger bit. That misses the fundamental issue. In the end the first step to training any horse is to find that place of being. No trainer can do that for you. 
David Genadek

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jun 1st, 2008 09:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David-Can I steal your last post as a quote? I like it.

Last edited on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 09:22 pm by Leah

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jun 2nd, 2008 08:50 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Leah,
    You would be welcome to use it as a quote but you need to attribute it to Elizabeth Graves and not myself. However, I can attest to the power of the concept.
David Genadek

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jun 13th, 2008 05:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
About biking vs horseback riding; yah there are big differences, and some likenesses too. Both are about the rider's ability, require the rider to be balanced, and alert. My situation is that the saddle is kept back at the house (half mile away) so must be driven to the horse. The bike deal works nice for little jaunts here and there.

Saddles will always at the least, raise us up higher than sitting bb. And I will take the food for thought and chew on it, and won't plead or gripe - just gnaw away! I really do like the idea that the relationship with the horse is primary - and with that in a good place, that all else will fall into place. This makes things quite a bit easier really, a 'can do' without any fancy stuff.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 14th, 2008 02:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, Miriam. And continue to bear in mind that unless you use a saddle, you will never learn to use a saddle. Unless you use stirrups, you will never learn to use stirrups.

"Feel", as I have been indicating to you in the other thread, is not to be taken literally. When we speak of "feeling" the horse's back, we do not mean that you should be having skin-sensations in your butt.

"Feel" is the flow of the life in the body. I have said again and again in this Forum: you need to feel of your horse, feel to your horse, and let the horse feel back to you. Your feel is your Inner Body. Your horse's feel is his Inner Body. It is up to you to figure out how to open yourself so that your horse's Inner Body can touch your Inner Body, and how you can gain the skill and self-awareness so that your Inner Body can reach through both your skins to make contact with the horse's Inner Body.

If you have not done so, then besides Joseph Campbell then you need to read Eckhart Tolle, preferably starting with "The Power of Now." That will then be the end of this kind of question. -- Dr. Deb

jlreyes
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 30th, 2007
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 22
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jun 26th, 2008 01:27 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'm still obsessing about where I sit versus where the saddle should sit: With new awareness from this discussion,  I realize I tend to be a B person (bareback and in an AP English saddle) and I'm not sure I understand what the A people are really seeing/feeling when they are in motion.

Furthermore, there are similarities between riding a bicycle and riding a horse. When I'm riding my road bike: (1) Being passed by my friends makes me kind of grumpy; (2) When my friends are too far away I want to rush and catch up to them; (3) When my friends are too close to me I want them out of my space; (4) I rush when we turn towards home; (5) Puddles are scary - wet tires are slick tires; (6) I'm not too thrilled about bridges; (7) When someone is in front of me, I want to catch him/her; (8) I LOVE running down hills; (9) I try to rush up hills to get them over with; (10) I'm not thrilled about dogs; and (11) Cans/garbage in the road might kill me.

Ask my how much more empathy I have for my darling boy when we're trail riding now - All of the problems I thought were his are REALLY MINE!!!

Humbly, Jennifer

Last edited on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 06:11 pm by jlreyes

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jun 26th, 2008 05:37 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Aren't I too far back in this position? And, as David has noted, isn't he putting his wt forward b/c of it?

PS: How can I post an avatar?

Attachment: buckskin.jpg (Downloaded 540 times)

Last edited on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 05:53 pm by miriam

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jun 26th, 2008 09:17 pm
 Quote  Reply 
   The purpose of this was to let give everyone an idea that what the saddle industry is shooting for is to center the saddle on T14 when you combine that with how they tell you to place the saddle  it will have you weighting the lumbar span on many horses but not all (look back at the measurements I posted earlier in the thread).  I’m saying the industry should use T14 as the backward limit of the seat which means the saddles have to be shaped very different than what they are. The fronts have to be opened up like a big funnel and the riggings have to be designed to pull the center of the saddle down.  My rational for this can be found in the back issue of Inner Horseman Year 2002: Theme -- "Saddle fit, design, and function."  Really most of  this is just intellectual masturbation for saddle makers and equipment designers and although it should be of interest to the rider so they can understand what they are being sold in the end it boils down to you feeling your horse.   Nothing can answer your question about where to sit better than sitting on the horse bareback in various positions.  Where you have the best feel is where you want to sit.  I have found people doing this can prove the anatomical realities that Deb outlines in the Inner horseman very quickly.
Miriam, I would place the saddle a bit further forward but more importantly I would work on getting your pelvis level as that will change your position a lot.  Here is a link http://elizabethgraves.blogspot.com/2008/06/refining-those-skills-challenging-our.html      to Liz’s blog on a section that has some great shots of saddle position. You will see a Haflinger with a dressage saddle on it. We ordered the saddle the way we wanted it and it fits great but The manufacturers rep thought we were crazy.  You can also go look at Harry’s site and watch what he does at the clinic. But most importantly learn to feel it.
Jennifer,The bike anology is just about steering the horse and just away to think about it. I do think your observations on the emotional side of things is of really great value!
   For those of you who have been participating in the threads about using running martingales side reins ect.  Go to the above link and look at the photo where Liz has the horse doing a shoulder in with no reins just her leg and a touch of her finger on the neck.  I see a lot of horses  with saddle fit trouble because the trainer thinks they need these devices.  Side reins ok if used right but from what I have seen not needed if one knows what they are doing.  Running Martingales –why? Unless you want to keep equine chiropractors busy. You can see all the effects in the back, these miss used training techniques  create  a large percentage of the saddle fitting problems.
David Genadek

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2008 02:46 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dave,

I can't look at your link from my work computer but will check it out later.

About the saddle, due to the horse's shape, it just always slips back to where it is in the pic. Should I use the breast collar to keep it more forward? I'm quite a bit more forward at BB. I had Harry check it for fit and he thought it seemed to be close enough - could be better due to pony's specific shape, but the boy didn't seem to be sore from it after a rather long arena workout.

When you mention leveling the pelvis, are you referring to R to L or front to back? What are you seeing in the pic? I was told that I collapse to the left and go fetal (news to me!). With this in mind I've worked on postural changes. What else can you suggest?

I know I need him fitted for a new saddle but thought I'd wait until he was a bit older (which is likely now as he'll be six later this yr). But his general body shape will always be such as it is - even with better riding - but I can help (so sayeth HW).

Thanks, Miriam

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 02:07 am
 Quote  Reply 
Miriam -- Good, I am glad to see you're practicing in a saddle. This is the only way to learn how to ride in a saddle.

Anyone who has spent a lot of time riding bareback will find a difficulty in using the stirrups when they return to using a saddle. This is another main reason why riding bareback should be discouraged. You need your stirrups as you develop your seat, for a very important reason: stirrups act like "training wheels". They allow you to lose your balance more or less without severe penalty (such as falling off).

Yes: I know: we hear all the time, especially from the U.K., the story that goes "my father wouldn't permit me to use a saddle until I could jump well and ride under all other circumstances without one." However, I need you to THINK what this really means. First, WHEN was this the way? In the Edwardian and Victorian eras. WHAT was considered to be the ideal riding style in that century? It was "grip with your knees". Jumping was not understood; Caprilli hadn't come along yet; military officers and cross-country riders on foxhunts, as well as steeplechase jockeys, sat in the "back seat". Riding in collection was not practiced by the majority of military officers; the old 17th and 18th-century High School practiced by Reis d'Eisenberg, Gueriniere, and others was considered arcane and antique, totally out of fashion.

"Grip with your knees" is exactly what you will develop in yourself if you ride bareback BEFORE you have learned how to function correctly in a saddle, using the stirrups. For a review of all the physiological evils of gripping with the knees (which means using the major adductor muscles of the legs), go to Knowledge Base in this website and click on "Who's Built Best to Ride". When David mentions "you need to get your pelvis level," this is one of the evils: gripping with the knees freezes the pelvis to the thigh, so that the pelvis cannot adjust or "settle" to where it should be. Only when the major adductors are not engaged can the pelvis freely rotate on the heads of the femurs.

So, Miriam, what we do with stirrups is we use 'em. This is not to say we stomp down in them. There should be no particular weight in your heels, no particular effort to either push the heels down or raise the toes. BUT the leg has a weight, quite a bit of weight, just on its own, and this weight (without adding anything to it) must be ALLOWED to FALL down into the stirrup. Remember the axiom: your legs should hang over the saddle like an old pair of chaps hanging over a nail.

The more you GRIP with the leg, the more trouble you'll have "holding" your stirrups, because GRIP makes your leg creep upward. So of course, if you've been doing a lot of bareback riding, you'll think you have to PUSH DOWN to make your feet stick in the stirrups. Don't push down.

Instead, begin by taking an internal survey of what your legs are doing. You need to be aware of what the muscle-groups in your legs are doing. Specifically:

1. Your buttocks should not be pinching. There should be absolutely NO effort in the buttocks. Your buttocks should be so loose that they feel like big flaps -- one flap on one side of the saddle, the other flap on the other side.

2. Your knee-bones should not "particularly" be in contact with the saddle. Depending on the person's individual shape, the shape of the horse, and the type of saddle, your knee bones may "happen" to be in contact with the fenders or saddle panels -- or not. You are to make NO effort to bring them into contact while riding on the flat (jumping downhill is another matter, but it is not the situation we're working with here). Making no "particular" effort to bring the knee-bones into contact will translate to UTTER RELAXATION of the major adductor muscles, which are the bands or masses of muscle on the inner aspect of the thighs. These are the muscles most prone to be sore after riding. They should never be sore -- it is undue effort -- GRIPPING -- that makes them sore.

3. You should be making no effort to stomp down in the stirrups. If you are, you will find that the quadriceps muscle mass, which lies along the top of your thigh, will be engaged. If you focus on your knee joint, you will find that it feels stiff. Your knee joint should feel totally at rest or at ease, and the quadriceps muscle should be so relaxed at all times that you can take a grip of it between thumb and forefinger and shake it like jelly. UTTER RELAXATION OF THE QUADRICEPS.

4. When you need to touch, bump, or kick your horse, you do that with the motion you would use to kick a soccer-ball, i.e. the same motion you would use to kick a ball off of the INSTEP of your foot, rather than the toe. This is an oblique forward-and-inward motion. A great old instructor once said to me, "you're trying to make the horse's hair stand up" -- excellent graphic way of putting it. When you make this motion, you are not gripping with the major adductors, but instead engaging the sartorius muscle, which is a minor adductor and the only adductor that, when engaged, does not freeze the pelvis down onto the top of the thighbones.

5. Once you've surveyed your legs, you should also survey your lower back. It goes without saying that there will be some tension there -- that's the case for every human being over the age of 10. BUT you can, by an act of will, turn some of that tension off. You can only do this if you first turn your butt muscles totally off. There is an upper band of butt muscles that goes horizontally at the level between the rounded part of your buttocks and your lower back -- be sure you talk to that band. Then breathe in, "aiming" your breath so that it feels like it's trying to come out your lower back. This will materially help you to relax the lower back muscles. As your lower back relaxes, it will flatten -- lose some of the lumbar curve.

6. As this happens, the crotch area of the pelvis will rise. The pelvis is a solid bone with no joints within it; therefore, if the lower back relaxes, and the lumbar curve flattens, this pushes the tailbone and the rear aspect of the pelvis down. When the rear aspect of the pelvis goes down, the front aspect of it must rise. You can aid this to some extent WHEN OFF THE HORSE ONLY by doing sit-ups, Pilates, etc. that work the abs, but you are to make NO SPECIAL EFFORT to raise the crotch when actually on the horse. When you are on the horse, it is important rather to have everything "fall" into place -- you develop your improved posture off the horse, then you bring that to him when you mount, and it WILL fall into place.

7. Spread your legs. I am telling you this particularly, Miriam, based on the photo you supply above, but it's also a very common bit of advice I give to clinic participants worldwide. You are to figure out how to sit LESS on your thighs, especially on the backs of your thighs, and MORE directly down on the part of your body that is between your legs. To be explicit, I mean where the Kotex goes. This is an area that is, in total, about 2 to 3 inches wide and up to around 10 inches long. First, you have to permit the saddle to go all the way up into this space, so that there isn't a millimeter of space between the saddle and you. To permit this, you must spread your legs -- the TOP of your legs -- wide enough apart from side to side. This, more than anything else, is what puts one of your legs on one side of the saddle, the other leg on the other side of the saddle, ditto your buttocks -- like that old pair of chaps.

8. As to the 10" of length from the crotch to the anus, within that length you need to find where you sit to be best balanced and, more importantly, most able to maintain maximum relaxation of your back when the horse is moving at a trot or canter. This is another aspect of "levelling your pelvis". If you sit too far to the front, your legs will be too straight, like a clothespin, and your back will hollow -- the result of the pelvis being tilted down in front. If you sit too far back -- and let me add that it is a VERY rare woman who does this, because our anatomy generally does not permit it -- but if you could sit too far back, your back would become too rounded -- the result of the pelvis being too much tilted down in the rear (this IS possible for most men, who need the opposite advice of most women. Women generally need to RAISE the crotch, men generally need to be told to LOWER it).

Somewhere between too far to the front and too far to the back lies the ideal spot for you, Miriam. But remember -- before you go looking for the front-back position, FIRST you have to open the tops of your legs. I speak of the space between the tops of the legs as the "cathedral ceiling" -- you want the saddle to completely fill this space, so that you feel pressure on the lips of your vulva (not to mention on your seatbones, the most prominent parts of which flank the vulva).

The more you can UTTERLY RELAX all the major muscles of your legs, the easier it will be for you to open the cathedral ceiling.

Once you get the hang of this, then you will begin to feel your stirrups properly. The stirrups teach you balance and confidence WITHOUT gripping. Once a student can ride on the flat in a saddle, using stirrups, without gripping at all, then I will consider taking away one stirrup at a time, and then finally both stirrups, while I longe the student. The objective of this course of education is to produce a rider who can ride bareback, or over a jump, or sit to the trot, with beautiful leg position, a perfect seat, and no gripping at all. Only when there is no gripping can there be refinement of the leg aids -- only when the horse stops having to "ignore" the excessively muscular use of the legs will he then tune in to subtle signals coming from the legs.

Only when the student has developed perfect balance from learning to ride without gripping, can she begin offering subtle signals of any kind.

This is what Harry is telling you, Miriam -- yes, you, and yes, anybody who is willing to work on it in the right way can achieve the kind of seat that makes life a joy for the horse.

And, one last note: when you learn to open up the tops of your legs more and let the horse in there, you will find that you suddenly, and almost automatically, are able to sit "off the cantle", over the proper vertebrae, in your saddle. David is dead right about what's needed as to tree re-design: the front end does need to be opened and made more funnel-shaped, so that the whole saddle -- and with it the seat -- can come forward a vertebra or two. Nevertheless, I am telling you that you will be able to help your horse a good deal even before David's ideals are fulfilled, by simply learning not to sit on the backs of your thighs. -- Dr. Deb

kindredspirit
Member


Joined: Sun Apr 1st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 127
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 09:03 am
 Quote  Reply 
Awesome Dr. Deb!

I find this post to Miriam very helpful and timely for me.  I have had good instruction on the proper seat (ie relaxed) and it has helped me and my horse enormously.  Having you point out the specific muscles groups is a great visual for me.  I looked via GOOGLE each muscle that you mentioned.

I am headed out to ride and see what my body reveals to me!

Thanks again for all the details!


Kathy Baker

"If the rider is not in harmony with the nature of the animal, then it will perform as a burden with no display of pleasure."  Xenophon
  

Last edited on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 01:32 pm by DrDeb

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 01:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
This is the best description I've heard on how to sit properly. 

There was another thread recently where it was mentioned that one should position their legs as though they are playing soccer - I find that visual works very well for me.  It keeps me from gripping with my knees.  It probably wouldn't hurt to play some soccer to get the correct tone for riding.  Another thing that helps me with position, but is a by-product of teaching the horse to be more in front of my leg (mentioned by Dr. Deb in a recent thread), is when I take my legs completely off my horse to give him a big wallop when he isn't listening to me.  This puts me in the perfect position, with no grip what so ever and I find I am quite comfortable right now with my legs off my horse as much as possible. He is very happy with this as well and that just tells me how much I probably grip with my legs normally.  Now, if I was riding bareback I would never take my legs off my horse like that, I need the security of the stirrups right now.  Falling off my horse is not something I need in my riding career, besides, my horse won't let me get on him bareback.  He is smarter than I am at times...Thank God!

Thanks.....Pam

Last edited on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 01:48 pm by Pam

kindredspirit
Member


Joined: Sun Apr 1st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 127
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 01:53 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pam,

Dr. Deb's description offered me some good pointers when I went out to ride.  The feathering the hair on the horse's side was a big plus in keeping me relaxed and not bracing and my horse's lateral work was very much improved as a result.  One interesting side note in all my experimentation was I consistently started out on the wrong diagonal during the rising trot, which is not something I generally have problems with. Maybe I was putting too much focus elsewhere and lost a bit of feel.  Not sure but will pay attention during the next ride.  I had a great ride with these pointers at the forefront, well at least I thought so, and I think my horse thought so as well, and I guess that is all that counts!

Thanks again,

Kathy  

 

cyndy
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Prophetstown, Illinois USA
Posts: 32
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 04:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Wow, Dr Deb! That was a very detailed lesson! I tried it today. Each horse had a little different "feel" to it (wider back, taller, bigger mover, wider barrel, etc) I knew I had a slight twist in my back. I have been reviewing Mary Wanless's books and DVDs, plus Sally Swift's "Centered Riding" ( Both good info). But, I still couldn't quite put my finger on what I was doing wrong. I experimented around riding three horses,- one horse was much easier to get things right, one horse's crookedness was making things worst for me (may have been who put that twist in me in the beginning!), another horse was way too wide to "hang down like a pair of chaps". I finally worked it out just right! Of course, "right" is going to take some new muscle memory, and keeping relaxed during that will be a challenge!

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 10:11 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Kathy, I think your horse's approval counts ALOT!!!!

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 07:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb, you post on sitting position is simply outstanding. After reading it I have been very conscious of each of the elements of which you speak.

I had no idea that I was carrying some tension in my seat-not much but enough to count for sure.

Since letting loose of this area I finally feel 'at one' with my horses back...I honestly feel more stable than I have EVER felt on a horse.

I wish you would put this in a separate post to be easily accessed and linked for repeated readings!!!

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2008 10:39 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here are a few shots of a mold of a male and females behind so you can see the vaulted ceiling. These molds were made by sitting a rider on foam on the horse in the Jineta riding position.   Looking at the shapes you will see what Deb was talking about.  Also think in terms that the seat of your saddle should be the inverse of this shape for a Jineta seat.
First we talked about where to sit and now we are talking about how to sit. Debs wonderful description was assuming you wanted to ride Jineta but a similar description could be written for the Brida and Estradiota seats.  
Why is all this so important?
We talk lot about using energy to work your horse and for some that might seem a bit weird and way out there.  Here is a bridge concept that may help those of you that think this whole energy thing is a bit more than you can to deal with.  Horses understand a language of shape.  The purpose of ground work is to teach them the meaning of the shapes you will be putting your body in to ask for the shapes you want the horse to assume.  In the thread on Lunging Deb is talking about moving with the horse and having your feet in sync with the horse.  The horse is paying attention to your shape (they just do), and how it is changing.  You then transfer that teaching to the back. Your shape on top of the horse should be close to the same as your shape on the ground.  So this gives birth to some questions: What are the fundamental shapes you’re trying to teach a horse to assume on command? How doesthe shape change ?  What are the body shapes you need to be able to assume? In this line of thinking what would the pros and cons of the three seats be?   

David Genadek

Attachment: femalebehind.jpg (Downloaded 676 times)

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2008 10:46 pm by David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2008 10:42 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is the female version.
David Genadek

Attachment: femalebehind.jpg (Downloaded 671 times)

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2008 10:43 pm by David Genadek

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2008 10:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Recently my butt has been 'slapping' the saddle when I canter. Think jeans on leather, I'm not coming up a whole lot, I just figure I MUST be so that I keep getting this little slapping noise.

I let my horse just canter and go where she wants so I can practice different things, open thighs more, let legs hang long, feet out of stirrups, heels down, feet relaxed, lean back more, etc etc.

My last thought is that perhaps I am 'behind' her movement.

I ride in one of Dave's saddles that I had custom made and my friend thought perhaps it was too big for me and that's why. It's a 15 seat and I'm about 5'2 100lbs.

So tomorrow I am going to try and mentally and physically ride more 'foreward' with my entire body, I don't mean leaning forward.

Anyone have any clues as to why this might be happening?

 

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:16 am
 Quote  Reply 
Christie, the person slaps the saddle with their butt when the pivot-point of the rider's rocking motion is outside of the area of the lower back + pelvis. In all likelihood what is causing this (the most common cause) is that you are pinching with your knees.

The only way to pinch or grip the horse with the knees is to use the major adductor muscles, as described above. There are two approaches to monitoring yourself on this: either mentally 'get inside' the muscles that line the inner aspects of your thighs, coaxing them into turning totally off; or, purposely take your knees right off the saddle, so that there is 'air' between the saddle and your knees.

In America, at local horse shows, there is often a fun-type class called 'ride-a-buck'. It is a carryover from the old Victorian-Edwardian ideal, which taught that a secure seat was primarily to be gained by pinching or gripping strongly with the knee-bones. So in a ride-a-buck class, at the start of the class every rider is given a $1 bill to place under each knee. The class then proceeds in the normal manner, with walk, then trot, then canter to the left, class reverse, and repeat all three gaits to the right. Anyone who drops either dollar bill is 'out'. The winner is the person who can go the longest without losing either of their dollar bills.

Obviously, according to what I have said in previous posts, this class is teaching the wrong things! Where the dollar bills should be placed is not under the knee-bones, but rather at the level of the widest part of the calf. This should be your anchor-point, and where necessary your gripping-point. If you must grip the horse, you should endeavor to do so at a point that is below the widest part of his torso.

When you pick up the canter, you must take enough hold of the horse with the calf of your leg that neither your leg swings back and forth from front to back like a pendulum, nor your upper body swings back and forth in the same manner. When your body is swinging, that's when your butt slaps the saddle. The keys to stopping the swinging are: (1) Anchor by the calf and (2) Release your waist.

At the canter, your upper body should be dead still. The motion of the horse is taken up and expressed in the small of your back/your waist: you have to LET your pelvis follow the up-and-down rocking motion of the horse's body at the canter. If your waist is stiff and immovable, you won't be able to do that. To follow the horse's motion at canter with your pelvis means your crotch will go up, and then it will go down -- INDEPENDENT of either your legs or your upper body. Your butt stays glued the whole time to the saddle.

A little grip from the calves of the legs can, at first, help you get the feel of this kind of total stability. I would also advise you to sit so that you feel that your upper body is leaning BACK rather more than you think it should -- almost, but not quite, to the point where you feel you might roll off backwards. You lean BACK and not forward. Leaning back will make you have to let your waist go and let your pelvis go so that it can rise and drop with the horse's motion. Leaning back will also help you keep your butt squashed down into the saddle.

It will take a little courage to really lean back -- you will have to lengthen the reins, and you will have to really let the horse go. You will have to give up "going fetal" -- hunching forward or rolling up in a ball, or in any other way seeking to physically protect yourself.

You will also have to give up any kind of "pumping", "humping", or throwing your upper body forward in order to hork the horse into cantering. You will have to give up worrying "whether" he is going to canter or not, or "whether" he will stay in the canter once he takes it. If he stops, so what? You can always start again. And as to horking with your upper body: if you have not previously developed the horse to the point that he takes the canter from very small urging of the calves of the legs, then whether your butt slaps the saddle at the canter is not what your real problem is -- first you have to get the horse understanding canter aids well enough that he takes the canter easily and stays in it until you tell him to do something else.

But once the horse does respond well to the departure aid, then, to canter on, you must give your whole self up to the horse; you must let him take you for a ride. You must, especially, let him take your pelvis -- your upper body will lag behind your pelvis to some degree, as if your waist were very supple.

Once you can depart the canter without leaning forward at all, and canter on in such a manner that your crotch is always ahead of your breastbone, and the whole cantering can be slowed to around 6 mph or less with no danger of the horse breaking gait, then you can begin experimenting with sitting straighter up. Ideally, at any gait, you want to find that position (you find it by feeling of yourself) in which the muscles of your lower back are the most at ease for the greatest part of the time. This lack of muscular effort is the primary sign that indicates that the pelvis is 'functionally', if not literally, level.

Play around with these thoughts, and let us know how it goes. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 12:54 pm
 Quote  Reply 
This has me thinking about a concept that is used by both Western and English Saddlemakers in seat construction. That is they think they need to narrow the bars or the panels of the saddle to create a narrow seat for the rider.  The photo illustrates where they narrow the bars. This area should be the prime weight bearing portion of the bar but yet they will eliminate a large percentage of the bearing surface with the notion it will make the seat narrow. Some saddle makers will call this a woman’s seat.  The bottom part of the picture shows a butt mold in the seat so you can see that this does nothing but create dead airspace.  A saddlemakers goal should be to fill in as much of the vaulted ceiling as possible.   If you go check your saddles you will find this dead air space on many of them.
David Genadek

Attachment: narrowbars.jpg (Downloaded 643 times)

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:51 pm
 Quote  Reply 
What is germaine here to mention too, David, is how a seat designed for a woman can in fact be made. From conversations I've had with you in the past, if I recall right what you said was that the seat is built ON the tree but not OF the tree.

One example of a seat built "on" the tree would be the old traditional Spanish Vaquero saddle, in which the seat is constructed by building it over a thong or strap that is slung between the (rather upright and high) pommel and cantle. This 'slung seat' concept can be seen in its skeletal form in the traditional American Indian saddles, which are of course directly based on those of the Spanish and Mexicans that those Indians encountered and learned from.

Another way to build a seat "on" the tree is to stack it on top of the tree, building it up from the bottom and using the tree as a base for the seat.

In either case, the upper contour of the seat can be as broad or narrow as desired, and can have whatever indentations in it that the shape and size of the rider's thighs seem to require -- because the seat is above the tree and we are not trying to make the tree do two quite separate jobs.

As you note, it is quite counterproductive to cut out part of the tree in order to make a seat -- because the job of the tree is to locate and distribute the weight coming down onto the horse's back over as large an area as possible.

I believe you mentioned to me that you could, theoretically, build just about any kind or shape of seat since you conceive of the seat as being separate from the tree. For comfort's sake I certainly prefer that the upper part of the seat be no wider than a Kotex, and I also find it comfortable when there are subtle concavities to the sides to accommodate the width/thickness of the upper part of my thighs. A seat in which the top surface is wide and flat just about tears my femurs out of the hip sockets, a most uncomfortable feeling -- something I've found on certain Western but also some English saddles.

The "womens' saddle design" that you build is one of the most comfortable saddles I ever rode, although I still remember the day ten years ago when you and I and Harry Whitney were out at the place in California where I used to keep Painty Horse. You had the prototype of the womens' saddle with you and we asked Harry to put it on a horse and go ride it to test it out. So he did, and he went waaaay out to the front of the property. We could see him riding in and out among the trees up there. It seemed he stayed out there an awful long time -- we could see him walking, trotting, loping, then coming back the other way, change and change again. Finally, he came walking back to the barn area. When he got up close to me, I could see him shaking his head. "Uh-oh," I thought. Aloud, I said "What's the matter?"

"Deb, I have bad news for you," Harry said. "Oh, no," I said. "I hate to hear that, but please tell us what you think anyway."

"Well, I have to tell you -- you haven't designed a woman's saddle," Harry said with mock seriousness. "You've designed a saddle for somebody who can RIDE."

Cheers, David, and with our gratitude for your persistent good work. -- Dr. Deb

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 8th, 2008 07:12 am
 Quote  Reply 
What is an English rider to do? David, you only make western saddles correct?

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 9th, 2008 01:38 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Leah,
     There are plenty of good saddles out there. The buyer just needs to know what they want and why and they should be able to find something. The brand is not important the design as it relates to the desired function is.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 21st, 2008 09:41 am
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,
     My current line of thinking goes more like this: 
We have four choices in saddle design;
1.       You don’t fit the horse or the rider.
2.       You fit rider but not the horse.
3.       You fit the horse but not the rider.
4.       You fit the both the rider and the horse.                                                                                                                                                                            
     The first choice might seem odd to us in this day and age but if you consider the Brida saddle in the beginning of its evolution it makes some sense.  Clearly the horse was just another piece of live stock and the soldier riding was not much more than that himself.  It was purely a utilitarian design.  Stick the knight on the horse in a way that he won’t fall off so he can kill the other guy and the king can win his prized hunk of land.  Ironically , today we are following a similar utilitarian design concept, however, now the utility is making a sale and the prize is a bigger bank account for the manufacturer and the retailer.
    Somewhere along the line the humans comfort came into play and the fitting the rider became the trend.  Here the mindset of the saddles construction is from the human’s rear down. The tree of what we now call English saddles is really for fitting the rider more than the horse.  Today there is an effort to take the English saddle with its’ history of fitting the rider and also make it fit the horse by properly shaping the panels under the tree.  Unfortunately, the long established history of the construction methods along with sociological forces continue to over ride reason, and have halted the evolution of the design.  We still see the extended front arch being used and stirrup hangers and riggings placed to far forward.
Jineta saddles followed a similar course but their evolution began with first fitting the horse.  Here again sociological forces have stalled the evolution of fitting both horse and rider.  Unfortunately, we see Jineta bottoms with Brida tops.   
The art of saddle making lies in fitting both the horse and rider.  The key here is in understanding the space between the shapes needed to fit the horse and the shapes needed to fit the rider.  It is this third shape that translates the shape of the  of the horses back to the shape of the human it is this third shape that creates the greatest challenge in saddle fit.  There are multiple shapes needed to fit the diversity of the human form and likewise with the form of the horse. The human pelvis has fewer variables acting upon it to change its shape than does the horses back.  Sex and weight become the major determiners of the seat shape.  Although the horses back should be as simple to identify, it is not because of the destructive influence of the thoughts of man in regards to how a horse moves.  These influences have created a massive proliferation of shapes that have the industry seeking ways to fit pathologies rather than accurately defining the needed shapes in the three categories, which are the horses back, the riders shape and  lastly the elusive space in between.

    The third shape can be thought of as a gear that is converting vertical motion to horizontal motion. Because we are vertically oriented we have trouble understanding horizontal movement. In gymanastics the event that is the most difficult for most to become proficient in is the pommel horse because it is the only event that requires horizontal movement. Originally the pommel horse was used to train riders. So a saddle acts as a gear that translates the vertical movement of man into the horizontal movement of the horse.

David Genadek

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 25th, 2008 01:42 am
 Quote  Reply 
I hope I can ask this question under this topic. I didn't want to start a new one and searching under saddle fit came up with no results.

Just a quick question. I've got Dave's saddle and think it fits. I've seen his video too. 

My question is about fitting the rock of the saddle to the back. If there is no bridging and the rock of the saddle sits right on her back and fits her curve leaving room for the spine, how does this effect the horse being able to lift their backs in collection mode?

I've heard the idea that you don't actually want the saddle to fit, mainly for this reason.  

Dr. Deb
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 25th, 2008 06:54 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Folks, this really is Dr. Deb writing -- we've been having a bit of trouble the last couple of days with our server link-up, so temporarily I have to post "as if" I were a guest!

* * * * * * * *

Christie, this is one of the point of frustration we have in trying to teach "how to fit a saddle" to people. WHAT DO YOU MEAN when you say "fit"?

Do you mean "fit like a latex glove"?

Or do you mean "fit like a comfortable pair of shoes"?

The term for "fitting like a latex glove" is micro-fitting -- trying to match every little teeny contour of the back, making the saddle be an exact mirror image of that. This is not what we mean by "fit" -- because, if you do this, the horse will be very uncomfortable. The saddle that is micro-fit does not fit!

"Fitting like a comfortable pair of shoes" is what you want. You buy your shoes the right size, so that you have room ahead of your toes in front. You buy the correct "last" or insole, so that the shoe has the right width across the ball and the right amount of rise in the arch-support. You buy the right heel-cup so that the shoe does not ride up and down and so that the heel does not gouge into your Achilles tendon. But you do all these things, always, leaving a little extra room so that during the dynamic action of the foot -- when it is moving, when it is flexing, when weight comes down on the foot and that squashes the foot out some, then everything is the right shape yet nothing pinches.

So you viewed Dave's tape and you see from that how he puts his hands up there under the tree, and he says "this is not a PERFECT fit" -- by which he means, "this is not a MICRO fit" -- and then he says, "but it is a fit about as good as we can expect." What he means by that is -- and surely your eye can see this on the tape too -- that the SHAPE of the tree is right for the particular horse it's being fitted to: no bridging, enough rocker without it being an excessive amount, about the right amount of spread, and enough flare through the gullet.

So you fit a saddle by (1) looking for the right shape of tree, (2) making sure there is enough flare through the gullet especially, so that the flesh of the shoulder has somewhere to go when the horse retracts the arm with each step.

When a saddle that has the right tree in it is placed, without a saddle pad, on a horse's back, it will almost "click" into position. You learn to see what this means by comparing good fit (demonstrated on Dave's tape) vs. bad fit, where there is clear bridging and where the saddle "pushes back" even though it may be girthed on pretty firmly. Saddle fitting skill is mostly a matter of "eye" and "feel".

You gain "eye" and "feel" in this area just the same as you do when learning conformation. Learning conformation is not memorizing a list. There are no hard-and-fast points to it. The same with saddle fitting. You learn the PRINCIPLE of the thing, the concept, and then you go look at hundreds of horses, and this is how you get the experience that gives you the eye and the feel. -- Dr. Deb

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 12:46 am
 Quote  Reply 
The Hungarians, the British with their Universal Patterns, and some other peoples use or used the slung seat concept.  There are some notably bad ones now sold as 'Mountie" saddles.  While they had many virtues, there were persistent mechanical problems with the saddles.

Joe

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 10:44 am
 Quote  Reply 
The shoe example really helps further my understanding of a good saddle fit and I hope you can bear with me for a few questions on my understanding of saddling theories/approaches for the western tree.

I have set aside any use for the flex bar trees that mimic the solid tree.  I understand the principle is it will move or give some with the horse's back.  But I hear/find there are many user problems with these trees.  Along with the potential for collapse in the center - there exists the complaint of how this tree "walks" over the horse's back with the shoulder hip and flexing action and slips out of place.  Many have problems with needing to overly tighten the rigging to compensate or adding no slip padding or breeching etc etc etc. Same for the flex panels - only they have pressure points at the attachments and little actual support afforded the thoracic area.

Now on solid trees, one prominent saddle maker says a saddle "should bridge" so to speak on a standing (relaxed back) horse so that when the horse raises the back the saddle "fits."  (This speaks a little to Christie's question I think).  In my mind this arrangement would require tremendous padding or a constant collected moving horse to prevent pressure points.  No standing in the shade for this combo!

And the approach that I comprehend more readily and seems to also be in Christie's question is the tree that appears to be "rocked."  This design may "look" like a rocker on a rocking chair as it's tree frees up the shoulders and hips with flares fore and aft.  But ideally the weight bearing portion of this tree follows the resting contour of the thoracic portion of the back with adequate side to side slope and front to back rock/curve.  Other than the raising of the engaged muscles in this thoracic area, this resting contour will not "change"  greatly when the horse is in motion/collection as the "rounding" occurs more posterior.  

Now if I am nearly right and at the risk of being completely foolish - I think the reason most of the rounding occurs behind the thoracic area is this area is relatively stable or fixed as a result of the architectural feature of the whithers, which are a compensation for a lack of stabilizing clavicles.  Am I close?

And here comes my understanding of the seat/bar relationship.  Brida verses Jineta may play into this - more so with brida (chair seat).  The proper bearing of the rider's weight to this "rocked" tree will depend on the design of the seat and the placement of the cantle.  I would think the low point of the seat would need to hit just forward of the cantle.  If not the saddle would rock back and bear weight only under the rider's hips (especially chair seat)  No???  

Another question here would be how far behind the cantle should the loss of back contact (ie beginning of flare) begin??  The cantle area should be the last point of contact on the resting horse's back with the slope of flair beginning behind it?  Yes?

I hope I have not completely tortured all the learned folks here with this post - but I wonder if I am getting close to understanding the dynamics of the fitted saddle presented in this thread and the question raised by Christie.





Last edited on Sat Jul 26th, 2008 11:22 am by hurleycane

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 12:23 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Beware of the thought that bridging is a Good Thing.  It has been the death of many a saddle design, as has flexibility in the bars.  It is interesting that today, the only thing actually new in these debates is the materials.  Our forefathers did not have titanium, carbon composite, or plastic.  However, they had a deep knowledge of the characteristics of variuous natural materials includig wood.  Saddle specifications would call out the types of wood and leather to be used, because there are very large differences, and they matter.  However, the fundamental question of the best compromise for fitting an object to an animals very dynamic back is still the same. 

In the 19th century, the world's cavalries, men whose lives depended on reliable and fit mounts under adverse conditions with missions that could last months at a time and traverse thousands of miles (one unit in the American West covered 7.000 miles in a year, not counting training time in the garrison), were trying to come to grips with two things: one was the optimal size and build for a cavalry horse, and the other was what saddle was best for preserving horseflesh by avoiding not only breakdowns, but also sores and lameness.  Most of the possible variations on trees, bars, and seats were tried by one nationality of another.  Here in the States we tried everything from horned saddles like today's stock saddles, to the McClellan, which was also based on Spanish designs regardless of the so-called inventor's claims, through several kinds of hybrids, and a half dozen forms of what we in the States tend to call "English" saddles -- cross country saddles without horns.

The British tried variations on the old Hungarian Hussar saddle, whith the high pommel and cantel and the sling seat.

Both we and they experimented with hinged or adjustable bars.

I have examples of most of the post 1859 American saddles in my collection.  Each was found somehow wanting.  The McClellan alone went through several important modifications, and yet was never fully satisfactory.  To sum up a long topic in a few words, there were five kinds of problems that beset saddle design when subjected to real heavy and prolonged usage:
  1. Bridging, which developed pressure points and sores;
  2. Difficulty of proper fit in the area of the withers, especially as animals gained or lost flesh on campaigns;
  3. Excess weight;
  4. Bars that were too long would dig into some animal's loins when jumping and cause serious harm;
  5. Mechanical failure.
In the final analysis, the most satisfactory saddle produced for the US Cavalry was the model 1936 Phillips.  Col. Phillips was a careful student of equine anatomy and the dynamics thereof.  He also developed the Phillips pack saddle, which is considered one of the best packing designs in  history.

The Phillips is a strongly made cross country "flat" or "English" saddle designed for the balanced seat.  Its bars are not over-long.  It has a removable postillion ledge or shelf that attaches to the cantle that holds packed items like the bedroll off the horse's loins.

I have a couple and could take pix if anyone cares to see how they are made.

Joe

rifruffian
Member
 

Joined: Mon Mar 17th, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 12:57 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes I am interested to see pics of Phillips English......Patrick.

Annie F
Member


Joined: Wed May 2nd, 2007
Location: Princeton, New Jersey USA
Posts: 62
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 01:01 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,

Thank you (and Dave and others) for all of this long, wonderful discussion of saddles...please DO post some pictures of the Phillips--it would be so helpful to see what this saddle looked like.

Annie

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 03:41 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Annie and Rifruffian:

Lets see if these aren't more useful that photos.  They are copies of the original blueprints for the Phillips.  I have selected three, out of several pages with complete details.  The drawings are courtesy of a friend of mine who was a senior curator in the US Army museum system.  A few years ago, he was able to get CDs of all the cavalry equipment  drawings at the Rock Island Arsenal (where most of this stuff was made for a hundred years or so).  Dr. Deb will know just where that is as Arsenal Island is in the Mississippi more or less across from where she grew up.  Anyway, here is a side view, a view of the bars, and a top view.  Note in the top view that although the Army's nomenclature was somewhat different from DD's, the dimensions and shape of the seat are pretty close to what she called for.  I myself, as a large male (6'5", 223 lbs.), can attest that it is a very comfortable seat for me.

In fact, although I more often ride either a Stubben Tristan Deluxe or a Stubben Wotan, I prefer the Phillips.  The only reason I don't ride it all the time on such horses as it fits well is that it is an antique and not easy to replace.  That's whyt I have two, BTW -- one for display and one for fun.

Cheers!

Joe










rifruffian
Member
 

Joined: Mon Mar 17th, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 05:50 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Joe, thanks for posting the blueprints. Despite magnification etc I can't decipher the notes and dimensions on the prints. I was curious to compare to the shape of my current personal saddle....I'll just plant my saddle  on a stand next to the computer and compare best I can.....Patrick.

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 27th, 2008 12:56 pm
 Quote  Reply 
You know, Dave's analogy to a well-fitting shoe is very apt. Like a shoe, it has to be properly designed, and fitted to the specific animal, and like shoes, many kinds of saddles will conform themselves to horses' backs. 

One significant maker of dressage and cross-country saddles still uses natural leather with wool stuffing to make the padding on the bars.  They recommend that a new saddle be ridden for some time without a pad.  That way, the leather and wool will absorb perspiration and while damp, conform to the horse just as the insole of your show conforms to your foot.

Actually, while I would value Dave's and DD's input on this, I am very wary-- to the point of complete avoidance -- of synthetic saddles because they lack this quality (and for other reasons too).  It is not just that I am a luddite or stick-in-the-mud, although uncharitable people have suggested that.  I use synthetics all the time in camping, hunting and bicycle gear.

Joe

Last edited on Thu Jul 31st, 2008 11:30 am by Joe

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 27th, 2008 06:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have not gotten a chance to print and really study this  material yet.

I had a chance over the weekend to try a custom made, on demand, saddle. It looks a lot like my western Dave saddle and fit everywhere pretty much the same, as this other saddle is made basically wide on purpose.

The only difference I noted is that there seemed to be more spine clearance along the side of the bars. I believe when I feel under the middle of mine that the contact is RIGHT beside her spine and this other saddle the contact was at least more than an inch from each side of the spine.

Which is correct and how could my Dave saddle be wrong, if it is. It was his widest tree, I sent a tracing and she is very well sprung in the ribs.

 

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 27th, 2008 08:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have n idea how your saddle fits, but always remember, there is no one correct approach.  There are many variations that work and many that don't.

Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 11:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
Friends:

Here, courtesy of my web colleague John Morgan of the UK ( a very senior collector of British cavalry equipment), and The Military Horse, a cavalry related web site where I am an administrator,  is a photo of the tree of the British Universal Pattern of 1902.  Obviously, it is of the sling type, originally inspired by a Hungarian Hussar saddle.  The seat is built on a sort of hammock of webbing that is stretched between the iron pommel and cantle.

I'm neither endorsing nor denouncing this design, but as we were talking about various ways of building saddles that proved out over time, I thought you all might be interested in seeing this one, too.



David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 03:37 pm
 Quote  Reply 
christie wrote:Christie,
        There are many factors to take into consideration when looking at saddles. Most production saddles will fit fine if you don't mind sitting on the lumbar span. My trees are designed to fit further forward so to make a comparison you first need to place the saddles where they were disigned to sit. There are some manufacuters using older versions of my trees in production so what you are saying in that regard could be the case. However when I hear people using terms like "wide" then I know things are not clear to that person.  Saddle fiting is a matter of shape not width.  What is your criteria for what you are looking at?
     As for the spread of the bars none of my trees are less than 4". I have a tree here made by one of th top end tree makers and his spread under the cantle is only 3" so when you say the bars are right next to the spine I have to question what you are seeing as this is just flat out impossible. I do use thick high quality wool and if you do  visual assesment it may appear the wool is taking up the space but it is an absolute imposability that the bar it self would be up against the horses spine.
David Genadek

"I have not gotten a chance to print and really study this  material yet.

I had a chance over the weekend to try a custom made, on demand, saddle. It looks a lot like my western Dave saddle and fit everywhere pretty much the same, as this other saddle is made basically wide on purpose.

The only difference I noted is that there seemed to be more spine clearance along the side of the bars. I believe when I feel under the middle of mine that the contact is RIGHT beside her spine and this other saddle the contact was at least more than an inch from each side of the spine.

Which is correct and how could my Dave saddle be wrong, if it is. It was his widest tree, I sent a tracing and she is very well sprung in the ribs.

 

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 11:24 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks for taking the time to answer. The whole saddle fit thing I just don't get. I don't honestly understand how any saddle could be comfortable for a horse.

I know mine doesn't bridge and I can get my hand under in front for the shoulders. It seems to follow the gentle curve of her back. I think as far as no such thing as a perfect fit, I'm right up there with the best of fits.

 

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 04:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
Well, Christie, I think you need to ask yourself how much you are being influenced in your thinking by current fads. Here's a list of current fads:
  • "Natural" horsemanship. There is no such thing, and there can be no such thing.
  • "The metal-free horse", and "bitless and barefoot is better." No, they're not -- in other words, no such blanket statement can be made. There is no credible evidence at all that metal on or in the horse harms him, when correctly fitted and used.
  • "The 'natural hackamore' " (a rope halter used instead of a correctly fitted bridle, hackamore, or other noseband device). Rope halters are not designed or intended for regular daily riding. Their use in starting young horses, as seen at Ray Hunt's clinics, was never intended to be extended past the second or third day of riding, at which point Ray usually has the horses in snaffles.
  • "Saddles with trees gouge the horse's back". No, they don't, when they fit well. Dave G. has gone to considerable trouble here to explain saddle fit, besides the information on his DVD/Videotape. Please listen and learn.
  • "Natural" horse-keeping. This seems to be an amalgam of newfangled, often poorly tested ideas with some old and rather bad ideas, such as, for example, worming the horse with tobacco rather than "chemicals" (as if the poisons in tobacco were not also chemicals). The idea of trying to return the horse to some idealized "nature" is in complete conflict with what Nature is really like -- which is to say, very harsh. Like the idea of your horse only surviving to live six or eight years? Like the idea of untreated wounds and infections? Like the idea of him starving during the winter? Then go right ahead and keep your horse "naturally" !
Underlying a lot of these current fads is, I think, an unstated idea that the horse ought not to be asked to work, or that it is wrong for humans to demand work and other kinds of service from animals. This is what I want you to examine within yourself, Christie. If you think it's wrong to ask work of a horse, then my VERY best advice to you is to sell all your livestock and get out of horses completely, because horses need work -- in amounts suited to their age and condition -- in order to lead full, happy, and healthy lives. An adult horse in fit condition can work harder than you have probably ever conceived of, Christie.

In order to do most kinds of work, your horse needs to have a saddle on him. And if you're going to work with him, then you also need to have a saddle beneath your pointy seatbones rather than his bare back.

What is so hard to get across to people is that work is GOOD.

I have a neighbor who is physically lazy. One rarely sees him mowing the lawn, trimming trees, working in the garden, lifting, toting, or even playing sports. His kids are exactly the same. The boy, who is a young adult, has arms like twigs. The girl, who is a teenager, can't stick with a job on a hot day for more than 45 minutes. I was talking with the wife one day about the boy's desire to get his first job. She said, "yes, we're doing all we can so that he gets a GOOD job that doesn't involve manual labor."

I think it would benefit these folks to read the Order of St. Benedict, which balances work and prayer, solo study and group interaction. Benedictine monks are required to work in the fields. The Zen master, too, "chops wood and carries water."

I have another neighbor who has the nicest lawn on the block. You see him out there every day, mowing, trimming, planting, running the tractor, using a saw, fixing his fences, working in the garden. He grows the best vegetables and has so many of them that he winds up giving basketsful away.

I have yet another neighbor who builds things. He's outside all the time, and has helped me and several other neighbors renovate parts of our houses, or build outbuildings. When he's not a-sawin' and a-hammerin', he's out at the ball park coaching and playing ball with his kids' teams.

These last two guys contrast with the lazy man not only in not being lazy, but in not being mentally depressed. They do not suffer, as he does, from perfectionism, obsessiveness, fear of failure, or feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. This is where I think the connection with horses really lies -- I think they are the same, that it doesn't matter whether they are kept in a stall "unnaturally" or whether they are kept in a field "naturally", if they do not get a goodly measure of meaningful work -- work that they understand, enjoy, and that they want to do with their human -- they too become depressed. In other words, Christie, a field full of green grass with nothing to do in there but graze is just as much of a bore and a prison to a horse as a stall is.

The greatest single challenge that we as horse owners in the developed countries face is to find meaningful work for our horses. As automobile traffic on country roads increases, it may become too dangerous to take your horse "out". This confines your whole activity with him to the property upon which he is kept. Can you provide meaningful work there? Can you haul him out to somewhere there are safe trails?

The greatest assets a horse owner can have in this area are: cattle, toys, and trails. To do a workmanlike job with any of them, Christie, you'll need appropriately selected, well-fitting tack. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 09:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
My dear Doctor Professor, sometimes yu transcend yourself.  That was a superb post.  It cannot be bettered.

Christie:

Ask yourself this:  Are backpacks, golf bags, baby snuggly carriers, shoes, boots, or bicycles cruel and painful?  All are foreign devices or machines fitted to human bodies in order to do work.

It certainly amounts to work, but is not challenging for most  human over 13 and under 70 to carry a 40 to 60 lb backpack for a long walk.  I am a large human, at 223 lbs.  If I carry a pack weighing 40 lbs -- no challenge at all -- I am carrying 18% of my weight, on two legs, with a pack that by necessity must change my balance to the back.  If I carry 60 lbs, I am carrying 27% of my weight. The truly fit and trained can carry more.  The pack itself can be quite uncomfortable, as was my first one as a boy, or very comfortable indeed, as is my excellent internal frame, waist belted pack today.  Same weight, comfortable or uncomfortable because of the pack.

Most riding horses weigh between 800 lbs and, say 1200 lbs (disregarding the trend towards draft animals.  27% of that runs upwards of 216 lbs, although you should NOT push the upper limits (and this is not a discussion of weight carrying capacity -- I was just using the simile). Whether they carry it in comfort, and whether they can perform athletically depends heavily on the saddle.

Last edited on Fri Aug 1st, 2008 09:56 am by Joe

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 09:58 am
 Quote  Reply 
I don't really know how to reply to your post since I'm not sure how my reply about saddle fit got me an answer about not wanting my horse to work. And I know pasture life is not enough.

All my livestock? I have 1 horse.

I ride in Dave's saddle just about daily and in a bridle with a snaffle bit, not a hackamore or bareback. 

Agree with the natural moniker. Even trimming and rasping for a "barefoot" horse is not natural.

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 12:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
christie wrote:


Christie,
     I can understand why Deb's reply may seem a bit from left field to you but it is ,in fact, to the point on the  broader issue of things that create confusion in our industry. She has named the current ones but there is always a list of current trends that are  marketing trends rather than actual facts of horemanship. So when your trying to learn you want to be open minded and you want to experience the contrast of different views in the process of creating your own and this is a good thing! Some where along the way you have to develope a  set of filters that  help you sort things out.  Deb's reply made perfect sense to Joe  because he has been in this business a long time so his set of filters made what Deb said seem right to the point.
    For me when I read your post it was so far from the reality of what we do here that it was clear to me that someone had given you a contrasting opinion on saddle fit.  Any reasonable person would seek more than one opinion. However, in our industry some of those opinions are not always based on reasonable information in fact out right lies are not uncommon.  Deb has watched me battle this for over 20 years and is very clear on what I'm doing so it had to read the same way to her and thus her rant.
     Saddle fitting is not a perfect art and I agree that having our fat butts on them can't be the funniest thing in the world for them.  I can say after spending time in the mountains with free horses that they are purpose driven animals. If taken from freedom it is clear to me that horses would far prefer to have a purpose even if it is to drag our sorry butts around in an ill fitting saddle than to do nothing.
David Genadek

I don't really know how to reply to your post since I'm not sure how my reply about saddle fit got me an answer about not wanting my horse to work. And I know pasture life is not enough.

All my livestock? I have 1 horse.

I ride in Dave's saddle just about daily and in a bridle with a snaffle bit, not a hackamore or bareback. 

Agree with the natural moniker. Even trimming and rasping for a "barefoot" horse is not natural.

 

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 01:04 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hmm, me thinking of saddles as uncomfortable for a horse is just what my mind gathers when I picture a person sitting on top of a long hard wooden object ontop a horse's back. It's not a conclusion I came to after coming across differing ideas about fit.  Joe's points are good, I guess it's like someone who never wears shoes thinking that my cowboy boots must make my shoes sore as the dickens after a full day of wearing them, but they don't.

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 01:27 pm
 Quote  Reply 
A well-judged and balanced comment from Dave.

BTW, Dave, I have a copy of Benedict's RULE, and while I certainly don't live it, I agree also with DD's points about the value and necessity of purposeful hard work.

The truly remarkable thing about the horse business is that the amount of manure generated by so-called trainers, experts, and clinicians actually exceeds that generated by the horses.  There has always been, and should be, ongoing discussion and debate.  There is more to know about horses than anyone CAN know, and honest and careful observations by knowledgeable people will lead to differing conclusions.  So it is in science as well, or any other field of study.

However, there is something about our poor dumb beasts that attracts flakes and phonies, who hang out shingles and wave banners attracting acolytes who go forth and with the best of intentions, harm horses.  Even in the milder cases, they confuse people who are trying to learn. 

It is a damned shame.  There isn't much we can do about it, but there it is.

Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 01:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Christie:

Right, but of course, decent saddles are not just long hard wooden objects.  They are padded, they conform well to the back and, importantly, they distribute weight. 

Further to the point, my backpack has an internal metal frame, and other models are hung on frames of aluminum pipe.  Either kind is FAR more comfortable, and permits much freer motion that the old all-canvas rucksacks that hung softly on the back and pulled your shoulders down. Good saddles distribute weight comfortably in a way that interferes as little as possible with your horse's movement.

You know, if they caused pain or discomfort -- and some do -- the horse would let you know pronto.

Joe

Last edited on Fri Aug 1st, 2008 01:33 pm by Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 11:02 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
    I have boogered up the drawing a bit. Line A indicates an angle that tells me they designed the saddle to sit forward.  Curve B shows me the twist is for  the person which will create dead space C when placed on a horse. You can see the tree has very little  rigid surface to spread the wieght in the main wieght bearing area of the saddle. This is why I say "English"  saddles are built from the human down. Yellow area D is the tab that is created by extending the font arch. This one is shorter than most which is good considering that they were orginally there to dig into the horse.
That is how I see the drawing.
David Genadek

Attachment: phillips.jpg (Downloaded 531 times)

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 02:28 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave and Joe -- The other thing I think very significant about this saddle is that it has the old-fashioned "straight head" rather than a "slant head". This is the fundamental structural reason why the saddle is built to sit forward, as David notes.

A straight head means the structure of the front "fork" is vertical rather than sloping backwards. This was the way all English (brida) saddles were built from the early centuries A.D. until around WWI, when somebody finally got the idea for the slant head. The slant head was put in because jumping, specifically the landing after the jump, puts pressure on the junction between the U-shaped loop that understructures the seat in an English saddle and the fork or head. This problem really did not arise in brida saddles prior to the late 19th century, because nobody knew how to jump a horse higher than about two feet prior to that time. All the deerhunting, foxhunting, coursing, etc. that the English nobility went after in the Middle Ages, for example, rarely involved any jump higher than this. Not until Caprilli came along, which was at the turn of the 20th century, do we see this change and a problem with breaking saddles emerge.

The stirrup hangers on an English saddle are almost always an integral part of the head, so when the rider's weight would come into the stirrups upon landing, the rivet that joined the head to the U would receive a mighty jerk. Repeated jerks would eventually break the rivet, necessitating expensive and difficult repairs. The slant head design reduces the wear and tear on the rivet because it allows space for several rivets and also lies more parallel to the actual direction of the jerk, so that it can withstand the forces better.

However, a slant head -- because it slants backwards toward the rear end of the horse -- necessitates a different fit. Although the tabs and the lower part of the head may fit the shoulders in the same place, the top of the head displaces the seat of the saddle backwards, and this is how the idea got into currency that the rider "ought" to be seated over T14, because this is where the center of a slanthead English saddle actually puts the rider. In reality for the horse's benefit the rider ought to be ahead of T14, as far forward toward the withers as practicable.

If we build a saddle with a slant fork, then we HAVE to do as Dave always does, vis., build in a good deal of 'flare' or 'funnel' in front -- else there is no way to bring the saddle forward and we will find the center of the seat actually behind the center of the horse's back, which hurts him and inhibits his ability to round up.

If the reader is a little fuzzy as to the picture I'm trying to get across here, just imagine a Western saddle with the front fork slanted backwards at 35 degrees or more. You better believe that is going to necessitate building the seat of the saddle farther back on the tree!

Or where ya' gonna go --! Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 8th, 2008 07:04 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,
So Caprilli’s represents a major paradigm shift in that he began to marry the Brida world with the  Jineta  world.   It was a collision of models resulting in a design shift in the saddlery.  How do you view the evolution of the horse models  throughout  time?  Do they specifically relate to the seats or did they exist independently?  Where did the rocking chair model come into the picture?  You know, in a hundred words or less.
Dave

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 01:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
David, that's very insightful where you realize that Caprilli's ideas are actually "jineta" carried over into a jumping/cross country context, where they had not up to that point been applied -- "jineta" being simply "balanced riding". In fact, if you read Hilda Nelson's book on Baucher, there was this whole huge controversy for the whole of the 19th century where people viewed "indoor" or "manege" riding as being diametrically opposed to, and exclusively different from, "outdoor" riding. They thought in black and white terms, and if you want to put that in the terms of saddle design, they were thinking brida vs. jineta/estradiota, absolutely. Hence we get titles that read, like Beaudant's from the teens of the 20th century: "....horse training outdoor AND high school," where the author, who knows there is no important difference, is trying to convince his audience of the fact.

As to modelmaking: that's the scientific style of pursuing the question. "Scientific" means "systematic" or "step-by-step". Model-making as a means of better understanding mechanical systems goes back through Newton to Galileo, Leonardo DaVinci, Copernicus....even to ancient Greek scientists, such as Archimedes. To make a model is to make an analogy.

As to the rocking-horse model: that came in with the center of gravity concept, which of course goes back to Newton's basic laws of physics. Newton is an 18th-century scientist; it took about 100 years for his ideas to penetrate the culture sufficiently that even the half-educated or uneducated Sergeant of Cavalry -- the bellowing individual who would have been in immediate charge of putting a "seat" on raw recruits -- to have heard of it.

We begin getting books of instruction written by ex-cavalry officers explicitly for civilian students only after the cavalry begins to go extinct, i.e. beginning in the 1930's. Prior to that time, we have only a few books of riding instruction written by civilians for civilians, the reason for this being that nearly everybody rode from childhood, out of necessity; though not everyone liked riding (some despised and dreaded it), and not everybody rode with any finesse. It was the Cavalry that was looked up to for technical understanding and finesse; for example, originally the game of dressage was the almost exclusive purview of Cavalry officers, i.e. during the period of its inception from about 1890 through the first modern Olympic games, when its rule-book became codified.

It was the Cavalry (the European cavalries, i.e. German, French, and English), and in imitation of them the U.S. and other American cavalries, i.e. Chilean, Mexican, and Canadian) that promoted the center-of-gravity and rocking-horse models. Neither of them, as you know, has any actual applicability -- in other words, the attempt to apply Newton's principle of the center of gravity to riding is utterly fallacious. Because its application by the Cavalry was, and continues to be, a MIS-application, the model causes riders to take actions (such as pulling the horse's head up and back, leaning the rider's torso back, attempting to "rock the horse back onto its hindquarters") which are not only ineffective but physically harmful to the horses.

If anyone reading this is surprised to hear this, and wants to know more, please go to Knowledge Base in this Website and read "True Collection".

Ahh well. Most of the time, y'know, I can't get 'er done in 100 words or less, but maybe this was terse enough. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 11:18 am
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,

So the birth of the Jineta style of riding came from a guy getting on a horse and feeling of it.  In short he used the most complete model of all, the horse itself.  The evolution of Brida has been the product of the intellectualization of horsemanship.  A great debate based on the ebb and flow of partial models of the horse’s movement coming into vogue. Caprilli was kicked out of the cavalry for two concepts, the coiling of the loins and horse pitching itself to itself.   Two things that were painfully obvious to the men who got on their horse and felt of it.
Dave

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 01:46 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David -- no, no, not entirely:

(1) The birth of the Jineta style is lost in antiquity, although yes, undoubtedly it did come about through people who hadn't read anything and whose heads were not filled with academic ideas, feeling of their horses. The Spaniards of the Renaissance gave this "balanced seat" riding the name "jinete", by which term they meant not just the seat but the whole set of equipment, set of weapons, and style of training that went with it. Balanced-seat riding itself, however, had been in existence since antiquity. The jineta-type saddle tree, i.e. with bars and arches like a "western" saddle, was the first tree to be invented, not later than 500 B.C. Steppe peoples were certainly riding in some version of "balanced seat" long before that.

(2) Again, it was the Spaniards of the Renaissance who gave Brida-style riding that name, and again, the term implies not just the way the person sat on the horse but the type of saddle, the particular bitting, the array of weapons, and the style of training needed to make it effective in warfare. Important to notice is that the feet-on-the-dashboard seat is ALSO very early: ancient Egypt and the Middle East, as outlined in "Conquerors". Charles Chenevix-Trench, an English scholar and author of a very valuable book on the history of horsemanship, was the first to notice and point out an evolution in "seat" from a brida-like sitting posture to a jineta-like or "balanced" posture, and this occurred in ancient Assyria in the time of Nebuchadnezzar -- see "Conquerors" for the pictures and summary. The point is that, apparently, it "felt" just as good to the Assyrians and Egyptians to sit brida-style as it "felt" to the Scyths and Sarmatians to sit jineta style. So it would be untrue and unfair to imply that only people who ride jineta style have good "feel". Everybody has the same feel, but not everybody has the same concept, intentions, purposes, and technology.

(3) To my knowledge, Caprilli was never kicked out of the cavalry. The Italian cavalry was only too delighted to have him, at least once it was proven to their satisfaction that his methods worked. There was some criticism from fellow officers along the way, of course -- there always is in the case of an innovator, but Caprilli had enough support from higher command that they gave him his own training ground and a detachment of men and horses to train. The generals' interest was in having a cavalry that could over-ride caltrops ("tank traps") -- very practical. You might be mixing Caprilli up with Baucher, who was kicked out, if you want to call it that; actually, he was never really 'in' -- the French cavalry decided they'd give him a try, experimentally, and after the trial ended they didn't invite him back. He went on to become one of Europe's most well-watched circus performers, though he too had a raft of critics.

There is no example, in fact, of any great European horseman who did not have to endure criticism from some source. The American Rarey, when he went to Europe to show his approach to Queen Victoria and the Russian Tsar, was watched also, misunderstood, and scathingly criticized by certain European cavalry officers -- there is a whole literature on this. It is a bad habit of Europeans which has been perpetuated particularly among the dressage people: they argue, argue, argue. There is no school of European horsemanship that does not consider itself "against" some other school.

This is one reason why riding with Tom and Ray has been so refreshing: there is no war there with anybody, no campaign, no "movement". Everyone is treated equally, whether they are an Olympian filled with ambition and incorrect ideas, or a beginner with their first horse who has no idea -- the latter being much the easier student to work with, but still, they are both treated with equal courtesy and attention, and both are exhorted to meet the same high standards. It is amusing, though one of the more difficult jobs that I have, to get this across to Europeans who think they have found a "movement" in what is so-called "natural" horsemanship. The man at the head of it all intended to found no movement and founded none. Lesser men, imitators, and the self-interested have most certainly tried to do that -- but we do not ride with them. -- Dr. Deb

 

Last edited on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 01:48 pm by DrDeb

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 10th, 2008 09:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am just back from 8 days on the road with poor internet connections, so am reading and absorbing furiously.

Indeed it is a "straight head," but it uses two rivets and has a flexible formed steel pommel arch with rawhide reinforcement.  This seemed to work well for a time, but the pommel arch was still a weak point because eventually metal fatigue would set in and it would crack. 

Phillips was concerned about seating the rider forward.  He had been influenced by Caprilli, but the American "Ft. Riley" seat that was finally developing by the time of his saddle considered the full forward seat to be a bit of too much (it is a shame that by the time the Americans were really asserting themselves independeltly of the French and to a lesser extent, the Italians, the cavalry was dismounted).

DD is absolutely right anout the indoor vs outdoor riding controversies.  They continued right up to the end in the mid-twentieth century.  Some believed that it was a false dichotomy, but others dug in and stuck in the mud.

Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 11th, 2008 10:42 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David:

Still thinking about your drawing, and at something of a disadvantage because unlike you and DD, I am very far from an expert on either anatomy or bio mechanics.  Therefore, I offer the following sort of tentatively, in the way of discussion:
  1. The Philips saddle may indeed bridge, but bridging was one of the problems it was trying to solve.  The old McClellan with fore-and-aft rigging leading to a centerfire cincha had bridging problems, that were recognized by the army.  They changed tree shape more than once without solving it.  Finally the equipment boards recommended what we would now call a cross-country saddle.  Various patterns were tried and found wanting.  The Philips was the last and most successful, and did very well in rigorous trials.  However due to the build up of excess quantities of 1904 pattern McClellans for the Great War, the switch was nixed on grounds of economy.  Instead, in the 1928 modification, the M1904 Mac was modified by having its rigging clipped off, and changed for a billet and girth system.  This was more convenient and also helped with the bridging problem but did not eliminate it. 
  2. The army's field tests and practical use of the saddle involved extensive daily riding both in garrison and in the field.  By the time of the Philips, the thousands of miles a year of the old cavalry were a thing of the past, but these guys still lived in the saddle -- and the Philips worked well for man and horse.
  3. Not shown in the portions of the drawings that I posted is the extensive stuffing of the saddle.  Like most cross-country saddles, the Philips is very extensively fitted with wool-stuffed, leather covered pads that rest on the horse's back.  These conform to the individual back.  So, it is not quite the same as having a void along part of the back.
Anyway, I am certainly not making claims for the Phillips or recommending it to anybody, just along with you puzzling through the construction and apparent success  of the saddle.

Joe

Last edited on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 10:45 pm by Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 11th, 2008 11:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

As per Caprilli; he is a good marker in time that shows us when certain bio-mechanical principals began to be more widely understood in Europe and the US.  He himself wrote rather little, and he did not develop the "forward" concept from the whole cloth, either.  DD doubtless knows the history better than I, but to start the story late in the game and without preamble, what was going on was that some foxhunters, steeple chasers and flat racers were changing their seat to get better results.  The most famous was an American jockey named Tod Sloane,  an international celebrity who won races in what the British called a Monkey Crouch -- similar to what all of today's jockeys ride.  Caprilli observed well, had great powers of deduction. and had the guts and the ability to change completely the training and riding aproach at one of the main cavalry training schools in Italy.  Once his guys started showing their stuff, the world took notice, but not, as DD remarked, without a fight. 

Somewhere I have photos of cavalry horsemen befoe and after what everyone now calls the "Caprilli" revolution.  It is quite a dramatic change.  I also have images of the cavalry officers of several nations, each jumping in his nation's own version of the forward seat.  If I can lay hands on them in the clutter that I call a collection, I'll try to post some.

Joe

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 12th, 2008 12:33 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe, just look in "Principles of Conformation Analysis." There's a chapter in there that touches on the subject of what the so-called "forward seat" was all about -- it was not about getting forward, but rather about getting off the horse's loins. In the book I supply a series of drawings that are tracings of Caprilli's own men, beginning with troopers riding in the "back seat", then progressively in a semi-back, semi-forward, and full-forward seats. So just as you say, Joe, Caprilli experimented, beginning with what was the received wisdom of the time, then progressively going farther and farther, to try to find the position that gave the best results.

As to Tod Sloane: I am not absolutely sure whether he preceded Caprilli. He may have -- I'll have to look that up. Whether it was him or not, it is true that Caprilli was not absolutely the first, but sort of "embodied" or "focused" a trend that was already being tried by outdoor-type riders. I think Caprilli and the Italian cavalry were, however, the first to realize that the "forward" seat had strategic implications in a military context. In fact there was some effort to keep it a secret -- that didn't last long, but you could readily imagine why.

And yes, during the period of transition, which lasted right up into the Mexico Olympics in the 1960's, there was distinct variation among the nations as to the "interpretation" of the "forward" seat, i.e. German vs. Argentinian vs. Italian vs. American, and so forth.

You know, folks, I am currently at work on revising and upgrading our existing website -- Lord knows it needs it. And one of the things I'm going to do is go back and include a feature we had 'way back in our very first incarnation in 1996 -- a section entitled "What Should I Read", which is an annotated list of books from my library which I would recommend to students of horsemanship. In compiling and upgrading the old list, I recently went entirely through all my books, and you know, I can't think of one that focuses on the history of the development of the "forward" seat. Gianoli's and H-H. Isenbart's big tomes come the closest. Somebody needs to link Chenevix-Trench's observations to Caprilli's -- it would make a fascinating topical book. Too bad old J.A. Allen is out of business -- no new titles -- it's the sort of thing he would readily have published.

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 12th, 2008 10:15 am
 Quote  Reply 
Actually, I have been carefully -- and therefore slowly -- studying Principals ever since I got them several months ago and I do understand about getting off the loins.  The other aspect of forward seat and of the variable inclination of the body was, if I understand correctly, to move the balance of the rider flexibly in order to keep it close to the center of balance of the horse -- which changes dynamically depending on what the animal is doing.  This was a big shift away from "rocking horse" theory.

As a sidebar, that vast genius, Newton, would never have given a moment's credence to the equine theories that claimed to follow his ideas.

Anyway, back on point, I have Caprilli here in translation, and will now have to go back and reread  with greater comprehension.  Actually, many things that I have known for some time as bits of information are starting to jell.  There was as you pointed out, a big battle running battle between "indoor" and "outdoor" riding, and between "natural" balance and "artificial" balance.  This was NOT a good-natured, clubby sort of discussion at all, and it ran throughout the Western European and US horse world.  I begin to see now that while the "natural" balance advocated including Caprilli were on the right track, they lacked full understanding of the "ring of muscles," and therefore of the whys and wherefores of what they were observing, and consequently of the best possible approaches to training -- although it must be said that they accomplished remarkable things nonetheless.  The top US riders, as they trended away from being completely French influenced and developed the Ft. Riley seat and techniques, were very good indeed.

I am with you on Tod Sloane.  He may well be more a recognizable point or focus than a true original.  However, because of his international fame, and because the British had never before seen his style on the racetrack, he did forward the "bio-mechanics revolution," to coin a phrase.  

It is hard so say whether he was a direct influence on Caprilli after all.  I went and looked both of them up and found that Sloan was THE dominant jockey in the  1890s, and stopped cold in 1901 when the British accused him of betting on his races (a charge that was posthumeously retracted). Caprilli was developing his theories at about the same time.  He was, as Dave said, removed from a teaching position in the Italian Cavalry because of his approach, but then reinstated.  He demonstrated at the 1906 Olympics, and died in 1907 when his horse slipped on icy cobblestones.

Whatever other influences Caprilli may have had, he said he learned by observing unmounted horses moving and juming the the field, and by photographing their shapes over jumps.  The camera, especially as film and shutter speeds increased was a very important key to unlocking biomechanics and indeed the study of all kinds of motion.

So, I guess it is possible that Caprilli was influenced by SLoan, or it is also possible that both were arriving at similar conclusions at about the same time.  Someone may know, but I don't and sources I consulted dom't discuss it.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 12th, 2008 12:56 pm
 Quote  Reply 
    My quest has been for a nice clean line of evolution in saddlery.  This journey has lead to one dead end after another which brings me to a few critical conclusions in the understanding of saddle design. Firstly, saddle design of the past has been primarily a product of the wants of man with little regard to the needs of the horse.  Any concession made to the needs of the horse were done out of practical necessity to get the human what they desired.  Secondly, the designs were and are being greatly influenced by the numerous incomplete models of how the horse moves.  These models are spread throughout time and geography creating a spider web of development. Because of this we cannot create a clean time line of development in saddlery.  The best we can do is ask, in any time or geography, where and how they believe you should sit and look backwards to discover the thoughts of the time and geography that created the design of the equipment.   
    It is interesting that it could be argued that a Brida rider would have to have more feel than Jineta rider because he is operating contrary to the biomechanics of the horse.  It is also interesting to realize we are now entering a new and exciting chapter in the world of equipment design.  With concepts of reverse engineering being explored and developed we now can define the realities of equine biomechanics and reverse engineer the equipment to suit both the man and the horse.
Joe,
I did not point out the tab to say that it was bridging.  I just wanted to make the point that the arches were originally there to dig into the horse.   It looks like they shortened the arch to reduce the problem. I think is also important to understand that you can have parts of a saddle digging in without bridging occurring.  Bridging is a product of not enough rock in the underside of the saddle.  This lack can be due to incompatibility of horse shape and saddle shape but it can also be a product of the training process. So an interesting question to ponder is if the cavalry was trying to solve a problem in their training program through the equipment?
I also understood that there were panels that were not pictured but you see how the thinking goes. Build the tree for the human and make it work on the horse with stuffing a panel. It is built from the butt down.
Deb,
You mentioned a period of transition for the forward seat but I think we need to be clear that there have been many periods of transition when it comes to riding.  It seems like a giant ping pong game throughout the ages.
David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 12th, 2008 03:31 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

There is no clear line, because there are multiple lines that have cross-pollinated only occasionally. You habitually use Iberian/Spanish terms to discuss saddles.  You are of course, correct,  However, people from outside that tradition have for the most part, never heard the terms., although balance and bio-mechanics are what they are, regardless of terminology.

One of the points of cross-pollination, or of collision, if you will, between riding traditions, was in the American west.  It must be said that more crossed from the Spanish world to the Anglo-American world than the other way, of course.  However, what did cross was often misunderstood.  My study of nineteenth century saddles and of the reasoning the lead to their adoption suggests that the Spanish/Mexican saddle crossed over to El Norte primarily because of its utility in travel and work, especially cattle work.  It was subsequently both improved and bastardized by the Norte Americanos.

In another thread, we looked at ring bits.  DD posted a picture of the real thing from the Spanish tradition.  I posted one of a mid-19th century US Cavalry ring bit.  The Cavalry bit is clearly the result of imitation without understanding.  Unlike the Mexican bit, it is cruel and dangerous.  Similar things happened with saddlery.  However, at the same time, there were improvements made.

During this time and into the 20th century, lots of saddle designs were tried and rejected by various sources.  Having read some of the reports of the most systematic triers of saddles -- the Cavalry Equipment Boards -- I must disagree with your assessment that saddles were built from the person down without regard for the horse.  In fact, quite the contrary was happening.  For the cavalry, life itself depended on the condition of the horse.  Some saddle design were rejected or modified because the saddles broke down under field conditions, but most improvements were made with the express intention of preserving horseflesh and keeping the animals in condition.  Similarly, most elements of military equitation had directly to do either with the welfare of the horse, or the necessities of riding in a way that would permit the transportation and use of weapons.   The areas pertaining specifically to the horse were strictly enforced.  For example, in the armies of the War Between the States, slumping in the saddle was a matter for strict discipline,  Why?  Not for reasons of military appearance, but rather because it was understood that horses could not well bear dead weight, especially when pushed back on the cantle.  British mounted tropps, Cavalry and Dragoons, took very good care of horses by the lights of the time.  Horses generally fared better and more sympathetically than troopers.

Each design that was adopted was tried in the field, and then issued (or not) on a provisional basis. It received thousands of miles and hundreds of days of use and evaluation, the results of which were then considered when decisions were made as to the wider issuance of a particular model, and also of new designs.  Without looking at a reference to be absolutely sure, I can think of about 15 significant saddle modifications or completely new designs that were tried over a 100 year period.

One thing that never happened in the cavalry was to plan for a look or a "seat" and develop "down" from there.  That is a malignant post WW2 civilian phenominon that took hold when there was no practical need for horses and they became mere accessories to sport and vanity.  We certainly see it in all its hideous glory today.  However, when people knew horses and depended on them for life itself, the attempt was made to suit the saddle to the animal.

If all that is true, and if the primary consideration was the horse, why did so many designs fail?  Ignorance, mostly.  Well-meaning ignorance.  Much of great value was known then about horses that is now largely lost, but bio-mechanics was not generally understood.  In the US, as well, there was a disconnect of about 60 ears, when our officers were not trained in Europe, and had little training here.  They were just expected to know what they were doing, but many did not.

In the early 20th century, American officers began to be sent to the French cavalry school at Saumar.  A few also observed and took training at other schools, including Caprilli's at Tor di Quinto.  They were being brought up the scale rapidly at the same time that the "bio-mechanics revolution," was just starting to take hold.  Subsequent saddle designs reflected that. If they knew then what you and DD know now, they would have done better yet.

Oddly, even today I hear the most outrageous misunderstandings of various kinds of saddles and bitting used by "other" traditions being expressed by reasonably competent and informed horsemen and women.  The cross pollination is not yet near complete, and it has degenerated under the influence of fashion.

Cheers!

Joe


David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 11:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
   Gross generalizations are seldom accurate but they can serve to create wonderful responses.  I habitually use the Spanish terms for two reasons. One they actually named the styles and two I think it can be argued that worldwide they had the greatest influence.  It is also no doubt true that I can broaden my perspective and your replies are helping me do that.  
      I said; “with little regard to the needs of the horse” so keep in mind that was a gross generalization so let me clarify what I mean. The emphasis has been on keeping the horse sound so it can continue to serve.  In other words  The human had to adapt to the realities of the horse to get what they wanted  but  there was not , that I know of,  a horse up approach where there was a systematic approach to the biomechanics that would lead to a reverse engineering mind set.  I think this is a new mind set just coming into being now and it could very much be that the works of the people you are looking at were the beginning of this.
 You have mentioned the McClellan’s in way that suggested that it did not work.  They actually have good design from the horse up perspective. I can’t  totally make that judgment  without actually seeing  the tree shape against the horses  shapes  that they were being  used at the time but I can say the bar design and rigging are of sound design.  One thing that is notable is the width of the bar which eliminates that dead space that I highlighted on the drawing above.  From the human side of the equation I would not call it good design.  The other element that would have to be looked at is if they had more than one shape of bar. We have to ask if the criteria they were shooting for was to have a single shaped saddle fit everything in the herd.  So I can see the McClellan’s failing on two levels;  One  the discomfort of the rider would lead to poor horsemanship and two the shape of the bars would limit the success to only the compatible back types.
The reason I say the Phillips and any other saddle made from an English type tree is built from the human down is because the tree is designed for the human not the horse.  I have not found anything in history to the contrary but I am open to changing my position if presented with evidence to the contrary.
If you go look at in Conquerors on page 116 figure 9.2 you will see a picture of a Chinese saddle that is an example of a saddle that is built from both the horse up and the human down.  It is literally a marriage of the horse up tree style (Jineta) with the Human down tree (Brida).   Ironically one of  oldest saddles may be the future of saddle design where the arches  of the Brida  style that were once there to dig into the horse will be used to  lock the seat tree into the horse tree.
David Genadek

Attachment: chinesesaddle.jpg (Downloaded 464 times)

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 12:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Well, right about generalizations, and my answers are not the best worded definitive kinds of things, either.

You are on the right track about McClellans.  They WERE designed almost purely with the horse in mind, even to weight, but it was a utilitarian approach, because the horse WAS transportation.  Nobody would ever have fooled with them except for food if it were not for transportation.  The big failing of the Mac was that it does not fit all kinds of backs, just as you say, but the Army has to have standardized and interchangable equipment.  There were also problems in the field as well-fitted animals lost flesh.  Another problem with some animals was that the rigging caused brdging and fore and aft digging in.

There were also various problems with construction and standing up the the elements after repeated wettings and dryings in the field under the western sun, that were a struggle from the beginning.  Many modifications, both official and field were made to try to cope with this problem.

FWIW, I learned to ride in McClellans, and they are not that hard to get used to and quite a decent ride thereafter.  IN my teens I spent hundreds of hours in them.  They actually encourage a balanced seat -- a very good thing.  I have in my collection five of the Mac variations, plus the Mexican version, although I don't ride them (except for the Mexican).  It is pretty interesting stuff.

As to COl. Phillips and his M1936 saddle that I illustrated -- Phillips may indeed have failed in his intent, but he was trying to build for the horse, just as he did with his acclaimed pack saddle.  If he failed, it was from ignorance of some of the biomechanics that we now understand, and not because he was more concerned about the rider.

It should be noted, though, that thousands of officers and their mounts had very good experiences with the Phillips, so while it might be sub-optimal (and I take your word on that), it was not a bad saddle. 

Joe

OH, FWIW, I have seen old Chinese saddles, including one belonging to a 17th century emperor, but it was through glass so I couldn't tell much about the construction.  I do have Conquerors, though.

J

Last edited on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 12:19 pm by Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 12:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

I wonder your thoughts on the British Universal Pattern of 1902 tree that I also posted?

J

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 07:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
 Which one is it ?  I can't read them.
David

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 07:12 pm
 Quote  Reply 
It was part of a July 31st post.  The post is still there, but the image is gone.  it is a very different kind of saddle -- a sling seat from iron arches.

J

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 07:14 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Like the trooper saddles?

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 07:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I just sent a link to your business email.

J

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 20th, 2008 09:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
After looking at some of the other saddles you have sent me to I must say you have convinced me that my thinking needed to be expanded.  So here we go:
A saddle will fit to the degree that the most rigid element with in the saddle is in harmony with the shape of the horses back.  
      Consider fitting a rigid form to a pillow and then sticking a big rock on it. If the rigid form is the inverse shape of the pillow it will distribute the weight of the rock over a broad area of the pillow and thus limit the impact of the rocks weight  on the pillow.  On the other hand if the weight bearing form  had peaks and valleys the weight of the rock would amplify the pressure in those areas.  
If we think back to our four choices of fit :
Fit the horse and fit the rider.
Fit the horse but not the rider
Fit the rider but not the horse
Fit  neither the rider or the horse.
We can take a fresh look at them and  assume that throughout history  all peoples had a desire to fit both horse and human and that the saddle fitting failures through out history have been a result of  a lack of understanding of the physics.  
       All saddles have a tree. A tree being the structure that creates the shape of the saddle . Trees can be broken into three elements; the element that fits the horse , the element that fits the rider  and the element that bonds the two together or as I have referred to it before, the space in between. Each of these three elements has a choice of materials that can be either Rigid or Flexible which gives us the following choices in saddle design.
Horse    Transition space     Human
Rigid           Rigid                    Rigid
Rigid           Rigid                  Flexible
Rigid          Flexible                Rigid
Rigid          Flexible               Flexible
Flexible     Flexible               Flexible
Flexible       Rigid                   Flexible
Flexible      
Rigid                    Rigid
Flexible      Flexible                Rigid
 
  So here in lies the rub, on any design where the there is a rigid on top of a flexible the shape of the rigid elements will determine the fit.   If that shape is out of harmony with the horses’ body it will cause problems.  This is why I came the conclusion that English style saddles are built from the human down  and that they did not care about  the horse.  I see now that they may have cared, but just did not understand the physics.
Clearly, in material choices there is a continuum from flexible to rigid so we can see vast array of  designs  but looking out in the real world what would be some real life examples of the above choices?
David Genadek

Last edited on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 09:29 pm by David Genadek

Annie F
Member


Joined: Wed May 2nd, 2007
Location: Princeton, New Jersey USA
Posts: 62
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 20th, 2008 09:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave,

This is fascinating!  I have been searching for a saddle so this discussion has been so timely--lucky me!  I have a clarifying question.

I do not see how the transition space can be either "flexible" or "rigid" except as a function of the element that fits the horse and the element that fits the rider. 

E.g. if both those elements are rigid, how could the space between them be flexible?  If both are flexible, then how could the space between them be rigid?  If one element is flexible and one rigid, then it seems like it would be uncertain whether the space would be flexible or rigid--or would one side or the other usually dominate?  Perhaps I am just not understanding or visualizing"the space between them" properly?  Or do you mean the materials or structure between them, instead of the space between them?

Annie

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 20th, 2008 10:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I dunno, Dave, but then I really don't have anything like an expert grasp on the physics of equine locomotion.  Also it seems to me that the action of the intermediate material can be pretty complex.  Your son and mine recently went to architecture school.  At Auburn, where mine went, they had a freshman contest to use rigid materials -- Popsicle sticks and some fastening method, to make an egg case that could keep the egg from breaking when dropped.  They tested at successive heights.  Now in that case, you had rigid/rigid, but you also had crush space and shock absorption.

I am kind of thinking out loud here into the keyboard -- because I sure don't kow the answer but think it an interesting question.  The panels on at least the better made "english" saddles conform to the backand distribute weight along their lengths.  There may still be pressure points, I grant you...  I also think about backpack design for humans, where with the good ones, weight is distributed, sure enough, but it is also channeled to the points that can best carry it. 

However, before I think further on this, can yo clarify what you mean when you say the person or the horse is rigid?

Joe

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 12:32 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave, you're getting an A+ from me also on, first, conceiving of all saddles as interfaces between the surface that fits the person's butt (the surface that looks upward) and the surface that fits the horse's back (the surface that looks downward). I'm sure you recall a discussion we had years ago where I said, sure would be neat if we could manufacture saddles like they were all injection-molded -- like you wouldn't think of it as a tree with bars connected to arches, but just an odd-shaped solid piece of plastic. And wouldn't it be neat if we could take a big knife and make a big horizontal slice through the whole saddle, so that we would then separate the seat from the surface that meets the horse's back. And then we could make them interchangeable, like they could have an I-beam that you slide in, so that Mamma could have her seat, and Daddy could have his seat, and the kids could have theirs, and they all ride the family horse with the same "horse part". But when Daddy rides he puts his seat on the thing, and when Mom rides she puts hers, and when the kids ride they put theirs. Or you could have also different seats for jumping vs. flat work, just clip them on.

You recall that your reply to me at that time was, yes that WOULD be neat but nobody's factory is tooled up to do it!

BUT -- it DOES provide us with a basis for thinking. So your other A+ comes in for making the chart and being the first to recognize that the "interface" between the upward-facing part and the downward-facing part is extremely important. And this is where your question comes in, Annie. Visualize this -- silly though it is -- what if you made the interface be a set of springs. Or what if you made it be gel. Or what if you made it be epoxy. Or what if you made it be a fiberglass I-beam. Or what if you made it be wood. All of these materials have different properties that would affect the ride. The springs in your mattress are the exact same thing: the interface between the pillow-top and the floor! So our problem here is no different, except that the LOWER surface being fitted is a complex set of curved surfaces rather than a plane.

And Joe, just as an aside: you know the egg-drop contest for engineering students is a campus classic. It started at my alma mater, the Univ. Michigan at A-squared. There, at the southeast corner of the main campus quad, there is a brick archway that you walk under if you're headed for the library. There is a stairwell inside this arch that allows you to go up on top of the arch, which is no more than 20 ft. high. The engineering school started this contest to find a way to pack the egg so that when you dropped it off the arch, it wouldn't break. The all-time, runaway consistent winner is to push the egg down into a plastic jar of peanut butter....so there you go, Dave, the "ideal" interface material! The only problem is it draws mice!

The logical possibilities set forth in your chart are the normal basis for diagnosis of a complex case in medicine, for solving a murder mystery (winning the game of "Clue"), for succeeding with Rubik's Cube, for opening a four-dial combination lock, or in any circumstance where all the logical possibilities need to be set forth. Your realization that the most rigid element in the system will be the governing element in the system is also correct. Joe sees that "rigidity" in construction materials is not a problem, but what is "rigidity" in a horse? Muscular tension. What is "rigidity" in a rider? The same.

This is why, as Dave has said again and again, you cannot fit a horse well, or get any saddle to fit him all the time, if the horse is crooked and tense -- in other words, if the rider hasn't mastered "Woody", "True Collection", and "Birdie". And no rider can ride without bouncing -- hammering on the horse's back -- who does not know and understand her own anatomy as per "Who's Built Best to Ride". The rider has to know how to release her waist, how to stack up the anatomical blocks of which she herself is made, and this is best set forth in Sally Swift's books. While having a rock sit on top of the horse is bad, it's worse if the very motion of the horse tosses the rock upwards with each trot or canter step, only to have it crash down on him again repeatedly.

Dave has visited my place and knows that it is surrounded by large trees. In this dry weather we've been having, the trees go deep and suck up all the moisture they can -- more than normal. This makes the limbs heavier than normal, and this is when they are most likely to break off and come crashing down. In an old shed that I've been cleaning out, we found a vintage-1920's hospital ward bed -- the kind that has mechanical cranks that will raise the bed under the patient's chest or knees. Out of one of my incense-cedars two days ago, a branch not less than nine inches thick came crashing down. Its fall was broken to some extent by lower branches, but the thing fell from 25 ft. up and it weighs at least 300 lbs. And, naturally, I had that old bed sitting out in the yard and dang if the log didn't fall RIGHT onto it. And you know what? It didn't bend the bed! But it DID drive the legs of the bed six inches into the ground! This is what Dave means by saying "....if the weight-bearing form had peaks and valleys, the weight of the rock would amplify the pressure." In terms of saddles: if your saddle is bridging -- exactly what a bed does -- it's as if it's standing on the horse's back on four "legs". So here's the real-world example Dave asked for: just visualize what a rigid rider, a heavy rider, or an ill-fitting saddle is doing to your horse's back!

We need to have equipment that fits well; we need to have a horse that is calm, supple, straight, and round; and we need to ride as well as possible.

An excellent discussion. -- Dr. Deb

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 01:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
   Here is a an improved chart that I beleave I have made things  clearer with.

    Let us take a look at  the egg drop. That was high school project here and we really got  in to it!  The ground is the horse the popsicle sticks would be the tree or frame work that would interface with the ground. The space between popcycle sticks and the egg would be the transistion space.  The egg shell would be the framework that held the inside of the egg which would be like the rider.

Annie,
    As Deb mentioned the space in between could be filled with a material like peanut butter or it could be just air as in the case of saddles with suspended seats.

Deb,
     I knew that old bed could be good for something! I do remember our conversation which was close to 20 years ago.  So it took me a while to connect the dots.

   To further add to Deb's comments in regard to straightness I will relay a conversation I had with Liz a few weeks ago in my quest to understand what creates the shapes of the horses back in movement.  I got on all fours and told Liz I was a horse  train me.  This was all strictly professional.  My expectation was that she would be riding me for some time. Here is how it went down.
1. She made me straight
2. She got me to engage my hind quarter
3. She grabbed my head and made me lift the root of my neck
4. she asked me to go forward
5. she made me bend in the rib cage
 I said; "What is  next?"
Liz said: "Thats it, everything else is a combination of those five things"

      When a horse is properly ridden you are controlling the shape of the horses  body so you have then set limits on the composite shape of the movement making saddle fitting a reasonable possability. Steps 2 through five cannot happen with out step 1, straightness. If you don't have the ability to direct these five things with in the horse
you will have saddle fitting issues. This is the root of the frustration in saddle design. How can you design a rigid form to distribute forces if the range of shapes is constantly shifting?  You can't so then you move to flexible materials.
David Genadek

Attachment: materialtable.jpg (Downloaded 371 times)

leca
Member


Joined: Fri Jul 4th, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 06:56 pm
 Quote  Reply 
gosh this is interesting.   So the rider controls the shape of the horse... yes that bit is obvious.  But Im wondering then.....that seems to indicate that a saddle that fits one horse with one rider may not fit the same horse with a different rider.  No wonder school horses get sore!!

Last edited on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 06:56 pm by leca

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 07:05 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Absolutely, Leca. This has certainly been my experience with school horses -- because who can't think of the poor horse who has to put up with the beginner who bangs and bounces? And yet they're there to learn and to try to improve. Thus we choose schoolies partly on the basis of durability. They don't need spectacular gaits, but they do need a placid temperament and a wide, strong back. AND tack that fits as well as possible under a good rider (which means it will fit "as well as possible" -- even if that means less well -- under a clumsy rider).

This has also been my experience with enduro riding, back in my younger days. Somebody would loan me a horse with "whatever" tack, and many times I would be able to bring the horse in without sores, without a sore back, even though I knew the tack didn't fit the horse ideally and also did not fit me ideally. A good rider learns to adapt everything that she might be doing so as to relieve the horse. Joe may tell us something about this with the cavalry, too; I think they also tried to teach recruits some things that would help on this, and I also think they had regulations and practices when they made a cross-country march that were intended to be such that they gave the horses relief.

ALL horses, no matter how well the tack fits and no matter how good the rider is, need to be relieved for a few minutes every two hours. Ideally this would mean stopping and taking the tack off, letting the horse put its head down to graze, and staying at rest long enough for the back to dry off somewhat or at least cool down if it's a hot day. The main thing though is they need to stretch their head down, which relieves both the neck and the back. The horse's neck gets fatigued, too, when being ridden, just as much as the back. -- Dr. Deb

 

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 11:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Indeed, all cavalries developed policies for resting horses.  Some, particularly the British, used a clock system -- so many minutes of this gait, so many of that, and so many of soldiers dismounted walking next to their mounts.  There were also prescribed break and water periods.  What we now call snaffels or bridoons were generally called watering bits by the 19th century cavalry.  They would remove the bridle, and hook the "watering bit" to the halter to take the animal to be watered.

It was well understood that posture in a saddle had a huge impact on the horse.  Dead weight, especially towards the cantle, was known to be harmful, so slumping was a matter of discipline.  Bouncing was known to be harmful.  In normal times, troops were trained to have a good basic seat with a base of support, good posture, supple back and loins, and independent following hands.  In wartime, some of this was neglected.

As Dr. Deb has said, the cavalry usually represented the best in general horsemanship in a culture.  This is because, as I have pointed out, life itself and the fate of nations depended on the horses.  Of course, the nobility and to a growing extent, the gentry were often schooled well beyond the basic cavalry trooper, and for obvious reasons.  It was neither affordable nor practical for troopers to fool with the high school.

On the other hand, especially in the 19th century, the British and Americans faced endurance riding the like of which no European stock has ever seen before or since (as the Mongols and Indians -- the greatest of long distance horse warriors -- had cultures that allowed for much lighter travel).   The British in Africa and the US and Canadians in the North American west faced thousands of miles a year under very tough circumstances.  They learned a great deal about preserving horseflesh that has now been lost because never recorded in writing.

Apropos of this thread, one change was to have a saddle that would not only work in the garrison, but also two months into scout, when the horses weighed far less tan at the start.  And I did say "worked."  They had to make the best of things, they had no access to substitute tack, and few options for modification..

However, no one really understood equine biomechanics very well, any more than they understood veterenary medicine, so things that look uncaring, outlandish or negligent now were simply matters of ignorance at the time.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Sep 5th, 2008 09:35 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Well my computer was dieing so I had to take some time and build a new one. After  one bad mother board and moving all my data bases sucessfully I'm back on line with my new machine. With a Quad core,8gigs of ram and a terabyte of storage, you all should be able to read my posts at blazing speeds now.

I've been thinking about the history of saddlery development  a bit. Clearly whoever was the military power of the time was the one leading the way in saddle design. Interestingly enough It seems China was the first in line and looking at some of the British designs they are about the same.  Makes you wonder how innovative any of us really are. It is also clear that there are many threads of developement. How would those of you who have studied history  lay out these threads? Where did they start and move to.  Did we go from China to Greece to Spain to Britian to the USA which then dropped the ball due to the industrial revolution?

Darn new machine still doesn't help me spell one bit!

David Genadek

Obie
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 28th, 2007
Location: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posts: 54
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 10th, 2008 01:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hello Dave ,

I have in my posession a western saddle from a friend of mine. She is interested in selling it. I am trying to get any info I can about this particular saddle. Hoping anyone can help as I did not have any luck on-line.

The logo on the front part of the saddle reads Kahle & So Maker  San Diego CA. It has a pretty flat seat  with a substantial size horn and swell and a very low cantel back to it. The stirrups appear to hang pretty well in relation to the lowest part of the seat...(which is not that easy to distinguish as seat is flat)  There is a 2 ring rigging on it (not built into the skirt), they are attached by a horizontal leather piece. The skirt has a round back to it and as it moves towards the front it cuts up under the stirrup leather and round back down again to the front.

It appears to be a fairly heavy saddle ...guessing about 35 lbs or so.

Does anyone know anything about this type of saddle or where I could go to find any info on-line would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Linda D

 

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 08:51 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Linda,

    That is not a name I'm familier with but I'm not much of a collector. You might want to see if you can find a site of western saddle collectors and or contact some old horse folks in San Diago.  As you know all saddlemakers are the best in the world despite this few have reputations out side of a small geographic area.

David Genadek

rifruffian
Member
 

Joined: Mon Mar 17th, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 12:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
35lbs for a saddle!!

Obie
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 28th, 2007
Location: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posts: 54
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 01:12 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am not sure of the weight guessing about that probably weighs less than that. I must have been feeling weak that day. In the UK you probably weigh by kilos?? In the US we weigh things by pounds(lbs).It is not a currency, maybe that is what is confusing? Anyway..

Linda D

rifruffian
Member
 

Joined: Mon Mar 17th, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 02:04 pm
 Quote  Reply 
confused, no....surprised, yes.

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 10:12 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Been busy and on the road a lot of late, so didn't see this post until now.

Your question is very interesting.  I really can't answer it.  However, I can offer some general observations:
  1. Saddle design didn't really spread from the dominant power at a time, but rather from the dominant culture in a place.
  2. That said, while cultures had their preferred styles of riding, saddles were very much  military technology, on which life depended.  Therefore, military horsemen, schools of riding, and organized cavalries were always looking for better, more effective ways of doing things (this has changed now, because the only broad use of horses is for sport -- much less demanding, and with only egos at stake rather than life itself).
  3. This constant search for better technology lead the 19th century British to adopt the Universal Pattern (from the eastern European hussars), and the Americans to adopt the McClellan ( from the Spanish southwest, with a nod to eastern Europe).  Neither saddle was the ultimate answer, and so was further modified or supplanted.
  4. The industrial revolution didn't halt saddle evolution.  Rather, it changed saddle making processes.  For example, more and more mortises and shapes were done with rotary tools.  However, it wasn't until the automobile was thoroughly established in the 1940s that horses phased out of the US army, and there new saddle designs and modifications considered and even adopted right up to the early '40s. 
It surprises most people to know that the German army in WW2 was far more dependent on hoses than on motor vehicles.  German propaganda stressed tanks and aircraft, but the German reality was hundreds of thousands of horse drawn carts, wagons, and gun carriages. 

We, on the other hand, were truly mechanized.  Yet, the Cavalry School at Ft. Riley was still in reduced operation until the early 1950s.  We should all be grateful for this, because it was those old boys, trained at Riley at its peak, during that very small period of years near the end when Riley was the best in the world, who preserved and transmitted horsemanship in America.  Had the school closed during the depression, when nobody had income for sport riding, American horsemanship would be much reduced today.

Joe

Last edited on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 10:13 am by Joe

Vickie
Member
 

Joined: Thu Feb 7th, 2008
Location: Coaldale, Alberta Canada
Posts: 19
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 12:35 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Linda

I just wanted to let you know about a saddle museum in Sheridan WY.  They have a large collection of the old saddles, it could help.

Oh and by the way 35 lbs is not a lot for a western saddle.

Vickie

Obie
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 28th, 2007
Location: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posts: 54
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 11:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks Vickie,

I will see what I can do with your info

and Dave,s too.

I really like the looks of this saddle, too bad it doesn't fit my horse. It is a very comfortable saddle.

Linda D-

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 05:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Marne,

Consider joining ESI. A subscription gift this year is a fabulous double CD audio lesson set on the basics of ground work. I bet you'd enjoy trying them with your horse. Me and my horses JUST LOVE how much they've helped us understand each other better.

Miriam

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Oct 17th, 2008 11:36 am
 Quote  Reply 
Marne,

    Sam was the horse that began to open my eyes to the reality that saddle fit is about shape not just width.  I remember how I thought he was a funny shape and after we did all the work and got a tree to fit I took the tree to into a big Arab barn and low and behold it fit nearly every horse in the barn. I called that bar the A bar for Arab but soon found it fit a lot of Quarter horses and of course you couldn't tell them they needed an arab bar so it became our #2 bar. The journey continues.

David Genadek

Marne
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 18th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Oct 17th, 2008 12:53 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave,

I can JUST imagine the flak you would get telling them it is an ARAB bar...

I just bought a really NICe Quarterhorse mare that is 10...she is such a pleasure to ride compared to KNIGHT. But much to my surprise I discovered your saddle fits her perfectly also! So I get this email this morning saying you added to the post and read that exact find...  LOL and I totally agree with you...they would never hear of that bar being called an Arab bar.  Sad but so true!!  I again have ridden her on two nice long rides and not a sore spot in this old body either or hers! ...so your saddle is not only taking care of her back but also ME!!!

 I am again so thankful that you listened to me complain and tried to help fix Sam's problem saddle fit. 

I think we will try to bring him out of retirement  at 29 as we talked and see if he does ok with Tim riding him gently on the road with us.  Too bad we don't have another saddle like yours...Tim doesn't fit my saddle ....so will try and adapt my other saddle to fit Sam. Any good suggestions will be nice...but it might be a lot closer fitting than I expect as it also is really one of the better saddles I have owned and worked well on our other Quarterhorse cross ( whose back was also  really very similar to this new mare )  that we lost this spring at the ripe old age 32.  Thankyou again for your time and patience with me. 

Marne Peterson


DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 11:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Donald, have you ever looked at Sally Swift's 'Centered Riding', or met the lady? -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 01:14 am
 Quote  Reply 
Don, I don't have much patience with someone who has not reviewed Sally Swift's work. You need to go study that. Her approach, which is the correct one, is that you need to be aware of yourself. You stack bodyparts, learning to maintain balance and thus global muscular release.

Your description of your own seat is from the Dark Ages. I do not want my students to learn, from you or from anyone, to pinch or grip with their knees, or to cock their ankles inward or in any other manner to strain, or to "hold" themselves in any position. There IS no "position". There is only dynamics, and that is an entirely individual matter.

How you stay on a horse is you just sit. And by "just sit", obviously, we are not talking about sitting in a chair -- so let's not do any reductio ad absurdum, OK? When you "just sit" on a horse, you sit as the horse's back asks you to sit, i.e. as over a barrel. The whole idea is to learn to find relaxed balance while doing just that.

The main factor that enables you, Don, to stay on your horse, whether he's bucking, calm, bareback, over jumps, or whatever else you do, is that you can LAUGH when he bucks. In other words -- you ride by balance, by confidence, and by experience. You see -- you do not know yourself. This is why I insist that you go review "Centered Riding". Your seat, marvelous though you are telling us it is, will improve if you then learn to let go of the unnecessary and anti-functional cramping that you have THOUGHT, all these years, that you needed. My students don't need it, and I'll appreciate it if you don't mention those things, or try any more to teach them, here. -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 03:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
Don, once again: you are ignorant of the literature. Go look at Beaudant's work if you doubt that it is possible to sit in contact with the saddle in going over a jump. It is not a "recipe for disaster"; it's just not within the capability of most people, as Beaudant notes.

Yes, we know that what you are describing has been done for sixty years and more. That's why we need to stop doing it. Better ways have been explored extensively during the past twenty years, and before you go on with your POV -- in which I am not the least bit interested -- you need to do what I have told you, and go read and THINK.

And then, Don, you can come back here with questions rather than with any attempt to teach. Please do not post again until you have obeyed this request, which I make of all students and participants. -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 01:19 pm
 Quote  Reply 
People: I have shortened this thread by deleting all posts by the guy "who came over from the art of natural dressage forum".

How easily you are all led. What this guy has been doing is:

(1) Attempting to teach my class for me, when he has not even done the courtesy of reading the background literature. I do not welcome anyone in this Forum who takes it amiss when I tell them that they FIRST need to see where the teacher is coming from, before they rise and speak.

(2) I also do not tolerate people who are unwilling to ASK. The purpose of this Forum is for students to come and ask. I am the teacher here, and every person's questions should, at least at first, be directed to the teacher. There can also be discussion, which I gladly permit. But no person should ever come here with the idea that they are going to change my mind through argumentation. If a person has a different point of view, as far as I am concerned they are welcome to it; but to express that point of view, they will need to get their own Website and/or make use of some different forum -- not this one.

(3) And we should be suspicious also right from the git-go because he's pushing some riding style that touts itself to be "natural". There is no "natural" way to do dressage or anything else.

(4) Since the man in question is, in fact, coming from the Dark Ages as far as seat and position, why have you all listened to him? This is the reason that I have pulled not only his posts, which do nothing but harm, but also everyone else's posts back to the point just before he entered the Forum.

So students -- Have you, also, not read "Centered Riding" or made the effort to go meet some of their licensed instructors? How many times have I expressed in this Forum that it was due to their work that I became able to easily sit the trot or stay on through bucking, shying, etc.? The first necessity is that you KNOW YOURSELF -- this is what the Centered riding school teaches. There are, also, some downsides to that school, and I have also mentioned those here; but NOBODY who reads here should ever listen, even for one second, to anyone who tells you to cock your ankles inward, grip with the knee, or try to hold any "position" in the saddle. There is no position; there is only dynamics, which means feel and flow. The idea is to get to where you can go with the horse, as the old books say, "....through all changes of tempo, gait, terrain, and movement." -- Dr. Deb

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 03:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
     When I posted about the crooked stirrups my intent was to stimulate some positive discussion about bracing while riding.  I certainly did not expect a dissertation on the benefits of bracing your body while riding.  I was somewhat taken a back to see some of you were actually listening to it and taking it to heart.  Such practices make saddle fit impossible and endanger both horse and rider. Deb’s deleting of the posts is truly a public service as following these ideas could get you killed.

    On a positive note the exchange made some things clear to me. Of the fundamental question of how to sit, I can now see two distinct lines of thought based on what people perceive the base of the seat to be.  Those that believe you should brace in the saddle to secure yourself believe the foot is the base of the seat. Those that believe that security comes through moving with the dynamic motion of the horse believe the pelvis is the base of the seat.

    For those of you who are not sure which of these is correct, go sit on a bike and try to ride it with braced legs. Then consider that a horse has even more moving parts than a bicycle and would require an even greater range of motion in your legs.  Look at a bike and realize that it gives you the ability to move your legs because  your pelvis is resting on a level pillar that the allows the joints to move freely.  The saddle seat should be the same. It should just be a level platform for your pelvis that frees your joints to move with the horse.

    Tension is an enemy of balance.  For those of you who have never walked a tight rope, if there is any tension in your body the cable begins to wobble and you completely lose your ability to stay on. The only way to correct the situation is to relax and let the joints move freely and then your body will find its’ own balance. If you stay tense and try to balance you will soon find yourself on the ground.    

David Genadek

Marne
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 18th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 04:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am just a very unlearned diary farmers wife here...but have had a very interesting time learning here...not jsut about riding but about people too...

and all i can add mostly due to my lack of expertise in this  is  UFFDA!   :)   thankyou for allowing me the space to learn from all of you!   Marne Peterson

Apples
Member
 

Joined: Wed Dec 19th, 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 35
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 04:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 

So, I, as one who was "listening" was “taking to heart the bracing of the body”?  I really didn’t notice I had done that. Usually when I take things to heart, I’m aware of when I’m doing it. Thank you for pointing it out.  

I believe I had come to a specific, self-professed realization that began with the examination of an offset stirrup: i.e. I should not curl my feet inward as I ride and if I change that about myself, I relieve great deal of stress to my ankle. In the information presented, I took away that I could allow my foot to be in a more neutral position thus permitting my leg to drape more naturally. While it is good to know there are stirrups that may assist, the concept prompted me to experiment with my foot position which resulted in me weighting the whole of the part of the foot contacting the stirrup, not just the ‘outer ball’ of my foot. I spoke of my experience here and asked for feedback. I took no interest in the surrounding negativity as it had nothing to do with me.

I do struggle however, with how that became “taking to heart the bracing of the body”.  I  look for `gems`that relate to me and my situation and I get enthusiastic when I find one. Probably not such a good idea if it leads people to make assumptions about me that are inaccurate, probably even LESS of a good idea when there are negative undercurrents going on.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 10:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Apples, I'm not too sure what you're referring to as to taking bracing "to heart". I haven't said that to you, and you can ignore anything else.

If y'all go back -- WAY back -- to the 1980's, you will find in your back issues of EQUUS Magazine that I also publicly advocated the use of offset stirrups, because I felt they better could meet the anatomical "hang" of a woman's foot -- women's feet tend to hang differently than men's.

However, in the years since, I have come to see that this is unnecessary; a relaxed ankle has more than enough flexibility to just rest in an ordinary stirrup. So unless the person has some clinical-level malformation or injury to the knee, lower leg, ankle, or foot, there probably is no need for offset stirrups.

So -- of course -- I welcome your letters, Apples, and yours too Marne, and anyone else's whose intention is to ask, learn, and perhaps find themselves able to go to making changes in their approach to riding. That is the whole purpose here. If Don had evidenced the kind of courtesy and CURIOSITY that you guys all do, he would still be in here. Cheers, and thanks to you all -- Dr. Deb

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 8th, 2008 10:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
"So students -- Have you, also, not read ... "

Guilty!  Not only had I not read - I had not heard of "Centered Riding."  With so many horse books out there - it is hard for someone who doesn't "know" to know which books to read. 

But, so far I have True Unity, The Birdie Book, Conquerors, Principles of Conformation I - III, the Mannering CD in my library.  

Any others on the suggested reading list?

Helen
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 14th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 147
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2008 12:08 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hurley - here is a list DD posted for me... not sure if where you are at is the same as "where I am at", but I guess that where I'm at is right at the beginning... so this would give you a starting point that can be built on.

http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=118

-Helen

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2008 12:16 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you so much!

Jean in Alaska
Member
 

Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 42
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2008 12:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
When Sally Swift's book first came out I bought it and also her videos. I was a new horse owner at the age of 50, and never had a lesson until I got my first Fjord horse.  Taking lessons from a local instructor helped, also reading and trying to teach myself, but it was the Centered Riding clinic that really taught me how to ride!  And it changed my local instructor's teaching as well.  Centered Riding not only helped my horseback riding, but my whole way of walking, and using my body. I still practice many of those Centered Riding exercises when I ride!

Jean in Fairbanks, Alaska

Apples
Member
 

Joined: Wed Dec 19th, 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 35
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2008 08:19 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you Dr. Deb! Achieving relaxation is my "job #1", I've been carrying tension in some parts in an attempt to get the relaxation in others. I've been approaching this all wrong. You've given me something to think about during today's ride.

SteveH
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2008 11:02 am
 Quote  Reply 
The best description I have ever heard about a correct seat was one given by a person describing Harry Whitney's riding style.  I don't recall the author's name or where I read it but the person wrote:  "Harry Whitney sits a horse like a man standing in an elevator."  It gave me a lot to think about.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2009 04:27 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Just a note to any of you in the Seattle area I will be doing a clinic in Fall City on the 24th of this month.  I have lots of new stuff I will be adding from the anatomy and bone classes I just took with Deb. Anyone interested can get a hold of me and I will put you in touch with the organizers.

David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2009 08:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

I was interested to see you use the bicycle analogy. AS a bike rider and a horse rider, I have long told new riders to forget about "holding on" to the horse.  I ask them to  consider how ridiculous it would be to grip a bicycle.  Either you have the dynamic balance, or you need to develop it.  Period. 

Besides, if a horse really wants you off, you are likely to be off, hold though you may -- unless you have some uncommon bronc riding skills.  The better the balance and the more relaxed, the better the seat.

I first noticed this in college when coaching a girlfriend for, dare I say it, a show.  She was bouncing, uneven, and insecure in her seat.  It took a while for me to understand the tension I was seeing.  Once I got the message, I relayed it to her, and the more she relaxed, the better she got.

Joe

Obie
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 28th, 2007
Location: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posts: 54
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jan 18th, 2009 09:54 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dave,

Yes I would be interested in the contact number  for this clinic in Fall City WA.

I know it's kinda last minute prepping, but I just realized I do have some time open this weekend to attend. If anyone else is interested in going that is in the Portland Or. area let me know maybe we could arrange something?

Linda D

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jan 18th, 2009 02:27 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Linda,

    Here is a link to  the contact info http://www.nwnhc.com/html/genadek.htm

David Genadek

 

Obie
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 28th, 2007
Location: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posts: 54
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2009 09:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the great clinic in Fall City WA last weekend. I forgot to get the name and number of the gal in WA, who you recommended for saddle flocking. Would I be able to get that info from you.

Thanks alot.

Linda D 

 

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2009 02:37 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Linda,

     I tried to get an e-mail to send throughteh forum but I didn't have any luck so if you e-mail or call me I would be glad to give you the information.  The shops telephone number is 507 3467 2766.

David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 8th, 2009 06:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,

     I’ve been somewhat fixated on spinal process inclinations and the anticlinal vertebra for last several months. Oh my God, I need to get a life.  Anyway the anticlinal vertibra seems to be a major focal point when it comes to saddle fit. It is called the low point of the back by some and the center of motion by others.  Here are some conclusions I have drawn:

To understand the inclinations of the spinal processes you must not view them in terms of their relationship to centra shape but instead to their function in terms of the active and passive systems of the back.  

In doing so you can divide the horse in two at the anticlinal vertibra.  Going caudally the tensioning of the passive system has to do with allowing the hind end to create forward impulsion.  Cranially the tensioning of the passive system has to do with lift. (Me thinks you should have another sub bridge in the sacral area.)  Looking at it in this way we have two mirrored systems, one ending in a tail the other ending in a head.   The one ending in a tail is designed for power and the one ending in a head is designed for lift.

When viewing the hind end as a system you must include the last two ribs.

The active systems of the hind end will influence the passive systems greatly from the anticlinal vertebra caudally and its’ influence will diminish cranially.  The active systems of the front end will have their greatest influence cranially of the anticlinal vertebra and their influence will diminish caudally of the anticlinal vertibra.

David Genadek

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 8th, 2009 06:42 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, David. Absolutely brilliant. Great work. This is the sort of thing that gladdens the teacher's heart, because what was said had some meaning to you, you felt it was worth "obsessing" about, and what came out is correct, insightful, and useful.

Methinks you are right too, about picturing another sub-cantilever in the sacrum! Why I have not done that on existing diagrams is that, frankly, I feared they were already complicated enough! But because bone does have some elastic resiliency, even the sacrum, which we for most intents and purposes regard as a 'rigid' part of the spine, could justifiably be pictured as a cantilever formed of a rather stiff suspension bridge.

As to your other observations: yes -- the reason the dorsal spines lean backwards ahead of the anticlinal vertebra is that all the passive structures cranial of the anticlinal vert. are anchored to those dorsal spines. They must lean backwards to resist the expected pull or traction, just as tentpegs must lean away from the tent if they're to do any good. Likewise, and in mirror fashion, the dorsal spines lean forward in the lumbar region because what is anchored to them will exert traction on them from a direction caudal to them. And again, the dorsal spines of the sacrum lean once again backwards, because what is anchored to them pulls on them from in front.

Note how also, in the up-down direction, the prominence of the withers is mirrored by the inverted space at the transition from lumbars to sacrum. The lumbars and sacrum pull apart from each other in locomotion, i.e. as the loins coil from the active use of the sub-lumbar muscles. But the neck and anterior thorax do not pull apart from each other; as the withers is pulled on, so are the anterior thoracic vertebrae and also to some extent the ribs.

As to including the last two ribs in the rear-end system: yes, absolutely; just as we include the first one or two ribs in the system that raises the base of the neck.

Now I want to see how this thinking is going to impact aspects of the tree shapes you've been working on, David....this is the most important contribution you're going to make, and it's something that no one but yourself is able to do -- your unique heritage and legacy. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Mar 8th, 2009 06:54 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,

     I am glad to say that it will have no impact on how I design the trees. 20 years a go I listened to a lecture on the ring of muscles  and drew the right conclusion.  It does allow me to defend my position and to help others understand, which in the end is of greater value.  Intuition can create great leaps but if it can't be explained it's influence withers away.

David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 11:06 am
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,

      The armadillo from class keeps coming to mind.  The comparative anatomy of front leg of an armadillo compared to the front leg of a horse.  This has me thinking in terms of the spine as being two limbs with different functions that are connected at the anticlinal vertebra.  This creates in me a desire to compare the two structural limbs of the spine across species to see how they have adapted.  It also has me thinking of the ring of muscles as a horizontal reciprocating system. This brings me to view the horse as five reciprocating systems, the ring of muscles and the four legs.

    The reciprocating system of the legs can be thrown out of balance either from the ground up through an imbalance in the hoof or from the top down through an imbalance in the ring of muscles.  The Reciprocating system that is the ring of muscles is in balance when the forces below the spine are greater than the forces above the spine.  Whenever the reciprocating system that is the ring of muscles falls out of balance it must follow that the reciprocating systems of the legs will also fall out of balance.

David Genadek

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 03:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, that's what was said in class, and you're putting in another way something that some of my students call "Dr. Deb's Law":

Back dynamics govern limb dynamics.

Or, yet another way to put this is "whatever happens in the back will be reflected in the limbs."

Your contribution here, though, is to point out that the 'ring of muscles' is itself, or could properly be termed, a reciprocating system. Yes; that's brilliant.

I am amused about the armadillo. Surely if ever there was an animal LESS functioning as a horse does, it would be an armadillo, or a turtle -- animals with carapaces -- because they have a carapace, their backs really are frozen into one position -- they are immobile through their "ring of muscles". And their limbs must therefore operate without the benefit of the 'ring' -- they operate essentially independently of the ring.

So besides the fact that the proportions within the limbs of an armadillo, which is an animal designed for rapidly digging into the earth with broad, powerful forepaws, differ totally from those of the horse, we have also this difference regarding its rigid back, which is even more important from the standpoint of locomotion.

Maybe one of our friends and correspondents here who lives in Texas -- Cheryl or Joe or Allen or any of several others -- can tell us whether they have ever seen an armadillo perform a levade. Or tell us what they look like when they gallop....so far as I am aware, they never do either of these things but in Texas they have a lot more opportunity to see armadillos than anywhere else!

What we DO know about armadillos is they stand in the middle of roadways and shout at trucks, "hey! I'm over here! Hit me! Hit ME!!" -- Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 04:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb:

I must in all sincerity admit that I have never seen an armadillo perform any high school actions at all.  I have attributed this to the lack of a harsh enough bit and sharp spurs, but you could well be right.  Maybe it is all in the shell.  I suppose lobsters are unable to achieve true collection for the same reason.  I have never seen one of them do a levade either.  Sounds like a good recipe, though, don't you think -- levade of lobster with organic brown rice and fresh asparagus?

In my ill-spent youth, I once saw an armadillo almost disappear before my eyes in a cloud of flying dirt as he dug rapidly. That particular one was remarkable. His shell was painted in fluorescent colors with somewhat obscene, somewhat contraband-influenced counter-cultural patterns (I was not the artist).  It was pretty easy to spot him anywhere on campus as he wandered around in search or grubs or whatever.

So, let me ask this in return-- have you ever seen a psychedelic horse vanish into a hole under some bushes?

Does that sound too much like a Jefferson Airplane lyric?  Maybe I need to stay off Youtube for a while...

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Mar 10th, 2009 07:12 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,

Liz saw one do airs above the ground into a bush then disappear once.

In class you also spent time talking about classifying and used clocks as an example of how anyone can group them in a bunch of different ways none being wrong just classifying differently.  What I am doing is trying to classify the horse’s body in a way that makes sense for saddle fit.

“Back dynamics govern limb dynamics” The key word being govern.

     Dave’s law of saddle fitting is: Whatever is happening, anywhere in the horse’s body, is going to show up in the back.  The limbs won’t govern the back but if the reciprocating systems of the legs are out of balance in any way it will inhibit the spines ability to govern the limbs.  This becomes very important in the world of saddle fit. When you look at the research being done in the area of saddle fit, what you realize is most of the research is really measuring is the riders ability to keep the reciprocating systems in balance.  The observations being made have little to do with actual  saddle fit and more to do with the riders ability to govern the two spinal limbs through engagement of the hind quarters and the  lifting the base of the neck in order to set the oscillation range of the spine .  Different oscillation ranges create different gaits.

    I’m into this spinal limb concept so let me compare the two spinal limbs.

Head =Tail

Sacral=Cervical

Thoracic - T17 T18 = Lumbar +T17 and T18 with a shared T16

Both limbs have special attachments.  The caudal spinal limb has the pelvis, some air space and then 17th and 18th rib. The cranial spinal limb has the ribs that connect to the sternum that would equal the pelvis the floating ribs would be the equivalent to the 17th and 18th rib of the caudal spinal limb.

The two spinal limbs are connected at the anticlinal vertebra and the limbs are attached by the costal cartilages in the rib area.  The rectus abdominis attaches the bottom of the special attachments to one another and the Longissimus dorsi attaches the top side of the two spinal limbs together.

In class you used a desk lamp as a common example of a reciprocating system.  Each spinal limb would be like one desk lamp. You would flip the two lamps so the lights were facing away from each other and stick the two ends together with some tape. Then you would put  the whole works horizontal and  weld a vertical bar to the middle joint on both lamps. Lastly you would get two big springs and connect one to the top side of the vertical bar and one to the bottom of the vertical bar.  Voile, ring of muscles.

 

Now, my Armadillo story:

I was working in a saddle shop in Uvalde TX. For some reason the boss had purchased a couple cases of 3D wooden armadillo puzzles and just could not sell them.  He asked me to try. Well being a damn Yankee I learned I could play dumb and ask folks about armadillos. Well, everyone in TX has at least one Armadillo story. They would get going on Armadillos then I just had to show them the puzzle and nearly everyone walked out with an 3d Armadillo puzzle.  I decided I needed to get the gal that worked the floor to do the same, because there were a lot of 3d Armadillo puzzles.  So I coached her on how to subtlety brings the conversation to Armadillos.  Some customers walked in and she got to chatting.  I carefully listened in but there was no movement toward an Armadillo conversation.  So I positioned myself to get her attention and held up one of the 3d Armadillo puzzles and mouthed Armadillo to her.  She quickly turned to the customers and said “Hey!! You all wanna buy an Armadillo Puzzle”.  They didn’t, and I rolled up in my shell.

David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Mar 11th, 2009 07:23 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Deb,

More play with the spinal limb concept and the Nuchal ligament.

Using the spinal limb concept we can use our own bodies to understand the tensioning of the passive system of the  Nuchal  ligament.  Your right and left arms become the spinal limbs your body is the anticlinal vertebra.  Next you get hunk of rope and cut it a bit longer than the distance between your left elbow and the right finger tips with your arms extended to the sides.  Gram the rope in your left hand and string it around the back of your neck and grab it in your right hand.  Straighten your right arm you will see that your left arm has to be bent up.  Now your left elbow is the base of the horses’ neck and  right fore arm is the sacrum.  Now engage your hind quarter by bending your right elbow and moving your hand toward the ground.  You will find that you either have to bend your left elbow more or raise the left hand.  The next step is to lift the base of the neck by straightening the left arm and you will clearly see that the whole left side of your body will want to lift.

    My quest here has been to understand why the spinal processes lean and this for me makes things pretty clear .  The sacrum is a  short, squatty lever  that uses big powerful muscles(like Mr. Armadillo’s front leg) with other levers on top pointing caudally so it can crank the heck out of the nuchal ligament cranially. The lumbar span  has the spinal processes going forward so when the sacrum is cranked it wants to lift up which intern allows the stifle to do its’ job.  Forward of the anticlinal vertebra all the levers are leaning  caudely so when you crank on the sacrum they  are getting pulled back. It seems to me the lamellar part of the nuchal ligament is a soft and flexible version of a spinal process. When you lift the base of the neck  the front of the body has nowhere else to go but up.

   I also have the thought that the opposing  angles of the spinal processes are a really cool way of making a one sided reciprocating system.

David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 11:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
Here are a couple fun shots to illustrate some of the above concepts.

Attachment: reciprocating_horse e copy.jpg (Downloaded 361 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 11:05 am
 Quote  Reply 
next shot

Attachment: reciprocating_horse_nuchal ecopy.jpg (Downloaded 361 times)

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 02:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
By golly, Dave, that sheds light on the topic like nothing else.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Apr 27th, 2009 11:11 am
 Quote  Reply 
Very punny!! It was a moment of enlightenment for me.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2009 11:09 am
 Quote  Reply 
On a recent trip to the Pryor Mountains we stopped at the Don King museum in Sheridan WY.  I have attached a picture of a brass prototype saddle that I found very exciting as it demonstrated the inventors clear understanding of some critical concepts to saddle fit. I thought it would be fun to get some reaction to this so what do you all think when you see it?
David Genadek

Attachment: brass_saddle.jpg (Downloaded 488 times)

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2009 11:39 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

My first thought is that it would be dam**d cold in the winter.

More seriously, that saddle appears to have been heavily influenced by the same thought that was going into the British Universal Pattern saddles, and the US M1912 experimental saddle in the years just before and for about 15 years after the turn of the last century.

The concepts were very good.  The execution was constrained by the materials available in that day and age.  The hinges and fastenings tended to work harden and crack if they were light enough for saddle purposes.  Same thing happened to the US M1936 "Phillips," which was a good cross-country saddle with many featured intended to be better for the horse. The cantle arch was sheet steel, which would eventually crack  - athough it proved to survive lnoger than the 1912 hinges did.  I have two un-cracked ones.

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2009 12:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dave and Joe: This is more fabulous than you can know!! Have been toying with designing a jinnetta rigged adjustable barred  saddle with a suspended sling-spring seat  for some time. Sort of a Buena Vista crossed off a Campbell, I think it was. Joe you would know which of the experimental Cavalry rigs had the spreadable screw adjustments front and back.
 Dave was the brass one you looked at used as an experimental model? What became of it to your knowledge?
Seems to me a guy could design a set-screw locked set of bars with jinnetta balanced rigging topped by a suspended sling seat with variable side stringers, like the hungarian light cavalry saddles. This type would incorporate all of the better design features youv'e been explaining to us over the years..
Best wishes
 Bruce Peek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2009 12:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Bruce:

The saddles I mentioned were all influenced by the Hussar type.

J

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2009 04:51 pm
 Quote  Reply 
     What I thought was really cool with the brass prototype saddle was  that some one clearly understood the need to account for the horse's orientation. You could change the pitch of the seat. I also liked how clearly they understood fitting the horse and fitting the human. I have attached a picture of two other saddles that were clear on this concept too.
    In regard to the materials not holding up in some of these designs I wonder if it was more an issue of them missing important concepts that put undo stress on the materials. In this case they have bars that can be at different angles which makes sense when you measure things two dimensionally.  Deb once explained to  me how  in Paleontology  one of the issue is you can measure a bone but you can't define the shape.  Same issue when you  change the angle of the bars the shape has to be redefined.  So I wonder if undo stress was created because they had the correct angle but the wrong shape.
David Genadek

Attachment: horse-human-distinction-.jpg (Downloaded 422 times)

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 28th, 2009 10:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave.. What kind of saddle is the one on the left with the extended cantle?... Can't tell if the seat is on the bars of that one or not.Also is it adjustable at all? I'm wondering if you can vary the angles of the bars and seat..
Thanks
Bruce Peek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 28th, 2009 11:30 am
 Quote  Reply 
Bruce,
     I don't know much about them they were also at the King Museum. We did a quick stop on our way up to the Pryor mountains to hang out with the Mustangs.  I plan on going back when I have time to take a good look at everything. If Joe doesn't know you might want to give them a call and I'm sure they would be happy to get you more information.  Better yet take a trip out there it is well worth it as it is a great collection.
David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 29th, 2009 07:17 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I don't know what the one on the left is, either. 

The one on the right is an exceptional specimen of the US Experimental Saddle Model of 1912.  This saddle had the most rigorous field trials imaginable -- it was used by some of the troops who crossed the border with Pershing in pursuit of Pancho Villa in 1916.  Therefore, the saddles faced constant field use, with rain, snow freezing weather, and 100 degree plus dry Sonoran desert.  The officer's reports were unfavorable.  A major problem was the cracking of the hinges, which were hard to repair in the field.  there were other issues.  Pershing found that the saddles placed the rider too high above the horse, unduly raising the center of gravity.

Here are quotes from some of the actual reports.  Note that they conclude that a French-pattern flat saddle of a cross country design was a better choice:


“Cavalry Equipment, “ Major C.D. Rhodes, U.S. Cavalry, U.S. Cavalry Journal, April 1916,
pp 532-536

For the past five months the Cavalry Equipment Board has been hard at work at the Rock Island Arsenal, carefully considering the reports received in regard to the present 1912 equipment; and attempting to remedy such defects as practical tests have brought to light.

Although many of the conclusions of the Board are as yet tentative, and in any event will ultimately have to receive the approval of the War Department, the lines of experiment and development by the Board as outlined below will doubtless be of more than ordinary interest to officers of cavalry and field artillery.

1. Polo Saddle: The Board has recommended the adoption of the flat saddle to replace the so-called Ordnance polo saddle and to be possibly called a “training saddle.” Models made at the Arsenal after French types and tried out by expert horseman at the Mounted Service School, have proven very satisfactory as to type, workmanship, and comfort.

2. Officer’s Saddle: Reports as to the 1912 officer’s saddle have in general been adverse to this model, particularly as to the features of hinged side-bars. The Board will, in all probability recommend the adoption of an officer’s service saddle which duplicates the French field saddle, now used by many officers of our service. This saddle will have pommel and cantle-pockets, and the latter can with a few simple alterations be made from the present McClellan pockets. It has been tried out at the Mounted Service School for five years and by many officers under campaign conditions. The Rock Island Arsenal has competed ten beautifully fabricated models for the Equipment Board, and ultimately the Arsenal will be able to supply officers with a saddle, which is considered by the Board the best field saddle in the world.

3. Enlisted Men’s Saddle: As with the officer’s saddle, model 1912, so reports as to the enlisted men’s model have in general been adverse to its adoption particularly as to the hinged side-bars.

The Equipment Board’s first experiments were with a McClellan superstructure upon sidebars similar to the French officer field saddle. While results were satisfactory, later and more encouraging tests have been made with a model nearly similar in outline and form to the French officers field saddle, but like the McClellan having a wooden tree consisting of two side-bars connected at pommel-arch and cantle by steel braces; the whole covered with a fine grade of leather. While similar in outline, it differs from the officer’s saddle in having little or no padding, and has the advantage over the McClellan in not only having a seat more in keeping with the standards of equitation now taught to the service, but by reason of its extended and slightly rounded side-bars, better able to bear the weight of the pack under all conditions of campaign.

This form of saddle has given the Board more anxiety and labor than any other one thing connected with its work, but the Board is now thoroughly convinced that it is working along the correct line of development and hopes that the final model will be the best enlisted men’s saddle in the world. It is actually a McClellan saddle with a French seat and it is believed will not weigh more than the McClellan or exceed the latter in cost–a very important consideration in connection with army increase.



Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 29th, 2009 07:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is a reference to GEN Pershing's comments:

January 27, 1917:

Cavalry Equipment Criticised

General Pershing, in command of the punitive expedition in Mexico, has made some scathing allusions to the 1912 cavalry equipment, which was also the subject of adverse comment on the part of Colonel G. O. Cress, of the cavalry arm, as division inspector under General Pershing. The inspector ascertained from a canvass of the two squadrons of the 11th and 13th cavalry that the saddle, ration bags, rifle carrier, ammunition belt, and method of carrying the rifle were “unsatisfactory.” General Pershing adds that the 1912 cavalry saddle “can not be too severely condemned.” He says in a report on the subject: “In the light of experience in this campaign it is surprising that the group of cavalry officers could ever have been led to adopt such a saddle as this. Its very appearance should be enough to condemn it, as at a glance it could be plainly seen that it throws the center of gravity of the rider far too high in the air. The abolishment of the saber is strongly recommended. It is a relic that possesses no military value. It is a burden to the horse and now takes up a lot of valuable time to learn its use that could profitably be employed in perfecting the trooper in the use of the pistol. I have already strongly recommended the discontinuance of the use of the saber.”

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 30th, 2009 12:01 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave: Got ahold of the curator.. She asked if the images could be e-mailed to her at kingropes@fiberpipe.net  That way she could tell which ones we're asking about.
Thanks so much
Bruce Peek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 30th, 2009 01:18 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Bruce,

I have e-mailed a copy of the photos to the museum. You should be able to give her a call anytime now.

David Genadek

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 31st, 2009 12:05 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave: The curator said the darker of the two saddles was from,'the far east,', but she didn't know what it was called or what brand it was.. And she said the other lighter colored one was an experimental type with flexible bars, from the rock island arsenal..
Thanks
Bruce

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 31st, 2009 05:46 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Right.  It is the experimental model of 1912.  There are conflicting official reports as to how many of the M1912 saddles were made by the arsenal.  Some reports have the number around 3,500 if I recall correctly, while others put it closer to 9,000.

As mentioned in the posts above, it was a part of what was hoped would be an entirely new approach not only to saddles but also bridles and all other equipments.  Unfortunately, the post-Punitive Expedition reviews were very bad, as you can see above, and so the program was terminated.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 31st, 2009 07:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,

The way I read those comments is that whoever was in charge of the program didn't get total buy-in from everyone involved. It looks to me like the experimental program was shoved down everyone's throats and they wouldn't have liked it no matter how good it was. It is always interesting how management style can effect innovation.

I still see the major issue in all saddle design is understanding the nature of shape. If everyone could get a piece of wire and cut it 12 inches long and then bend it into as many shapes as you could possibly make from it. Then you have to realize that if you were to measure each of these shapes you end up with 12 inches. Over time we have developed words for certain shapes for instance if I say Circle everyone has a clear picture in their mind of the shape I am talking about. Interestingly though even with a simple shape like a circle in trying to measure it we end up with pi. So even in measuring a simple shape like a circle we are left with an approximation.We can do the same thing with the triangle. For just that one simple shape a whole math was created to be able to define different triangles. Over time we have done this for simple shapes .We have not gone through this process for the complex shapes of the horse's back. Because of this we have no logical way of defining the horse's back. If you think back to the wire shapes it becomes clear that 12 inches is not an accurate measurement of the unlimited number of shapes that could be created with that simple 12 inch piece of wire. When we limit ourselves  to two-dimensional thinking such as just change the angle or just widen the gullet any saddle fitting system will be doomed regardless of the materials being used.
For interests sake, let's consider what the shape of a back is.If we look at the wither we can see that that area looks like a pyramid. The shape of that pyramid is influenced by the , height of the withers, the angle of the withers and the spread of the ribs. The the height of our pyramid is determined by the height of the wither. The length of the pyramid is determined by the angle of the wither. And the width of the pyramid is determined by the spread of the ribs. You can quickly see that we are faced with fitting an unlimited number of pyramid shaped objects.

Next we have to take all those pyramids and force them up through a shape that looks like a book. How open or closed the book  will be determined by the spread of the ribs and the length of the spinal processes. The guys that are creating an adjustable angle have had the realization that there are different books but they are excluding the influence of the extruding Pyramids. Then of course we have the major school that focus its attention on the pyramid and they think all you need to do is widen or narrow the  gullet.
David Genadek

Attachment: ribcage-6.jpg (Downloaded 268 times)

Last edited on Fri Jul 31st, 2009 07:45 pm by David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 31st, 2009 08:28 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

The experimental program was created by a board of serving cavalry officers (as were all equipment modifications), and was originally received with high hopes.  The concept was to try to find a practical way to address the serious faults of the McClellan saddle, from the standpoint of the horse. They were trying to use Hussar/British UP characteristics, to take stress and pressure points off of the back and better distribute the load.

They had serious constraints.  First, they  needed to have an item that could be standardized and produced inexpensively by the thousand by the arsenal or any number of contractors.  the number of sizes would be limited.  Had it gone to production, there would only have been two or three variations at most.  It had to be very durable under adverse conditions -- foul weather, heat, dryness, combat -- literally for months on end.  In those days, cavalrymen sometimes rode as many as 7,000 to 8,000 miles a year, in the field far from any source of repair parts.  It also had to be light enough to carry a full pack of shelter, food, firearms, ammunition, clothes, equipment, grain, spare horseshoes, etc, and a trooper, without exceeding weight limitations.

This was a lot to demand of a saddle, especially when people's lives depended on it.

Pershing griped about the center of gravity, and his gripes counted as he was the senior cavalry general and was about to become General of the Army in WW1.  However, Pershing's grousings were not what killed the program.  The coup de grace was the failures in the hinges and the difficulty of doing field repairs when that happened.

Cheers!

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2009 02:12 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dera Joe- So how come they didn't  simply adopt an americanised version of the british Universal Pattern saddle?- Like they did with the springfield rifle-cum mauser like design-- can you say royalty payments... Ran across a web site for an outfit back east that makes  U P replicas-- and also a Hussar like saddle too that they say  was refined by either  Lew Nolan or one of his cavalry chums iirc.. You probably are familiar with it..
Thanks
Bruce

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2009 10:09 am
 Quote  Reply 
I don't know why. 

However, they were not averse to buying equipment from elsewhere.  Consider the Krag.  I also cannot say for sure that the UP would have held up in American field conditions.  At that point in time, there was a huge debate as to the ideal characteristics of both horses and equipment.  We learned in the vastness of the west, and the British learned in Africa during the Zulu wars and the Boer War that what worked in Europe and in the settled Eastern USA did NOT work under immeasurably extended field conditions.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2009 11:44 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,

     I did not mean to diminish the task in any way. However, I do find how politics intertwine with development to be most interesting.

     I am no history buff, so I am loving this conversation. What I look for are the ideas and concepts that were being explored at the time. The major concept being explored here is the separation of fitting the horse and fitting the human. It seems in the case of the 1912 saddle that the space in between the two was the major issue. What I would be interested in knowing is how the British Universal saddle dealt with the issue of the space between? Did they use a hinge?

    Any equipment development is an extremely complex task. Let me give you a real life example. A few years ago I designed a side pull for Liz. It had a leather nose band.I constructed it using a hidden stitch and then rounded the leather. Liz tested the product thoroughly before we made it available to others. In fact the originals are still being used  with no problems. Unfortunately the people we sold the product to did not have the skilled hands that Liz has. In no time we were having to repair the side pulls by adding rivets to the nose band. Around here,it is against the law to jerk on the horse's head. So, my point is that the horsemanship must also be looked at.
     Why would the US climate be more difficult on a saddle than the climate in Africa? How did the British solve that problem?Was it a question of the duration of the  trips and not getting back to a facility,where repairs could be done?

David Genadek


Last edited on Sat Aug 1st, 2009 11:47 am by David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2009 12:17 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Quite right about internal politics and policy.

The British UP does to this day provide separation between horse and rider, as do all of the sling saddles (only the Household Cavalry model is still officially made, as far as I know).  Lots of American riders hate this separation, because it is different, but the British certainly have had fine horsemen who liked it.  I frankly do not know, and never thought about whether the Experimental M1912 has any MORE separation.  It would be an interesting question to figure out.  It would also be interesting to ride one of each in the same day.

The British experience in Africa led to tremendous debates about everything from tactics, to which horse was best, to what equipment would serve best.  Their experience was very similar to that of the US in the West.  Internally in both armies there was a division between those serving in the vastnesses of Africa or the West, and those who served in Europe, the settled East and Mid Western US, or even India.  As far as I know, they never fully resolved the issue, any more than we did.  There are interesting books and articles from the period, such as Small Horses in War, and What Horse for the Cavalry, that argue the merits of smaller horses as opposed to the big heavy hunter types that most European and American services preferred.

Another issue, Dave, in that age of experimentation, was the fact that complexity multiplies the risk of failure or misuse.  The M1912 had hinges so as to better conform to the horse.  The metallurgy failed under field conditions, which added a layer of complexity and things that could go wrong.  I have spent a couple of days in the archives at the Quartermaster Corps Museum in Ft. Lee, Virginia, looking through boxes of proposed cavalry equipment blueprints, most of which never got beyond the proposal phase.  Most of the concepts revolved around making saddles or bridles more adjustable for the horse.  However, each adjustment adds complexity and something else to fail or confuse in field conditions,  where life itself hangs in the balance.

Interestingly,the very last major equipment modification took place between 1926 and 1928.  With warehouses full of the 1917 version of the M1904 McClellan, and a depression going on that had shrunk budgets radically, the cavalry tried to compromise.  The venerable Mac fore and aft quarter-strap rigging tended to cause the saddle to bridge.  Also, the absence of skirts led to uniforms getting sweaty and dirty quickly.  Finally, theories of equitation had changed,and the army was no longer working in the western brush, so there was no need for the weight and expense of the hooded stirrups. So, they sent out kits to be used by company saddlers.  For each MCClellan saddle, a kit consisted of a pair of flaps like a forward seat saddle, and a set of billets and attachments.  the q-straps were cut off short, billets were installed like a flat saddle, the skirts were installed, and the men were put on to work detail with pliers and saws to pull off the leather stirrup covers and then cut the wide wooden stirrups in half.  Voila -- the M1928 Modified Saddle -- the last official enlisted saddle of the US Cavalry.

There was a later officer's saddle -- the M1936 Philips.  It is a flat cross country saddle with a straight head.  Col. Philips was a student of equine physiology and locomotion.  His M1936 Officers and Philips Pack Saddle were both well designed.  The pack saddle is considered one of the best ever designed.

By the way, your experience with the side pull is a classic of its type.  It shows exactly what the cavalry boards had to consider.  The officers on those boards were fine horsemen.  However, they had to approve and recommend equipment to be used by thousands of men on thousands of horses.  The training, intelligence, and conformation of both horse and rider varied significantly  and unpredictably.

Joe

Last edited on Sat Aug 1st, 2009 12:18 pm by Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2009 12:31 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Here is what it comes down to, setting all internal politics aside:  By the beginning of the 20th century, cavalries here and in Europe not only have a tremendous fund of knowledge about horsemanship, but also had really begun to understand bio-mechanics.  partof this was enabled by the invention of cameras capable of short exposures.  The early stages of the revolution we attribute to Caprilli were taking place.  The officer corps of most European armies, and also of our own, had superb horsemen with inquiring minds.  Even beyond generally humane attitudes, there was great concern about fitting horses and caring for them, because a disabled horse meant a dismounted rider a long way from home, or maybe facing hostiles.

And yet, anything used by troops in the field had to be tough, simple, interchangeable, and capable of being produced by the tens of thousands in an affordable way. 

On the other hand, individual officers could and did have the wonderfully skilled saddlers at the Rock Island Arsenal make bespoke saddles that were fitted to their mounts and could have all manner of enhancements and experiments on them.  This was all at personal expense, mind.


Last edited on Sat Aug 1st, 2009 12:32 pm by Joe

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 3rd, 2009 09:54 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave and Bruce:

On a forum devoted to cavalry topics where I am active (administrator in fact), I posted a question about the similarities and differences between the later British UP and the US M1912 experimental.  SO far, no one has responded with that specific information.  However, an interesting friend of mine in England did reply about the UP.  He rode for several years with the Kings Troop, Royal Horse Artillery (the ceremonial troop often seen at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle) and was later chief trainer and one of the commanders of a mounted infantry unit in Africa under real combat conditions -- and involving 30 days at a time in the the field.

This man has ridden many miles indeed in the UP.  he has also ridden thousands of miles in a variation of the McClellan.  He gave me an assessment of each, and compared and contrasted them.  You can read the full text at 

http://www.militaryhorse.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9832&p=87910#p87910

The gist of his comments on the UP was that it does tend to make a rider feel "perched" up there away from the horse, and that the addition of hinges (he calls it a swivel tree) was a bad idea because it: a) shifts weight; b) causes the rider to roll; c) tends to roll off its pads even when used with a surcingle.

On the other hand, he finds the UP without hinges to be a good saddle. and states that a good rider would get used to the "perched" feeling.  My own experience with a Canadian variant of the UP was that the sling seat did make me feel "perched" and separated from the horse.  On the other hand, I have only a few hours experience, over a few days, and so never fully got with the program.

Overall, an interesting take on the unintended consequences of the hinges.  I would imagine that similar issues beset the experimental M1912.

Joe


David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 8th, 2009 12:20 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
That is very interesting. The perched up there concept opens a whole new can of worms. It's not that it is a suspended seat, because most English saddles could be said to have a suspended seat. So it seems to me the real issue is the distance between the interface for the human and the horse's back. It was interesting to hear him say that they got more comfortable as they loosened up. Think how complex this issue is. You have different shapes of rib cages on the horse side and we have different pelvic structures and leg lengths and angles on the human side. What is the optimum distance between the horse's back and the humans behind?
I've attached a picture of analysis we did of back angles. The interesting thing about this is that if you study it you'll see that the change from the front angle to the back angle of the bar is pretty consistent. This would seem proof that the hinge concept should work. I recently got a back in that was very narrow, so after looking at this analysis I thought; Gosh I should just be able to change the angle on the front and the cantle and this bar should work on this horse. So I went about trying. It was a disaster. I had to pull the tree apart and completely reshape the bars. I think any system that is based on changing angles or width without somehow addressing the changing shape will fail.
David Genadek

Attachment: bar compaison.jpg (Downloaded 379 times)

Last edited on Sat Aug 8th, 2009 12:21 pm by David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 9th, 2009 06:07 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

As I see it, there were three problems, simply put:  a) shape and adjustability; b)  stability; and c) materials.  Both the US and the British were developing a good understanding of shape and adjustability, but failed either with stability, or materials or both.  I don't know if you saw that thread I linked, but it turns out that in addition to the hinge failures on the US M1912, the seat itself was built on thin steel that was corrugated for strength, but would crack across the width.  You can imagine what a pleasure that would be to ride for a few hundred miles.

My sense of it is that the design concepts were basically sound but required refinement.  Hinges SHOULD work, if the materials will stand up to use, and it the stability issue can be engineered out.  We have far more sophisticated engineering and materials today than were available 100 years ago.

You know, as an aside, adjustability was important not only because of the need for a standard saddle to fit thousands of horses, but also because a given horse would change significantly in the field as he lost flesh and developed muscle.

Of course today, when fat horses are the norm, someone who buys a saddle to fit an animal before conditioning may have problems when the animal is fit.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 16th, 2009 11:13 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,
 
I have been giving thought to the notion that the horse’s body shape will actually change enough to affect saddle fit while riding. As much as I can accept the fact that this probably is a reality I do have trouble accepting the fact that it needs to be. Ironically, the person that has convinced me of this is Liz, who has had a tremendous influence in her training regimen that comes directly from the cavalry as her grandfather was an officer and her mother was trained by one of the officers that was trained at the Spanish riding school. At this point in my life, I am convinced that if the rider knows how to properly govern the five essentials of riding, straightness, engagement of the hindquarters, lifting the root of the neck, forward movement in a weight-bearing posture and bending in the rib cage that there is no need to make saddles capable of adjusting to shifting pathologies.
 
At the same time I have to acknowledge that as essential as the five essentials are learning to govern those lies rooted in a rider’s state of being. This state of being is somewhat of a contradiction to the mindset of a warrior. In short getting an enlisted man who is probably fearing for his life to properly govern the five essentials is like trying to fit a gallon of water in a half gallon bucket. This brings me to the conclusion that perhaps the disbanding of the cavalry was a good thing.
David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 16th, 2009 02:55 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Actually, I think you would find that many cavalry enlisted men were very fine riders with a great deal of concern about their horses.  I've interviewed some, and read several memoirs.  It fact, it is certainly true that cavalry horses were among the best maintained animals in America, and among the best ridden.

However, a horse who is out for two or three months on uncertain rations, while walking 30 miles or better a day (with careful rotation of gaits and rests ten minutes every hour), would lose weight by comparison with one who was stalled at garrison and worked a couple of hours a day.

If you look at my thread on "Words to Live By," that I posted a couple of days ago, you will see quotes from one of the Cavalry greats.  His thoughts are fairly typical, and not limited to officers.

Setting aside actual combat which few cavalry horses ever saw, their lives were also far better than the lives of a huge number of sport horses today.  Fact is, very few, a miniscule percentage, of riders understand the things you listed above, or even know those things exist.

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 16th, 2009 11:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
And Not only just the Cavalry Joe. Chuck Grant for one example was in I believe the 2 nd U.S. Field Artillery. Which iirc used horses ( and possibly mules) to pull their guns. And of course he went on after his hitch was up to get all the way into High School training with 14 ( some sources say 17) high schooled horses.
But his basis came from his time in the army.
best wishes
Bruce Peek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 17th, 2009 09:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
Right.  The Artillery produced fine horsemen, too.  I suppose I should say the mounted services, rather than just the Cavalry.

The thing people forget is that ,over the ages, most of the advances in horsemanship and horse equipment were driven by the military.  Some, of course were driven by aristocratic or royal interest -- not to say vanity.  Very few came about because of strictly commoner, civilian interests, and most of those were in the 20th century where we also faced the development of today's show nightmares.

Even the so-called western or stock saddle has military antecedents although much modified by genuine civilian needs in the North American west (including Mexico)

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 17th, 2009 10:06 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe,

      I agree with both of you on the fact that the military producing the greatest riders our country has seen. As I stated above I also feel they created very realistic and wise practices for the management of the horses. However, I also believe it is true that the circumstances dictated pushing the horse beyond what is reasonable. What I am saying here is that the saddle is taking the heat for what is actually a management issue. If you cannot get the horses enough feed and water then the skills of the riders become moot. Although you did state in another post that the skills of the officers were high but the skills of the enlisted men were less so. All I am saying,is that saddle fit depends on both proper management of the horses while  not being ridden  and the rider having the proper skills to prevent the body from falling into a pathological state.

     Today if someone drove a tank into a river and it leaked and got stuck in the mud on the bottom everyone would clearly say "Well it's not designed to do that." If at that point you say it doesn't matter we have to get the tank across the river, then you just have to live with the consequences of going beyond the limits of the design.
David Genadek
     

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 17th, 2009 10:32 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dave:

Undoubtedly true, with a couple of clarifications:

My post on the relative skills of officers and enlisted troops was somewhat misleading.  Skills spanned a large range among both officers and enlisted men.  However, in the 20th century at least, old cavalry enlisted men were generally very good riders by today's standards.  Officers, on the other hand, could if they had the ability and disposition, be trained to a very high level indeed -- well beyond the needs of cavalry troops or of any civilians who were not simply interested in higher horsemanship.

And yet, as with any group, there were those who weren't that good.  Oddly, the poor performers also tended to be officers.  They were the ones who simply got sent to the cavalry without any interest in horses or horsemanship.  Because they were officers, they were not subject to the regular training and strict discipline that enlisted men were.

The pushing of horses to extreme limits was not something done by design.  However, combat is combat.   People and animals die.  The issue is more one of  war and its horrors and less one of cavalry per se.  My real point, though, is that in war, loss of life in civilian horses is also very high -- and still is.  If you look at pictures of equines in today's war zones or those of the late 20th century, the animals owned by organized military forces are in much better conditions than those owned by civilians.  And yet, there is plenty of misery to go around.  If you look at the refugee civilian horses during WW2, your sensibilities will revolt.

Still, we have armies to fight wars.  So, at a time when the possibility existed that horses and men would be pushed to extremes, the cavalry tried to figure out a saddle design that would mitigate the stress to the horse.  For whatever reason, the M1912 design did not work.

The thing that really bothers me is the incompetence of riders and abuse of horses these days,  right here in North America - far from wars or refugees --  when there is no reason or excuse for it.

JOe

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 17th, 2009 12:36 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Absolutely correct Joe, there is no excuse for all 10 horses in a class to be doing a crooked dog trot.  However there is a reason for all 10 horses to be doing a crooked dog trot- because their riders simply don't know any better despite the riding lessons they have had... Saw that at a show a couple of months back. It would have been a glorius teaching moment for the judge to have called the riders to the center of the arena and showed them how to do lateral effects- or as  Ray Hunt would have said a hindquarters disengagement, in order to straighten their horses.. Of course the judge would most likely never get called back to that show again.. And therin lies the rub.
Best wishes
Bruce Peek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2013 10:46 am
 Quote  Reply 
I thought I should post this under this thread as it shows how where the saddle maker chooses to place the saddle leads to a cascade of confusions in saddle design. On this page you will see the saddle maker official position on placing the tree far enough back so you would be weighting the lumbar span. You will see a portion showing how they are designing the bars to fit pathologies that should not be there in a properly ridden horse. You can also see how they bend down the front of the bar to follow the Latissamus muscle and use it as a weight bearing surface, this concept is alive in both the english and western worlds. There is much here to spur on a reasonable conversation about position and how it effects tree design.

http://saddlemakers.org/id193.htm

kindredspirit
Member


Joined: Sun Apr 1st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 127
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2013 05:38 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have to go and review what you are mentioning here as the page was a tad overwhelming! Thank you for posting this.

Kathy

kindredspirit
Member


Joined: Sun Apr 1st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 127
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2013 05:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Is the picture showing area available for saddle wrong? (Towards the bottom of the page.)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2013 07:24 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Wrong from what perspective? It is not how I define the fit zone. I have taken a diagram of Debs' from Inner horseman and put a purple fitting zone on it.
This would be more of the eastern idea of how to fit. This is in contrast to the western idea (jousting saddles)of fitting where the tree had tabs that came down to stabilize the saddle. You can see how they use the term pads and how they narrow the middle part of the bar. On jousting saddles the middle part of what we call the bar did not make contact with the horses back so what you see represented is an improvement over the jousting saddles design but the over all the thinking is the same.

Last edited on Sat Nov 9th, 2013 07:25 pm by David Genadek

Sharon Adley
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 5th, 2011
Location: Indiana USA
Posts: 74
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2013 08:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave,

I interpret the site's "area available for saddle" to include the skirts, which aren't weight-bearing.  Even if they don't bear weight, they need to not interfere with shoulder or hip movement forward and backward.

It's not really clear to me what this saddler thinks is the part of the horse's back that should actually bear weight and where the bars should make full and constant contact with the body.  He speaks about needing more flare for horses with "predominate" [sic] shoulders but since all horses have shoulder movement when they move, they all need more flare than what I see on most western saddles today.

In his illustration of flare, he shows it starting at the rear edge of the swell.  Is this a standard for flare or does this vary from saddler to saddler?  Is this where the flare begins on your saddles?

I am also curious about the low point of the rock.  It seems to me that the low point of the rock will gravitate to the low point of the horse's back.  If a horse has a long ramp to the withers, the lowest point behind the withers will be farther back than with a horse that has a more abrupt withers ramp.  If the low point of rock is in a standard location on the bars, wouldn't the saddle fit farther back on the horse with the long withers ramp?  I'm using the term "ramp" per Dr. Deb's article on back conformation a few years back in Equus.

Further to this issue, and a question for Dr. Deb, does a hollow spot behind and below the peak of the withers always indicate poor back condition or can this be due just to conformation?  I'm thinking here of horses with high, narrow withers which are the individuals that I see that generally have the hollow spot.

Thanks,
Sharon

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2013 01:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sharon, There really are no standards in the western saddle world. To the credit of the people that did the article they are trying to establish some standards. Standards need to be based on clearly defined paradigms for them to have any real validity. This is one of the problems in the saddling world, people are not aware of the paradigms they are following. This is true in both the "English" and "Western" worlds.
I follow a eastern paradigm where the saddle sits forward and the bar of the saddle distributes the weight over the longissamus dorsi muscle. Because of this I do have more flair as in this paradigm the the rigidity of the tree is used to allow the saddle to be over the shoulder with out being on the shoulder. The paradigm that is commonly being used today is that you put the saddle behind the shoulder and bend the front of the saddle down to utilize the lattissamus dorsi as a support muscle. In this paradigm flair is not as much of an issue and as such any discussion of it would seem a bit confusing.
My current thinking on the subject of rock is that on healthy backs the rock can be clearly defined. However, it becomes a confusing nightmare when you exclude the reality that many horses bodies are in a pathological condition. For awhile the western saddle makers were talking about centering the saddle on the anti-clinal Vertebra (most often found at Thoracic vertebra 16). They identified this as the lowest point of the back or where the center of the rock should be. They went so far as rolling a ball on the back to find the low point and were saying that it was where the anticlinal vertebra was. The Anticlinal vertabra should be at the apex of the small curve of the back. Put another way is that the lumbar span should have an upward curve to it. If it does not then the horse was not taught how to carry a rider and you will end up with shifting pathologies that will make it very difficult to get a clear understanding of rock.

Sharon Adley
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 5th, 2011
Location: Indiana USA
Posts: 74
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 11:02 am
 Quote  Reply 
OK, I've heard the anticlinal vertebra placed anywhere from the 14th to the 16th now.  Perhaps this may vary from horse to horse?  Do we want the rider's weight over that spot or no farther back than that spot but it might be a bit father forward?

How does one estimate the location of the ac vertebra on any given horse?

We can find the last thoracic more easily since this follows up from the last rib.  How should the saddle be placed in relation to the last thoracic vertebra?  Presumably the center of the seat should be in front of this vertebra but how about the rear end of the bars which extend behind the rider's seat?

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Nov 18th, 2013 05:48 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sharon, and everyone: the anticlinal vertebra is T17 or T18. It merely means the vertebra which, in the given animal, sits at the top of the chain of thoracic centra, i.e. at the top of the arch formed by the thoracic + lumbar vertebrae. This particular vertebra will have the dorsal process sticking straight up, at 90 degrees to a wire passed through the core of the centrum or through the vertebral canal. It is a handy term but it is being bandied about in a rather meaningless way by some saddlemakers, to make it sound like they perhaps know some anatomy -- which they really don't. Obviously, we fit any type of saddle, Western or English, several vertebrae ahead of T18.

While it is true that the anticlinal vertebra is the "keystone" of the arch of the thoracic + lumbar span -- that is to say, of the total freespan of the horse's back -- we are quite unable to ride the whole of the freespan. This is because we can't sit on the withers. Neither certainly, do we want to sit on the lumbar vertebrae that lie behind T17-T18. What we do want to do is to place the center of the rider's weight as close as possible to the front of the thorax, i.e. as close as possible to the withers, because thanks to the criscrossing ligaments that bind the dorsal processes of the withers together, this is the strongest part of their back.

It also lies nearer to, if not right above, the "sweet spot" or center of gravity or center of rotation or center of movement -- it's been called all of these things. This spot is the part of the horse that moves the LEAST no matter what he does -- close to, or right over, the pivot-point for back-to-front and also side-to-side balance. When we sit in that spot, the horse has the least trouble balancing us.

We trade this off against giving him a little more trouble lifting us. If we wanted to help him lift us, then we would develop a way to ride him so that we sat right over the lumbo-sacral joint. That has been tried, historically, in ancient times, in the Middle East; but although it makes weightbearing easy for the horse, it makes achieving a stable balance, and also therefore finding a cogent way to aid the horse, almost impossible for the rider. What I am saying here is that it is rather one-sided to only concern yourself with making it easy for the horse to lift us. More important it is that he, and we, find our balance in the mutual dance that is quality riding.

So we want to build saddles that put the center of the seat as close up to the base of the withers as we can get it. This is what Dave G. is showing you by putting the "fitting zone" all on the longissimus dorsi and none on the trapezius: he is showing you about flare, which is one of the features of Western saddle trees most often and most seriously deficient: they don't have enough flare, they don't permit room for the shoulders. Obviously and of course, you can't have the skirts stiff or curled in or wrongly shaped or too narrow either: and you would know this, and be happy to give Dave credit for it, if you had just done as originally told and viewed his "About Saddle Fit" tape, where that is discussed. That tape was made over 20 years ago, so it is Sharon who is behind on getting this concept.

What Dave is saying is that the blue zone is where you're going to want the pressure to come, whatever pressure that may be. You shape the tree so that you put the pressure in this area, spreading it as widely as possible or as evenly as possible over that area, but not on the loins and not on the trapezei, so that you aren't propping the saddle up onto the shoulders, and yet you are still achieving the fit so that the rider's weight is borne, as much as practicable, as closely as possible to the horse's withers.

Now that Dave's been doing some serious thinking about making English as well as Western saddles, I'm expecting him pretty shortly to re-invent the old-fashioned square head, so that we can go back to that and get away from the slant head, and thus pull the seats of our saddles a full two vertebrae farther forward than even the best currently-manufactured English saddle allows, which is made on a slant head. -- Dr. Deb

Kuhaylan Haify
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Nov 19th, 2013 10:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
dear Dr. Deb What's a square head? A type of flat saddle? Also is it similar to a plantation saddle from the old days in the Southern U.S.
Thanks
Bruce Peek

Sharon Adley
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 5th, 2011
Location: Indiana USA
Posts: 74
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Nov 21st, 2013 09:19 am
 Quote  Reply 
"Sharon, and everyone: the anticlinal vertebra is T17 or T18. It merely means the vertebra which, in the given animal, sits at the top of the chain of thoracic centra, i.e. at the top of the arch formed by the thoracic + lumbar vertebrae. This particular vertebra will have the dorsal process sticking straight up, at 90 degrees to a wire passed through the core of the centrum or through the vertebral canal. It is a handy term but it is being bandied about in a rather meaningless way by some saddlemakers, to make it sound like they perhaps know some anatomy -- which they really don't. Obviously, we fit any type of saddle, Western or English, several vertebrae ahead of T18."

So you define the anti-clinal vertebra and the last thoracic vertebra as the same? (since most horses have 18 thoracic vertebra).  The definition that I had previously seen for the anti-clinal vertebra was the vertebra that pointed more or less directly vertical between the more forward thoracic vertebra which incline rearward and the latter thoracic vertebra which incline forward.  That is how it is defined in Smythe & Goody's Horse Structure and Movement, page 32 of the 3rd edition (on your recommended reading list).  This text places it at 15T or 16T, depending I suppose on whether the individual horse has 17 or 18 thoracic vertebra.

Thank you for clarifying that it is the trapezius and not the latissimus dorsi that should not bear weight.  After consulting the three equine anatomy texts that I own, I did not see how any of the saddle trees I have seen could bear on the latissimus dorsi, but I do see how one might bear on the thoracic trapezius, which is what Dave's trees are designed to avoid.  I suppose you could impact the lats negatively with other aspects of saddle design.


Last edited on Thu Nov 21st, 2013 09:55 am by Sharon Adley

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 05:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sharon, a wee trip to a nearby Museum of Natural HIstory would help you considerably. It's tough when you have no concrete knowledge of the realities of skeletons. As you live in Indiana, I would suggest that a weekend at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago might be money and time beautifully spent. The Field Museum is one of the five greatest natural history museums in the world.

You'll go, and then you'll seek out the following exhibits:

(1) The recent osteological collection, or Hall of Osteology, where there will probably be the mounted skeleton of a recent horse.

(2) The part of the Hall of Paleontology that has skeletons of fossil mammals. There you will find mounted skeletons of various extinct horses. You will get a LOT of juice out of comparing them point-for-point, i.e. compare Eohippus' sacrum with that of Miohippus, Merychippus, Pliohippus, and Equus. You'll certainly also want to notice the changes through time in the PROPORTIONS of the equid back. Note how these relate to (a) the length of the lower parts of the legs and the number of toes, and (b) the length and shape of the neck.

(3) The other part of the Hall of Paleontology that has skeletons of fossil dinosaurs and other extinct large land-dwelling reptiles. After having familiarized yourself with the skeletons of horses in particular and mammas in general, you will find it fascinating to look at all the WILDLY different designs that the dinosaurs tried out! Again pick the sacrum as the bone to start from, then do the spinal chain as a whole, then focus on "withers" and neck, bipedality vs. quadripedality, carnivores vs. herbivores.

You see, Shaon, it is ignorance that makes people "stiff" in their opinions and hard to teach. When people start reaching out, as you have here, then they find that a world of possibilities opens up. The neat and trivial little pseudo-realities that they believed in before simply evaporate when the person learns to observe, and to ACTIVELY SEEK OUT the whole scope of reality.

And guess where I've been the last five days! The greatest natural history museum on Earth -- the American Museum of Natural History in New York city (tied for first with the British Museum in London). I've spent four grueling days measuring and photographing dog skulls for comparison with our Roman-era dogs from Vindolanda. Tomorrow, my last day, I get the day off and guess what I'm going to do with it? Go photograph the new Hall of Tertiary Mammals, with all the fossil horse skeletons. So you see, the doctor takes her own medicine. Cheers, go have fun, and let's hear all about what you observed and learned once you get back. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 23rd, 2013 07:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sharon, I have attached a picture of the two fitting concepts. The drawings are from an out of print vet text book. In the picture the red represents bearing area. on the first horse you will see that there is a blue area which is part of the bar but does not make contact. The Latissamus dorsi muscle attaches to the Thoracolumbar Fascia which is not muscle fiber and as such will not contract as actual muscle fiber would. In the second picture the bearing surface follows the Lattissamus down in to muscle fiber and weights the lumbar span.

Attachment: east-vs-west.jpg (Downloaded 225 times)

Sharon Adley
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 5th, 2011
Location: Indiana USA
Posts: 74
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 24th, 2013 07:57 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dave, the graphics really help me see what you mean.  Getting close to the withers without interfering with the shoulder and then also spreading the rider's weight as much as possible without getting over the lumbar vertebrae doesn't look easy.  Thanks, Sharon

Last edited on Sun Nov 24th, 2013 08:18 pm by Sharon Adley

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Nov 25th, 2013 07:04 pm
 Quote  Reply 
It is not any harder than the other method and has been the idea adopted by the more advanced horse cultures throughout time. Right now the powers that are in control have chosen the other idea to promote. What we need now is another Genghis Khan to appear and make the benefits of this eastern idea over the western idea so apparent that people adopt it again.

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Dec 1st, 2013 04:36 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here are a couple of shots I took at the Leeds armory Museum.

Attachment: bar-compaison.jpg (Downloaded 130 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Dec 1st, 2013 04:37 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is picture that shows how the jousting saddles fitting concepts have evolved in to the shapes we see in today's saddles.

Attachment: morph.jpg (Downloaded 387 times)

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 01:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'm guessing that if you want to design a saddle that puts the rider in position A, you would have to make the tree have a lot of flare in front, so the shoulders can move freely under the tree. This would be for a western type saddle tree.

I ride English. How could this be done for an English saddle?

 My saddles want to sit on the back section of my horse's scapula. He is built more uphill, so this makes the saddles high in front. I'm using shim pads to try and balance the saddle but it still feels kind of tight in front. If I move the saddle back a couple of inches, it will move forward again when riding. If I shim it so it can be forward on him and give his shoulder more room, I then have to jack up the rear half of the the saddle even more to balance it.

May be it just can't be done with an English saddle?? Unless the horse is build more down hill?

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 02:26 pm
 Quote  Reply 
An English saddle can be made to work by applying the eastern design concepts to it. Some realizations have to be made the first one is to realize the English tree is not and has never been designed to fit he horse. The tabbed concept in the jousting saddles which started as four pads that were designed to stabilize the saddle moves in two directions. The one pictured above ended up being used a lot in stock saddles but another concept was also used. In the second concept the two arches stopped being used stabilizers and the front and rear arches began to be used as angle holders which allowed the panels to be stuffed in the proper shape to fit the horse. This concept is still being used in high school chairs today. In the 1800's the rear arch was lost to create what we now call an English saddle which from what I can tell is actually French. So now we have a frame that is designed to create the seat and the only part of the tree that has anything to do with the horse is the front arch below the stirrup bar. With these realizations you can move to place where you realize that saddle fitting is about shape and as such the panels must be stuffed firm enough to create and hold a shape. This concept is different from what saddle fitters are telling people so there is good reason for massive amounts of confusion. The concept today is that the saddle tree is designed to fit the horse (false) and that the stuffing is for adding some cushioning and as such they need to come and re-stuff your saddle every few months. So the reality is that in most cases the panels can have enough stuffing added to create the proper shape to move the saddle forward. This also generally requires you to use the back two billets. Point billets should be outlawed.

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 02:54 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David,

So, are you saying that my English saddle needs more flocking in the area behind the shoulder and in the rear, like I'm doing with the shim pads?

How about English looking saddles build on western saddle trees, with a lot of flare in front?  May be that would be easier. There are some people making them, but not really enough flare in front.  But more flare could be added by rasping off some of the neoprene panels in front.


Last edited on Thu Apr 24th, 2014 03:18 pm by MPR

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 03:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am speaking in general terms I couldn't say anything about your situation with out seeing the saddle and horse.

I am not familiar with the saddles you are talking about. However, combinations of both eastern and western concepts are nothing new. In my mind the eastern concepts are more biomechanically correct so it seems the western concepts (jousting saddles) seem to be constantly applying eastern concepts to make the saddles work better so I don't know why the industry doesn't just adopt the eastern concepts. I don't see many people wanting to attach armor to their saddles anymore.

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 03:31 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here's my dressage saddle on my horse. I had the tree adjusted to tracings. See how the saddle slid forward and that it's high in front?

Then here's my jump saddle. Same thing.

Attachment: 20140304_154332.jpg (Downloaded 287 times)

Last edited on Thu Apr 24th, 2014 03:35 pm by MPR

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 03:38 pm
 Quote  Reply 
oops ,.. here's the dressage one again. Some how it got erased





Attachment: 20140312_162450.jpg (Downloaded 287 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 05:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
The picture didn't show the first time I looked at this. The design has been used by many militaries through out the world. It is a very good design concept it is using a tree to fit the horse and tree to fit the person. How well it will work will depend on the shape of the bar.
The rigging on that saddle is functional. As to the photos of your horse and saddles I really can not do a saddle fitting for you on this forum but we can explore some of the concepts involved.
Billet placement: On both saddles the Billets are placed too far forward so if you do open the front to allow for shoulder movement the placement of the billets would pull the front of the saddle down and negate any of the advantages gained by the new shape. On both saddles billets would need to be added further back to allow the saddle to function properly. The other confusion that ties into this is the notion of the girth groove. God did not design the horse with a groove for the girth, he did design the ribcage in such away to allow the leg to move unencumbered.
Levelness: Where the front of the saddle is relative to eth cantle is totally erroneous. The only thing that should be of concern is the levelness of the seat. If there a level spot for the pelvis to rest your good to go no matter what the relationship of the cantle and front are. It may be valid with in one saddle makers system but over all the notion of looking at the front arch relative to the cantle is KA ka. If the area where your pelvis is resting is level your good to go. Both of the saddles pictured look pretty good to me. What you may be feeling is the negative effect of the billet placement.

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 07:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
The dressage saddle has a Y rigging for the rear billet. I suppose I could use just the back one, which connects to the middle and rear positions.

Someone had mentioned the balance point for a particular horse. I just read about this in a sport horse conformation book, so I tried to map it out on a photo of my horse. I don't know if this balance point thing is correct or not....but the lowest point of the saddle seat is suppose to be at this balance point. This would be position B? 

Attachment: IMG_3455.JPG (Downloaded 276 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 416
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 09:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have attached your picture with some lines on it assuming that is how the points were arrived at. With out knowing more about the reasoning behind this it is hard to comprehend the misunderstanding. This may be an interesting proportional study but the notion of a balance point is a gross over simplification that does not take into account the magnificently engineered intertwined systems that create the horses motion. You should go to the knowledge base and read The Ring of Muscles anatomy Active & Passive Function. You should also read Debs Principles of Conformation books to get a fundamental deep understanding of where you might choose an anatomical point and how it might have a meaning. Perhaps Deb can see some meaning in those points that I can not?

Attachment: proportions.jpg (Downloaded 268 times)

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 09:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
 I enjoy studying and learning, so I'll check out those resources.  As soon as my horse starts moving, it is clear that his frame is moving in an uphill way. The still shot is different. A person can diagram a photo, but seeing a moving horse is much more informative.

My thoughts on all this......have the rider at Point A or between A and B. Then then influence the horse with the rider's aids and body position. ?? 

Anyhow,..thanks for posting on this interesting topic.

MPR
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2014
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 09:42 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here is a motion photo.  The rider is in position A or A to B. My horse is moving uphill.

Attachment: 11-5-2013_002.jpg (Downloaded 262 times)

Ride A Grey Horse
Member
 

Joined: Tue Feb 9th, 2010
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 48
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Nov 9th, 2016 08:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
David I've just seen on your website that you now make an English saddle! Trying to cheer up on this day of shame, so I'd like to consider one, to replace my fancy-brand saddle with the stirrup bars that leave my legs working to fall right.
Can you tell us a little about it? I know for years you only made Western trees.
Thanks and best,
Cynthia

EvanB
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jun 27th, 2016
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Dec 11th, 2016 05:03 am
 Quote  Reply 
As a Foremanist (Monte Foreman) I had a particular interest in the sitting positions given as the concept of sitting in the 'correct' place is very important aspect of Foremanism. If I may get onto a rabbit trail for a second. I do feel that although Foreman is only casually mentioned, his riding concepts and saddles were largely misunderstood even by Mr. Genadek and that what Foreman was trying to teach through his system (including tack and equipment) can only really be understood by an in depth study of it. Not to mention that Foreman was a man of 'facts' when it came to horses and was always experimenting and never satisfied (including saddle design) even up until his death. Also that with saddle materials he was subject to the constraints of his time, that the 'balanced ride' design was never solely his own and he did not consider it flawless. I apologize for getting off subject.




Back to my question. I guess I feel the need to go around a bit here to fully explain. So in Foremanism we definitely seek to be in position A yet the old original balanced ride couldn't quite get a person there sitting only when rising in the stirrups (which systematic rising makes up a large part of Foremanism), but as one of Foreman's students continued on with the saddles in scientific form as he would have wanted I feel both in theory and in actual use that this saddle properly placed depending on the horse and rider, sits the person at position A or at least between A and B. As David mentions in the thread that Liz riding in A had the same horse respond much quicker and more easily when turning on the hind end than when in position B. I can remember my own surprise as I learned Foreman's technique the same feeling of ease with which the horses stopped, turned around, and changed leads. So I guess I mean to say having experienced the same thing from better position compared to say in my case a 'regular' western saddle, I do not question the advantage of position A. So now I can start to get to my question. Two Baucherists I have studied a good deal are Fillis and lesser known H.L. DeBussigny. So with this idea of a 'horizontal balance' that these men had as opposed to what they viewed as the 'old school' idea of in their minds trying to get the horse almost constantly balanced with more weight to the rear the majority of the time they wanted an equal weight distribution on the front and hind legs right. So then in his work 'Equitation' DeBussigny in Chapter 21 entitled 'THE ASSEMBLAGE' sets down his own experiment he did in proving Baucher's theory on two platform scales as follows...




"
From the beginning of equitation, this state of equilibrium of rider and horse has been the subject of researches and theories, more or less practical. Of these, Baucher's is the most reasonable. Moreover, this grand master has proved experimentally the existence of this equilibrium, and the fact that it is produced by the assemblage. I give here one of Baucher's tests in the form in which I have several times repeated them for myself.

An ordinary saddle horse, properly trained but not practiced in the demonstration, weighs one thousand pounds. I place him, without saddle or bridle, with his hind legs on one of two platform scales and his fore feet on the other. If he took naturally a state of perfect equilibrium, he would thereupon register a weight of two hundred and fifty pounds with each foot, five hundred pounds at each end.

But as a matter of fact, the forward scales register 612 pounds; the rear scales only 388. The horse will not distribute his weight equally between the two pairs of limbs, unless his naturally wrong position is rectified by the demonstrator.

For this purpose, I add a twelve-pound saddle and three pounds of bridle; making the new weight 1015 pounds, which the horse distributes, ten pounds in front and five behind. I take the reins of the bit and raise the animal's head. At once the weights change, and become more nearly equal. The front scales now show 522 pounds and the rear 493. Fifty pounds has shifted to the hind legs.

Still keeping the head up, with the aid of a whip, I place the hind legs side by side, and both perpendicular to the horizontal line of the horse's spine. All the while, I bear lightly on the bit and flex the head at the atlas region. The scales now indicate 510 pounds on the fore legs, 505 pounds on the rear ones. This difference of five pounds arises from the impossibility for a man on foot of keeping the front legs exactly perpendicular upon the scales or obtaining perfect flexion at the atlas region. Allowing for this small difference, we have here an undeniable proof of a state of transmitted equilibrium imposed upon the animal by the man.

The demonstration is still more striking when the horse is mounted. I weigh, dressed, 172 pounds, a total weight of 1187. Letting the reins lie loose, I find that the scales read 722 and 565 pounds. I take the reins, flex the horse's head and neck to bring the animal "in hand," and at the same time, by the contact of my legs, I bring the animal's hind legs into the perpendicular position. The scales now read, in front 598, behind 589, a difference of only nine pounds. In this particular case, the horse had become pretty nervous from having his feet on the unsteady scale platforms; and in order to keep him quiet, I had been neglecting my own position, and leaning slightly forward, for the sake of loading the fore legs and keeping them still. As soon as I rectified this, and sat with head and body erect, the forward scales read steadily 593, while the other oscillated between 592 and 594 with the action of my legs in trying to keep the horse perfectly quiet. It was a convincing demonstration. Moreover, by leaning forward or backward with the head very erect, I could always take thirty-five or forty pounds from the reading of either scales and add it to the other."




As far as I can see in the pictures of his work he sat around position B perhaps even more toward C at times. So my question really is seeing the results of his test which proven what he is saying how would the riding sitting at A effect the same? Because I would think one could in some ways rightly say that in A the rider would be putting a greater proportion of his weight on the horse's front end and rightly I think. So if that is the case than how can it be that the horse with the rider in A is able then to work much more easily and freely especially in work on the hind quarters? Any help would be greatly appreciated in understanding this...maybe it is just me but when I get onto something like this I get almost fixated and getting it settled in my mind!

Kuhaylan Heify
Member
 

Joined: Fri Jan 30th, 2015
Location:  
Posts: 40
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Dec 11th, 2016 07:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Evan: Very cool. What book did you get that out of, and is it still in print?
best
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Dec 11th, 2016 08:56 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, Evan, the DeBuissigny experiment is an excellent and famous one. Sally Swift applied the same technique to helping riders become aware of their own weight distribution habits, i.e. most people weight one foot more than the other all the time. Swift used two bathroom scales, one per each of the person's feet.

All accomplished horsemen sit the same way. You will find the 'right' way to sit whether you look at the best horseman in Mongolia, Persia, Japan, Argentina, Germany, France, England or America.

Many authors -- and particularly in our culture and language, we are familiar with those of Europe beginning at the end of the Medieval period and especially after the printing press comes to Europe in the 1550's -- many authors of this period and culture have tried to describe the 'right' way to sit. Indeed so also did Xenophon, writing some 400 years B.C. So here, I am about to relieve you of the tendency which you say you have to obsess -- just stop it, my friend, because authors have struggled with this. I know they have myself, because I too have authored books, and here also I am writing to you through this forum. But writing ABOUT something is not the thing itself; and in short, it is very difficult to adequately put into words what 'sitting right' really means.

Neither do photographs always convey it, nor either videotapes or movie film.

The reason for this is that 'sitting right' is NOT a position; it is a dynamic. No good rider ever sits 'in a position'; to do so would be to pose, to be a wooden doll like you see people trying to be in the Western Pleasure competitions. Needless to say, they are very confused, and they have totally lost the essence of what it means to ride well.

So to sit 'right' is not a position; it is a dynamic, which means, the good rider is the one who can go with the flow, with what Dave Genadek calls 'the river of energy' that comes up from the animal's foot-contact with the ground and which flows through its oscillating spine from rear to front. For example, I have had people scoff at me (because the only explanation for it that they can wrap their heads around is that this must mean that I am a coward too afraid to ask much of a horse): they scoff because I tell them the truth, that I haven't come off a horse in over 35 years.

And this is for two reasons. One, because I live by a hint I once heard Tom Dorrance give: he said, "Until I have THAT I don't even want to get on them." And the 'that' that Tom was talking about was whether the horse cares about you or not; whether he wants to be with you MORE than he wants to be anywhere else, or do anything other than what you have suggested to do. From that moment on I committed to always making sure this would be the case; to make getting that OKness and keeping that OKness the numero uno priority at all times whatsoever.

And the second reason is this. In 1977 I was taking my first hunt-seat lessons at a proper stable, and had progressed so far as to be permitted to rent school horses a couple of days a week to go for practice rides not under the direct supervision of an instructor. One day I was in the indoor arena on a big roan TB X QH named T.J., a horse anybody would like to ride, a real nice horse who didn't mean any more harm than any other horse would. The indoor hall at that place was a Butler building (sometimes called a Bonanza barn), one of those I-beam frame places with the metal siding. It had big sliding doors at either end so the tractor could go in and out. The front door, which opened onto the stable yard, was open; the back door was almost shut but not quite; there was a gap of maybe ten inches between the two doors.

Well, we came around there at a trot and damn if there wasn't a horse or a person -- not absolutely sure what it actually was -- moving around out to the back, and they happened to brush by the gap in the door just as we were passing it, and old T.J. shied a big one, right down to his elbows I mean, to where I felt the sole of my left foot smack against the ground.

And I didn't fall off. And I heard a little voice in the back of my head, and it said, "you know what Deb, you're going to be able to do this."

Forty years later and I'm in my sixties and I'm out riding my lovely Ollie one afternoon with a group of people in a field. The farmer had given us permission to trod around in there as the crop had been harvested and the irrigation turned off. Like most fields around here, that one is fitted with big metal boxes over the irrigation heads. The boxes are open to the side facing the field, and we would be passing those openings as we trod around the field. Well somehow a white rag had blown into one of them and got hung up on the spigot, and there was a little wind that day, and so you probably know what happened....Ollie's neck gets level with the pitch-black opening before mine does and he sees this white "ghost" flapping around in there before I do, and he goes BOOM, straight down to his elbows in a bigtime shy. And the girl behind me says "Geezus! Are you all RIGHT??!" because again, of course, I didn't come off -- just sit 'right'. But remember also, T.J. cared about me -- though back then, it was before I'd met Tom so I didn't realize that was part of my success. Ollie, of course, came much later and I've deliberately worked to get it that way. Which means, when the horse goes down to his elbows and it takes your butt two beats longer to catch up with how fast he's gone down, HE WAITS FOR YOU TO ARRIVE before he does the sideways part of the shy.

And the same applies everywhere else too, whether you are jumping or going down a steep pitch on a trailride, or cutting a rollback on a cow: to quote the jazz repertory, "it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing."

So again, as I said at the top: all good horsemen no matter where in the world, sit the same way, and that 'way' is largely unpicturable and ineffable. The best that an author can do is to give an idea of what the 'limits' are, i.e. don't sit grossly on the fork, don't hollow your back, please for God's sake bend your elbows, don't hang on the reins, don't look down and in but rather up and out, relax all the joints of your legs, relax your butt muscles, and sit as square and as quiet as your own physique, the horse's, and the work situation allow.

And after that -- quit worrying about it. When people would ask Ray Hunt this same type of question, he'd have them go do something simple, like a circle; and he would coach them a little close, until they were doing pretty good with it, and the horse was OK, soft, properly flexed, moving forward from the leg willingly -- and then he'd say to them, 'so how do you feel about your position now' and of course there would be not one thing that anybody could criticize about it. In short, Ray was wise enough not to get the cart before the horse. -- Dr. Deb

 

EvanB
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jun 27th, 2016
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 12th, 2016 03:34 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Bruce, I thought there was a link in there. The whole work is actually now online publically. It is from 'Equitation' by H.L. DeBussigny. It's a good book. You might find several things you'd like to implement from it. He was much more a true Baucherist in my opinion than Fillis was. One of my favorite things is his divisions of equitation given at the beginning. Also he gets pretty scientific with anatomy and gaits for his time. A paper back version can be had pretty cheap on Amazon last I saw.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Equitation

EvanB
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jun 27th, 2016
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 12th, 2016 04:44 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks Dr.Deb, I appreciate your taking time to answer so thoroughly! I'll have to read your response a couple more times I think to glean out all the wisdom. Being a younger person though I do enjoy learning from the experiences and studies of folks older than myself. From my own experiences I do agree. Sometimes I've seen people with what is considered by many a 'correct' seat with horses that couldn't work at all and stiff in the way riders, and on the other hand riders who if examined by an 'expert' had an incorrect seat who were real naturals with their horses. Of course I don't mean to say position doesn't matter!!

I guess the way I'm looking at it is more mechanical, in regards to DeBussigny's test versus the positions A,B, and C and the effects they would have. Because it would seem just looking at things very plainly as if there was a disagreement between what the scales would say and how that relates to real life action up on the horse and especially at speed stopping and turning. So no doubt say if someone did the same test three ways (A,BC or in the middle, and the croup seat)on the same horse the scales I imagine would read vastly different. Wouldn't it be so that the rider in the croup seat would appear to not only the horse's but his own weight 'loading' the hind end, yet I wouldn't expect that same person to be able to do much at all for reined maneuvers for example. So in that case the weight was technically back off the front but the rider would be in the way so much as to not be practical right? And then on the other end of the spectrum position A would appear to be loading the horse's front end on the scales yet from what I read here such as from Mr.Genadek, the anatomy of the horse's back, my own personal experience and that of at least every serious Foremanist says that A is the best place to be to make things easier for horse and rider if you can get there, which is why I found this thread so interesting in the first place because honestly outside of Foremanism it is rarely talked about in the general horse world! Caring the concept then into real life for myself any way I was raised with what I would call late 80s early 90s cutting and reined cow horse training (giant seated flat seat cutting saddles) being around my dad, but really he was more cow horse as he put reined work on all his cutters which just like today many haven't the slightest idea. Anyway so as I got old enough to start training there was always this honestly speaking 'pride' about having a horse well reined you know, it always sets a guy apart especially in SD! So around the time that Foreman's teachings came to me I thought I had a good grasp on a lot of this kind of stuff, not that I was a know it all or couldn't be told just that I thought I already the foundation. Then watching some of the more advanced Foremanists I was amazed at the speed, ease, and seemingly effortlessness with which the could preform what Foreman called the 'basic handle' (which is truth compared with many things isn't so basic). It honestly shocked me a bit, thinking we are reined cow horse people we are supposed to be some of the best at any kind of reined work and I couldn't at the time come close to what they did easy. Long story short as I studied, learned and implemented much of Foremanism I was surprised at how easy it really was! As I came to find out Foreman called it just that 'the easy way' with his motto 'the right place at the right time with the least amount of fuss'. All this time before I came to see that in reality with everything I'd learned from CH folks I was at least partially in the way. When I was up in that position A area and with a better understanding of foot falls at all gaits maneuvers didn't require the kind work I formally had to put in because the horse could do them all along I just had to get out of the way. The hardest part for me with my back ground was to not slouch, not shy away from support on the stirrups, and to quit sitting the stops. And again I was amazed how they'd stop when I wasn't in the way, still more amazed that they'd turn around better being upfront in an A, AB position. Which if someone would have told me before there is no way I would have believed it. But it makes sense to me now there by giving the horse an increased ability to bring his hind legs underneath his mass and work off his rear. The part I am failing to see right now is how does sitting more forward behind the withers and its effects on the horse relate to the horse's weight distribution such as seen on the scales. Again I don't question it works because I've experienced it but could it be that it does indeed place slightly more weight to the front while at the same time freeing up the back and hind end? I realize to that the horse itself plays a large role here. For example I enjoy teasing the gauchos I know from the Criollo process because many have only ever ridden the best Criollos and Freno de Oro/ Freio de Ouro bred ones at that and so they have extremely talented horses making many what a lot of people would call 'difficult' moves easy such as lead changes for example. I tease them that with a regular old run of the mill Quarter Horse their program would not work on them. Like with the lead changes they don't teach the Freno bred horses to change leads they merely change on their own because of their fantastic breeding but so many 'average' horses couldn't do that they way that they sit on them. So to tie all this back in to the thread that is what I am wondering is about what the scales would theoretically read in a static form in A and if that means more weight to the front how to understand than how that positions still frees up the horses to work so much better. And I apologize to anyone reading if I rambled on!

EvanB
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jun 27th, 2016
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 12th, 2016 04:49 am
 Quote  Reply 
I can share to illustrate the quality of animals which they work with! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CdycGDGRCg&app=desktop

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 12th, 2016 07:54 am
 Quote  Reply 
Evan, would you be willing to condense your previous post to just one or two sentences, and be sure you ask a specific question -- just ONE. Your post is  unreadable, and so far as I can tell, contains neither a question nor an observation about your real experiences with your own horse. Understand please that I am not here to listen to/read novels or "stream of consciousness" from the merely curious, and I don't think any of our good longtime correspondents is, either. Thanks for the courtesy. -- Dr. Deb

EvanB
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jun 27th, 2016
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 12th, 2016 12:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
1. My personal observation was noticing the very big difference in the ease with which my horses worked when I could get to A in a saddle.

2. My question is two fold. Doesn't sitting at A actually put more weight on the front end because it is further forward? In other words as compared to DeBussigny's test sitting further back. And if that is the case that it puts more weight to the front how can it be understood/explained that it frees the horses up to lift the back and work off the hind end?

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3042
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Dec 13th, 2016 03:39 am
 Quote  Reply 
Evan, yours is a question straight from the end of the 18th century, and the confusion that lies behind it is the essential reason why Saddle Seat riding, and for a long time the riding and schooling of jumpers also, went wrong.

The confusion is this: the horse is not made of wood. It therefore does not work like a wooden rocking-horse. When you pull the front end up on a wooden rocking horse, the back end goes down and indeed the point on the rockers where the most weight bears, moves toward the rear. But a real horse does not work that way, and you and others are deceived if you think that's what DeBuissigny did in 'raising the neck'.

A real horse has a back that works like a diving board. It is not rigid; it is elastic.

When a real horse collects, it coils its loins, which drives an elastic wave forward through the spine which ultimately assists in raising THE BASE of the horse's neck (i.e. not its head), along with the forepart of the thorax. The coordination of the rider's leg and hand, a skill which DeBuissigny certainly had, also independently induces and assists the horse in raising THE BASE of the neck.

When the horse raises THE BASE of the neck, even if its head shoots forward and down -- which it must do in the greener horse who has not yet achieved the strength for full collection under a rider -- so long as it coils its loins, arches the freespan, and raises THE BASE of the neck, then it will have as much or more weight on its hindquarters than its forequarters. The huge mistake made by 18th century riding masters, and those who came before, and indeed those who came after up until Baucher and Caprilli, was their belief that you had to raise the horse's head in order to lighten the forehand. But when the rider raises the head, or a device such as an overcheck is used to achieve the same, it drives THE BASE of the neck downward and this in turn sends a 'hollowing wave' backwards through the spine, which makes it much more difficult for the horse to raise the forepart of the thorax, arch the freespan, or coil the loins; and this in turn, because flexion of the loins in turn governs flexion of the stifles and hocks, makes it impossible for the horse to sit down in back. In short, if the horse's head ALONE is raised, without first being supported by raising the base of the neck, then the horse will wind up being more on the forehand than it was before.

When DeBuissigny "raised the head", he did it according to Baucher's method no. 1, that is, he did it with the horse in 'rassembler', i.e. we would say 'round'; and he did it by the coordination of the leg and hand, so as to produce correct 'ramener', which we would call 'arching the neck'. And arching the neck requires that the horse make the effort to raise the base of the neck; that's what arches the neck. Thus DeBuissigny's horse was, in state 1, relaxed, just as he says; but in state 2, fully collected according to our own definition, i.e.:

(1) Collection starts from, and is always primarily the product of, coiling of the loins.

(2) Collection is continued when coiling of the loins induces a 'rounding wave' through its elastic spine, such that the freespan of the back becomes arched.

(3) Collection is completed when the abovementioned wave results in the raising of the base of the neck relative to the core of the loins.

Now my friend, you can stop worrying about weight distribution, in other words stop living in your head; but instead go and ride your horse, and attempt to feel what I have just described. And go to our main website and download the three crucial papers which are free .pdf's which I ask all students to study:

(1) Lessons from Woody, which is about the primacy of straightness to collection;

(2) True Collection, which describes the biomechanical mechanism in the horse;

(3) The Ring of Muscles revisited, a further exposition on collection, straightness, and OKness.

And if after studying these materials you find that you do not know how to teach the horse to collect, or your horse is not doing it or does not find it easy to do, then write back for more help. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

devvie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Oct 31st, 2016
Location: Guelph, Ontario Canada
Posts: 11
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Dec 14th, 2016 07:31 pm
 Quote  Reply 
"HE WAITS FOR YOU TO ARRIVE before he does the sideways part of the shy."

Oh yes! Absolutely the only reason I've not once come off Mr. spook, rear, spin 'n bolt when he is having a "moment." He could easily have finished the job so to speak! Yes, I'm new to the forum and yes, we're chipping away at the groundwork exercises and I'm saving up my questions.


 Current time is 04:55 am




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez