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.)

Swell Fork Styles A to L

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What the Name Means

As we discuss in our main Swell Forks page, the names of the different forks now really apply to the shape only, although originally these names could have stood for a specific stock thickness, gullet height and width.  The shapes are stretched or squashed a bit depending on the change in these specifications but we try to keep the fork shape, determined by the top slope, side shape and back shape, as consistent as possible.  These are just some examples of the trees we have built.  We can work with you to build any fork style you want.

Horn Specifications

All these styles originated with metal horns, but wood post horns on swell forks are becoming more popular all the time.  This does affect the gullet thickness and therefore the hand hole and gullet height relationship.  (Please see Avoiding the Withers for further explanation.)  All the variations in horn specifications are completely independent of the fork style.

Arizona Roper

The back sweep added to this fork with minimal top slope and a straight undercut to the sides makes this a distinctive style fork.

Arizona_Roper_3_3l4_ST_1005041.jpg Arizona_Roper_12_1005041.jpg
  Arizona Roper fork, 3 3/4" stock plus backsweep   12 inch Arizona Roper fork



With a very rounded shape due to a moderate slope to the top and minimal and low undercut, this is a fork shape that works well at a smaller width.  12” is most common, but for people who want a lighter weight saddle an 11” Bowman often is chosen.  Most are leaned ahead, though we have made a few stood up Bowman forks.

Bowman_3_3l4_ST_0906085.jpg Bowman_WP_4_1l2_ST_0901002.jpg
 Bowman fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness  Wood Post Bowman fork, 4 1/4" stock thickness
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  11" Bowman fork  11" wood post Bowman fork
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  12" Bowman fork   12" wood post Bowman fork


Buster Welch 

The original Buster Welch was a stood up fork, though we have also leaned it ahead when asked.  It is rounded all the way down to the bars with no undercut on the side.  13” is the most common width, though we have made 12” and 12 ½” also.

Buster_Welch_leaned_ahead_3_3l4_ST_0802023.jpg Buster_Welch_stood_up_4_ST_0905051.jpg
  Buster Welch fork, leaned ahead, 3 3/4" stock   Buster Welch fork, stood up, 4" stock thickness
Buster_Welch_12_0908110.jpg Buster_Welch_12_1l2_0807091.jpg
  12" Buster Welch fork   12 1/2" Buster Welch fork
  13" Buster Welch fork  


Chuck Sheppard 

We have also seen this fork style spelled as a Chuck Shepard and Chuck Shepherd, though we believe the original name was spelled Sheppard.  We have made Chuck Sheppards from 11” to 13 ½” wide, but due to amount of top slope it has, it is best at narrower widths.  12” is the most common order we get for width.

Chuck_Sheppard_3_3l4_ST_0807083.jpg Chuck_Sheppard_4_1l4_ST_0902029.jpg
  Chuck Sheppard fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   Wood Post Chuck Sheppard fork, 4 1/4" stock
    11" wood post Chuck Sheppard fork
Chuck_Sheppard_12_1l2_0611143.jpg Chuck_Sheppard_12_WP_0610134.jpg
  12 1/2" Chuck Sheppard fork   12" wood post Chuck Sheppard fork
Chuck_Sheppard_13_0710106.jpg Chuck_Sheppard_13_WP_0911151.jpg
  13" Chuck Sheppard fork   13" wood post Chuck Sheppard fork


Dee Pickett

This is another fork style with lots of top slope, slightly more than a Chuck Sheppard, but the undercut comes up the sides more than on a Chuck Sheppard.

Dee_Picket_3_3l4_0911146.jpg Dee_Picket_12_0911146.jpg
  Dee Pickett fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   12" Dee Pickett fork


High Country 

The High Country pattern was developed by Matt Eberle, a well respected maker of cowboy rigs from High River, Alberta.  His original pattern, moderate top slope and no undercut on the sides, was developed so that he could easily cover it without a welt.  It was 12 ½” wide and designed to be a stood up fork.  We have made them from 11” to 13” wide, with most stood up but the occasional one leaned ahead.  A wood post horn on a High Country is a pretty common order.

High_Country_3_3l4_ST_0709105.jpg High_Country_4_1l4_ST_1008072.jpg
  High Country fork, stood up, 3 3/4" stock thickness   Wood Post High Country fork, stood up, 4 1/4" stock
    11" wood post High Country fork
High_Country_12_0910135.jpg High_Country_12_WP_1002011.jpg
  12" High Country fork   12" wood post High Country fork
High_Country_12_1l2_0810144.jpg High_Country_12_1l2_WP_1010108.jpg
  12 1/2" High Country fork   12 1/2" wood post High Country fork
High_Country_13_ST_0807082.jpg High_Country_13_WP_0808101.jpg
  13" High Country fork   13" wood post High Country fork



We have also seen this name spelled Lieuallen, Lieullen, and Lieuellen, but we use the Louellen spelling for simplicity’s sake.  This fork has the same style of undercut on the sides as the Modified Association, but it has more top slope to it.  The most common width we build is 12”, though 13” is not uncommon and we have made them as wide as 14”.

Louellen_3_3l4_ST_1004033.jpg Louellen_4_1l4_ST_0710117.jpg
  Louellen fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   Wood Post Louellen fork, 4 1/4" stock thickness
Louellen_12_1004033_back.jpg Louellen_12_WP_1011110.jpg
  12" Louellen fork   12" wood post Louellen fork
Louellen_13_0912162.jpg Louellen_13_WP__0710117.jpg
  13" Louellen fork   13" wood post Louellen fork
    14" wood post Louellen fork


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