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Movement of the rib cage

How the rib cage of the horse moves might be influenced by cinch and saddle. So what is normal and what may we need to consider when it comes to saddling up our horse?
Subscribe to RSS Feed It is pretty well known in the cowboy world that you don't want your cinch, latigos and billets to be all synthetic material.  You want at… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/movement-of-the-rib-cage/

The rib cage

The majority of the saddle sits above the rib cage of the horse. Here's what the bones look like and how they are connected under all that muscle.
Subscribe to RSS Feed The only section of the skeleton we haven't talked about in previous posts in this series is the rib cage, so here it is.  Considering that the rib… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-rib-cage/

Of sagging backs and tickling tummies

Research shows that a horse's back sags under weight. One commonly taught "rule" of saddle fit says you have to get a horse to raise his back from a standing position to mimic how the horse really moves. Here's our treemaker's view on these contradictor…
Studies done on ridden versus weighted horses The study was very clear in its findings - dead weight causes the horse's back to sag, but it didn't affect the overall range of… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-sagging-backs-and-tickling-tummies/

Speaking of surface area...

A comparison of surface area between a Ralide tree, an old Bowden tree, our little kid's tree and our regular and Wade bar patterns.
Our third Principle when it comes to saddle fit is to spread the Pressure over as much surface area as possible.  Something you will notice on true hand made trees is that the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/speaking-of-surface-area/

Can the loin of the horse carry weight?

Saddle fit "rules" say that you can't have weight on the horse past T18, but almost every western saddle extends onto the loin of the horse. Which is correct?
Spines don't lift weights I posed the question about the strength of the back to a well respected veterinary researcher at a large vet college in the US whose specialty is the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/can-the-loin-of-the-horse-carry-weight/

Thoracic spine anatomy, movement and saddle fit

Thoracic spinal anatomy is the basis for spinal movement, which is a huge factor in saddle fit. Here's some of how it works.
We ended the last post with the idea that the shape of the vertebrae is important in the movement of the thoracic spine and therefore the thoracic part of the back.  If you… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/thoracic-spine-anatomy-movement-and-saddle-fit/

Of cutlery and saddle fit...

We are always looking for good analogies to help explain the basics of saddle fit. This is one we use often.
Subscribe to RSS Feed 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… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-cutlery-and-saddle-fit/

How does pressure cause tissue damage?

Too much pressure under a saddle can cause damage to the muscles and other tissues. But how does it do it? Guess what, nobody knows for sure... But here is the one that tops the list.
Shutting off the blood flow All tissues in our bodies need oxygen to survive and work properly, and it is blood flow which provides the oxygen. So if blood flow is totally cut… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/how-does-pressure-cause-tissue-damage/

Is this what a horse feels?

My chair has bolts that go through the solid support and into the padding, but my pin bones find them through the padding just fine. Is this what a horse feels when nails and screws come through the bottom of the bars?
A few years ago Rod surprised me with a very nice desk chair as my birthday present.  It is great.  It goes up and down, spins around, tilts back and forth, and rolls around… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/is-this-what-a-horse-feels/

Taking the shoulder to hip measurement

This measurement helps figure out maximum bar length for short backed horses. Here's how we do it.
Subscribe to RSS Feed If people are concerned about bar length, one of the things we often ask for is the shoulder to hip measurement on their horse(s).  It can be… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/taking-the-shoulder-to-hip-measurement/

Saddle fit - How much pressure is too much?

We know that damage occurs if there is too much pressure under the saddle. So how much pressure is too much? I have been looking for an answer for a while and now know that there isn’t one. And the more I learn, the more I realize that maybe this is th…
Subscribe to RSS Feed You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-how-much-pressure-is-too-much/

Saddle fit and the bell curve

If I get a saddle to fit THIS horse, will it fit other horses too? We change the Factors that Affect Fit so our trees fit diffferent body types of horses - and every horse, unless they are congenitally deformed or have been damaged, fits into a body typ…
You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-and-the-bell-curve/

False "saddle fit rules" regarding the shoulder blades

As you read books or the internet, you will find lists of “saddle fit rules”. Many of these “rules” are just simply wrong. Based on the anatomy and biomechanic information already covered, this post counters three of them.
As you read books or the internet, you will find lists of “saddle fit rules” that everyone is supposed to follow or check when determining how well a saddle will work on a… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/false-saddle-fit-rules-regarding-the-shoulder-blades/

Movement of the shoulder blades and saddle fit

Since the shoulder blade rotates back a bit when they move, how come we say that the bar of a Western saddle tree should sit right behind it? Won't that cause muscle damage and interfere with the horse's movement? Nope - and here's why.
You can now purchase our 67 minute video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, by going to our new website, westernsaddlefit.com. We also have a 7 minute YouTube video on Western… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/movement-of-the-shoulder-blades-and-saddle-fit/

How we use the Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System numbers

How do we decide what tree specs will fit the horse when we get sent numbers off the Dennis Lane cards that have been tried on the horse? We did our homework and know what body type the numbers represent, and what specs of ours will fit that body type.
DL cards are just standardized back drawings How does any tree maker use back drawings sent from a customer? We look at them and figure out what body type they represent and… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/how-we-use-the-dennis-lane-equine-back-profiling-system-numbers/

Effect of weight on the horse's back - Part 2

Conclusion of the summary of a paper that tested out how tack and weight affects a horse's back shape and movement.
Last post I told you about a study on how weight on a horse's back affected them, and how the study was performed. So what did they find… in the three areas the researchers… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/effect-of-weight-on-the-horses-back-part-2/

Effect of weight on the horse's back - Part 1

Summary of a paper that tested out how tack and weight affects a horse's back shape and movement.
How did they do the test? To test this, they evaluated nine horses on a treadmill, at walk, trot and canter. These were Dutch Warmblood horses all in daily use by the Vet… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/effect-of-weight-on-the-horse-s-back-part-1/

Saddle Trees - from Shop and Desk

Welcome to our blog! We will be sharing with you what we have learned, both in the shop and from our research and reading.
We always like to share with others what we have been learning and doing, and this blog gives us the opportunity to do that.  We plan to share pictures of what we have been… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-trees-from-shop-and-desk/

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