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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.)

Movement of the shoulder blades and saddle fit

Posted by RodandDenise on November 11, 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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As we discussed in the last post on anatomy, the back corner of the shoulder blade rotates down and back when the horse extends his leg forward.  So how do we fit a saddle behind the shoulder blade and yet not interfere with its movement?  This is the practical question that still has not been scientifically researched, but there are some basic facts that make reasonable conclusions possible.


The Artisans Show at the Heritage Ranch Rodeo

Posted by RodandDenise on November 11, 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_Nov_10_HRR.jpgWe're home again after having a table at the Heritage Ranch Rodeo Artisans show in Edmonton from November 6 to 8th.  The show had two silversmiths (Richard Brooks and Kelly McRae), two rawhide braiders (Wayne Beven, John Loree), a western photographer (Kim Taylor) and four saddle makers as well as ourselves.   Here's how our table looked with Rod standing there, waiting to talk to anyone who came by. 


How does the horse's shoulder blade move?

Posted by RodandDenise on November 4, 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.

One of the big questions that tree and saddle makers have to deal with is how to fit the saddle behind the shoulder blade (NOT on top!!) and yet allow for its movement.  We’ll get there, but first we have to know more about how it moves.

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Now that you have seen some of the anatomy of the foreleg, you will understand that because there is no bony connection, the scapula can and does move forward and back against the rib cage.  But because of the strong muscular attachments, it has a limited range of motion in all directions.  It can also tilt (a bit) so the top is out more and the bottom is in more, and vice versa.  It can tilt so the front is out more and the back is in more, and vice versa.  And we know that it rotates during movement, with the bottom going forward and up and the back corner moving a bit back and down as the horse extends his leg. 

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The opposite occurs when the leg is as far back as it can go.  The rotation occurs because the main muscle connections are not at the top of the scapula, but spread out over basically the upper third of it.  


Last week in the shop

Posted by RodandDenise on October 31, 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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Two Wades, two Buster Welch cutters.  All ordered by the same maker, these trees are going to Australia.  Here they are with all three coats of varnish on them.  Rawhiding is the next step in their production. 


Cantle slots

Posted by RodandDenise on October 29, 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 have a couple of trees sitting in the shop at the moment waiting for pick up.  The thing that is different about these two is that they have slots cut as hand holds in the cantle. 


An interesting link on equine anatomy

Posted by RodandDenise on October 26, 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.

Here is a link to an interesting TV show, Inside Nature's Giants, looking specifically at the special things about horse anatomy that enables them to run as fast and as far as they do.  They look at not only the legs but also the lungs and heart and even how the horse's gut works with its breathing as it runs to keep the oxygen moving.  (Yes, there are dissection pictures in it too.)  Another snippet I found interesting is that the measurements taken on Eclipse, a famous racehorse from 200 years ago, puts him right in the center of average of thoroughbreds today.  While we don't agree with the evolutionary bent of the show, it really is fascinating to see how a horse was created to move the way it does.  Enjoy!

Inside Nature's Giants: Racehorse

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Rod's been busy...

Posted by RodandDenise on October 22, 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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filling up the drying stones again!  Five trees drying now.  Sideways on the left is a Wade with an 8" wide fork (hard to see from this angle).  Then, going left to right, a 13 " wide OY Calf Roper, a 14 1/4" wide Modifed Association, a 9" wide Wade and a 14" wide wood post Louellen.

When the rawhide is wet, it is always whitish.  As it dries, it goes clearer, and the color changes depending on what color the hide was originally.  The Louellen on the right and the Wade on the left are obviously blacks, and the other Wade and the Modified Association will go a nice tan color since they were from red bulls.  As white as the OY Calf Roper looks now, it will go dark since it was from a black bull.  There is a variation in how dark they get, so it may not be quite as dark as the one on the left, but it will be a dark color when it is dry. 


Foreleg of the horse - bones and attachment

Posted by RodandDenise on October 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 it comes to saddle fit and the forelegs, there are a lot of questions still to answer, and there are a lot of “answers” presented as fact that are untrue.  Most of the reason the answers are unknown is because there is still a lot unknown about how the front leg actually moves in real life.  And why that is unknown has to do with the anatomy of the front leg and how it is attached to the body.


"The cupboard was bare..."

Posted by RodandDenise on October 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.

This is what our drying stones look like at the moment.
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This is what they normally look like.
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Why the difference?  Let me explain…


Last week away from the shop

Posted by RodandDenise on October 17, 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 had a good holiday last week.  We went to Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C., where Denise’s aunt graciously gave us her time share for a week.  Here are some pictures of our time away.