We are no longer building saddle trees, but our video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo!! We also have all our blog posts relating to how saddles work on horses organized on our website at www.westernsaddlefit.com. (We left this website up because we have had many requests to keep the information available.)
Swell Fork Styles M to Z
What the Name Means
As we discuss in our main Swell Forks page, the names of the different forks now really apply to the shape only, although originally these names could have stood for a specific stock thickness, gullet height and width. The shapes are stretched or squashed a bit depending on the change in these specifications but we try to keep the fork shape, determined by the top slope, side shape and back shape, as consistent as possible. These are just some examples of the trees we have built. We can work with you to build any fork style you want.
All these styles originated with metal horns, but wood post horns on swell forks are becoming more popular all the time. This does affect the gullet thickness and therefore the hand hole and gullet height relationship. (Please see Avoiding the Withers for further explanation.) All the variations in horn specifications are completely independent of the fork style.
This less common fork style has little top slope and the undercut on the sides is quite straight.
|Martha Jose fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||12 1/2" Martha Jose fork|
This is the most common swell fork we are asked to make. The Association tree was originally based on specs set in 1919 by a number of rodeo representatives for bronc riding saddles. It is “Modified” to fit on a horse in a normal riding position. It has a moderate amount of top slope and a curved undercut to the sides. The most common widths are 13” and 14”, though we have made them from 12” to 15” wide. We’ve even stood the odd one up on request.
|Modified Association fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||Wood Post Modified Association fork, 5" stock|
|12" Modified Association fork||12 1/2" Modified Association fork|
|13" Modified Association fork||13" wood post Modified Association fork|
|13 1/2" wood post Modified Association fork|
|14" Modified Association fork||14" wood post Modified Association fork|
|15" Modified Assocation fork|
Usually built 14” wide, this fork has additional backsweep to it as well as having leg cut.
| Old Moose fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness
| Wood Post Old Moose fork, 4 1/4" stock thickness
|13" wood post Old Moose Fork|
|14" Old Moose fork||14" wood post Old Moose fork|
This fork is very similar to a Buster Welch but was originally designed to be leaned ahead. It rounds all the way down into the bars without undercut on the sides.
|Olin Young fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||13" Olin Young fork|
OY Calf Roper
Because the Olin Young rounds all the way down to the bar, it can hold its shape while being lowered substantially to fit a calf roper’s style of fork. Most of the ones we have built have been ordered with the fork stood up. The one pictured has a 6 ¾” gullet height and a 5 1/8” hand hole height.
|OY Calf Roper fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||13" OY Calf Roper fork|
This fork has the same style of undercut on the sides as the Modified Association and the Louellen, but the top slopes off more than either of them. These are most commonly ordered at 12” wide, but we have made them up to a 14” width.
|Packer fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||Wood Post Packer fork, 4 1/4" stock thickness|
|12" Packer fork||12" wood post Packer fork|
|12 1/2" Packer fork|
|13" Packer fork||13 1/2" wood post Packer fork|
|14" Packer fork|
This fork, like the Buster Welch and Olin Young, has no undercut on the side but rounds right down into the bars. However, it has more top slope than these other styles. Every one we have had ordered has been 12 ½” wide.
|Patterson fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||12 1/2" Patterson fork|
This uncommon fork has a very straight top slope and very straight undercut on the sides.
|Sid Special fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||14" Sid Special fork|
TM Calf Roper
This fork has a low gullet height on a TM style fork, which has more top slope than an OY Calf Roper and also has leg cut.
|TM Calf Roper fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||13" TM Calf Roper fork|
This fork has a moderate amount of top slope but more undercut on the sides compared to a Modified Association. We have built Will James forks from 12” to 14” wide, but 13” is the most common. It is often requested with a wood post horn.
|Will James fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness||Wood Post Will James fork, 4 1/2" stock thickness|
|12" wood post Will James fork|
|13" Will James fork||13" wood post Will James fork|
|13 1/2" Will James fork||13 1/2" wood post Will James fork|
|14" Will James fork||14" wood post Will James fork|