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"THE VIDEO" - It's coming, it's coming...

Western Saddle Fit - The Basics. A one hour video about western saddle fit by people who understand Western saddles. Not quite done, but getting close!!
Subscribe to RSS Feed We keep mentioning the video we are producing on Western Saddle Fit. Many of you may remember last May when a major forest fire ended up burning a… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/video-its-coming-its-coming/

The downhill horse

How do you define it, and what do you do about it?
Subscribe to RSS Feed I’ve had a couple discussions in the past week about how to deal with downhill horses. (Yes, despite life changing, we still talk a lot about… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/downhill-horse/

The effect of the rider - Part two

How straight you sit makes a difference for the horse, but you have to realize you move anyway...
Changes in rider’s position with movement One 2005 study (1) looked at the angle of the trunk, the thigh and the lower leg compared to a horizontal line, and checked out how that… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/effect-rider-part-two/

The effect of the rider - Part one

Yup, the rider affects what the horse feels too. It's not all just the saddle...
It is the rider who decides almost everything about how the horse is ridden. (The only thing the horse decides is how long the rider is allowed to remain up there and, if the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/effect-rider-part-one/

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...
Our video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo!! We have all our blog posts relating to how saddles work on horses organized on our… 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...
From Sisson and Grossman, The Anatomy of the Domestic Animals (1975), which is basically still the best anatomy book out there, here’s page 524. This gives the location of the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/youre-sitting-his-kidneys-get/

Behind the scenes of "the video"...

Filming a video on western saddle fit takes time, effort, and ingenuity...
We spent a lot of time last summer filming, and a pile of time over the winter processing what we had filmed. And then we confirmed what we had wondered about - the first… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/behind-scenes-video/

Cinches - what more I have learned

It seems there is a lot of discrepancy on where people say the cinch ring should lie. But I found one research article that answers at least one piece of the puzzle.
From the information in the last post, the green circle shows where they say the cinch ring should go and the red one shows where they say it shouldn’t go. From a popular… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/myth-busting-external-abdominal-vein/cinches-what-more-i-have-learned/

You're saddling your horse wrong...

Something we'd like to tell a lot of people...
How do you tell someone who has been riding for many years that they have their saddle in the wrong place? How do you explain that putting it up on the shoulder blades damages… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/youre-saddling-your-horse-wrong/

Center of pressure under a saddle

Where is the rider's weight really centered under a saddle? Maybe not where you think...
So last fall we had a chance with our pressure mat to test and see where the center of pressure under the saddle really falls. One of the neat things that the software with… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/center-pressure-under-saddle/

How do I measure my horse for bar angles?

You can't give a single angle to a complex shape like a curve, let alone the complex shape of a horse's back. Some people still try. Here's why it doesn't work.
Basically, you cannot measure a single angle off a curved surface. Each of these angles is real, and they all come from the same surface. Same… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/how-do-i-measure-my-horse-bar-angles/

Bridging

What does it mean when a saddle bridges? And how do you know if it does?
This is a badly bridging saddle tree. It contacts on both ends and has lots of empty space underneath it as well. This is the effect of a bridging saddle. You can see… 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...
An example of this the crown shape we put on the back bar pads, which go over the last few ribs and the front part of the loin. For a horse that is flat, we use a round shape,… 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...
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 talk 90 degrees, all we are… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/angles-it-just-isnt-simple/

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...
Our video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo!! We have all our blog posts relating to how saddles work on horses organized on our… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/rethinking-saddle-fit-and-shoulder-blade-movement/

Position - Why it is so important

Pressure testing shows that changing saddle position from on to behind the shoulder blade means going from high pressure to low or no pressure. Position makes a difference!
Almost a year ago we gave some riders the opportunity to have their saddles pressure tested with our system – English, Western and side saddles of both types. We had three… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/position-why-it-so-important/

Position - Seeing the shoulder blade under saddle Part one

Figuring out where the shoulder blade of the horse is relative to the bar of a saddle is more difficult than seeing it on a bare horse, because you not only have to figure out the bone under the skin, but also the bar under the leather.
Our video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo!! We have all our blog posts relating to how saddles work on horses organized on… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/position-seeing-shoulder-blade-under-saddle-part-one/

The effects of “flare” - and it's not pretty...

The best way to know how a theory works is to see the results over time in real life. We now have an example of the damage that occurs when the "flare" theory is put into practice, thanks to an owner willing to share her story.
Our video, Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo!! We have all our blog posts relating to how saddles work on horses organized on our… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/effects-flare-and-its-not-pretty/

Wither conformation - seeing the damage

There's normal and then there's abnormal, and abnormal doesn't mean uncommon...
In our blog post about normal wither conformation, I kept stressing that the transition between the shoulder blade and the wither pocket area is smooth, even on horses who… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/wither-conformation-seeing-damage/

Wither conformation - variations on "normal"

Horses come on all sizes and shapes. Here's the range we have seen so far in the wither pocket area, plus what we think about when fitting them.
To give you an idea of the range of size/shape there is in the wither pocket, here are the extremes of the Dennis Lane cards at the A position. This card is made to fit right… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/wither-conformation-variations-normal/

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