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Myth Busting - Cranial Nerve 11 and Saddle Fit

Supposedly, saddles putting pressure on Cranial Nerve 11 is a major problem. Actually, you don't have to worry about it...
The Facts that are right There is a Cranial Nerve 11 and it is called the Accessory Nerve. And it does, indeed, innervate the trapezius muscle, part of which is in the area… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/myth-busting-cranial-nerve-11-and-saddle-fit/

You're sitting on his kidneys! Get off!

You are. And you can't...
Subscribe to RSS Feed From Sisson and Grossman, The Anatomy of the Domestic Animals (1975), which is basically still the best anatomy book out there, here’s page… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/youre-sitting-his-kidneys-get/

Myth Busting - the "External Abdominal Vein"

Should you worry about occluding the external abdominal vein with your cinch ring? No, because it doesn't exist... Here's the real anatomy.
Subscribe to RSS Feed But did you notice something? While I have drawn in the “external abdominal vein” where they have it, there is actually a real vein inches… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/myth-busting-external-abdominal-vein/

Rethinking saddle fit and shoulder blade movement

The traditional teaching about saddles needing to avoid the shoulder blade as it rotates back when the horse extends its leg forward is just, plain wrong. Here's proof, plus proof that you need to have your saddle behind the shoulder blade anyway...
Remember that anatomically, there is no bony connection between the foreleg of the horse and the horse’s body, so the scapula doesn’t rotate around a fixed point, as the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/rethinking-saddle-fit-and-shoulder-blade-movement/

Yup, riding a horse does make his back extend...

I found another study that confirms what previous studies have shown: a horse's back sags under weight - live or dead.
Subscribe to RSS Feed One of the first posts on our blog was about research done that shows a horse's back is extended (more hollow) under weight than when he is just… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/yup-riding-a-horse-does-make-his-back-extend/

What makes a Wade, a Wade?

With the popularity of Wade saddles, it seems like anything and everything is being labelled "Wade". What are the real characteristics that make up a true Wade?
Subscribe to RSS Feed The Wade style of saddle has become very popular over the past 20 plus years and, as with anything popular, many misconceptions get spread around… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/what-makes-a-wade-a-wade/

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 3

Finishing up the comparison of "saddle fit rules" between the two types of saddles - and explaining why a lot don't apply to Western saddles (and maybe not even English ones...)
Subscribe to RSS Feed I'm finishing up here on the short series comparing saddle fit between English and Western saddles.  After looking at the history and basic design of… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-western-compared-to-english-part-3/

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 2

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 2
Subscribe to RSS Feed With the background I laid in the previous post of the importance of the history and therefore the design differences between English and Western… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-western-compared-to-english-part-2/

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 1

English and Western saddles were designed for different purposes, and their different functions are the basis for how the trees are built and how they work for both the horse and the rider.
Subscribe to RSS Feed There is a lot of discussion - on the internet, written in books, put into video form, etc. - about how saddles should fit horses.  But for a western… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-western-compared-to-english-part-1/

All western saddles extend over the loin

Saddle fit "rules" say there can't be any weight on the horse past T18, but threre is no evidence for this statement. The fact that horses have been ridden in Western saddles for centuries is a lot of evidence against it. Here's why...
Subscribe to RSS Feed But before we get to that hind limb muscle that can be affected by poor saddle fit (now that we have finished the last foreleg muscles I'm going… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/all-western-saddles-extend-over-the-loin/

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…
Subscribe to RSS Feed Way back when I started this blog I wrote a couple of posts about a study (1) done where they showed that a horse's back sags under the weight of the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-sagging-backs-and-tickling-tummies/

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?
Subscribe to RSS Feed If you read or watch anything about saddle fit on the internet, you will come across the "fact" that saddles have to stop at the last rib or T18 or… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/can-the-loin-of-the-horse-carry-weight/

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 When you read about saddle fit, you find numbers quoted as to how much pressure is acceptable under a saddle and how much is too much, and those… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-how-much-pressure-is-too-much/

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 horse.… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/false-saddle-fit-rules-regarding-the-shoulder-blades/