Understanding Tree Measurements
Saddle trees seem to be this mysterious black hole when it comes to understanding how they fit together and work for the horse and rider. These pages were written to shed some light on the subject and help dispel some misunderstandings as well.
Measuring a Saddle Tree explains a lot of the common and less common measurements used and why we choose the use the ones we do.
Seat Length and Thigh Length Relationships explains why a seat length measurement doesn’t necessarily tell you how much room there is in the saddle for the rider and why the thigh length should be considered as well.
Why We Use Hand Hole Width Instead of Gullet Width explains just that, and Avoiding the Withers explains why understanding the relationship between hand hole height and gullet height and how it varies between different forks types is important to having enough clearance on a horse.
While the terms Quarter Horse, Semi-Quarter Horse and Full Quarter Horse bars mean practically nothing when comparing trees from different makers, neither do the numbers given to bar angles when ordering from different makers. Our Bar Angles: Why the Numbers are Meaningless Between Makers page was written to explain why.
Cantle Conundrums helps you understand the three slopes you see when you look at a cantle so you can order in a way that gets you the seat you want to build on and the look you want in the final saddle.
The Basics on Horns gives you the basis on which to make decisions regarding the type of horn – wood or metal – and then presents the choices in terms of horn height, cap size, horn style (for metal horns), cap shape, etc.
Please remember that we are explaining how we do things and our reasons for our choices. Other custom saddle tree makers do things differently for different reasons, and production trees are very different, so while some concepts may be able to be transferred to other tree makers, the specifics cannot. If you work with other tree makers, please work with them in their terminology, their ways of measuring, the options they offer, etc.