ESI Q and A Forums Home

 Moderated by: DrDeb  
AuthorPost
Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I was hoping you all here might have some opinions about Wade Tree Saddles.  Which ones are good,  and what to look for in a good one.   I have been riding in a relatively cheap one, and I like it for me, but I do not think it fits my horses well.  So I have been thinking of getting one made or possibly a XXXX with a 93 degree tree.  But my experience with these type of saddles is limited,  my background is mostly English and I do ride in a Dressage saddle usually-- but being that I do a lot of trail riding and I live in Montana I would like to get a decent Western Style saddle that will actually fit my horses.  I do not want a heavy saddle,  but I like a deep seat with close contact.  And for my youngest horse I have yet to find a saddle that she likes other than english saddles because she is so very wide.

Last edited on Sun Aug 2nd, 2009 05:18 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Carey, we can have this discussion but you need to not name any manufacturers. You have to discuss the question "on principles." This is why I have had to go in and edit your post.

You appear to realize that there are a number of different manufacturers who claim to produce a "Wade" tree. However, there is only one saddle shop in the world that actually does produce the Wade tree as designed by Mr. Wade and his friend back in the 1940's. That saddle shop is located in Sheridan, Wyoming.

This goes right along with industry practice right across the board -- NO terminology means much. In other words, one manufacturer's "Quarter Horse Bars" are not the same size or width as a product, sold under the very same name, produced by someone else. The "womens' saddle" that has a woman's name on it was not designed by a woman, and was not originally designed specifically for women. Only Dave Genadek's "womens' trail saddle" has that distinction to my knowledge. This is just two examples out of many I could cite...."deep seat with close contact" would be another famous one. What indeed do you exactly want there -- if you listen to the salesman, he will B.S. you all night on that one.

So, what I am urging you to do is to rephrase your question or re-frame your thinking so that instead of asking the question of "which manufacturer should I buy from", instead to ask WHY saddles fit or don't fit -- how you can tell -- how someone can design them to fit or what characteristics a particular saddle might have that makes it fit better -- this is what I want you to want to know.

WHY do you think the saddle you have doesn't fit your horse well? Is it pinching someplace? does it ride around on their back or give the horse a rub or sore point? Does it slide back or forward when you're trying to do some work? Are you uncomfortable in it? This is the line of thinking that will empower you rather than leaving you "just another blind consumer."

The most valuable immediate help on this too would be for you to obtain Dave G.'s "About Saddle Fit" DVD program. He sells this at cost. It's a good quality 1-hr. presentation of the PRINCIPLES that underlie saddle design and saddle fit, and we recommend it here constantly. There is no sales pitch on this program whatsoever. Call 1-800-449-7409 to obtain.

Thanks for asking. -- Dr. Deb

 

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
And when you do view David's cd, pay particular attention to the saddle in action on the paint.  I particularly loved watching the saddle on the horse as he moved up the hill.  Gave me an appreciation of what a saddle fit should be.

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
OK, that helps.  I think the saddle I have now doesn't fit well with 2 of my horses because it causes dry spots behind the shoulder area  after I ride. That is on a not so wide appx QH, and on my wider QH. The younger horse is half percheron and with that particular saddle on she spends the entire time turning back and biting at the saddle-- whereas if I put my Dressage Saddle on her she isn't bothered a bit-  so I think that saddle doesn't fit.

For some reason I have my mind set on a Wade, and maybe I need to change that idea,  but I have always liked the way they feel to me- especially compared to other Western saddles I have tried-  but my experience with them has been about 10 saddles or so.  i will check out Davids DVD.

I like to ride bareback-- and I do a lot because I never can find a saddle that I like-- bareback I am fine WTC,  I was a dancer and I am a Yoga Instuctor so I have a good sense of balance and center- but throw a saddle into the mix and I have a hard time feeling as secure-- drives me a little nuts actually-- other than my old Dressage saddle.  SO that is what makes me think I want a saddle that puts me close to the horse-  and I like deep seated saddles--  I do not like flat seated saddles for some reason.    I even seem to prefer a saddle with a wider twist.  But I would really above all else like a saddle that will fit the variety of horse I ride-- if that is at all possible!!

Thanks for the imput- 

Last edited on Sun Aug 2nd, 2009 02:17 pm by Carey

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I have been thinking about this all morning,  so I think my question is,  Are Wade trees properly designed to accomidate the horses back?  I had thought that compared to a more traditional saddle the design of the wade allowed more freedom of movement for the horse--  but I do not know.  Also I am wondering if they only really work on QH or TB type backs-- because although I ride QHs I also ride a draft cross and a Hanoverian who are a bit bigger than a typical QH. 

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Carey, I have already mentioned above that there is no ONE thing that is a "Wade tree". Unless you have a saddle that was handmade at the aforementioned saddle shop in Sheridan, Wyoming, you do not actually have a "Wade" tree. You just have some kind of tree or other.

What we have to ascertain is what you do in fact have.

The reason you feel comfortable in your old dressage-style saddle is very probably because the stirrup-hangers are placed correctly with respect to the center or deepest part of the seat. However -- we do not know this for sure, because you have not measured your saddle for this. So, my suggestion is that you go out and place this saddle on the horse it fits best, and girth it up. Then stand back a pace and find the point in the seat that appears to be lowest. Then lift up the flap that covers the stirrup hanger, and find the point that is in the center of where the leather hangs down from.

Drop a vertical line from the center (deepest part) of the seat, and another vertical line through the center of where the stirrup leather hangs down from. Then, using a ruler, determine the number of inches that those two lines lie apart.

When you report this number, it will tell me in one stroke not only what sort of saddle you have, but also, since you say you prefer it, what your own "seat" or "style of sitting" actually has been.

As to "close contact" being like bareback: forget it. Riding bareback is preferred by many women for reasons that relate directly to two factors: one, the unique construction of the female lower back and pelvis (see "Knowledge Base" and download the PDF called "Who's Built Best to Ride"); and two, the fact that many horses' thoraxes happen to fit and accommodate this shape.

When you put a saddle on a horse, you are doing that for one major reason: to protect the horse's spine from being struck by your own bodyparts. Blows to the horse's spine, even relatively light blows, are liable to create inflammation in the sensitive bursae that overlie the dorsal spines of the vertebrae -- each and every one of those spines has a bursa. Should the bursae become inflamed, deep ligament pathology, swellings called hydrocoels, and exostosis can follow. These will make your horse temporarily very grumpy and can progress to making him unrideable. This was known even to the ancients: Xenophon warns not even to use wooden grooming tools (sweat strops) on the upper part of a horse's back. And I advise all riders to limit bareback riding time.

There is a tree in a saddle, as you now see, to perform this crucial function of preventing you from touching the centerline of the horse's back. That is what the tree is for. There is a fad currently for so-called "treeless" saddles, which supposedly are more comfortable for the horse, sit the rider closer, and so on and so forth. But in truth there are no "treeless" saddles at all; those that are marketed as "treeless" are actually only bar-less. And when they have taken out the bars, they have taken out the only protection the horse ever had, for the bars are the "footings" which guarantee that your weight bears upon your horse's ribcage rather than upon his spine.

When a saddle maker builds a saddle, he builds the seat on top of the tree. So first and foremost, to be comfortable for the horse, the tree must fit the horse. This was what Mr. Wade and his friend had in mind back in the 1940's. They designed and produced a prototype tree (that has been faithfully copied by the fellows at the Sheridan saddle shop ever since). This tree had wider bars and more "flare" at the throat or gullet than other saddletrees of the day. It was sized for the Quarter Horses of the time, which are narrower than many of today's examples of the breed, but the PRINCIPLES are the same. Dave Genadek's saddles are designed with these same considerations in mind, and more. So are those of a few other makers whom I know; Steve Gonzales of Oregon is one of those. You see that I am naming names here, but these men are Friends of the Institute. There may be other manufacturers that you can locate who make or use the right kind of tree: but in order to locate them, you will have to understand the principles, because what you are going to have to be able to do is identify, on sight, the right kind of tree when you see it on the saddle rack. Relying upon the manufacturer's or maker's description or labelling will not help you at all!

But back to the "close contact" stuff: since to be useful a saddle must have a tree, and since the seat must be built upon the tree, that's the closest contact you can get. A good saddlemaker can add or take out padding; can redistribute padding; can make the twist wider or narrower (within limits); can give the fore arch or the cantle arch more or less height or more or less slope. He can ramp the front of the seat or have it be flat and open. He can design the seat to be built upward from, or stacked on top of, the tree; or he can "sling" (suspend) the seat between fore arch and cantle arch in the manner of the Vaquero saddles of Spain. You have all these options. The options you do NOT have with a quality saddlemaker are to cut away any part of the width of the bars, and you do NOT have the option of an "in-skirt" rigging. These latter ideas are widespread in the industry as features that yield "closer rider contact", but they greatly reduce the comfort and fit to the horse, which should be the first priority, never to be sacrificed.

You will come to a more three-dimensional understanding of all this once you view Dave's DVD. Meanwhile you should go measure your saddle and let's see where those stirrup hangers lie with respect to the deepest part of the seat. -- Dr. Deb

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
From the deepest part of the saddle line to the line of the stirrup is about 2 1/2 inches.  I do know that this saddle says it has the stirrups bars farther back than a more traditional saddle.

I have been through a bunch of English saddles also-- both GP and Dressage-- and I guess I just do not know enough, but at the same time I don't settle for something I am not happy with, or I think the horses are not happy with- I try different ones when I have the chance-- so I really apprieciate you ( Dr Deb) speaking openly about this-- because it is really hard to know with all the advertising and what not.   

I fully agree that a good saddle is essential to the horses ability to carry the weight of the rider--  I just need to find that saddle for me and my horses.  And it is possible that one saddle isn't going to do as I have a variety of backs to fit--  I just sold one of my horse trailers--  so that has gotten me pretty motivated to get a better saddle!!

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
Hi Carey,

I'm like you, was riding bareback b/c it felt better than those 4 saddles I owned. Luckily I found found D. Genedak who lives and makes saddles here in MN. Getting into this saddle is like stepping into the door of home. I was surprised to learn that the greater percentage of horses do fit a "#2" tree, with the second largest percentage fitting the "#1" tree. Dave G has done tons of work researching this. Buying this saddle was the best investment I've ever made and it fits both my QHs and my three Arab mares.  I still ride bareback for short distances like b/t pastures.

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
Ok, good to hear-- I ordered Davids DVD-  I am excited to watch it.  I think I can let go of getting a wade -- especially if someone is willing to work with me and my horse situation.  Actually it is pretty exciting-- the idea of getting a saddle that might actually feel good for me and my horses!

I wonder if Davids #2 tree would work on a Draft cross- or if he makes an even wider draft tree- or a Arab/Percheron-- she has an interesting back sort of short but very wide-- I have one of those gullet gages at home-- and she is wider than the super wide!  And she is only 3-- That is part of the reason I want to get a different saddle-- I would like to start doing more with her next year-- and I do not want to have to go down the path I have had to go down with other horses of having to rehab her back-- and right now she has a great back with lots of muscle.   i don't want to cause an up roar--  I don't ride the 3 year old much - but she is saddle broke--meaning she can carry the saddle around no problem- and we have gone for short trail rides and that only started after she turned 3 on May 27.

 

I do have one more question, What is the problem with in skirt rigging-  This is my English background showing yet again-??

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Carey, again -- David's no. 2 tree, or no. 1 tree, or whatever tree -- is 100% guaranteed not to equate to anything that anybody else is doing. I can tell you this doubly in Dave G.'s case since he researches, designs, and produces his own trees, which is a rarity in the industry. The ONE AND ONLY way to know if a certain tree is going to fit a certain horse is to put the saddle on the horse and see if it fits.

If you do business with Dave, or with any other reputable saddle maker, they will communicate with you on the fit to the greatest extent that is possible and practicable. This is because getting the right tree is crucial to the whole rest of the project; it does no good at all to build a fancy housing over a tree that does not fit. Some makers will want a plaster cast of your horse's back; some will want wire molds; some will want measurements; most want photos. If you're lucky enough to live near the maker with whom you will be doing business, they may even personally come out and measure or size your horse. If they don't actually visit, you will be doing numerous phone calls and/or EMails until the maker is sure that he has the right tree. One of the things I admire about Dave G. is that he will not agree to make you a saddle if he does not have a tree that will fit your horse. The flip side of this is my general mistrust of so-called "professional saddle fitters": 99% of the time, they are commissioned salespeople for some saddle company or other, and they have a vested interest NOT in getting you the best fit in the cosmos, but just the best fit that THEIR COMPANY can provide.

As to the question about in-skirt rigging: if you've ordered the DVD as you say, you will see very plainly on that program the answer to your question. In general terms, it is that you cannot tie straps to just any part of a saddle and expect the system as a whole to either fit or function correctly. This is probably going to be very important in your case, as you report in a previous post that your saddle leaves dry spots and/or rubs on both sides under the fore arch. This hints that you are attempting to compensate for wrong tree fit -- the saddle wants to scoot back -- by over-tightening the front cinch. So this question will also be answered on the DVD, and you will learn that instead of trying to make your horse into a peanut with the front cinch, you need to gain the skills to get him broke to wear BOTH cinches, the front one snugger than the back but BOTH of them snugged up so that they are functional. The back cinch isn't just for roping!

The lack of rear cinch is also a major reason that many English-type saddles don't work right, even when the tree is pretty close to ideal; the Y-fork rigging commonly found on military, police, and enduro-type saddles is a good solution. On the DVD, Dave will show you several options for correcting these problems that come from the rigging sub-system.

Also: thanks for measuring your saddle. Whatever saddle that is, it has a good seat, because the two vertical lines lie apart only the distance from the instep of your foot to the ball of the foot. I would take anything below 4 inches to be very good; so many saddles are MUCH wider apart than this, which makes sitting properly almost impossible; one is fighting the saddle all the time. So, that you like this correct saddle, tells me number one that you do sit just fine, and two that you are going to like Dave's saddles very much, because that's the way he builds them too. When you view the DVD there is a section on there that illustrates what happens -- it is terrible for the horse also -- when the deepest part of the seat lies more than 4" behind the center of the hanging-point for the stirrup leather or the fender. Unfortunately in English, Western, and Australian-style saddles having the seat far behind the stirrups is by far the most common, and this is one of the major points that makes it difficult for me, also, to obtain a saddle that I can enjoy riding in. -- Dr. Deb

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
Dr Deb,  Thank you for answering my questions.  That really helps.  I am going to start talking to the different makers and see what I can come up with to fit these horses properly-- Hopefully the DVD will get here soon- so I can try to fix some of the problems in the mean time.  Thank you again. Carey

Blaze from another computer
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
Hi Dr. Deb,

Is there a way to measure this on a western saddle?

When browsing through a tack store it is obvious that some western saddles have the stirrups hung way out the front - but is there a way to measure how much?

Maybe it's on Dave's tape and I just don't remember. I do have a copy and do need to review it.

Thanks,

Erin

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Yes, Erin, it's the same on both Western and English saddles, or any type of saddle. Just lift up the flap that covers the "root" of the stirrup hanger or fender, find the center of that, and then drop a vertical line through that (it's a visual vertical). Then step back a pace, look where you think the deepest part of the seat is, and drop another vertical through that. Then whip out that ruler you've been carrying in your backpack and find the distance between those two vertical lines.

And yes, very many Western saddles are built so that the stirrups are hung 'way out to the front. Originally these saddles were intended for one purpose, and that was gymkhana events such as keyhole race, pole bending, or barrel racing, which are the "Western" equivalents of "English" jumping. These saddles, exactly like those meant for jumping, have the stirrup hangers far to the front because during the time the saddle is being used for what it it meant for, the rider stands or half-stands in the stirrups. When you stand or half-stand, you bring your hips over your feet.

But when you are just sitting, then your hips in this type of saddle will be behind your feet. This is why, if you are in 3D event for example, you either have to jump in your "dressage" saddle, or else own two saddles. I prefer the former option; but the latter option is OK too so long as the rider is light in weight and light in technique (because even a jumping school requires warm-up time on the flat).

The other type of saddle in which we find the seat far behind the stirrup hangers is the "saddle-seat" or "Park" saddle. This saddle was originally a variant, and not a very extreme variant, of the English flat saddle; and it was originally intended to do two things: one, fit the huge shoulders and high withers of the American Saddlebred horse; and two, be suitable for riding those horses in the Baucheriste style of High School, for which they were originally bred.

However, as the true knowledge of this school faded out, and cheap methods and wrong understandings were substituted, the seat on these saddles was made longer and longer, so as to carry the rider's weight far behind the withers, again so as to better enable leveraging the horse's back down so as to induce a high poll and high knee and hock action. This is a cheap, destructive riding philosophy, but widespread in a limited part of the U.S.

So, Erin, you can go off measuring saddles to your heart's content. Remember only that if you're doing it in a saddle shop, to try to set the saddle up reasonably similarly to how you think it would go on your horse's back, because if you tilt the saddle up or down very much, it can expand or contract the distance between the vertical lines to that degree, and thus introduce some inaccuracy. It should still be obvious, though, that 90% or better of all the saddles you will see in any tack shop are totally unsuitable to school in or to ride, while sitting, for any length of time.

I have to add that I was just reading our local newspaper the other day, and saw an article where they interviewed a man who runs a peach-processing and packing plant. And he was saying that in the last couple of years, he has been forced to change the way he does business, change the suppliers from whom he will buy peaches, because nobody in their right mind will buy the picked-while-dead-green, totally flavorless peaches they put out in the grocery stores. I am among those consumers for sure; the only time I eat peaches nowadays is when they come in season off my own trees, especially that wonderful old Elberta cling. Many people today have forgotten what a peach is supposed to taste like. And just in the same way, there are many people who now own horses who have never sat in a properly designed saddle. Consumer demand is the one and only thing that will change this situation, and that begins with an educated consumer.

Why Equine Studies Institute exists. -- Dr. Deb

DAM
Member
 

Joined: Sat Jun 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
I agrre with Dr Deb about a lot what are called Wades are not realy.  I hear people say that they would like to buy a Wade but with a thinner fork stock or higher cantle etc.  Once you change any of those dimensions it is no longer a Wade!

Dr Deb, I'd realy like to know your scource for the information about that Wade which came from a shop in Sheridan Wy.  All of the research that I can find only ever says that the first one "came from back east". Which at that time was not known as a Wade, this was before it was given the name.

 For those who may be interested  A certain company (I won't name names) from Pendleton, Or, is credited with the Wade, because it because it first appeared in their catalog as "the Wade". They actualy made the second saddle and then a 3rd one which they improved further. Cliff Wade was a neighbor of the Dorrances in Oregon and Cliff had a saddle that his dad had brought from somewhere "back east". I always assumed that "back east would have meant in the estern states, but it could have just refered to Sheridan, Wy as that is east of Oregon.  Tom Dorrance liked the saddle, and had the company copy it.  They called it the Wade because that was the name of the owner of the one which they copied the original from.  Dorrance didn't like the first one they made, and had them redo the tree a couple years later.  This was in the late 30's or ealy 40's

I've never heard of anyone being credited with making Cliff Wade's dad's original saddle.  If you have a scource for that information that refers to Sheridan Wy. I'd realy like to  hear about it.


thanks

dam

 

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
If you Google for Wade Saddles in Sheridan, Wy you will find two or three makers. One is a family business that has been around a long time. They have a museum that I would love to visit someday. Check them out. They make saddles fit for a queen (hint).

Did I go to far?
Clara

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
Google mirrored the above history as well from a book:

 http://books.google.com/books?id=SZXEGcF48ZAC&pg=PA240&lpg=PA240&dq=Wade+saddle+Pendleton+Oregon&source=bl&ots=-YAdXkLzEe&sig=nrwlE9t0hcyoJapPBRBr0cHIKSY&hl=en&ei=Pxp8SsT1A4aPtgf66qn0AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#v=onepage&q=Wade%20saddle%20Pendleton%20Oregon&f=false

Though I think Dr Deb's Conquerers addresses the subject - can't check as my book is on loan!

DAM
Member
 

Joined: Sat Jun 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
Thanks Clara,

Been there, I've spent well over 100 hours there over 3 vists.

dam

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Yes, DAM, your information matches what I know as well. Mr. Wade's 'friend' was none other than Tom Dorrance, and the design of the Wade tree as we have it today (the REAL Wade) should largely be credited to Tom: just another of his many quiet contributions.

As to the saddle shop in Sheridan, it's the place where Buck and Ray get their saddles. 'Nuff info?

Now, I will add to this history by telling you one more thing. Tom was a genius, as anyone who knew him well will tell you. And he saw, and fore-saw, some of the real needs of a horse in terms of saddle fit -- things that were not there in most of the saddle trees that he could access back in the 1930's or 1940's. One of the main things that the Wade tree has is more 'flare' -- more of a funnel-shaped opening through the front of the tree. If you go in a museum and look at saddles that were being used in that era, obviously if they fit anything it was an animal with a back almost like a mule: very much more of an "A" shape than an "O" shape. And they just have no flare at all. But Tom's family was involved in breeding Morgans or Morgan-cross type horses, that typically have wider backs, and I am sure that must have been one of the things that made him interested in Cliff Wade's dad's saddle.

But you notice that Tom took that saddle, which was better in his opinion, and tried it, and still found that it needed modification. So he specified what the modifications needed to be.

This is what is called a 'design change' -- Tom changed the design. And he also changed the design of the seat to some extent. I think the saddle already had the stirrup hangers in the right place -- in the center, within 4" of the deepest part of the seat -- so that part was left alone.

Now when I met Dave Genadek back in the 1980's, I already knew all this history. So when Dave came to me and said, 'I've been working in the saddle industry for ten years, and I'm a saddle designer in the sense that I am a leather carver. But I have realized that no matter how fancy you carve the leather, that does not help the horse to have a better fit.' And he asked me to start teaching him the actual anatomy.

Then Dave took that information and started chewing it over in his own mind. And he began looking at hundreds of horses with all kinds of different backs. And over the first 10 years after I met him, I watched him come up with first a prototype, and then a better, and then an even better, design for a tree. And then several different designs, suited for different types of backs.

But because Dave did not ride at that time to any real extent, and was not close with Tom, Bill, Buck, or Ray, for a long time he did not hear about the 'Wade' tree, and on purpose, I did not tell him. I just let him go and see what he would come up with. And so the point of this story is that, in the end, that is exactly what Dave G. did: he 're-invented' the Wade tree -- or in my opinion, one better, because Dave's trees are suited to the wider-backed Quarter Horse of the post-1960's era.

In the last 10 years, Dave did began to ride, and at that point, very naturally, his understanding of what is needed in the whole design of the saddle increased by yet another notch. Currently he is very into the importance of how much the horse's build goes 'downhill' -- and note, this is a consideration for many Quarter Horse owners today which would not have been in Tom's mind, since his family's Morgans and his neighbors' Quarter Horses back in that day were all balanced level or nearly so. But today there are many people trying to ride a distinctly 'downhill' horse. So I expect Dave's designs to keep on evolving. The original Wade tree is still good too -- and far better than what you usually find on the mass-manufactured saddles. The key is to find the tree -- among these good ones, whatever they are called -- that best fits whatever horse you have.

I am happy to advocate any design, made by anybody, that is a good design -- that's the long and short of it. The purpose here though specifically is to teach horse owners who might need to buy a saddle what the PRINCIPLES are that underlie good design, so as to empower them to be able to identify good design when they see it, and not just look at the price tag, the saddle shop, or the manufacturer's name and assume that makes the saddle good.

Thanks for your contributions, DAM, we're glad to have you on board here. -- Dr. Deb

 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
I don't see this discussion having much to do with saddles. I do see a as a discussion on whether we consciously create our horsemanship experience or whether we blindly follow another's experience. I see this as a natural course that we all follow when we learn something new. I began learning the difference from a man named Al Stohlman. For you non-leather heads, Al ,is one of the most influential people in my trade. I had grown up learning the craft from his books. When I began corresponding with him, my expectation was that I would get answers that would be comparable to the step-by-step instructions that he gave his books. At first I was somewhat set a back when my questions were answered with more questions. However, I soon came to realize that his answers were an indication that he saw me as a serious student, as such his assistance was designed to help me learn to think in a way that I needed to think, to actually be a saddle maker and not just a fancy upholsterer. Later, I would meet and get to know the legend behind the legend, Bob Brown. From Bob I would learn that there is only what you see in your head and when you focus on that, the specifics of how to get there will reveal themselves.
 
So how does this relate to the wade tree? If you just use a Wade tree because a highly skilled horsemen did without all the hard work and discovery that went into its development, the tool stands a good chance of not fulfilling your needs. Let me be specific on why this might be. It is common to hear Wades referred to by degrees which are referring to the angle in which the interface surface of the front to the bar is cut. The first thing you need to realize about that is that such angles are directly related to certain methodology of tree construction, and have little or no meaning outside of that specific methodology of tree construction. However, they do have an origin based on the anatomy of the horse. I have attached a picture of some 3-D modeled  back profiles in the shape of bars. When they talk about wades you will hear them referred to from 90° to 95°. If you compare that to the three backs above you will see that the Wade tree is designed to fit a very specific type of back. At best they can fit a 5° range, that is assuming they have the shape correct. If you look at the attached photo you will see that there is a range of 111° to 80°. Only the middle bar which we call our number one bar would fall into the range of the Wade. These back profiles represent my three most commonly used bars. However, right now in my shop I have backs that range from 80°to 140°. So we have a 60° range of change. The Wade model is only looking at about a 5° range of change. So clearly if you don't have a horse with a back that falls within that range the wade tree will not work properly on the horse. This is not to say anything bad about the Wade tree, it is to say that it was extremely well designed for a specific type of horse ridden in a specific way. Now it is up to our generation to expand this knowledge across the board.
Since Deb mentioned Steve Gonzales, I would like to elaborate on his work a little bit more as his work is about the most brilliant thing going in the custom saddle world. He is actually devised a way of creating a saddles in a nontraditional way that actually captures the specific shape of the horse. It amazes me that there is not a lot of discussion about what he is doing. I guess he is just too far in front of the curve.
David Genadek

Attachment: bar compaison.jpg (Downloaded 531 times)

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
I previously had an SR saddle that I loved. It was for my Arab/QH and fit her and I perfectly. When I got a new horse I sent it to Steve and had it refit to my new horse. When he received it and my plaster cast he was unable to refit it to my horse. So, he refit it to a "common" shape and what I got back did not fit either of my horses. It was not a good experience. Before it was "refitted", I did love the saddle and it was the best saddle I ever rode in. It was balanced, my horse never had a sore back (even after 50 miles) and it was made well. I loved the adjustable rigging and free swinging stirrup bars.

I plan on ordering Dave's DVD, because although I feel confident in my ability to tell if a saddle fits my horse when it is on her, I am easily sold on ideas and need to learn some basics of good saddle design/function. I have a few saddles. I currently ride in a flex panel saddle. It has some positives and some negatives. When I read about them it seemed like the best option for my very round mare who is also uneven in the shoulders. The rigging is adjustable (which I like). And she has not been sore and seems to be comfortable. It took a while to get used to being higher off her back (Dave has discussed this in another thread). The negatives are that the girth needs to be tight and it tends to shift. I think that Steve's design is a better one as it does not cause these issues and is more comfortable and secure for the rider. I had been having some difficulties with my mare and was unsure if I was the right person for her, but since going to the Tom Curtin clinic we have been doing great. I always loved riding her, but not always dealing with her on the ground. Now things are so much better. We are working as a team both in the saddle and on the ground and my goal is to find us a saddle that will work better for us.
Clara

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Dave, I THINK we have not been discussing what Steve Gonzales is doing because he is so far ahead of the curve, but rather we have not been discussing it because I'm not totally sure of what aspect of his work you're referring to. Since Steve does not usually post here, would you be willing to tell us what excites you about his work?

Also: would you elaborate on the diagrams you put up -- they're more or less too small to tell anything about, and I can't figure out from what you said in the text what the diagrams are supposed to show us, other than that you have saddle trees to fit a wider range of backs than the Wade. Educate us as to what the "angle" you are talking about refers to. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
The SR saddle has a laminated fiberglass tree. It functions like a frame work. It is an hourglass shape and is the part that the rider sits on. The saddle also doesn't have traditional type bars. Instead it has a skirting that is filled with foam and is lined with sheepskin. This skirting lies on either side of the horses spine and is in contact with the horses back muscles. It covers a large area and helps with weight distribution. The rigging is attached to the tree and is based on an old calvary design. It makes a Y shape that is very adjustable and helps keep the front and the back of the saddle level and secure.

Dave's saddle is very interesting because it has wider bars that flare out at the shoulders to allow more room. It has a similar type rigging as it is a Y shape. It also has a rear cinch. Both designs are similar in the seat. They are designed to be comfortable for the rider and are narrower in the seat.

Dave, I would like to hear about why you have decided to keep the bars on your saddle? I believe that the reason that my SR was unable to be refitted to my horse was due to her wide/uneven shoulders. I have wondered if your design would be able to accommodate this issue as it allows for a good bit of flare. Also, you offer a cordura model. Does this affect the saddle function in any way?
Clara

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Deb,
 
I have only seen a few of Steve Gonzalez's saddles. Every time I see one I think oh God here is  another person trying to come up with something new. However, when I look at his everything is sound. From what I can tell is he is making a rigid fiberglass glass mold from the back shape and then incorporating it into the skirts and then attaching the seat elements on top of that much like the trooper saddles did. The thing that excites me most is that he has realized that you have to match the shape of the back and you cannot reduce it to mere angles and widths.
 
I'll see if I can get a chart with measurements that everyone can see into the forum. In the chart I have put down the bar number that we use followed by the whither angle measured from the center to a tangent line off  the surface of the back. The second column is that measurement times two. These would be the measurements that would be the equivalent to a 90°or 95° Wade. The rib cage angle is the angle of the rib cage shelf with all the muscles on it. The twist in degrees column shows the amount of twist from the front angle to the rear angle. It shows the twist is pretty consistent probably within the margin of error of measuring such complex shapes. The other thing we did was to draw rectangles around the shapes, In hopes that we could find some magic proportions. These rectangles make for an interesting visual summation of the angles involved.
 
Clara,
One of the things that differs my approach from others is my belief that there are five essentials of riding that every rider is responsible for governing in their horse. Those five essentials are straightness, engagement of the hindquarters, lifting the root of the neck, having the horse move forward while he is engaging as hindquarters and lifting the base of his neck and lastly bending in the rib cage. If the rider fails in governing any of these essentials it will manifest as a pathology of the back. One of the reasons people think saddle fitting is so difficult is because they are trying to fit pathologies. What you indicated in your post is that your horse is crooked. It is very common for people to have owned a horse that was properly trained and never have a problem with it because it compensates for the riders inabilities. Often they will get a new horse that someone along the way has messed up. They are often rehab horses and since the reality is few people have the ability to fully govern the five essentials fewer have the ability to go back and correct mistakes others have made on the horses they purchase. When a rider is unable to govern any one of the five essentials a pattern of shifting pathologies will develop. To get a handle on this I would read all the articles in the knowledge section of this site. You will need to read each of the articles many times before it will all sink in. But even better Deb now has a DVD on the subject and I can promise you that those DVDs will give you insights far beyond what you can imagine.
David Genadek
 


Attachment: tree angles.pdf (Downloaded 46 times)

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Clara, Steve's saddle DOES have bars: you have indeed described them.

The hourglass shape derives from the fact that Steve began his work from the 'brida' (now called 'English') traditional tree, that is shaped like a 'U', with the open upper frork of the 'U' bridged by the pommel arch, which will be bolted or riveted onto the tails of the 'U'.

Dave, on the other hand, began his work from the 'jineta' (now called 'Western') traditional tree, that is shaped like 'I I', and then is bridged both before by the fork or pommel arch, as well as behind by the cantle arch, to form a final shape that looks like '[]'. (How funny to try to do these representations on the keyboard, like emoticons).

So, in a way, you wind up in the same place from either traditional starting-point; or in any case, you do IF your main purpose is to get the horse 'cosmically' fitted. Note that both these guys have 'deformed' the bars: Steve's 'U' has become 'wiggly' or hourglass-shaped, and it's also not flat like in one plane, but curved in a three-dimensionally complex way. And if you flip one of Dave's saddles over, you'll see that his bars curve in all planes too: because the horse's back does.

So the first big innovation of the original Wade was the 'flare' or funnel-shaping of the front part of the bars, which you see if you look into the gullet of a Wade-tree saddle from the front. Try this at your local tack store and see if you can find any saddle whatsoever on the rack that has that kind of room for the movement of the shoulders through the front: the funnel shape should not only be pretty wide, but the main point is that it should carry back almost 50% the whole distance of the bars.

One reason that few tree carvers (or the remaining one or two commercial tree mass-manufacturers) do not make a tree that is 'bent' or three-dimensionally curved to this extent is that it is difficult to find wood that will stand up to that. Beginning from the 'brida' or 'English' tree type is easier in some ways because for a very long time, these trees have not had their foundation material be wood, but rather metal: hence the 'spring tree' which used to be advertised for some jumping saddles. But today there is much freer thinking regarding materials, and foam, fiberglass, rubber or plastic composites, and wood-plastic or wood-fiberglass laminates have all been tried -- in addition to the original traditional composite, which was wood and rawhide -- still among the best for resilience and durability, though heavy.

Dave has also been experimenting with computer-driven laser-carving: this is one way to optimize the use of wood, as well as (another big practical problem in manufacturing) to obtain uniformity and quality. One of the things that Carey originally wanted in the saddle she is looking for is 'light weight'. The tree is the heaviest single component that goes into a Western saddle. You cannot take out the tree, as we have repeatedly said. However, you can reduce weight by opting for thinner fenders (both fore-aft cut narrower and thinner leather); lighter stirrups; fewer layers of skirting; and a hornless fork, as seen on many enduro saddles.

However, if I were going to spend the money for a western saddle, I think I would want to compromise between weight and the whole reason to buy a specifically 'western' saddle, which is that it should LOOK western: and for my taste, the more Buckaroo-ish it looked, the happier I'd be. I love stuff like fringes and horsehairtufts, I love mane-hair braiding, I love stuff that sparkles and tinkles. And I admire the Buckaroo traditions in horsemanship, roping skills, and general ranching skills. Almost all amateur riding today, if it is done in public, is costume riding in some sense; so if you have the dough to buy the costume, why then, have a ball and go all the way. And this is where leather-carving comes back into the picture: for when you've got a great tree, the right kind of seat, and a quality housing, if I had the dough then I'd sure want to have Dave lay on the hand-carving job with all the roses and traditional patterning. I would then have not only something that would be a joy to ride in and a pleasure to be seen in, but also an heirloom that could be passed down to children or grandchildren who want to carry on with good horsemanship.

For you will find that, even if one of these saddles fits horse 'A' perfectly, and then along comes horse 'B' that it does not fit, horse 'C' will eventually show up that it fits again. Neither Dave nor Steve would ever tell you -- as so many mere salespeople will -- that 'this saddle will fit any horse.' That is total B.S. BUT -- the Wade tree, and Dave's trees, and Steve's trees all, in my experience, fit a wider range of horses better than other trees. Dave and Steve both rail against the whole idea of 'micro-fitting'; so do I. So you don't micro-fit; you fit 'within reason'. And you take care of the difference by your riding skills, and also in a way through a knowledge of conformation and livestock selection: because the better-balanced your horse is in terms of not being built downhill, the better any saddle will fit him and the less trouble it will give you.

Only in the case of the most 'extreme' types of backs -- such as that presented by my old Painty Horse -- are these guys going to be unable to help you. Painty, being 50% old-fashioned American Saddlebred, meaning big, blocky, and substantial: he had very high withers which dropped down, and down, and down into a fairly short freespan and terminated in wide, flat loins. In other words, if you laid your hand against the side of Painty's withers, and then drew your hand backwards in continuous contact with his skin until you were back to the loins, there would be an angle change of fully 90 degrees over a horizontal distance of only perhaps 12 inches. This is among the strongest of all back types, and the most suitable for years of service under saddle: but the angle change, referred to as the 'twist', is among the most extreme and thus almost impossible to carve a wooden tree for that would not simply snap under service.

Another thing Painty needed was VERY wide spread between the bars (Dave could hardly believe it when I measured him; I actually took a Dave tree and sawed it in half with a hacksaw, and tacked in wooden blocks -- it took blocks about 1.5 inches wide to get the bars out to where they should have sat). Like other ASB's and TWH's and some TB's, Painty would also have benefitted from a 'cut back' head; BUT having tremendous shoulders, he would also have benefitted from the funnel-shaped gullet. But if you funnelled the gullet enough for him, the saddle would rock forward all the time. This would imply the need for a kind of extreme rear-emphasis rigging design.

The long and short of it is....we saw what would have been needed, but there was no way to actually manufacture it. You therefore see me in photos riding Painty in a Wintec (original no. 1 design) with a PLEASE NOTE specially modified tree -- I had a guy go in and custom-forge me a fork and bolt it in there, and that, plus my own riding skills, made for trouble-free operation. This is always going to be the way it is, folks, to some extent, no matter what horse you have: so Clara, if your horse has 'uneven shoulders' I hope you have read the Lessons from Woody paper in Knowledge Base -- Dave tells customers to do that too -- a lot of them are barrel racers whose horses haven't been made straight first before work is demanded of them. That's guaranteed not to work! -- Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I am still torn.  I spent the weekend at a Buck Brannaman clinic-- so there was a whole arena filled with some pretty nice Wade saddles.  And there is something about the look of them that is just beautiful.  And I am close enough where I could go try on a bunch of trees and see if there is even a Wade tree available that would work for me and my horses.

But at the same time  I do notice that most people could get their leg underneath them more-- I know that is easier said than done-- and I am not sure that the traditional Wade  really has that ideal position in mind-- especially when I think of most Dressage saddles-- and I go watch those type of clinics- and even novice riders can achieve a pretty balanced position.  So that makes me lean back toward Dave--because you have made it clear that is a priority. 

Then I have the issue of some non QH type backs-  and it does seem like the Wade is made for a a QH type of back and a QH gate.  I myself tend to like arab crosses, TB types, and I have a Hanoverian-- so this just further confuses me!!

I was really impressed with Buck all around.  What a great clinic--  actually there was a film crew so everyone wiill be able to see this clinic at some point or atleast chunks.   

Last edited on Mon Aug 10th, 2009 03:44 pm by Carey

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I find this to be such an interesting discussion. The thing I most wonder about especially when someone speaks of what Steve Gonzales is doing-- is what about a saddle that will fit more than one horse?  Because to me I think that is what the original Wade tree was trying to do,, and I think that has a lot of value.  If I only planned on riding one horse for the next 15 years I think having that type of saddle would be great.  I am too young to have met some of these men, but it seems to me that they were pretty down to earth and practical- they wanted something that was going to make sense for a long time in a bunch of different situation.

I also think that things should get better with time, and it makes sense that we should be able to have a "better" saddle now, than we did 50 years ago.  and it is also very true that horses have changed, and how we use horses has changed, so that has to be a consideration to a saddle maker-- and I think that is where I am stuck.  Because it does seem like these traditional makes are just preserving that tradition-- and not advancing-- but I don't really know from first hand experience. 

It also bugs me  that many of the people who are making wade saddles don't seem to mention anything about the fit of the saddle and how it effects the horse-- although they do seem to be very concerned about the craftsmanship of the saddle- so there does seem to be some sort of disconnect there-- and I do find it to be very confusing.

Last edited on Mon Aug 10th, 2009 07:43 pm by Carey

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
Dr. Deb and Dave,
Thank you for your replies. I have read the articles in the Knowledge Base several times - it takes me numerous times to really work through the information. I am focusing on the Woody article again. We happen to be rebuilding our basement doors and so I plan on using the scraps to build my own Woody. I think at this point I am understanding more about how horses lean and why. I understand the points about what will not help (pushing the horse forward into fixed hands). The pictures and comparisons of the horses body being like cars of a train were very helpful. I am not fully understanding what I can do to help correct the issue. I understand the Birdie Theory and can see that following a moving object of interest is helpful. I am still trying to work through the horse stepping under it's navel. I get it when I visualize the horse standing basically still or moving slowly. I am having difficulty putting it all together when the horse is trotting down a trail. I can picture the horse with it's nose tipped to one side or when going around a bend and looking like the photos of the arab feeling the pressure from the fence. But I am not understanding a horse trotting calmly down a trail and having crookedness as described. I get the rider being crooked and causing crookedness in the horse but I am just having difficulty thinking of the horse being crooked first. Any help in better understanding this would be greatly appreciated. I will of course review Woody again after writing this.
Clara

Jacquie
Member


Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Nr. Frome, Somerset, United Kingdom
Posts: 158
Status:  Offline
After some considerable searching, I have at last found a really wonderful English style dressage saddle for my big horse.

It has a laminated plywood, carbon fibre and kevlar flexible tree, with variations available in the width at the pommel points and variation in the angles of the rails. It uses memory foam for cusioning for both horse and rider and I have never sat on a more comfortable saddle. The sadlery company is very small - and almost unheard of even here in the UK. Their saddles suit Iberian and warmblood type backs very well. I also use a wintec on another horse I have and this is excellent and comfy for him and is very comfy for the rider too. Actually my horse chose the saddle = he expressed his preference clearly (though not rudely) when ridden in each saddle and endorsed the decision we had made for him!

Saddles can make or break the situation for rider and for horse. It is so important to get them right. I have no experience of Western saddles, but they look to my eyes to be cumbersome and heavy, though they must spread the load over a larger area of the horses back.

I use a different saddle for all four of my horses, and would never try to use the same one on all of them. Their backs are all so different.

 

Jacquie

christie
Member
 

Joined: Sun Mar 2nd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 89
Status:  Offline
miriam wrote: Hi Carey,

I'm like you, was riding bareback b/c it felt better than those 4 saddles I owned. Luckily I found found D. Genedak who lives and makes saddles here in MN. Getting into this saddle is like stepping into the door of home. I was surprised to learn that the greater percentage of horses do fit a "#2" tree, with the second largest percentage fitting the "#1" tree. Dave G has done tons of work researching this. Buying this saddle was the best investment I've ever made and it fits both my QHs and my three Arab mares.  I still ride bareback for short distances like b/t pastures.


I also have a DG saddle. Have had it for about 4 yrs now. It's a hard seat trail type saddle and is comfortable to sit in as all get out. I rode bareback until the saddle came as I had finally convinced myself that my 'borrowed' saddle pinched, oh yes it did...

I forget now if I got the 1, 2 or 3 tree, it is the Arab/Warmblood one though. I sent a trace of her back and several photos. I have a not very tall Arab with a wide back. It's been interesting to learn of the different horse shapes and to see very tall BIG horses with narrow backs in comparison.

My saddle seems, so far, to have fit most of the other horses(mainly QH's) I have ridden it in great too. It did not fit my friends Walker at all and I think any other narrowly built horse it would not either.

Last edited on Tue Aug 11th, 2009 04:32 pm by christie

Allen Pogue
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 6th, 2007
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas USA
Posts: 108
Status:  Offline
Hi Folks, Since there has been a lot of discussion about Tom D's saddle it seems appropriate to share a picture of it..

 This is one I found on the internett a year or so ago when I was researching Wade saddles.

Allen

Attachment: Dorrance wade.jpg (Downloaded 378 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
I've attached a silhouette of the saddle and I want everyone to ignore who's saddle it is and who made the saddle and just look at the line of the saddle. What do you see?
David Genadek

Attachment: saddleprofile.gif (Downloaded 407 times)

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
After watching Dave G's DVD and taking Dr Debs advice of shifting the saddle farther back-- I have noticed that my current saddle isn't so bad.  It doesn't bridge at all, and it leaves plenty of room for the shoulders- and it has contact with the back in the center part of the saddle.  SO that has been an interesting discovery.  I was putting the saddle to far forward-- so thanks Dr Deb for pointing out what should be the obvious!!  I thought I was putting it back far-- but it can go back more and dry spots have gone away now-- that is quite a relief.

 

The saddle in the picture does appear to have the deepest part of the seat too far back- or not with in the desired 4 inches to the stirrup.    I will be interested in others views on it-- I am not sure about the rigging placement-- and I do not know enough to know.

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
The deepest part of the saddles seat is right before the front of the cantle and it has a steep pitch from the pommel to this deep spot. The placement of the rigging looks ok to me; however it looks like it is not adjustable.
Can't wait to hear what else people come up with and I am really excited to hear what Dave can tell us about this saddle. I am having a hard time being able to tell anything about how the saddle might fit a horse.
Clara

Allen Pogue
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 6th, 2007
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas USA
Posts: 108
Status:  Offline
Hi Folks,

 Here is a picture of a lightweight trail Wade saddle to consider.

The horse is a Lusitano gelding Unico who is wearing a two-rein outfit. This is a small bosalito and an 'entry-level' spade bit.

 I will follow this overview with a close-up of just the saddle and another picture of the "fore and aft" rigging system, which I really like.

Allen

 

Attachment: Unico.JPG (Downloaded 349 times)

Allen Pogue
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 6th, 2007
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas USA
Posts: 108
Status:  Offline
Closeup of the trail Wade

Attachment: closeup.JPG (Downloaded 356 times)

Allen Pogue
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 6th, 2007
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas USA
Posts: 108
Status:  Offline
For lack of a better description I am calling this a "Fore and aft" rigging system,

 Allen

Attachment: Fore&aft rigging.JPG (Downloaded 347 times)

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
Is that how the rigging was designed to be done?
Clara

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
IT is hard to tell if the saddle fits the horse from the side view-- I find-- but it does look like it works well on him.  You have a fairly spanish look going on there Allen--which I am a fan of-- what a nice looking horse!

Allen Pogue
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 6th, 2007
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas USA
Posts: 108
Status:  Offline
Hello Indy,

 Yes the saddle was designed to be rigged in the fashion shown. The back D ring is set at an angle to accomodate the pull of the girth.

Here is how the builder describes this design feature:

 The rigging is designed to lighten the pressure in the wither, shoulder, and girth area. At the same time, it also disperses the pull over the entire underside of the saddle. It may appear to be center fire rigging, but it floats between 7/8 and 3/4 position.

Carrie, The saddle most certainly fits .. in fact I liked it so well I had two of them made so that when friends come to ride I can outfit both my ridin' horses in nice rigs. I am in the process of making bridle horses out of Uno and Dos. They are half brothers. Dos (pictured below) is a Hispano-Arab. He is sired by the same a Lusitano as Uno and out of a big Russian Arab mare. At 16 hh he is a challenge for me to get on when on flat ground. Uno is an easier 15-2hh. Both of these horses are well-made for riding, excellent withers and uphill.

 I have had both horses riding in the mountains in these saddles. We just returned from a trip to Wyoming where we rode up to over 10,000 ft in the Wind River Range near Pinedale.

Allen

Attachment: Dos WindRiver.jpg (Downloaded 348 times)

Annie F
Member


Joined: Wed May 2nd, 2007
Location: Princeton, New Jersey USA
Posts: 62
Status:  Offline
The saddle IS beautiful!


The rigging looks very much like my dressage saddle--mine has a point billet at the front of the saddle, with a second billet that is attached to the tree via two webbed straps that come together like the "Y" in Alan's rigging, with a ring that lets the Y adjust so that this billet can be pulled more forward or straight down as needed to attach to the girth along with the point billet.  I also love this rigging system.

I really like the photo Alan provided with the saddle on the horse and the stirrup pulled out of the way so that you can see just how the rigging works--wish every saddle website would provide just that kind of picture.


Annie

 

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
Thanks for sharing the pictures of your beautiful horses Allen. Are both of your saddles the same size and shape? Your horses seem to be different shapes it surprises me that the same saddle would fit both of them. Is the rigging the same on both sides? Is this saddle comfortable for long hours in the mountains? I am interested in learning more about saddle fit and the role the rigging plays in function. I love all the beautiful hand carvings and appreciate the artistry involved in it. I am more interested in function and comfort.
Clara

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I sort of wondered if the Bay horse was younger?  I also sort of wondered about the degree of the tree-- most Wades come in either a 90 or 90 degree.  From my limited experience with Wade tree saddles the one thing I have found is that they do fit a variety of horses with in reason.  Especially because you mentioned how tall the Lusitano was.  That is the trouble I have been having-- relating to saddle fit-- with a young arab/percheron who is almost 16 hands- and still growing-- and with my 16.2 Hanoverian, and with my little QH mare who is very wide for her small size.  I have a 90 degree Wade-- and I think that the next one I get would need to be a 93-- either that or a completely different type of tree like what Dave makes or something. 

 

On a separate note-- what is everyones feeling on tail swishing, back pain, and saddle fit.  A friend of mine pointed out to me that my mare swishes her tail a lot when I ride her- and is convinced it is from my saddle--  It is not something I noticed while I was on her-- but will be paying more attention and switching saddles to see if that makes a difference. 

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Yes that that you starting to see the seats.  it would take a very skilled rider to compensate for how the saddle seat is constructed. It would take a toll on the human body.
David Genadek

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Indy,
There is no real reason to do that type of latigo on that saddle other than the rider wants to ride with one cinch. There are some very good concepts behind this technique. It came about from a conversation I had with an architect. We were discussing different styles of riggings and she explained to me that the reason a flat plate rigging function properly was because it was a triangle. When you pull on the point of the triangle the pressure is going to go where the area of the triangle is divided in half. While doing clinics it was very common for me to see people using saddles that had the rigging placed too far forward so I applied the concept for a quick fix for people that could not afford to buy new saddles. It has two applications, one it can allow you to change the rigging position on a double rigged saddle that has the front rigging  too far forward and secondly when people  are afraid use a rear cinch to stabilize the saddle or would prefer to have a single rigged saddle rather than a double rigged saddle.

     After my video came out a major manufacture picked up on the concept and began selling their saddles rigged in this way. I guess others are doing it too.This is great because it's a very effective technique. However, one of the topics of this thread is that you become conscious of the concepts behind what you're buying rather than just buying because something sounds good. In this case what sounds good does actually work for good sound reasons but you should understand the reasons.

David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Interesting, Dave. 

It is very good that you are doing this.  A horrifying number of stock saddles are sold with very bad seat and stirrup configuration.  They tend to dump the rider onto the cantle with legs forward, thereby encouraging them to be behind the action.   There is no way to ride in those monstrosities in a way that is either good for the horse or balanced for the rider.

I have long suspected that in part this is because people (or their children) want saddles that look like those ridden in rodeo where say, ropers want to have a particular balance.  So, at best you can say that they are a misuse of a specialized design.


BTW, triangular rigging of various sorts was very common in the 19th century.  I have various examples.  However, as with other things we have talked about, their technical capabilities and their understanding of bio-mechanics and fit was not as well developed as what you and some other saddle makers have. So, bridging was a common problem.

Joe


Allen Pogue
Member
 

Joined: Thu Sep 6th, 2007
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas USA
Posts: 108
Status:  Offline
Hello Indy/Clara & Carey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allen

 

 

Attachment: tree form.JPG (Downloaded 306 times)

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Joe,

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

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Dave:

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

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

J

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Alan has brought up some really good concepts here. Historically double rigged saddles had two mohair cinches. And the rear cinch was attached with a latigo just like in the front. I've put in an illustration from a 1908  Sears catalog where you can clearly see this to be the case. Another thing you should notice is that all of the cinches had safes. A safe is a leather protector to prevent the buckle from chafing the horse.
David Genadek

Attachment: searscatalog.jpg (Downloaded 303 times)

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Note that most of the seats are much flatter.  Do you know when and why stock saddle builders moved away from that?

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
The picture that  Allen posted brings up one of the main questions of saddle fit ,where to put the saddle?I have taken the picture and put in an A and B point . In my opinion the A point should be moved to the B point. I have marked in yellow where this form is encroaching on the lumbar span. This can prevent the upward flex that is needed to release the stifle so it is just as bad if not worse than  having the saddle sitting on the shoulder. Although the saddle should not rest on the shoulder either. The only place you can put the saddle so it does not interfere is from the base of the whither to the anticlinal vertabra. If what I am saying seems strange then I would encourage you to buy Debs new video as it will make it crystal clear.
David Genadek

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

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Joe,

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

David Genadek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Dave:

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

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

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

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
Dear Dave: Thank you for mentioning the part about the seat encroaching on the lumbar bones...It makes sense that if the seat is too far back than it will   push down and cause the stifle to become blocked in its movement. So if i understand correctly you don't want the bars of the saddle to extend back beyond the 18th rib, because then the action of the bars pushing down will basically tell the horse not to flex the stifle....And because as Dr. Deb says the stifle, hip and hock are reciprocating- meaning that movement in one causes the others to move... and because not  moving  one necessarilly means the others cannot  move, pressing down on the stifle thereby freezing it essentially shuts down the back end, or at least mistimes the horses footfall pattern...
Joe-- U.S. Military saddles 1812-1943 has a line drawing on page 5 of a Walker hussar style saddle with the laced up suspended seat bridge. I think you could tighten the lacing towards the front or towards the back thereby creating a low spot for the riders seat bones to nest in so as not to impinge on the lumbers of the horse.. Would in your opinion  that be doable? What say you?
Many thanks
Bruce Peek
P.S. Now the ideas of seat placement and sending mixed messages to the horse via inadvertent aids because of poor saddle fit are becomg clear- thanks again

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Bruce:

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

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

Joe

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
So, how about designing a set of lockable hinges for the bars to either allow the front to be flared if so needed, or for that matter the front could be flexed inward more steeply for a narrow withered horse... Then rig it ala ginetta with a y shaped 04 mclellan centerfire girth.. Topped off with a hammock or sling seat.. Make the whole arrangement short enough so that the bars don't impinge beyond the 18th rib.. design the bars so they are extra wide so as to provide sufficient area to reduce the pounds per square inch- thus compensating for the shorter bars.. Viola.. I'm going to start checking machine shops to see if such a thing can be run up..
Thanks Again
Bruce Peek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Beats me.  I am having trouble picturing the thing, and do not know enough about bar design to comment.  I can tell you a decent amount about saddle history, but not too much about how they SHOULD be designed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe




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

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
The blue molds is a very interesting idea. As far as placement, in the photo of the molds on the horses back I can see what Dave is saying about it being placed too far back; however when I look at the picture of the stockier gelding it looks like it is placed ok. In the picture of the taller gelding I can again see what Dave is explaining.

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

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

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

Clara

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
Dear Dave: So placing the saddle bars from the  base of the wither to the area just short of the lumbars is the way to design the bars? Would doing so mean that the bars were shorter than normal? And would a saddle so designed therefor have what has come to be called a forward seat making it easier for the rider to adopt a cross country two point with his weight just above the bars so as not to pound on the horses back?,,, and therefor allow the horse to coil his loin for collection??
But what about stirrup placement? It seems that if the stirrups were placed exactly under the riders seat landing after a jump would cause the rider to tilt foward- possibly over the horses neck so far that the rider would become unbalanced to the front and then pitch over the horses head slamming into the ground.. Hmm I'm not exactly clear on this..Have to exercize some brain cells over it...
Thanks- food for thought
Bruce Peek

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I have seen a variety of Dressage saddles with somewhat of a triangular rigging-

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

 

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Bruce:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Bruce,
I see the correct bearing area being from the base of the whither back to the anti-clinal vertebrae. At this time I am viewing the last two ribs as part of the hind end and as such I would prefer to avoid them whenever possible.  I remain skeptical about being able to create a saddle with adjustable angles that will actually do the job. This goes back to the concept that measurements do not define shape. I have a attached a picture of some pieces of wire that I have been into various shapes. They were all done with the 24 inch piece of wire. So that one 24 inch measurement can clearly create an infinite number of shapes. So you see whenever you change any angle anywhere on the saddle there has to then be a corresponding overall change in the shape to accommodate the change in the angle. In my mind a better strategy would be to make different shapes of panels and have a seat with tabs that could be inserted into the different panels. In order to do this different shapes would need to be defined which they have not been. And even this strategy goes out the window in the second if the rider is unable to govern the five essentials of riding.
In regard to the length of the bar, here is where a collision of realities occurs. We have a very limited amount of space on the horse's back which is actually capable of bearing the weight and supporting the rider without negatively affecting the horses movement. one day I went measured 17 horses that we had here at the time. I measured from the back scapula to  the last rib and  came up with an average of 20 inches for the 17 horses. I also measured from the back of the scapula to the point of the hip and came up with an average of 26 inches. The average bar of a Western saddle is approximately 22 inches long the bars of English saddles average around 21 inches. Interesting isn't it that in English and Western saddle have nearly identical amounts of bearing surface, so the reality is fitting an English and Western saddles is the same problem they just look a little bit different. So when you look at an actual anatomy making saddles longer puts bearing surface on areas that will do damage. You mentioned making the bar wider which is absolutely the best way to increase bearing surface. Unfortunately, the saddle industry has been narrowing up the key bearing surface for years. Looking at the length of the bar we have to have enough to build the saddle and it just so happens that the amount that we need is greater than the area that the horse has to put the saddle on. This is why using rigid materials makes sense. Just because the length is there does not mean it needs to be bearing weight. Think of the tip of a ski, it makes the ski longer but does not add to the bearing surface of the ski. In movement the upward curve of the front of the ski prevents it from digging into the snow.
As for stirrup position I try to place the stirrup the distance between the heel and the ball of the foot in front of the low point of the seat. Your goal is to line up the heel , the hip and shoulder not  The ball of the foot, the hip and shoulder.  Get Debs new dvd set and it will all become clear.  Better yet do the anatomy and skeleton class and your world will really change.
Clara,
I have been looking into the whole cinch buckle thing pretty aggressively as of late. All the old catalogs that have looked at show all the cinches having safes on them. Why this stopped happening is beyond me. I do know I'm currently working on patterns for safes and I am going to heavily promote the idea when people buy cinches from me. 
Carey,
The triangular configuration is often used on dressage saddles. A common mistake is that they attached the billet to the front arch, this has the effect of pulling the arch into the horse. It is also common for English style saddles to have a center configuration where the billet should be attached in the center of the saddle right under the low part of the seat. Unfortunately, these saddles have evolved from jousting saddles and many have the billet too far forward rendering the rigging ineffective. There are three configurations that can be used to tie the saddle onto the horse, center configuration, triangular configuration or a double configuration. If the maker is not crystal clear on that these three configurations and how they work the rigging can be constructed such that it will completely negate any fit that might be present.
Joe,
How appropriate for you to bring up the McClellan. When I was looking at saddles it had double rigging where the rating was too far forward I thought hmmm why don't  I rig that like a McClellan.
David Genadek

Attachment: shapes.jpg (Downloaded 443 times)

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
What about the idea that the long back muscle is not a weight bearing muscle?  From what I understand the only way the horse can carry the weight of the rider- without discomfort- is if the long back muscle is alloud to freely swing.  So I just wonder how to create bars that are the right dimensions so that the weight is distributed but the back is able to swing??  I sort of can see how a wider but shorter bar would accomplish this-- but It does seem to get complicated with all the different backs and comformations that are out there. 

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

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Dave:

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

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

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

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


J

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

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Well, Dave -- here I am wrong again.  I was out tonight on the Arab, in the saddle mentioned above (A Stubben Tristan).  I have a good seat, and do not slump into the cantle or ride on my pockets at all.  Although it would have put my seat off a bit, I reached back under the ends of the bars. There was pressure.  It was not great, but at the top of the hip movement at the walk, he pressed into the padding.

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

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

Joe

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

Seglawy Jedran
Member
 

Joined: Sat Nov 1st, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 70
Status:  Offline
Dear Joe--Does the the 18plus inch specification for the Macs refer to overall length.. I presume so because a certain re-enacter supplier in Arkansas lists Macs in 11, 11 1/2 ,and 12 inch lengths-- but I suspect that is the seat size not the length of the bar size..This certain supplier had pretty good quality stuff a few years back. Haven't seen any of his stuff used here locally recently so don't know if the quality is still the same..
Also I remembered that one of my distant anscestors served at fort davis in the 9th U.S. that would be southwest texas. He died there and i'm not sure if they shipped his remains back to Michigan or not. I know they did have a post cemetary there but don't know if  Captain James Birney was buried there or not..Is re-enacting organised in Texas to the extent that there are commemorative groups to get in touch with.. Sort of a friends of Forst Stevens type group to your knowledge? Would appreciate any info you might have about Fort Davis
Thanks much
 Bruce Peek

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
The sizes of Macs are just what you suggested- seat sizes as measured the official way.

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

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

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

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

Good fun all 'round.

Joe

David Genadek
Member


Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
Posts: 426
Status:  Offline
Carey,
When you talk about weight-bearing muscles you need to understand that the notion is that they are carrying the weight of the horses body not your weight. The horse is just not designed to carry weight. That is why the five essentials are essential. They are what you need to govern in order to allow the passive dorsal ligaments system to support your weight.  The horse will naturally use this system to the degree it needs to in order to carry its own weight. However , our weight changes the whole equation so the horse needs to be trained and taught how to use the dorsal ligaments system with your weight on his back. Clearly, when we ride there is going to be pressure on the horses back. What we want to do as much as we can is float the saddle on the top of the horses back. This is one of the functions of the wool on a Western saddle. Of course this function can be completely negated by over tightening the cinches or an overly heavy rider, by overly heavy I am not just referring to the rider's weight but also their posture and how they are carrying themselves.
Joe, but I might not be quick to say that you were wrong about the rear of the saddle. You are leaning back trying to feel it could have caused the problem. It's interesting to me that the cavalry figured out that you only had about 18 inches a weight-bearing servicer no matter what you do. This is where the concept of the ski tip comes in. By abruptly cutting off the bar and 18 inches you create an edge that can't dig it by adding a few inches you can create that ski tip that will prevent an edge from digging in.
    The seat size and is also interesting to me. Today we talked about 15, 15 ½, or 16 inch seats. The interesting part is if we were to compare the amount of leg opening in the McClellan to that of the seats today they would end up being very similar. The big difference is that the cantles were more straight up and down on the McClellan then they are on today's cantles. This is a great example of why seat size measured in this way really has little or no meaning.
David Genadek
 

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
Agree on all counts.

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

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


J

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

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
One thing that I have thought about recently--mostly do to a recent gift a friend gave me-- a book on Horses in Native American Cultures-- is the treeless saddle.  I know why people are against treeless saddles-  but it does seem like some tribes made what they call pad saddles.  I find this interesting so much of the culture of our own land is just not available unless you dig it up.  Then eventually -probably from seeing the cavalry they adopted a treed saddle.   OR from watching the Spanish or booth.  And I think the Far eastern cultures also used saddles that were not treed in the western sense-- had  front and a rear stablility.  I find this interesting.  Especially when you realize how small and area really is available for weight to be distributed-- not much bigger than the average rear.  I am slightly inclinded to believe that the treed saddle lets the human be more sloppy in there riding without damaging the horse as much-- whereas a pad saddle or something would require a real athletic rider-- especially out on the hunt or in battle.    SO it is interesting. 

Attachment: ggg6704.jpg (Downloaded 383 times)

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

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
That is  beautiful pad, for sure.  What a wonderful gift.

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

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

Joe

Delly
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 26th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 40
Status:  Offline
I have recently changed from riding in an english style saddle to a western. It is a well made and well fitted saddle. (purchased David's DVD first) I would like advice as to the best type of saddle pad - in particlular the thickness as I have had several different opinions. In the natural materials I could choose between a wool lined, wool filled, with woollen material upper or a plain felt pad. I am currently using a thick navajo cotton and wool blanket doubled with a thin felt pad in between.

Many thanks.

Carey
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2008
Location: Radersburg, Montana USA
Posts: 59
Status:  Offline
I almost always use a wool felt pad and a wool woven pad-  I have a few thicknesses of felt pads, so I change depending on the horse.

Delly
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 26th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 40
Status:  Offline
Carey - thanks for that.

saddle-maker
Member
 

Joined: Thu Feb 11th, 2010
Location:  
Posts: 4
Status:  Offline
DrDeb wrote:
You appear to realize that there are a number of different manufacturers who claim to produce a "Wade" tree. However, there is only one saddle shop in the world that actually does produce the Wade tree as designed by Mr. Wade and his friend back in the 1940's. That saddle shop is located in Sheridan, Wyoming.


 

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

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

thanks much

saddle-maker
Member
 

Joined: Thu Feb 11th, 2010
Location:  
Posts: 4
Status:  Offline
Adding a little to my first post, Buck in now getting some saddles made from a maker in Idaho, he rides saddles from both the maker in billings and this maker in idaho, this comes from Buck firsthand a couple months ago. The maker in idaho in now making a "buck Branaman" Saddle.

I was trained to make saddles in the shop in Sheridan, they did not and do not make Bucks saddles.

Just trying to inform you all of the true facts. 

Thanks much

Sherry kaufman
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
Thank you for the information on how to find a DVD to educate me on the proper fitting of saddle .

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
I have no idea about the Queen, Clara, but indeed the saddle shop in Sheridan, Wyoming, is the only place in the world where the one and only, authentic "Wade" tree can be obtained. All others are just using the word, because the name was never trademarked or patented.

The real Wade tree saddle is that saddle that is ridden by Buck Brannaman, but also by Ray Hunt when he was alive. It would also be ridden by anyone else who does business with that particular saddlemaker, and no other. -- Dr. Deb

saddle-maker
Member
 

Joined: Thu Feb 11th, 2010
Location:  
Posts: 4
Status:  Offline
"but indeed the saddle shop in Sheridan, Wyoming, is the only place in the world where the one and only, authentic "Wade" tree can be obtained. All others are just using the word, because the name was never trademarked or patented.

The real Wade tree saddle is that saddle that is ridden by Buck Brannaman, but also by Ray Hunt when he was alive. It would also be ridden by anyone else who does business with that particular saddlemaker, and no other. -- Dr. Deb"


DrDeb; could you please send me a privite message with the information about the shop is sheridan if you do not want to put their name out here for the public to read. it must not be the shop I worked for. I must have been misinformed with my information and the sources I received my info from.  I will give you my sources where I got my info hear.

1-the hostory on the origin of the wade tree

Clifford Wade, whose family came west on the Oregon Trail, had a saddle, made by an unknown maker, that his dad brought with him from the east. Tom Dorrance, who lived in Wallowa County, Oregon, cowboyed with Clifford and admired Clifford’s livestock handling ability and the saddle Clifford rode that he had inherited from his dad.

According to Dale Harwood, noted Idaho saddle maker, in 1939, Tom Dorrance took Clifford’s saddle to Hamley & Company Saddle Shop in Pendleton, Oregon. He had a new saddle made on a saddle tree copied from the tree in Clifford’s old saddle.

In 1940, Tom Dorrance was not satisfied with the fit of this saddle. He went back to Hamley’s and worked with Walt Youngman, head tree maker at Hamley’s, and they made some modifications in the saddle tree.  At that time, Hamley’s made both saddle trees and saddles at their shop. Dorrance continued riding this improved saddle throughout his long career as the premier horse psychologist.

Hamley’s made more of these trees that Tom Dorrance and Walt Youngman had designed. They wanted to call them Dorrance trees, but Tom wanted the tree named after Clifford Wade from whom they had copied the original. Hamley & Company made a few saddles on the Wade trees. They were mostly scattered around northern Nevada, eastern Oregon, and southern Idaho, but had limited popularity.

In 1961, Dale Harwood opened a saddle shop in southern Idaho. Harwood had buckarooed on ranches all over northern Nevada and Oregon. He started making saddles for working buckaroos.


In 1962, Ray Hunt had Dale Harwood build him a saddle on a Wade tree. Harwood credits Ray Hunt with popularizing the Wade style of saddle by riding one in the many horse clinics Hunt conducted throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas.



2-buck brannaman, I saw buck last year and looked at the saddles he had with him, one was made by chas weldon of billings montana, and the other saddle he was riding was made by kent frecker of idaho falls, idaho. neither saddle was from a shop in sheridan.

3-ray hunt, I used to work for dale harwood and I personally along with John Visser, made the "ray hunt saddles' which ray hunt himself took on the road with him and sold at his clinics, all these were made on "wade"  acording to both dale harwood and ray hunt whom I assumed were authorities on the subject. The first ray hunt clinic I rode in was in 1987, his saddle was made by dale harwood, every time I saw since then, his saddle was made by dale harwood, according to ray hunt himself, they were all made on the REAL WADE TREE. 

4-the real wade tree, I cannot speak for all the tree makers out there, but I have seen a few of the orginal wade tree patterns in my time, by orginal I mean actual patterns that came from the hamleys tree shop, which is recongnized by almost all of the saddle and tree making community as the first shop to make the wade. I have seen the orginal patterns in dale harwoods shop, and in the shop of a tree maker that I use.

  So, please Dr. Deb can you inform me of who orginally designed the wade tree? what shop in sheridan is the only shop that makes a wade? whos saddle does buck ride? whos saddle did ray ride?

As I guess I have been misinformed and lied to, and my own eyes must have deceived me for the last 23 years that I have been building saddles.

thanks very much,

Steve Mason

http://www.stevemasonsaddles.com

if you would like to call me 403-615-4616

thanks for you time, I look forward to hearing from you and getting my facts straight.

saddle-maker
Member
 

Joined: Thu Feb 11th, 2010
Location:  
Posts: 4
Status:  Offline
In the 1942 Hamleys catalog they offer a wade, long before any shop that is currently in operation is sheridan was even around.

Clin Haverty
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
Steve, thanks for the history lesson. You've been around the "Men" much more than dr deb, CH

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3321
Status:  Offline
Yes, guys, you're right here and I am wrong, wrong, wrong. So please accept my apologies, you and everybody else here; and accept "Saddlemaker's" history as being the true and accurate one.

The one point I do want to make though, emphatically, to everybody is this: where "Saddlemaker" says you can get a Wade tree is where you can get a saddle that has one. The problem is that, because the term was never trademarked or patented, quite a number of slimebags and wannabees are out there claiming that their saddle has a "Wade" tree. This is because people have heard about the Wade tree and the mere name then becomes a selling point.

And Clin -- I appreciate what you're trying to chime in on here, though, but I too was around Ray plenty. I saw his Dale Harwood saddles too, and I should have remembered about that. And it's Idaho not Wyoming. So I may be the absent-minded "perfesser" -- and I never have considered myself qualified to be a cowhand -- but nonetheless I think I was "around" about as much as anybody, when our teachers were alive.

Thanks to you both for the good information. -- Dr. Deb




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez