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Bridging

What does it mean when a saddle bridges? And how do you know if it does?
Subscribe to RSS Feed This is a bridge. It contacts at both ends and has lots of empty space underneath it. This is a badly bridging saddle tree. It contacts… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/bridging/

Flat on round and round on flat - a paradox

We don't make bars the reverse shape of the horse, and there's reason for this. Here's an example of what we do instead, and why...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Some people think that when we get Dennis Lane measurements or back drawings of a horse, we make the bottom of our bars the exact… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/flat-round-and-round-flat-paradox/

Angles - it just isn't that simple

90 degrees. It is a set angle, so all trees that are called 90 degrees have to fit the same - right? Wrong...
Subscribe to RSS Feed We have written about this before, explaining why the numbers of bar angles are meaningless between makers, but let’s try another way. When we… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/angles-it-just-isnt-simple/

How do you spell "relief"?

Crown, flare and relief - what's the difference? Here's how we define them.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Is the allusion to a very old commercial showing my age? Anyway… We had a question recently from someone wanting to clarify the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/how-do-you-spell-relief/

Why does my saddle lift up at the back? Part two

Same symptom, different causes. Here's two less likely causes, but still possible reasons for a saddle to lift up at the back.
Subscribe to RSS Feed In our last blog post, we described the three most common reasons saddles lift up at the back. These next two reasons are not as common, but… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/why-does-my-saddle-lift-back-part-two/

Why does my saddle lift up at the back? Part one

There are a number of possible causes to a saddle the lifts off the horse at the back. Here's the first few reasons.
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/why-does-my-saddle-lift-back-part-one/

Padding doesn't fix mismatched "angles"

Often if a saddle is too large for a horse, people figure that putting extra padding underneath will compensate. But that doesn't fix things if the problem is that the angles on the tree are too wide for the horse.
A bit ago we showed you pictures of a tree that had too narrow a bar angle to fit the horse it was sitting on. Here’s one that has way too wide an angle. So, can it be padded… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/padding-doesnt-fix-mismatched-angles/

What we would do

Here's our evaluation of what we would change in tree specs to fit this horse.
Subscribe to RSS Feed First thing to check out is if the tree is in the proper position. If it isn’t, then we can’t tell anything for sure since the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/what-we-would-do/

He's gotta lotta rock...

Looking at some of the reasons some horses have more rock in their back than others.
Subscribe to RSS Feed A definition to start with: Rock is the curve from front to back, both on the bottom of the bar and along the horse’s back. The same… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/he-s-gotta-lotta-rock/

Bar spread and how it works on horses

Lots of pictures in this post explaining why and when different bar spreads, defined by hand hole width in our trees, are chosen and what shape of horses the different spreads may fit.
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/bar-spread-and-how-it-works-on-horses/

Contrasts and Comparisons...

Comparing three forks and diagnosing why they look the way they do.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod finished rawhiding this set of trees today, and I had fun comparing a few things between them before he got at them. These pictures will… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/contrasts-and-comparisons/

The top line doesn't match the rock line

Looking at the top line of a horse doesn't tell you how much curve he has in his back under the bars of the saddle. You have to look at where the bars go. Here's a great example of the mismatch between top line and rock line.
Here is a picture that was sent to us this week. Beyond the fact that she has withers that go waaaaaaaay back (so the height of the seat at the front needs to be considered),… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-top-line-doesn-t-match-the-rock-line/

Let's do the twist!

Twist is another of the factors that affect how the tree fits the horse. Here's more of what it is, how it changes between horses and how the definition changes between western and English saddles.
Subscribe to RSS Feed One of the Factors that Affect Fit that we haven't discussed yet on our blog is the amount of twist in the bar.  Because horse's backs are not… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/let-s-do-the-twist/

Of single backs, double backs and crown

Terminology from 2300 years ago being useful in today's saddle and tree making world? You betcha!!
Well, I finally received a couple books I had ordered a while ago.  I have heard of Xenophon, a Greek writer who lived from 430 to 354 BC or so, for a long time.  He wrote… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-single-backs-double-backs-and-crown/

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/