Fit is Everything - Infinitely Adjustable for Optimal Comfort & Performance!

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.

fitTip9

 

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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Testimonials

I have a 12 year old Pura Raza Espanol (PRE) horse who has proved to be a real challenge to fit saddle-wise. He is classically Baroque in shape with a short back, big shoulders, wide chest, and thick muscled mutton withers that have been the downfall of two saddles. After I noticed the deterioration of his back muscles I tried adjusting his current saddle to no avail. I had seen Jochen Schleeses videos online about saddle fit and how he developed the Obrigado saddle. I understood everything the Lusitano breeder mentioned in the video had been explaining to him. I was fairly certain that was the saddle for me so spoke to a number of women in my barn who ride in the Schleese saddles for feedback. After listening to the fourth woman rave excitedly about her Schleese saddle (my inquiries included an equine message therapist who owns a mare from the same breeder as my guy and rides in the Obrigado) I called for a fitting hoping for miracles. It was pretty close to that. Natalie put a 17.5" Obrigado on my fellow, which was ½ inch smaller than my other saddles. She assured me I wouldn’tt feel the pressure on my pelvis that always caused me to go with the 18"seat. The funniest thing was my horse’s expression. As we tightened the girth he turned and looked at me as if to say, "Hey what is this? It feels different." I got on and yes, there was a miracle. Or as close to one as one could get having a horse go from stiff on the bit and hollow through the body, to yielding in all places, rounding into contact and actually executing a 10 metre volte softly with no resistance. The counter canter no longer felt like I was seated on a whirling blender, with my horse twisting wildly under me as we came around corners. The canter was up in front and I started exclaiming about my new horse! Perhaps the biggest reveal for me was when I dismounted. For the first time in 2 ½ years I got out of the saddle with no pain in my lower back or left hip. My legs weren’tt even stiff. The saddle literally corrected my posture each time I felt myself slipping. It helped me regain that three point seat they all rave about in the books and there was no constant dragging my legs back to get them into position. I could not believe the fit of a saddle could make such a difference not only for my horse but for me as a 5'3" petite woman. I actually apologized to my horse for putting him through two bad fitting saddles. He is a very charitable fellow so I think he forgave me.

— Kelly Buziak - Edmonton, Alberta

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