11-13-2012, 06:05 PM
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In my world saddle fit is not breed specific. A 17 hd walking horse/gated horse can have the same as a 14 hd non gaited mule. You are fitting the rock and twist of the bars, be it standard bars, AZ bars, heavy AZ bars which are lighter than Standard bars and etc. There are many different kinds of bars and thousands of different kinds of saddle trees. As in the one tree manufactures tree catalog they have listed over 16 different QH bar sizes, over 16 different semi-QH bars sizes.
Many of the horse today, as in years gone by should be using rounded skirts. This helps with the distribution of pressure along the bars of the tree, reduces shearing forces along the skirts of the saddle. Look at many pictures from the 1800 to 1940 and you will find most saddle had rounded skirts and thin blankets under the saddle, if any blanket at all.
If a saddle is fitting property all trees should have a slight tip up at the rear of the tree. As to the front of the tree, you may or may not need a flare. What you are looking for is equal distribution of pressure/full contact of the saddle tree along the back of the horse from the withers to the back of the saddle tree.
You also need to check and see if your horse is A-symmetrical in the shoulder area. Most horses are not symmetrical. Stand on a box at the tail of your horse and look down the center of the back to see this. Adjustments in the saddle tree may need to be made for this condition.
There are two parts to saddle fit: The fit of the tree/saddle to the horses back, the balance of the rider on the horse back. A third point that may be made is the balance of the legs bone column to the hoof.
Pads I will not get into that here but to only say what we have discovered in research and pressure testing saddle pads and saddle fit. If is a saddle tree and the completed saddle fits the horse all you need is a very thin wool pad to protect the lining of the saddle.
Just my thinking.