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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/

How do you spell "relief"?

Crown, flare and relief - what's the difference? Here's how we define them.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Crown is the easiest one to distinguish from the other two. It is the curve side to side across the bar. And it changes (surprise, surprise) as… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/how-do-you-spell-relief/

Why does my saddle lift up at the back? Part two

Same symptom, different causes. Here's two less likely causes, but still possible reasons for a saddle to lift up at the back.
Subscribe to RSS Feed In our last blog post, we described the three most common reasons saddles lift up at the back. These next two reasons are not as common, but are… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/why-does-my-saddle-lift-back-part-two/

Why does my saddle lift up at the back? Part one

There are a number of possible causes to a saddle the lifts off the horse at the back. Here's the first few reasons.
Subscribe to RSS Feed This is a question we see not uncommonly on horse forums, and one we were asked a few months ago by a customer’s customer. (Not with this picture… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/why-does-my-saddle-lift-back-part-one/

Padding doesn't fix mismatched "angles"

Often if a saddle is too large for a horse, people figure that putting extra padding underneath will compensate. But that doesn't fix things if the problem is that the angles on the tree are too wide for the horse.
Subscribe to RSS Feed A bit ago we showed you pictures of a tree that had too narrow a bar angle to fit the horse it was sitting on. Here’s one that has way too wide an… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/padding-doesnt-fix-mismatched-angles/

What we would do

Here's our evaluation of what we would change in tree specs to fit this horse.
Subscribe to RSS Feed First thing to check out is if the tree is in the proper position. If it isn’t, then we can’t tell anything for sure since the shape… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/what-we-would-do/

He's gotta lotta rock...

Looking at some of the reasons some horses have more rock in their back than others.
Subscribe to RSS Feed A definition to start with: Rock is the curve from front to back, both on the bottom of the bar and along the horse’s back. The same… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/he-s-gotta-lotta-rock/

Bar spread and how it works on horses

Lots of pictures in this post explaining why and when different bar spreads, defined by hand hole width in our trees, are chosen and what shape of horses the different spreads may fit.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We’ve been in this business long enough now to see some changes in the industry and in the relative numbers of horses of different sizes and… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/bar-spread-and-how-it-works-on-horses/

Contrasts and Comparisons...

Comparing three forks and diagnosing why they look the way they do.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod finished rawhiding this set of trees today, and I had fun comparing a few things between them before he got at them. These pictures will show… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/contrasts-and-comparisons/

The top line doesn't match the rock line

Looking at the top line of a horse doesn't tell you how much curve he has in his back under the bars of the saddle. You have to look at where the bars go. Here's a great example of the mismatch between top line and rock line.
Subscribe to RSS Feed When I read in various places about how to take templates on a horse’s back, the instructions that include more than just a “wither tracing”… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-top-line-doesn-t-match-the-rock-line/

Let's do the twist!

Twist is another of the factors that affect how the tree fits the horse. Here's more of what it is, how it changes between horses and how the definition changes between western and English saddles.
Subscribe to RSS Feed One of the Factors that Affect Fit that we haven't discussed yet on our blog is the amount of twist in the bar.  Because horse's backs are not… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/let-s-do-the-twist/

Of single backs, double backs and crown

Terminology from 2300 years ago being useful in today's saddle and tree making world? You betcha!!
Subscribe to RSS Feed Well, I finally received a couple books I had ordered a while ago.  I have heard of Xenophon, a Greek writer who lived from 430 to 354 BC or so,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-single-backs-double-backs-and-crown/

Thoracic spine anatomy, movement and saddle fit

Thoracic spinal anatomy is the basis for spinal movement, which is a huge factor in saddle fit. Here's some of how it works.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We ended the last post with the idea that the shape of the vertebrae is important in the movement of the thoracic spine and therefore the thoracic… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/thoracic-spine-anatomy-movement-and-saddle-fit/