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What do Quarter Horse, Semi-Quarter Horse and Full Quarter Horse bars mean?

Common terminology when you go to a store looking for a saddle, but what does it mean? Actually, not a whole lot...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Actually, nothing really that specific...  While there was a good reason they were initially used, things have changed over the years so now they are… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/what-do-quarter-horse-semi-quarter-horse-and-full-quarter-horse-/

So why was it soring horses?

When we got this tree in to duplicate, we were told it was broken because it had started to sore horses when it hadn't done that before. However, it didn't fall apart when we took the rawhide off. So what was wrong?
Subscribe to RSS Feed We were sent this tree to duplicate because the owner said it was broken.  (I have written posts lately about this tree and some of the ways we do… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/so-why-was-it-soring-horses/

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/

Of single backs, double backs and crown

Terminology from 2300 years ago being useful in today's saddle and tree making world? You betcha!!
So when I got it I eagerly looked to see what he said.  "A double back is easier to sit upon and better looking than a single one."  (pg. 17)  End of story.  Huh??  That's… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-single-backs-double-backs-and-crown/

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 2

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 2
We are no longer building saddle trees. We have two saddle fit videos available on our westernsaddlefit.com website. Western Saddle Fit - The Basics, aimed at riders, is… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/saddle-fit-western-compared-to-english-part-2/

Ya gotta look inside...

Comparing two horse of vastly different builds, and two trees of vastly different specs...
Subscribe to RSS Feed The horse ahead of him in this picture is Winston. This is Winston.  He's a Hanovarian/Morgan cross.  He's not short.  His Dennis Lane… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/ya-gotta-look-inside/

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/

Of Arizona bars, and why we won't make them...

The stirrup groove is built into the underside of the bars for a purpose. An Arizona bar only has a front groove - no back groove. Since this will always compromise the fit for the horse, we won't build a bar this way.
First, lets get some definitions straight.  Very basic to start with - the bars are the pieces of the tree that go down the horse's back on each side of the spine.  I know… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-arizona-bars-and-why-we-won-t-make-them/

The Medial Gluteal muscle

A major mover of the hind end, this is a hind end muscle that can be negatively affected by poor saddle fit.
The medial gluteal is not directly underneath the skin, though it is close in places.  Its cranial (toward the head) end is covered by the thoracolumbar (m' in the above… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-medial-gluteal-muscle/

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/

Checking out a flex tree

We were asked to help figure out a saddle fit problem that involved a common brand of flex tree, which gave us a chance to really evaluate the tree itself - as we took it apart to duplicate it with a solid tree to fit the horse properly. Here's what we d…
Subscribe to RSS Feed A while back we were contacted by some (relatively) local people who were concerned that one of their horses had developed white hair under the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/checking-out-a-flex-tree/

Our new curiosity satisfying (we hope) acquisition

Our new FSA pressure sensor mat has the ability to tell us a whole lot about saddles, trees and how they work on horses, hopefully confirming what we believe to be true but maybe with a few surprises in store. I guess we'll have to see! But by using thi…
Subscribe to RSS Feed Well, after years (literally) of researching, wishing, thinking and saving, a fantastic chance came to get our own pressure sensor mat to be able… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/our-new-curiosity-satisfying-we-hope-acquisition/

The Serratus Ventralis muscle

Another very important muscle that supports the body of the horse which is also involved in the movement of the shoulder blade is the serratus ventralis. It also can be affected by saddles and saddling.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Getting back to the series on equine anatomy...  There are a few other muscles that attach the front leg to the body of the horse that can be… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-serratus-ventralis-muscle/

Finally, pressure research on horses!!!!

How much pressure is too much? I finally found real research on horses that give the beginnings of answers to this question.
The study participants This was a retrospective study where they went back and looked at the records of horses brought into the clinic between 2006 and 2009 with saddle problems.… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/finally-pressure-research-on-horses/

Reason #4 to order a hand made tree - better fit for the horse...

due to larger surface area on the bars and more combinations of factors that affect fit being available.
Subscribe to RSS Feed due to larger surface area, more combinations of the Factors that Affect Tree Fit being available, the rider being positioned more central on the bar… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/reason-4-to-order-a-hand-made-tree-better-fit-for-the-horse/

The Rhomboideus muscle

Another muscle which attaches the forelimb of the horse to its body, and how it might affect saddles and how they fit.
Subscribe to RSS Feed  Also called the rhomboids, this muscle is the next in the line of muscles I am talking about that attach the front leg of the horse to its body. … https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-rhomboideus-muscle/

The Latissimus Dorsi muscle

The latissimus dorsi muscle
Subscribe to RSS Feed Moving on in our discussion about muscles of the horse that attach the front leg to the horse, a major one is the latissimus dorsi.  This muscle… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-latissimus-dorsi-muscle/

The value of an objective standard

We decided to compare our two horses with the Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling cards, and discovered again how valuable having an objective standard is when comparing between horses.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We've learned a lot from using the Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System over the last few years, but lately its usefulness was brought home to… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-value-of-an-objective-standard/

Understanding Saddle Trees seminars

On May 17, 2012 we did two seminars on Understanding Saddle Trees at the Sheridan Leatherworkers Trade Show. In the morning we did The Top Side, pertaining to the rider and the look of the cantle and fork. In the afternoon we did The Bottom Side, pertai…
Subscribe to RSS Feed Yesterday, we did our seminars on Understanding Saddle Trees at the Sheridan Leather trade show.  In the morning, we talked about The Top Side,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/understanding-saddle-trees-seminars/

The Trapezius muscle

First up in muscles is a relatively superficial muscle attaching the shoulder blade to the spine. Since it sits under the front of the bar, it is important for how saddles relate to horses.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We'll start with the muscles that connect the front leg (remembering, of course, that there is no bony connection from the front leg to the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-trapezius-muscle/