Friday, October 9, 2009

From the Tree Up: The Tree

Recently, my posts have wandered a bit from the real nuts and bolts of saddle fitting, and I'd like to get back to that sort of thing.  To that end, I'm going to do a series of posts about each component of the saddle, and how it affects fit.  And since the basis of how a saddle fits is the tree, I'll begin there.

First, we need a horse to fit - so, meet "Excitable Boy", aka "EB".




EB is an off-the-track Thoroughbred, 9 years old, who's spent the last 4 months in a steady program of dressage.  He's a bit rump-high, with a decent wither and a somewhat dropped back.  So, in addition to a tree that's the correct width, we need a tree that has some curve or "scoop" front-to-back.  I'm going to show two trees below, and then show how they'd fit on EB.

Here's the Black Country Eden tree:


And here's the Black Country Eloquence tree:


I PhotoShopped the two trees so they're one solid color, and removed the background on EB's photo - makes things easier to see - and put the trees on EB.  Here's the Eden tree:





And here's the Eloquence tree:


If you look closely, you'll see that the Eloquence tree, which is quite flat, bridges slightly.  While a panel modification could make up for some of that, it wouldn't be ideal.  The Eden tree, which has more scoop, is a much better fit.

Now, let's take it to the other extreme.  Here's Remmy, who's pretty flat front-to-back:



Now here's Remmie with the Eden.  I had one heck of a time getting the tree to sit correctly - even in PhotoShop!  If I made it sit level, the cantle popped up:


And if I made the tree have proper cantle contact, it sat pommel-high:

So the tree of the Eden is too curved, and would make the saddle rock back-to-front.

Now here's the Eloquence:


The flatter tree sits with good contact along its entire length, making it a far better choice for this flat-backed boy.

In my next entry, I'll be covering the next component of the saddle:  the panels.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a great entry! Seeing how those trees fit the two different bodies types was enlightening and most helpful.
I always learn somethig when I read your entries.
v.

djohns said...

If EB the thoroughbred developed his back more, wouldn't the flatter tree fit better? Sorry if I'm only flaunting my ignorance, but I'd really like to know.