Tip 9: Saddle Tree Width

Did you know…Saddle Trees come in either Narrow, Medium or Wide widths?

Ask yourself…But what do these terms actually mean? And what will a saddle with a tree that is an incorrect width for your horse actually do when your horse is in motion?

 

Watch this informative video for some saddle fit tips on “Saddle Tree Width” that may help you! Whether you answered yes or no to the above questions… Schleese is offering you further information on the importance of a proper tree width to prevent long-term damage to your horse.

Learn the importance of a Saddle’s Tree Width

The tree width must be wide enough for the horse’s shoulders to rotate freely under the tree. But too often we see a saddle with a tree width that is too narrow for a particular horse. Not only can your horse’s shoulders not move freely under such a saddle, but the saddle can be driven forward on top of his shoulders as he is being ridden. This will result in all of the problems we’ve already discussed in previous saddle fit tips.

If the tree width is too wide, while the horse is being ridden, the entire saddle may rock from side to side, or the back half of the saddle may twist to one side or the other.

Why do saddle makers and saddle fitters consider both tree width and tree angle when fitting a saddle to a particular horse? Tree width and tree angle need to be adjusted together. If the width of your saddle’s tree is correct for your horse, but the angle is incorrect, the saddle will not fit your horse. Adding flocking to or removing flocking from the vertical panels of the saddle will not solve the problem. And at times both the width and angle of the saddle’s tree are incorrect for a particular horse. As we discussed in Saddle Fit Tip # 8 – Tree Angle, this can cause permanent, long-term damage to your horse.

A properly fitted saddle will have a tree that is wide enough and an angle that is correctly adjusted so as to avoid hitting the spinalis muscle. This is also a reflex point that inhibits or completely stops forward movement. When a stallion breeds a mare, he bites her on this reflex point so that she stands still, hollows her back, and rotates her pelvis open. In order to locate your horse’s spinalis muscle, draw a line 4” down from the base of your horse’s withers, and then draw a horizontal line back. The saddle must stay off of that triangle.

Is this a challenge you are facing? Are you experiencing other saddle fit issues? Tell us about them and let us help!

Contact miriam@schleese.com or solutions@schleese.com, book a Personal Saddle Fit Evaluation, or attend an educational lecture/demo.

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Jochen saved my horse - even the vet school couldn’t provide an explanation of his symptoms. Understanding how the horse dictates saddle fit added a whole new dimension to my practice and helped countless clients and their horses. Passion for true horsemanship brings us all together. Thank you to Jochen Schleese.  Jochen saved my horse’s career, and in doing so, shaped mine.  Even the vet school couldn’t provide an explanation of his symptoms. Understanding how the horse dictates saddle fit added a whole new dimension to my practice and helped countless clients and their horses.   The saddle fitting material in my book “Recognizing the Horse in Pain and What You Can Do About It” is largely due to your years of experience and passion for teaching. Passion for true horsemanship brings us all together.” My post-graduation experience of seeing numerous records filled with refills for steroids and antibiotics or frequent, needless joint injections soon left me desperately searching for a better way to practice. The ensuing experience (meeting with Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese) changed my life, and subsequently changed the lives of the horses I’ve been able to work with. When I met Jochen Schleese, the founder of Saddlefit 4 Life® and listened to his in-depth explanation of how saddle fit affects the horse, I had a revelation. Here was someone who could put all the pieces together for me with compassionate understanding for the horse. I will admit, when I understood how much pain I had caused my horse, and how he had continued to try to do his job for me in the face of that pain, I cried uncontrollably. Now I was armed with something different in making the decision – the knowledge of my horse’s anatomy, how it dictated proper saddle fit...and an option to correct his problems and continue to enjoy riding my horse knowing he is free of pain.”   Recognizing the Horse in Pain and What You Can Do About it - Video Icon for Website How to Use Thermography

— Joanna Robson DVM, CVSMT, CMP, CVA and Owner of Inspiritus Equine

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