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We are no longer building saddle trees. We have two saddle fit videos available on our westernsaddlefit.com websiteWestern Saddle Fit - The Basics, aimed at riders, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo while the six hour series Well Beyond the Basics, aimed more for professionals but understandable by anyone, is available by streaming on Vimeo. (We left this website up because we have had many requests to keep the information available.)

Wade Wade Wade Wade Wade Waaaaade

Posted by RodandDenise on February 27, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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Oh yeah, I did that already…  Today I was labelling pictures of the trees that we have shipped out over the last little while.  I take a series of shots of every tree, which proved really handy when it came to updating the website.  And I noticed something – there were a lot pictures of Wades in there.  Wonder why?  So I thought this would be a great time to show some comparison pictures of Wade forks.


The thoracic vertebrae

Posted by RodandDenise on February 25, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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Moving down the back from the cervical vertebrae, the next section is the thoracic vertebrae, called that because they are directly above the thorax, or chest cavity.  There are usually 18 of them, and they are really interesting vertebrae.  Their dorsal spinous processes really vary depending on where they fall in the line up of T1 to T18, and you could almost put them in order just based on those alone.  However, they have other unique features as well, such as the three facets on each side for the rib attachment.  Lining them up straight like this is a good way to compare them, but doesn’t show you their real orientation in a living horse.  And as to why the last one looks different, that is a long story that has something to do with lack of freezer space, a hot summer and not dealing with bones till October…


This week in the shop

Posted by RodandDenise on February 24, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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Rod started out Monday morning by cutting up the rawhide he made from five hides last week before rawhiding some trees.  There is something different in this picture compared to all the other pictures you have seen of Rod either making rawhide or rawhiding a tree.  Any guesses what it is?


Of cutlery and saddle fit...

Posted by RodandDenise on February 21, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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Trying to explain why one saddle fits and another doesn’t is often broken down into following a bunch of rules.  But, as in life, following the rules often isn’t enough.  (For the best example of the truth of this, read Matthew 5:21-28 in the Bible.)  The harder thing is to understand the foundational underlying concept behind saddle fit, which is that we are dealing with shapes – matching the shape of the tree to the shape of the horse.  And cutlery is a great analogy to help explain this idea.


The handiest "tool" in the shop

Posted by RodandDenise on February 18, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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is in the plastic bag in the center of this picture.  That’s right – dead socks…  I wandered around today and took some pictures of all the places we use them.


A stood up Wade fork

Posted by RodandDenise on February 17, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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We shipped this one out a little bit ago.  This is a normal Wade fork but rather than being at the normal leaned ahead angle, it is stood up.  We have built some of these over the years, mostly for two particular customers who prefer this look to their Wades, but a few for other people.


The cervical (neck) vertebrae and how they move

Posted by RodandDenise on February 15, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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The cervical (neck) vertebrae is the first section of the spine I will write about.  It has the most variation in form within it.  There are two very unique vertebrae that allow the head to have the range of motion it does.  There is also a lot more movement between the individual cervical vertebrae than any other section of the spine, allowing a lot more movement in the neck overall than any other part of the spine.  This is pretty obvious.  And while we don’t ride the neck of the horse, because the spine is one unit – bones, ligaments and muscles all connected as they run down from head to tail – how the neck works does affect the rest of the back.  And it all starts at the head...


Side Saddle Trees

Posted by RodandDenise on February 13, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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We shipped out another side saddle tree a few weeks back.  We have been building side saddle trees since the summer of 2009 and this is the tenth one we have built to date.  The bottom of a side saddle is the same as a regular saddle in terms of fit, so that hasn’t changed.  But learning how the top of a side saddle is supposed to function and then building something that will work well has been quite the education – and we are still learning.  We also had to completely refigure how attach the parts of the tree together and keep the same correct relationship between the bars because these are built completely different than “normal” Western saddle trees.  One thing we have found is that there is no such thing as a “standard side saddle”.  The designs have evolved and changed a lot over the years and vary depending on where the saddle was made.  In fact, it is pretty tough to find side saddles that are the same until you get to the age of production made saddles.  They really do tend to be individualistic saddles!


One of these things is not like the other...

Posted by RodandDenise on February 12, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

2012_Feb_11.jpgOK.  So they are all different, but the biggest difference is the horn cap size, and that is what the song is referring to.  (By the way, do they still do that song on Sesame Street?  Is there still a Sesame Street?)  This is the line up Rod faced this morning.  He got the end two rawhided today.  The middle two got two more coats of varnish each and will be rawhided Monday.  Sunday is a day off and a day to worship God, which is far more important than rawhiding trees...


And the vertebra is connected to the...

Posted by RodandDenise on February 10, 2012

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our westernsaddlefit.com website.

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next vertebra.  And the next vertebra is connected to the… next vertebra. (Sing it with me!!)  Actually they are connected to all of the other vertebrae, because there are some pretty interesting ligaments holding the spinal column together.  Time out for terminology here:  Tendons attach muscle to bone.  Ligaments connect bone to bone.  Most ligaments are quite short because they are connecting two bones that are sitting side by side.  While there are short ligaments that connect adjacent vertebrae together, there are three main, very long ones that run the whole length of the spine and which are very important in how the spine moves.