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As of April, 2017, our video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basicsis available!!  Our new website is www.westernsaddlefit.com, and we'll be continuing our blog over on that site. 

Position - Why it is so important

Posted by RodandDenise on July 1, 2015

You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western Saddle Fit - The Essentials.  Enjoy!

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The last few posts have been discussing the position of the saddle relative to the shoulder blade. So why are we saying this? What’s the big deal if the saddle is behind the shoulder blade or on top of it? Does it matter? Yup it does – and here’s picture proof of why…

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Position - Seeing the shoulder blade under saddle Part one

Posted by RodandDenise on June 8, 2015

You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western Saddle Fit - The Essentials.  Enjoy!

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Why did we bother writing a blog post to help people learn how to find the shoulder blade, either in real life or in pictures? Because it is really important to the horse that the saddle doesn’t sit over the shoulder blade. If it does, it will compress muscle between bar and bone and cause damage, as we wrote about a while ago. So once you are able to see where the shoulder blade is on a bare horse, the next step is to see it when the horse is saddled. That’s tougher, because your “X-ray eyes” not only have to look through skin, but also through padding and the very front of the saddle.

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Position - Seeing the shoulder blade

Posted by RodandDenise on May 30, 2015

You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western Saddle Fit - The Essentials.  Enjoy!

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A long, long time ago now – about 3 ½ years – when I was doing an series on equine anatomy as it applies to saddles and how they work on horses, I did a post on the foreleg of the horse. I talked about the scapula (shoulder blade) and its basic anatomy. In a later post I discussed more about how the shoulder blade moved, and in a third post I described how saddles and shoulder blades work together – or not. I need to recap some key points at this time because they are needed as the basis for future posts I have planned. A very important part of those future posts is being able to find the shoulder blade not only practically on a live horse but also visually in pictures, since a lot of tree makers and saddle makers work long distance from their customers.

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Around our place lately...

Posted by RodandDenise on May 23, 2015

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So what’s been happening around here the last little while? Well, it’s May, and that means things have been turning GREEN!!! around here. We love green. It’s such a nice change from white…

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The effects of “flare” - and it's not pretty...

Posted by RodandDenise on May 16, 2015

You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western Saddle Fit - The Essentials.  Enjoy!

2015 May 15 1 flare in saddle tree illustrated.jpg

Just over a year ago, we put up a post on “flare” – the idea that you curve out the front of the tree bars a lot so that it doesn’t contact the horse, essentially giving the front of the bars excess rock compared to the shape of the horse. The theory is that the shoulder blade is then free to rotate backward without pressure as the horse extends its leg. We disagree with this theory and explained our reasoning in that post, saying that the saddle would move forward and actually cause the problems that “flare” was supposed to present. Well, we now have a real life example to share with you of how “flare” works out in the real world.

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Modifications

Posted by RodandDenise on May 8, 2015

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It’s been interesting around here the last few weeks. Rod has been having problems with his hands for a while now, and on March 13th, he was diagnosed with “relatively advanced degeneration of the first carpometacarpal joints bilaterally” which, in English, means pretty severe arthritis at the base of both thumbs. So we have been doing a lot of thinking and figuring and changing things in order that Rod can continue to build trees with some level of comfort. We’re writing this post to hopefully give others ideas or even just think about what they can do to help preserve their hands from suffering (pun intended) the same fate.

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Wither conformation - seeing the damage

Posted by RodandDenise on April 24, 2015

You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western Saddle Fit - The Essentials.  Enjoy!

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By contemplating equine back conformation (not a normal activity for normal people, but definitely normal for tree makers) you come to realize there is quite the range of variation of normal, and I wrote about that recently. However, on even further contemplation we have come to recognize the abnormal. It has taken a while to “see” it, since we actually see it so often. But common does not mean normal and we now recognize that a lot of what we have been seeing for years actually isn't “normal”.

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Ya think it's time?

Posted by RodandDenise on April 18, 2015

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Neither Rod nor I could be considered to be part of the “use it once and throw it out” contingent in our world. In fact, we tend to go to the opposite end of the “use it up” group. But eventually we finally have to recognize that it really is time to get something new.

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Wither conformation - variations on "normal"

Posted by RodandDenise on April 4, 2015

You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western Saddle Fit - The Essentials.  Enjoy!

2015 April 4 1 wither pocket area.jpg

We’ve talked before about the bell curve and how we see it applying to equine conformation related to saddle fit. The idea of the bell curve also applies to the conformation of the “wither pocket” area, where there is quite the variety of shapes. Wither pocket is not a technical term, but is pretty much understood by a lot of western saddle makers to designate the area behind the shoulder blade where the front bar pad is supposed to rest, as shown in the above picture.

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Rod's new toy

Posted by RodandDenise on March 27, 2015

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Rod saw this in a Lee Valley catalogue a few weeks ago and thought it would be useful in the shop, so when I went to Edmonton early in February, I picked one up. He was right. It is very useful. It is a self calibrating laser level which automatically aligns itself with gravity and projects a true horizontal and vertical beam. (Or you can lock it so it projects true cross hairs at an angle, but Rod hasn’t found a use for that – yet...) So how does he use it?

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