PDA

View Full Version : Tree shape: A-shape to hoop-shape?



3Spots
Jul. 4, 2011, 09:59 PM
In my saddle search I have learned that one of the benefits of a Schleese tree is the ability to adjust both the width between the tree points AND the width of the gullet.

In essence, they can adjust the tree from "A-shape" to more of a "hoop shape." Most other saddle-makers can only adjust the A-shape, making it wider/narrower.

For wide shouldered horses, getting a standard "wide" saddle with the normal A-shape tree will result in it fitting the shoulders, but resting too close to wither/trapezius, or tipping there when ridden, whereas broadening the gullet, or getting a "hoop shaped" tree will solve this problem.

This all makes sense to me. But what doesn't make sense is why you couldn't change an A-shaped saddle to a hoop-shape with flocking? I'm thinking it would mean the saddle would sit higher and might need adjustment in the rear panels as well. But is seems like it should be possible.

Thoughts? It's not sinking in with me.

GreyDes
Jul. 5, 2011, 08:35 AM
Here's a nice explanation from Trumbull Mountain that really illustrates the differences. http://saddlefitter.blogspot.com/2009/01/saddle-recommendation-for-arabee-and.html

JB
Jul. 5, 2011, 08:46 AM
It's not a simple matter of a wide-shouldered horse needing a more hoop-shaped tree. It all depends on where the width starts. The higher it starts, the less A-frame it can be, but never say never LOL

Flocking has nothing to do with it. It's about the rigid frame part. It's about how close together the top of the shoulder panels are.

I don't see how anyone can change that, Schleese or not :confused:

Altamont Sport Horses
Jul. 5, 2011, 09:31 AM
In my saddle search I have learned that one of the benefits of a Schleese tree is the ability to adjust both the width between the tree points AND the width of the gullet.

In essence, they can adjust the tree from "A-shape" to more of a "hoop shape." Most other saddle-makers can only adjust the A-shape, making it wider/narrower.

For wide shouldered horses, getting a standard "wide" saddle with the normal A-shape tree will result in it fitting the shoulders, but resting too close to wither/trapezius, or tipping there when ridden, whereas broadening the gullet, or getting a "hoop shaped" tree will solve this problem.

This all makes sense to me. But what doesn't make sense is why you couldn't change an A-shaped saddle to a hoop-shape with flocking? I'm thinking it would mean the saddle would sit higher and might need adjustment in the rear panels as well. But is seems like it should be possible.

Thoughts? It's not sinking in with me.

I've recently been through the saddle fitting journey with a horse with big/wide shoulders. We tried the typical trees with the hoop trees with the exact same brand and style of dressage saddles. In my mind, building up flocking will not really allow consistent weight distribution and as we all know, flocking will flatten out over time. You'd have to buy a much wider tree than is appropriate and then build it up, if that is even possible. If you have an inkling that a hoop will better fit then I highly recommend you just go in that direction for the best long term fit for *your* horse instead of hoping you can use a saddle for a variety of horses. Other things to consider is the shape/angle of the back panels. Horses can have more flat backs with the spine recessed or in the same plane as the muscles on either side or they can have A-shaped backs with the spine more prominent. Then of course you have to consider if the back is flat or scooped lengthwise from the withers towards the croup. There is so many differences you really do need to fit to the horse. Even "adjustable" trees take so much work to make adjustable it's not as if you can adjust them on a daily basis to use on different horses.

We ended up with a wide Black Country Eloquence X (hoop tree) with shoulder gussets to fit our Appaloosa x TB dressage stallion. An Eloquence W and XW with a regular tree did not fit him. He was uncomfortable and while he was a good boy it was obvious he did not like those saddles. The hoop tree was immediately comfortable to my horse. No more jumpy/rough transitions, tail swishing, etc. He's a happy camper in his hoop tree.

Trumbull Mountain Tack Shop is fantastic in helping to fit horses for saddles. After trying a variety of saddles from different places (think 16 saddles) we were able to find a good saddle with the help of Trumbull Mountain with much fewer saddle trials. I highly recommend Kitt who is a very skilled Saddle Fitter and is also a dressage rider herself if I remember correctly. I just can't recommend her enough. She also has a blog that is very educational and which really helps you understand the multitude of variables that can effect fit on your horse.

Kitt also helped us quickly find an excellent fitting saddle for our high withered, big moving Trakehner stallion, Kryptic. In fact, they have featured him on the Trumbull Mountain front page of their website because we are so pleased with how much he likes his new saddle - a Black Country Eden. He was in another saddle for high withered horses such as himself and it seemed to fit him appropriately by all the elementary indications we were observing but was still experiencing back pain. What we couldn't see though was making a big difference. He is so happy and relaxed in his new saddle...and no back pain.

Here is their page. http://www.trumbullmtn.com/

And here is Kitt's blog. http://www.saddlefitter.blogspot.com/

Please check them out. Your horse will thank you. :yes:

Kitt
Jul. 5, 2011, 12:27 PM
First, thank you to everyone for the kind words. We really appreciate hearing that our customers are happy.

To the best of my knowledge, the width of the pommel arch cannot be changed on *any* tree, and that's the major difference between a standard tree and a hoop tree: the pommel arch on the standard tree is shaped like the peak roof on a house, while on a hoop tree it's more like a Quonset hut or dome tent. Either style of tree can be widened or narrowed (roughly 3/4" or 2 cm. on spring trees), but the overall shape of the front can't really be changed.

The only saddle that this may be possible with is the Albion Genesis, in which the whole pommel arch / front of the saddle is changed. However, I'm not familiar enough with these saddles to comment with any degree of intelligence, though I will say that I'd wonder if the leather on the seat/skirts would be able to accommodate such a change, since they're cut to an individual tree shape.

3Spots
Jul. 6, 2011, 01:59 AM
Altamont, thank you for the Kitt reference, and Kitt, thank you for your opinion on whether pommel arches can be widened or not! I think JB was questioning that as well. (And maybe me, too)

Kitt, I knew of Trumball, but not your blog and have been reading it every chance I could today. It is excellent.

To all, how do you know which saddles by which makers have hoop v a-trees? I didn't see anything on the Trumball website that mentions hoop-shape for the Eloquence X -- there is mention of it fitting wide horses, but many other saddle-makers have a saddle for wide horses as well and I have no idea of their tree shape.

Altamont, I too have a TBxAppy (and a TrakxAppy), so I will definitely look at the Eloquence.

I was pretty sure I was going to get a used Schleese Link II, but while waiting for one to show up, I tried a used Stubben Maestoso and really liked the close contact and no blocks. Makes me realize I should continue to look around.

JB
Jul. 6, 2011, 09:25 AM
To make it harder, they aren't all called "hoop" trees. The Black Country Quantum X is built on a "Freedom Tree". Often if you see a saddle make or model "especially designed for the wide horse", it's got some version of a hoop tree. I think Lovatt and Rickett's actually calls theirs a hoop tree.

Definitely look at/sit in/ride in as many saddles as you can. Merely seeing it on your horse isn't good enough :)

Altamont Sport Horses
Jul. 6, 2011, 10:26 AM
Altamont, I too have a TBxAppy (and a TrakxAppy), so I will definitely look at the Eloquence.

I was pretty sure I was going to get a used Schleese Link II, but while waiting for one to show up, I tried a used Stubben Maestoso and really liked the close contact and no blocks. Makes me realize I should continue to look around.

I suggest doing the wither/back tracings as they have been outlined on the Trumbull Mountain website and sending them in to Kitt. http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-fitting/wither-tracings/

We used some gift wrap paper rolled out in order to fit all the tracings on one sheet. The flexible curve can be purchased at office supply stores. I got mine at Office Max and suggest getting the 24" curve with inch dilineations to help you bend it over your horse's back with an equal amount on either side. And although Trumbull Mountain does not suggest it, I made two identical copies of the tracings just in case one got lost or I needed it for something (Yes, I'm a bit of a paranoid pack-rat). I did end up using that extra copy when one saddle seemed too wide. I re-traced my horse and compared it to my copy of the first tracing and saw that I had either not done a very accurate job the first time or did not have my horse standing on level ground. He was on concrete but we had him at the end of the barn and I did not think about the concrete sloping every so slightly for water run-off. Throwing his weight forward just a little must have bunched his shoulders up and gave me the tracings where he appeared wider. The second set of tracings did the trick.

I sent my wither/back tracings in the mail (actually I FedEx'd them because we wanted to move very fast) and then sent all sorts of things to Kitt by email including my observations of what appeared to me to be symptoms of a problem, pictures without a saddle, pictures riding under saddle and even links to video footage of my horse being ridden W/T/C. I thought it might be overkill but I'm of the mentality that in this situation that giving too much information is better than not enough information. Kitt seemed to dive right into all that material and make some very keen observations in short order.

Trumbull Mountain sends out demos and you can ride in them for a week just like you would with your own saddle (no putting socks over the stirrup leathers, etc.). At first you have to be prepared that if your horse was experiencing discomfort from another saddle that he will anticipate it with the next saddle and out of habit may act like he did with the troublesome saddle until he figures out that the new saddle fits better. My guy's little chin would wrinkle up with worry as soon as we approached him with a saddle. Of course we tried a lot of saddles that didn't work for him before finding Kitt to help us so every time we tried a new saddle did not equal a good experience for him. Of course, if it was obvious it did not fit right we wouldn't ride him in it at all. With the last saddle we tried he started to act the same as usual with reluctant transitions and a lot of tail swishing. So to take his mind off of *expecting* the saddle to hurt we took him and rode him in an area that he hadn't been riding in much before. During that time he was a little distracted by his surroundings (especially the pretty mares ;-) and forgot about his saddle woes. As he continued to ride he settled back into a working frame of mind and realized the saddle wasn't hurting. During our saddle search we continued to get him chiropractic adjustments and professional massages to help him heal and we did not ride him at all (just groundwork). We wanted his back to be as fresh and comfy as possible so it would be easier to determine if the demo fit him well.

It is definitely worthwhile to go the saddle fitting route with Trumbull Mountain rather than just assuming an Eloquence X, for example, will work. Of all the saddles we had trials on before finding Kitt to help us, I spent a ton of money (several hundred dollars) on shipping saddles back and forth not to mention dealing with saddleries that didn't keep accurate records and would later would try to charge me for accessories that they thought they sent with the saddle, etc. It would have been great to have that nice chunk of money to put into the *right* saddle instead of giving it all to UPS.

3Spots
Jul. 6, 2011, 03:37 PM
Just FYI, I was just browsing around and found this description of the Schleese Adaptree. I was told the gullet was adjustable and I interpreted this text as supporting that notion.


" ABOUT ADAPTREE: The first tree which adapts to the horses bio-mechanical movements, through the calculation and implication of the riders weight. Controlled and changeable at any time. All of our saddles are manufactured incorporating our fully adjustable and flexible polyurethane/carbon fibre patented AdapTreeĀ®. The twist and waist are made to accommodate your individual requirements. The "crotch comfort"Ā© is a properly positioned air pocket to allow you to sit straight on your pubic bones without any discomfort. Both men and women love it! The rear-facing shock absorbing tree points are strategically located to prevent interference with the rotation of the shoulder (scapula) during the horse's movement. Each tree is individually made with seat foam and mattress to provide various balance points for your seat, and we add either regular, extended, or extra-extended stirrup bars to address your proper leg position. The adjustable gullet plate allows the saddle to be changed using our SaddleSizer™ tree machine to allow for growth in your horse. "

Kitt
Jul. 7, 2011, 01:28 PM
3Spots, unless I'm greatly mistaken, that simply means that it can be widened or narrowed, but that the top part - the actual arch - won't change. If someone more familiar with the AdapTree knows better, I'd love to know for sure.

3Spots
Jul. 8, 2011, 02:44 AM
I hope someone jumps in too. Fine Used Saddles has some Schleese saddles for sale with a "width and angle adjustable" description. It seems to me that the only way you could get "width" would be to widen the arch?

I suspect I am wither tracing this weekend, lol!

JB
Jul. 8, 2011, 09:42 AM
It seems to me that the only way you could get "width" would be to widen the arch?

ENTIRELY depends on the build of the horse

You can have a horse who is narrower up top but quite wide at the bottom of his shoulders, and a hoop tree does not at all fix that.

But if he starts out wide up top, he may need the SHAPE of the hoop tree up there, but at the end of the tree points may be narrower than the first horse.

Equine Studies
Jul. 8, 2011, 09:42 PM
Why is there no Trumbull Mountain near me? So not fair.