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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.)

The major segments of the equine spine

Posted by RodandDenise on January 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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As most people know, the spine is made up of a string of bones called vertebrae.  Just for the record, the singular is vertebra.  The plural can be either vertebrae or vertebras, but I prefer vertebrae.  It sounds classier...  As I said in the last post on anatomy, you really can’t put them together wrong because they just don’t fit, which goes to show that they are all a little bit different.  They all follow basically the same plan in their design, but there is a lot of variation in that plan, especially between the five different sections of the spine.


A special saddle for a special lady

Posted by RodandDenise on January 14, 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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A while back we posted a picture of a special tree for a special lady.  This rider had her right leg amputated above the knee after a car accident.  You might think that would limit the riding she could do.  Not if there is a will to do more!!  She team ropes, which is OK since the horses turn left and she still has that leg.  But she is looking to get into barrel racing, which of course means fast turns in both directions, so that takes a bit more planning to accomplish safely.  And she will be able to do this with the modification of her equipment compared to a normal saddle.


Putting the spine together

Posted by RodandDenise on January 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.

2012_Jan_10_1.jpgOnce we were finished putting together the front leg and the hind leg, we set them aside and it was on to the spine.  We set up all the vertebrae in order so we had a general idea of the final length.  Then we got a 3/8” round steel rod which fit nicely through the vertebral foramen (the holes in the vertebrae where the spinal cord goes).


"It's the dust that kills tree makers."

Posted by RodandDenise on January 3, 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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That is what we were told when we started up the business.  And it is true.  We know of at least one tree maker who is currently having respiratory problems probably as a result of wood dust.  Being a natural substance, you would think that it would be OK.  Nope.  Super fine dust of any kind will affect your lungs.  And some types of wood dust are toxic while others are carcinogenic.  Fortunately, what we work with doesn’t fall into either of those categories (except maybe some fancy wood for exposed horns or other parts of trees), but the dust is still dangerous with long term exposure.  So…


Merry Christmas!

Posted by RodandDenise on December 24, 2011

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

We want to wish all our customers and everyone else who reads this a very Merry Christmas!  And it is worth celebrating.  Not because of presents, or lights, or decorations, though those are all great.  Not even because of family and friends and good times spent together, those those are very important too. No, Christmas is worth celebrating because of Jesus, Whose birth we are remembering.  

And His birthday really wouldn't be worth celebrating except for the reason He came - His death.  That may sound totally backwards.  For the rest of us, death is the end of life.  But the whole reason Jesus, Who was truly God, also became truly man was specifically to die.  But His death wasn't the end of His life, because He was resurrected three days later.  In case you think I am mixing up Christmas and Easter, I'm not.  Both are part of the same life, and one without the other is meaningless.  The birth of Christ without the death of Christ is just another human birth.  The death of Christ without the birth of Christ makes His sacrifice useless because He wouldn't really be human.  

And so it is through His birth, His life and His death that we have the opportunity to be right with God.  And really, that is far more important than horses, trees, saddles, or anything else we could post on here.  If you are interested in learning more, please read The Most Important Part and check out the links there.  Or contact us and we would love to talk to you about our Lord.  He really is, not just the reason for the season, but the reason for our lives.

Merry Christmas!


Of pivots, lollipops and springs - movement of the horse’s hind leg

Posted by RodandDenise on December 21, 2011

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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When we talked about the front leg, we said there was no defined pivot point because the whole leg is attached by muscle, so the shoulder blade moves around a bit against the chest.  The hind leg is different because it is attached solidly – leg to pelvis at the hip joint, and pelvis to spine at the sacroiliac joint.


BIG equipment, careful cuts

Posted by RodandDenise on December 19, 2011

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

2011_Dec_19_1_32_inch_band_saw.jpgOur band saw is BIG.  It stands 8 ½ feet high and has a 32 inch throat.  When we built the shop, Rod modified the rafters to make a box tall enough that we could raise the band saw up to vertical.  Most tree makers have a large band saw, at least 28”.  This is because we need the height for the jigs used to make the fork and cantle cuts on the bars.  The saw is originally designed to have large blades and to cut big logs into lumber.


Saddle fit - How much pressure is too much?

Posted by RodandDenise on December 18, 2011

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

When you read about saddle fit, you find numbers quoted as to how much pressure is acceptable under a saddle and how much is too much, and those numbers will vary dramatically.  Why?  I figured we should know by now how much pressure will cause damage to underlying tissues, so I went looking for answers.  Turns out there are no solid answers and really, this isn’t even the right question.


Preparing deer hide for rawhide lace

Posted by RodandDenise on December 12, 2011

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 make our own deer hide lace from hides off deer harvested by local hunters, including Rod.  (Venison tastes good!)  Hunting season for deer closed the end of November, so this is the time of year he makes up the rawhide for the lace.


Tools used when rawhiding a saddle tree

Posted by RodandDenise on December 9, 2011

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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Today was another day of rawhiding for Rod.  Here he is almost finished rawhiding this Wade tree that will be heading to southern Alberta when it is dry.  I figured in this post I would show you some of the “tools of the trade” Rod uses when he rawhides trees.