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Saddle trees and changing back shape
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Choctawpony
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 Posted: Wed Apr 1st, 2015 03:14 am
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Thank you Dr. Deb for your recommendations. I would still like to know more about eventually making a gaucho saddle for Gilbert if you don't see any reason that it would be harmful for either of us. The dressage saddle that does seem to fit him is a 12 year old synthetic and the rubber that is under the seat seems to be dry rotting and the staples holding together are pulling loose, so I am going to need to replace it perhaps sooner than later. I rode in a Portuguese mixta saddle for several years a while back that I really liked the balance of, but I haven't been able to find another to try for Gilbert.
Dave, if Dr. Deb gives her approval would you be kind enough to give me a little direction on getting started? Are the measurements shown in the slide show pretty standard? I have your saddle fitting DVD and I will be reviewing it again.

Thank you,
Rebecca

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Apr 1st, 2015 07:05 am
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Yes, I'd love to see you build a good Gaucho design. Go for it, and tell us all about the process too. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Wed Apr 1st, 2015 07:08 pm
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Rebecca, I don't think there are any standard measurements for a Gaucho saddle. I have seen a huge variety in them. So the question is do you want to just make a Gaucho saddle and copy the good and bad or do you want to start with it as a basic concept of a flexible treed saddle and build on it?

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 05:43 am
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Dave, I would like to build the best flexible tree saddle that I can. What do you consider the lesser points of a gaucho saddle to be? I have never ridden in one, so I am only guessing here, but it appears to me that the stirrups are hung further forward on most than I would find optimal. I am looking forward to this project. Thanks,
Rebecca

David Genadek
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 Posted: Sat Apr 4th, 2015 07:38 pm
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Rebecca, I could make a list but I think it might be more productive if we take a look at the horses body and get some measurements and some photos of the shape we are dealing with then compare it to the saddle pictures. This should make design issue obvious. So first thing we need to do is get a hand on the shape of the saddle fitting zone that I have marked in blue. I define that as:
The forward limit being where the trapezius ties in to the back (that will actually be at an angle I didn't have enough pixels to get the to look right on this photo.)
Top limit being 2" from spine
Back limit being the last rib (when possible make the anticlinal vertebra be the back limit which would be the 3rd rib from the rear.)
bottom limit is just above where the ribs pop out from underneath the back muscles.
I would get some blue masking tape and mark that area off. Then take some pictures of that area from different angles. Doing this should start to help you understand the shape the saddles bar needs to be.
Next I marked 4 key points
High part wither
Base of wither
Back of scapula
Last rib
I will assume you want to sit at the base of the wither so lets get oriented by measuring:
From base of wither to the high point of the wither. (Do this measurement horizontal.)
From base of wither to the last rib
From the base of wither to back of scapula
From back of scapula to last rib.

It would be really great if we could get a bunch of folks to go get these measurement and take pictures of the fitting zone on their horse.

Attachment: measurments2.jpg (Downloaded 254 times)

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2015 06:51 am
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Okay,Dave. I have attempted this. It wasn't as simple as it sounded like it would be. Gilbert is shedding heavily and as he would bend his body to look about the tape kept shifting. Also it was more difficult to feel the ribs than I anticipated. I have three photos. One is the saddle area to the third rib from the last, the second goes back to the last rib and the third has the points of the withers at the highest and at the base and the back of the scapula and the last rib marked. The measurements are as follows:
base of wither to high point of wither horizontally 8.5 inches
base of wither to back of scapula horizontally 6 inches
base of wither to last rib 11 inches
back of scapula to last rib 17.5 inches

Attachment: IMG_1953.JPG (Downloaded 217 times)

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2015 06:52 am
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gilbert photo of saddle area to last rib

Attachment: IMG_1954.JPG (Downloaded 217 times)

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2015 06:54 am
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gilbert high point and base of wither, back of scapula and last rib marked

Attachment: IMG_1955.JPG (Downloaded 219 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2015 07:43 am
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Very good work! I'm pleased and impressed that you have been able to so accurately get the position of the last rib, because you're right, feeling the ribs is not that easy. Let's see what Dave says is the next step now. :-) Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2015 08:59 pm
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Awesome! I see one thing on the fitting zone that you marked off and that is that you have the front limit on the Trapezius. You do not want to put weight on the trapezius as it will make it want to contract and interfere the movement of the scapula. As you look at it you might say but there is hardly any room!! This is the elephant in the room in the saddle industry. If you go back and look at the gaucho saddle photos you will see the bar is about 22" Looking at your measurements how does that 22" fit in? It looks like I forgot to tell you to measure your saddle fitting zone. If you had you would find your the difference between the top and bottom line will be around 4.5 to 5". The bar on the Guacho saddle is 3" wide. How does the shape of the bottom on the Gaucho bar compare to the horses back?

Attachment: images_Page_94_Image_0001.jpg (Downloaded 199 times)

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2015 06:16 am
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I actually had measured the lines of the saddle fitting zone. The top to bottom was 4.25 inches, the top line was 14.75 inches and the bottom line was 16 inches. If I am onto the trapezius then the length will be shorter still. I would think that the shape of the bar on the gaucho saddle would not give optimal contact if it is only 3 inches diameter. Would not a wider, more oval bar give a more even area of support?

David Genadek
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 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2015 09:11 pm
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Here is a cool video that I just saw on facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=571063552996379&pnref=story

Last edited on Thu Apr 9th, 2015 09:14 pm by David Genadek

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Sat Apr 11th, 2015 06:33 am
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I just watched the video. Those saddles sure look comfortable!

David Genadek
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 Posted: Sat Apr 11th, 2015 10:45 pm
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Lets talk a bit about the elephant in the room. I have taken an old skeleton diagram from an out of print text book and put your horses measurements on it, along with marking T13,T14 and T16.
One knowledgeable group are of the opinion that the center of the saddle should be placed at what they call the anti clinal moment or T14 which is is right after when the angle of the top line changes at T13. The same group also says that the saddle should be placed an inch or so behind the shoulder. I have done a 22" bar in light blue which not only is what the gaucho saddle measures but also what the panels of most English saddles and the bar of most western saddles measures. So this is the basic stand of the English saddle fitting community. You can clearly see the math simple does not add up. You can not have the saddle behind the shoulder and centered on T14. A group of western saddle makers has confused this concept and says that the anticlinal vertibra T16 is the lowest point of the back and the saddle should be centered there. This group does not feel that weighting the lumbar span has any negative consequences. So getting back to the project what would have to happen to the bar on the gaucho saddle to get it to stay off the both yellow zones?

David & everyone -- just a couple of comments:

(1) It is amusing that all the 'knowledgeable' people involved in this controversy do not seem to actually be knowledgeable about anatomical terminology. Neither T13, T14, nor T16 are the "anticlinal" vertebra. "Anticlinal" means "positioned at the top of the arch," in other words, it would usually indicate T17 or T18, which if the horse humps its back up to the maximum will lie at the top of the arch.

(2) The illustration you're using is not out of print, it is out of copyright -- in other words, OK to use because it is legally in the public domain. The original was an illustration in Ellenberger & Baum's 19th-century German work, "Animal Anatomy for Artists." This and many other illustrations that originally made up this work were later -- in the 1890's -- picked up by Sisson & Grossmann and used by them in their "Anatomy of the Domestic Animals." The illustrations were, in fact, simply taken; but this was in an era before modern copyright law, and was common practice at the time.

(3) Note that the horse in the illustration is "absolutely in neutral" as far as the posture of the back goes. This is determined by looking, not at the shallowly U-shaped contour formed by the tops of the dorsal processes from the peak of the withers on back, bugt rather by looking at the line formed by the bodies of the vertebral centra. These are visible between the ribs in the thoracic section of the back. Note that the vertebral centra line up straight -- taking neither a dipped path nor an arched one. This is quite realistic so far as fitting the "common" horse's back, since most riders either don't know how to teach their horse an improved (more upwardly arched) posture, which after having been taught will affect the alignment of the vertebral centra even at rest; or else they don't believe that this would be important. As the "common" horse ages, and as he is ridden for a lengthening period of years without being asked/taught to round up and carry himself properly, the alignment of the vertebral centra will begin to sag -- subtly at first, but more and more as the years go on. How much sag eventually develops will, in the absence of someone stepping in to teach the horse to carry himself properly, be strictly a function of the stoutness of the horse's bones and the toughness of the deep ligament layer that holds the vertebrae together. -- Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: skelatonmeasurements.jpg (Downloaded 113 times)

Last edited on Sun Apr 12th, 2015 02:24 am by DrDeb

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Sat Apr 11th, 2015 11:25 pm
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The bar of the saddle could be shortened to about 16 inches.


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