It's not the pattern...

Posted by RodandDenise on March 21, 2016

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

2016 March 21 1 pattern for leg cut on cantle.jpg

When Rod learned from Julian Tubb how to build trees, he was given this pattern. It was to make leg cut on cantles to give riders a bit of relief if the front edge of the cantle was likely to bite into their leg. Useful at times on really laid back cantles, depending how the ground seat was put in, or shorter seats with riders whose leg wasn’t quite as small as the seat required…

2016 March 21 2 how we used the pattern.jpg

Rod wasn’t shown anything about the pattern. He just was given it, so this is how he used it over the years when he was asked for leg cut on cantles.

2016 March 21 3 what it looked like regular 37.5 4.25 0809126 leg cut.jpg

It worked. It took the front corner off and the few people who asked for it seemed happy with it.

2016 March 21 4 Todd McGiffin saddle tree.jpg

Then about a year and a half ago we got an old Todd McGiffin tree in to duplicate. Todd was the tree maker who taught Julian to build trees back sometime in the mid -1980’s. After thirty plus years of hard labour, it finally gave into a bit of a wreck.

2016 March 21 5 Todd McGiffin saddle tree derawhided.jpg

Trees that have been built on, ripped apart and de-rawhided never look as pretty as they should, but this was a very well made tree built with a lot of finesse and care. And with the history, you better believe Rod examined it up, down and sideways to see what he could learn from it.

2016 March 21 6 Todd McGiffin saddle tree cantle.jpg

And it took about 0.2 seconds for him to notice the cantle.

2016 March 21 7 pattern in place.jpg

Hmmm… Now look at that… Who’da thunk it??

2016 March 21 8 leg cut pattern.jpg 2016 March 21 9 leg cut pattern marked.jpg

So now Rod uses the cantle pattern like this…

2016 March 21 10 leg cut in wood.jpg

With results that look like this.

2016 March 21 11 leg cut rawhided 1503029.jpg

It makes a lot more sense, once you see it used. (Besides, it is fun to laugh at ourselves now and then…)

Sometimes we get people asking to buy our patterns, or asking us to tell them “the angle” they need to use to make a tree that fits their horse exactly. This is a perfect illustration that it isn’t the pattern, but the knowledge of how to use it that is important. And that has to be taught…

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