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Saddle trees and changing back shape
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Annie F
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 Posted: Sat Mar 28th, 2015 11:39 pm
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Thank you, Dave. I understand the concept but am not sure how to interpret the chart. Is the "continuum" referring to the rider's location on the horses' back, with the training seat being more forward (closer to the head as indicated on the line below the continuum) and the passive seat farther back toward the tail?

And what are the curved lines shown intersecting the line for the 0-point, 2-point, and 3-point seats indicating? the curve of the horse's back?

Annie

Last edited on Sat Mar 28th, 2015 11:44 pm by Annie F

David Genadek
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 Posted: Sun Mar 29th, 2015 12:08 am
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No that is not related it is just about the seat being static or active. I used a drawing I used in another conversation. The three seat profiles show the three seat profiles that are commonly used. Two point would be what we call a balance seat.Three point is what people that do rohlkur use and no point is when people sit back on their butts. The 3 and 0 point seat will lock a rider in a frame and prevent you from having an active seat. The two point profile allows the rider to have an active seat so he can use his seat to influence the horse.

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Sun Mar 29th, 2015 09:00 am
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Gilbert is 7 years old this year. He was 5 1/2 years old when the photo was taken. He stands somewhere between 14.2 and 14.3 hands. He is from the Choctaw line of Colonial Spanish horses, specifically from the Bryant Rickman herd in SE Oklahoma. I kept his mother at my place for a while and he was born while she was with me. He was handled from a young age, but life took its twists and turns and so he stayed out being just a pasture pet until around the time the photo was taken. I started doing more ground work with him then and started him under saddle. I had six good rides with him, then I really messed things up on the 7th ride. My birdie was way off and then his went even further and he began to buck. I made the split second decision to try to ride out the buck instead of bailing and than was how I badly damaged my pelvis. So he has now set out in pasture for over another year while I have been recovering. I am now 47. Not a youngster, but I still have a few good years left in me. The dressage saddle doesn't suit my purposes at this time because when i get back on again I would like to feel a little more secure and I do want to use a saddle that I can put a nice, soft pad on. As far as my riding plans for Gilbert go, right now I would just like to develop him into a solid trail horse. I used to enjoy doing exhibition rides at charitable events when I had my other Colonial Spanish horse, Chisto. Dr. Deb, you may remember Chisto, a gray, from your first Texas clinic hosted by Cheryl. We rode with you there. I have just recently started back with more focused ground work with Gilbert. Included in this is twirling the head, twirling the loins, backing, and trotting ground poles, as well as exercises to work more on desensitizing him and to build a longer, and more focused attention span. I recognize where I had "skimmed over" some things earlier and I have gone back to the beginning to fill in the gaps.

FROM DR. DEB: Sorry, Choctaw, when I composed the post below I hadn't seen this post from you. Very good, now we know what sort of "scale" of horse we're dealing with.

And yes, you've anticipated much of what I had to tell you, in terms of the groundwork that you know you need to do. But I'd still like to see a photo of you ground-schooling the horse.

One point: we NEVER EVER want to "desensitize" a horse. The correct term (and the correct approach) is not to "make numb", which is what "desensitize" means; rather it is to EDUCATE, which means to create a  horse that understands that he does not have to react or flee when the shit hits the fan, and who, moreover, has no desire to do anything but help you. That's when the "accidents" (which are usually not accidental at all) and injuries stop.

I recently realized that this year marks the 41st year since I took my first serious ride on a horse. For the last 35 of those years, I've managed to arrange things so that "accidents" and injuries simply have not happened (because I prevent them through foresight and fore-planning). This has been especially true since I met Ray Hunt 27 years ago. Cheers, please see my post below -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Sun Mar 29th, 2015 10:17 am by DrDeb

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Sun Mar 29th, 2015 09:18 am
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Dave,
As far as where I would like to sit according to your diagram I would say between A and B. This seems to be where I gravitate to when I am on him bareback. What suggestions do you have for addressing the lordosis from the ground? Thank you so much to you and Dr. Deb for giving your time and expertise!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Mar 29th, 2015 10:10 am
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OK, Choctaw, now we're on track to review much the same material that we've presented here in the Forum many other times. Your first task is to raise this horse's back -- and again I ask, how big is this animal? From his form he might well be a pony, but Lipizzans and certain other breeds which are not ponies can also have his type of body morphology.

I also need to know how heavy you are, and you don't have to tell me "exactly" to the pound -- what is relevant is, are you over 250 lbs? Between 200 and 250? Between 150 and 200? Or less than 150?

Finally, to the "exercises", or really they are "steps", as in "train the horse one step at a time." By which I mean not the process, but the actual physical steps that he takes:

(a) Untracking

(b) Backing

(c) Knowing how to longe properly

(d) One-step over ground pole(s)

(e) Drum work

(f) Under-saddle bends, including head-twirling as well as mid-neck, loin, and ribcage flexions

(g) Transitions done properly

(h) Figures, insofar as they incorporate any of the above.

Now Choctaw, if I remember right you've been reading here for several years. Can you use the Google Advanced Search function to look up older threads on these subjects, so that I don't have to write it out again? Once you've reviewed all the older threads you can find, then please come back with questions.

This is going to be a matter of LIVING IT -- every day, every time you interact with the horse. The student who "gets it" will eagerly dedicate herself to finding opportunities, even outside of the training pen, in everyday stuff like the wash stall, leading the horse from the paddock, or going through gates, where one or more of the above skills/competencies could be built in.

Of course, as you already know -- it begins with untracking, so the first thing I'll need back from you is some photos of yourself, on the ground, untracking your horse on the short rein/lead rope with about 2 1/2 ft. of slack in it. If you're not too clear on untracking, go find it in any back issue of "The Eclectic Horseman", particularly Buck Brannaman, Ty Weber, or photos of myself. Cheers, and let's get started -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sun Mar 29th, 2015 10:00 pm
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Hi Dr Deb,

I have recently become aware of what look like some interesting treeless saddles that seem to be similar in some respects to how the Gaucho is described.

I attach a link to some website information.

http://www.ghostsaddle.com/Ghost_Saddles/Ghost_BC.html

and this is a link to a page with some pictures:

http://www.ghostsaddle.com/Ghost_Saddles/MORE.html

I wonder if you or David or any other saddle experts have any thoughts on these, or indeed, any experience of them?

They are now available here in the UK, and the distributor is relatively local to me. I am very tempted to have one on trial

thank you,
Dorothy

Last edited on Sun Mar 29th, 2015 10:23 pm by Dorothy

David Genadek
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 Posted: Sun Mar 29th, 2015 11:00 pm
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Dorothy, First I can not really see anything on the site that really gives me the information I need to make an intelligent assessment which is red flag number one. From my perspective of wanting to ride in forward position I see other red flags too.
1. Front of saddle is far enough forward to interfere with the shoulder what I can't tell is if there is structure there that could hold it off the shoulder
2.Saddle is weighting the lumbar span
3.billets are angled forward which indicates a number of confusions about rigging design and girth placement.
4.Thigh block if the rider needs that something is wrong somewhere else in the seat.
5.The rear angle is way off, now they may say that it will flex once there is weight on it but things don't bend with out pressure.
6. They are using a front arch of some kind but I can't tell how rigid it is. If it is rigid it will determine the fit.
The seat
I drew a white level line (assumed can't really tell for sure from this picture) so you can see the contour from front to back will place the rider too far back in the seat for my linking, which I marked with a black line.The seat also appears to lack any shape from side to side.

Attachment: ghostsaddle2.jpg (Downloaded 174 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Mar 30th, 2015 08:33 am
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Dorothy, the relevant fact about the Goucho saddle is that it is a "treeless" saddle that will actually work.

A saddle tree consists of two kinds of parts:

(a) Structural components that parallel the horse's spine. These are called "bars"

(b) Structural components that join the bars together, i.e. keep them from slipping down to the sides or slipping apart. Of necessity these parts, which are called "arches", are oriented at 90 degrees to the bars and also at 90 degrees to the horse's spine.

ALL saddles need some kind of tree -- all, without exception; because the main purpose of the tree is to prevent the rider's pointy little seatbones from impacting the bursae that sit atop each of the dorsal processes of the individual vertebrae. The bursae are highly sensitive to impact, easily become inflamed as the result of impact, and are intractably difficult to get to heal once inflamed. This has been known since antiquity, as evidenced by its mention by Xenophon in the "Peri Hippikes" (i.e. he cautions against stropping the horse's back with a wooden sweat-scraper, or any grooming other than with the naked hands, along the horse's topline).

One may also see why Xenophon knew this, or advised this: he must often have seen the negative effects of bareback riding, since the Greeks of his day used no saddles (outside of Macedonia, but Xenophon was an Athenian).

So, to return to the actual question you're asking -- by implication that question is "isn't this so-called "treeless" saddle that I've seen advertised OK", or "why wouldn't it be OK", the answer is that it is not actually treeless. All the so-called treeless saddles that are on the market, or ever have been on the market, or that will ever be on the market, are of one of two types:

(a) They have bars but no (rigid) arches -- this is what the Goucho saddle has. The bars of the Goucho saddle are held together by webbing.

(b) They have arches but no (rigid) bars -- this is what all the so-called "treeless" saddles that are currently on the market have.

The Goucho saddle is workable because, having bars, it does prevent the rider's pointy little behind from impacting the horse's back. Design "b" is not workable because after a few rides, the saddle will 'crack' or fold in the center, or else it is simply flat against the horse's back like a saddle-pad to begin with, and thus affords nothing in the way of the crucial protection.

Now, we have said this in the forum a dozen other times -- but it bears repeating I guess. It is the BARS that are of primary importance. They can be made of anything that creative engineering or materials science can come up with -- packed straw inside a leather tube is the Goucho way; rawhide over wood is the old traditional way for the Stock saddle; packed horsehair and metal is the traditional way for the 'English' saddle. Wintec saddles, at least some of them, use a fiberglass tree; and that company went through a whole evolution in the formulation of the fiberglass, their original models being just a little too soft, especially if stored in a hot tackroom in the summertime. I've heard of saddle trees being made out of poly-carbon too. Whatever the material, it must be:

(a) Stiff enough under all temperature conditions to maintain the 'air pocket' in the gullet which prevents contact of the rider's seatbones with the horse's back;

(b) Stiff enough to support the amount of 'squashing' that the rider's bodyweight is going to cause;

(c) Not prone to material fatigue with repeated flexions, hence not prone to the tree fracturing.

Now you can go shopping and look for the right design! -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Mon Mar 30th, 2015 10:29 am
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Thank you, Dr Deb and David, for your comments.
Dorothy

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Mon Mar 30th, 2015 07:15 pm
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dear Dave: In the continuum graff referring to a 2 point do you mean a 2 point like many of us think of a 2 point- as a cross country seat with lightish seat bone contact. and the training seat as us sitting more on the front of our um pubic arch?
best wishes
Bruce Peek

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Mar 30th, 2015 07:24 pm
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Deb,
I can agree that a saddle consists of two kinds of parts rails and arches but I think it is near impossible to fully understand and classify what is going on unless you also see that there at two types of rails.

(a) Seat rails that are designed to support the rider
(b) horse rails (bars) that are designed to fit the horse.

In all we have 6 component parts that are the foundation of the saddle.
(a)Two seat rails right and left
(b)Two bars right and left
(c) Two arches front and back.

Some real life examples
Mongolian saddle
In these saddle the bars are clearly separated from the seat rails but the seat rails and arches are combined to look like one structure. All the components are rigid.
Gaucho saddle
The gaucho saddle has a piece of leather that forms the bottom rail and another that forms the seat rail a flexible material separates the two rails so they can adjust to the different shapes. The arches are flexible leather straps. All components are flexible.
English saddle
Seat rail is combined with front and rear arc to form a rigid framework for the seat. The bar is created by a soft leather panel. This saddle combines rigid seat rails and aches with flexible bars.
Western Saddle
The seat rail and bar are right one top of each other so they appear as one unit and the rigid arches are distinctly separate. All components are rigid.
Trooper saddle
Two metal arches are attached to two bars. The seat rail is created by stringing webbing from the two arches. Seat rails are flexible arches and bars are rigid.

In regard to the arches I am unclear as to where you are getting 90 degrees to the bars and spine?
Dave

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Mar 30th, 2015 07:49 pm
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Bruce the two point seat would be you balanced on your seat bones the three point would be with your pelvis tipped down and forward like they do when they ride rohlkur. The training seat just means you will be using your seat to influence and teach the horse. You may tip your pelvis forward and back to help or hinder what ever the horse may be doing.

Choctawpony
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 Posted: Tue Mar 31st, 2015 07:24 am
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Dr. Deb,

  Here is a link to photos taken today during my ground work with Gilbert.  They show the untracking as requested.

http://littlehomestead.info/gilbert/

Rebecca


Rebecca, the photos look good. Your technique is correct and the horse's expression is good.

From here on out, then, your job is going to be to do the other things, which I listed above. You can submit photos anytime and I'll check them as we're doing here.

This does not solve your immediate problem, which is to find something that will fit the horse well enough that you can ride him right now. I suggest that you go back to the dressage saddle that did fit him, with the realization that your chances of greater security do not depend on having a horn (or anything else) to grab: rather, they depend upon THIS, the untracking you see here, so that you have the horse's feet under control and also so that you have his attention. You then take care to arrange your riding situation(s) so that you and the horse come out winners every time; you fore-plan and thus you prevent problems.

You will also need to be willing to grab that head and turn it right backwards, if the horse shows any sign at any time of bogging. This is part of prevention; you convey to him that bucking is not going to solve his problems, that if he tries to buck, you'll have no hesitation to kill him. He must be on your side as much as you are on his side.

You also need to survey your own reactions. Going fetal is fatal. When the shit hits the fan, your "schooled" reaction must be to sit up and lean back; relax your legs and lengthen them. This is how you stay on just about no matter what. If you flex forward at the waist, you're dead. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Tue Mar 31st, 2015 08:48 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Mar 31st, 2015 08:39 am
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David, in your eagerness to give people the whole concept of the factors that go into saddle design, I think you've missed what the lady was actually asking. The question was "why are so-called 'treeless' saddles not OK", and the simple answer to this is that they do not have bars of sufficient thickness or stiffness to keep the rider's seatbones from touching the horse's back; or you could say, they do not have bars of sufficient thickness or stiffness to maintain the 'air channel' in the gullet.

Obviously, the arches are oriented at 90 degrees to the bars -- again, just think simply.

The reason Bruce asked you about 'two point' and 'three point' seats is that you use these terms to mean something different than their normal and traditional meaning. Traditionally, a 'two point' position or a 'two point seat' is a 'half seat,' the seat adopted when approaching a jump, in which the rider supports a greater than normal percentage of her weight in the stirrups, while still 'brushing' the saddle with the fore-part of the pelvis. This seat has also sometimes colloquially been called the 'cavalry crouch', because cavalrymen with saddle-sores sometimes adopted it in self-protection! It is the seat that one uses in cavalry combat when rising to draw one's saber, or when using the saber against a footsoldier.

A 'three point' seat, by traditional definition, is a 'full seat,' i.e. when the rider sits fully down onto the saddle; it is called this whether the rider slouches, overstretches, or sits properly. -- Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

David Genadek
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 Posted: Tue Mar 31st, 2015 07:03 pm
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Deb, There are two schools of thought on the seat point concepts. The one you have mentioned and one where they are talking about two point being where the rider rests on the ishium and three point being where the rider rests on the ishium and the pubis. People talking about saddle seats generally use the pelvic model. It is very confusing and things do not add up until you understand that there are two different perspectives using common language.
Many "treeless" saddles do not work because they lack basic elements of saddle design. The gaucho has many interesting features and does have all the necessary component parts to make it functional. By understanding the bar rail and seat rail concept the rails could be stuffed to accommodate both horse and rider
Important features:
*Flexible arches that allow you to change the saddles oreintation
*Combined seat and bar rail for thigh support and to transfer weight
*Rigid leather seat that is supported by the rails.
*Seat placement can be moved on the rails to alter riders position on the horse.
Here is a slide show showing the parts of a gaucho saddlehttp://aboutthehorse.com/gauchosaddle/index.html


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