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Wade saddles: Why the luv?

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  • #21
    You go sit in them and ride in them.

    My custom made Rocking R Lady Trail Rider.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/2929502464/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3128139...n/photostream/

    My custom Rocking R Lady Trail Rider with a hardseat. I don't own a thing it'll fit anymore but I love love love this hardseat, simple saddle.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

    My husband's Eli Miller Old Timer he wouldn't sell for anything.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/5110990600/


    Bighorn Voyager we bought used and hated w/in a month. TOO squishy. Where the hell is my horse under all this padding???
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

    Go sit in it. Ride it. I don't like a trappy saddle as you can tell by my two customs: I want simple, nearly flat/simple seating, not much pommel/ears/swells.

    You shouldn't buy a type until you KNOW you'll love it.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #22
      Originally posted by Pocket Pony View Post
      OMG, you guys are killing me with all this information!!!!
      I feel you, sister.

      The good news and the bad news about western saddles is that

      1. There are a lot more tree makers in Western World in comparison to English World. Truth be told, there are a limited number of tree factories that supply British or French makers. Perhaps Germany/Austria has their own.

      2. So there is a lot more variety of shapes in Western World.

      3. Western World has a correspondingly richer vocabulary for all the dimensions and curves in a saddle tree. That's really cool.... and that's before you get to the top of the saddle as well as whether or not you want to rope with it and even how it is "rigged", meaning how and where you attach the cinch.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


      • #23
        I grew up riding in Tex Tans, Ryons, etc, low cantle, cheyenne roll, padded seats. Currently I have a McCall Wade and like it for steep mountain trails:

        http://s222.photobucket.com/user/Bev...ml?sort=6&o=14

        I bought it because it fit the hard to fit horse. I much preferred the Crates reiner but, it didn't fit the horse. That said, I've been happy with it.

        I more recently bought a custom saddle that I like better, it's a bit lighter and has a bit narrower twist (This fellow will make you whatever style you want):

        https://picasaweb.google.com/1003106...25844108568114

        This particular saddlemaker has a point- if the seat fits you properly you truly don't need the padding, even on an all day ride. And by the way those oxbows, a friend talked me into adding to this saddle and he was right, too. Though it seems counterintuitive, they do for your knees/hips/back what the four way flex stirrups do for you on an English saddle. I love 'em.

        But mostly, saddles are like wine. Pay no attention to what's in style, or what the 'snobs' say. By and use what you like best.

        Comment


        • #24
          What are oxbows?
          My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by Pocket Pony View Post
            What are oxbows?
            Rounded-tread stirrups, either in rawhide/leather or brass. I have the latter (see second link in above post).

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by katarine View Post
              You go sit in them and ride in them.

              My custom made Rocking R Lady Trail Rider.
              http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/2929502464/

              http://www.flickr.com/photos/3128139...n/photostream/

              My custom Rocking R Lady Trail Rider with a hardseat. I don't own a thing it'll fit anymore but I love love love this hardseat, simple saddle.

              https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

              My husband's Eli Miller Old Timer he wouldn't sell for anything.

              http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/5110990600/


              Bighorn Voyager we bought used and hated w/in a month. TOO squishy. Where the hell is my horse under all this padding???
              https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
              https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

              Go sit in it. Ride it. I don't like a trappy saddle as you can tell by my two customs: I want simple, nearly flat/simple seating, not much pommel/ears/swells.

              You shouldn't buy a type until you KNOW you'll love it.
              The horse in the first photo- looks like something rubbed the hair off his shoulder http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/2929502464/

              Comment


              • #27
                I've been gone for a bit...

                Oxbow stirrups are designed to ride with your foot all the way through, the 'english' description would be having the foot 'home' in the stirrup, with the heel of your boot against the 'tread' of the stirrup. A western oxbow does not have a tread, though, it is round on the bottom.
                Here's a pic, the lady on the palomino down the page a bit has oxbow stirrups, and she is riding them the way they are intended:
                http://www.buckaroocountry.com/

                If oxbows are working for you, no reason to change them.
                But...
                The Dorrance brothers, Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, etc prefer a stirrup with a wide tread, like these:
                http://www.ranchworldads.com/classif...?listing=20747
                Because they give you a stable platform for a good base of support. An oxbow stirrup supports your leg from farther toward the heel, and is usually ridden with your feet braced against the oxbow, making some leg movements not really work well. The flat platform puts you on the balls of your feet.

                Sore knees from riding in a Western saddle are very common; if the fenders won't twist sideways easily you inadvertently put pressure on your knees to keep your stirrups from twisting back to flat against the horse.
                Also, a normal western stirrup will not hang with a level foot platform unless the stirrup leather has been adjusted and reset specifically to hang the stirrup level.
                Otherwise, to get stirrups that hang level, you buy offset stirrups:
                http://www.chicksaddlery.com/page/CD...%2Bdata%2Bfeed

                Oxbow stirrups get around both of the above problems.

                Back to defending my original opinion and statement about 'fake wades'...

                Wider bars with more rock...in reference to what? Those are improvements Tom Dorrance made to the saddle he was riding, but both of those changes may be inappropriate for certain horses. Mules, in particular, often need little rock in the bars.
                I don't mean 'wide bars' as in, fits a wide horse.

                A western tree is made of two bars, and two arches to connect them- fork arch in front, cantle arch in the rear.
                If we oversimplify and pretend we can make the bars out of a couple of two-by-fours, or a couple of two-by-sixes, I am meaning 'wider bars' as in, we make the bars from a two-by-six.

                If you build a big swell, your front arch has a lot of stability for roping and a saddle horn, so you could use (with poetic license here) a two-by-four for your bars. But building that big swell on narrow bars, creates more leverage on the tree and therefore the horse's withers if you rope something heavy.
                If you have a Wade fork, you have to get the horn low over the withers, and support a thick horn, so you will have to use a WIDER two-by-six for the bars to stabilize that big horn. That lower leverage, is one part of my definition of a 'real' Wade tree.

                That wider bar also tends to make a Wade saddle fit a bigger variety of horses. I can't really explain this one, but I do know it from experience...a real Wade tree will fit more horses without soring them, than a similar angle-dimension tree with a swell fork.

                To fit a mule, you are going to have to make mule shaped bars. But you will still need a wider bar to support a low, post horn.

                Those characteristics alone don't determine a Wade. After all, Tom's old Wade looks much different:
                https://www.google.ca/search?q=tom+d...d2k6AfmxSQM%3A

                ...from Buck's modern Wade:
                https://www.google.ca/search?q=buck+...nK3a84t89IM%3A
                The saddles look similar enough to me...Mr. Frecker photographs his saddles with their stirrups brought forward, to show that the fenders can swing forward. But both saddles have a low set, large diameter horn (that is easy to stack dallies on) and stirrups that are hung underneath the rider, to ride with your legs in what is more known today as a dressage position. Exactly where the stirrups are set on a saddle will depend on the individual rider- how big your butt is, how long your legs are, etc. I can ride in Mr. Fillabeana's Wade and get put right into a chair seat- but Mr. Fillabeana is quite a lot taller than I am, and has a bigger behind. So I would expect Tom Dorrance's saddle to look different than Buck Brannaman's. Buck is a big guy! But when you see them ride, sometimes in Tom or Ray Hunt's case in old photos or videos, they have a big similarity in leg position.

                However, a large diameter, low wood horn is not uncommon in charro saddles. Is a Wade a Wade if the horn is round, or is a Guadalahara horn shape allowed?
                I'm going to distinguish between the Guadalajara shape (which is roundish, with a pointed 'nose':
                http://www.wssaddles.com/gallery.html
                (The 'Monte' saddle has a Guadalajara shaped horn)

                ...from a Charro horn, which has a large diameter, 'Guadalajara' shaped, steeply pitched horn cap but a narrowed neck:
                http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...QEwCA&dur=1295




                A Wade horn is designed to be able to stack dallies easily, and to have a lot of surface area so that slipping rope is also facilitated. The charro horns have a large diameter on top, but have a more narrow neck- there's only comfortable room for a couple of dallies there. The horn wouldn't have to be perfectly round, but the Guadalajara shape would stack dallies and slip rope just fine. But the charro horns with narrow necks would react to a rope differently, so to me a 'real' wade wouldn't have a charro horn.

                So, to sum up, my definition of a real Wade tree, is one with a slick fork, a large diameter horn, wide bars, and stirrups set underneath the rider.

                Personally, I still think Rod is right.
                It's nice to have a thinking conversation with someone, aktill. Thank you!

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by craz4crtrs View Post
                  I have had a really hard horse to fit, very wide AQHA mare. My dressage saddle is an XW. She was in a really narrow saddle for her and her back and shoulders were atrophied and had big white marks when I bought her two years ago. During the the next year she grew out of every saddle I owned. I decided to go the custom route again after she grew out of my custom cow horse saddle that was made for a fjordX. The wade tree was a great fit, the saddler sent me the tree to fit to her after tons of pictures, tracings etc.

                  I bought a Cactus barrel saddle that was wide while the custom wade was being built. By the time the custom wade came, my mare had grown out of the Cactus saddle, too. The wade fits the mare beautifully, but honestly, I have struggled with the wade style. I didn't want the bucking rolls, but after playing on cows, I put them on. A bit disconcerting to have so little pommel in front of me when she dropped down in front on a cow. My dressage saddle has way more support than the wade.

                  I did have to take the wade in to a local saddler to have the fenders and exposed leathers reworked. Just too much leather under my leg. I do not ride with my feet sticking out, but that was what the saddle wanted me to do. It will be better now. It is very comfortable, but I am still not on board with the wade horn when riding a super quick horse on cattle. Sorting, not roping.

                  I just found another little barrel saddle that is wide enough for this mare, and it will be what I use for sorting cattle and arena work. I really like the security and the fact my leg is on the horse and right under me. I plan on keeping my wade saddle and plan to use it for trail riding.

                  So, the jury is still out on the wade saddle for me. I really prefer a cow horse type of saddle, with a full pommel, mid height cantle and a roping type horn.
                  Just a follow up comment about my Wade, and it is a solid wood Baties wade tree, really wide bars and big shoulders, not a cheapie look alike. The saddle maker made it stout, so stout I was having trouble with the fenders and exposed leathers while turned, were just too thick for me to easier ride with my leg on the horse. So, I had a local saddler remove some of the bulky leathers and return the stirrup leathers. Fantastic to ride in now. I am really pleased. I also ride dressage and this saddle fenders and stirrup - now - hang straight down where they are supposed to be. I am very happy with the saddle since the adjustment was made. Too much bulk was forcing my legs out and forward, now it doesn't. Feels as comfortable with the hard seat as my dressage saddle does.

                  Try riding in a wade, you may like it. Like any saddle, it has to fit you and your horse, or neither of you will be comfortable.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Calico View Post
                    The horse in the first photo- looks like something rubbed the hair off his shoulder http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/2929502464/
                    Nope. The light is tricking your eye.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I always liked them as coming from an eventing background, sitting in one is more like sitting in a dressage saddle. I felt it had a closer feel than a padded up saddle, and since I tended to still post the trot there were no swells to jam my thighs into.

                      On long rides, I prefer a slick seat because if there is going to be some sliding I would prefer it to be between my jeans and saddle than my butt and jeans!

                      Anyhoo, that's why I liked riding in them.
                      Leap, and the net will appear

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I love my Wade. I couldn't give you specifics on one type of saddle vs another - I just know that it fits me, it fits my horse, and it's great to rope on. I feel like I have great contact with my horse and I can ride all day and not get sore. Plus I just love the look.

                        https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.n...87620818_n.jpg
                        Life is short. Ride your best horse first.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          I've been gone for a bit...
                          >I don't mean 'wide bars' as in, fits a wide horse... I am meaning 'wider >bars' as in, we make the bars from a two-by-six.
                          I realize. You're actually meaning deep. My point was that deeper bars aren't always an option for certain horse shapes (particularly ones with either deep wither pockets or very round withers). The bar profile and silhouette need to be appropriate for the the particular horse.

                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          >If you build a big swell, your front arch has a lot of stability for roping and >a saddle horn, so you could use (with poetic license here) a two-by-four >for your bars. But building that big swell on narrow bars, creates more >leverage on the tree and therefore the horse's withers if you rope >something heavy.
                          Leverage is a moment defined by force and distance. Given that force remains constant, the ONLY thing that affects leverage on a saddle horn is how high that support point is off the back.

                          As such, the width of the swells only affects rider stability, not leverage. Swells TEND to be metal horns which require a thicker stock and place the horn higher off the back, but not all swell forks are metal horned.

                          A wider bar profile IF it's in contact properly will distribute the moment better (same force/less area), but it doesn't reduce the leverage or overall amount of force.

                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          >If you have a Wade fork, you have to get the horn low over the withers, >and support a thick horn, so you will have to use a WIDER two-by-six for >the bars to stabilize that big horn. That lower leverage, is one part of my >definition of a 'real' Wade tree.
                          The wider bar comes from the fact that a slick horn like a wide has a thicker stock back to front, not because of the horn sitting lower. And again, the leverage comes JUST from the horn sitting lower (as ANY wood post horn can, not needing to support horn screws).

                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          >That wider bar also tends to make a Wade saddle fit a bigger variety of >horses. I can't really explain this one, but I do know it from experience...a >real Wade tree will fit more horses without soring them, than a similar >angle-dimension tree with a swell fork.
                          That's a function of the profile of the bar, nothing to do with the fork. That same bar profile with a swell fork will fit just as well...it's a basic question of geometry. The BAR is what's against the horse, after all.

                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          >A Wade horn is designed to be able to stack dallies easily, and to have a >lot of surface area so that slipping rope is also facilitated. The charro >horns have a large diameter on top, but have a more narrow neck- >there's only comfortable room for a couple of dallies there. The horn >wouldn't have to be perfectly round, but the Guadalajara shape would >stack dallies and slip rope just fine. But the charro horns with narrow >necks would react to a rope differently, so to me a 'real' wade wouldn't >have a charro horn.
                          My point in bringing that up is that you're assigning characteristics to a Wade that apply to any wood post horn. The throat profile of the horn can be varied to any degree the saddle maker wants, with a smaller profile slipping rope quicker and a larger diameter being a better "clutch". The top shape is largely cosmetic, with a larger overall diameter only requiring a larger dally movement.

                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          >So, to sum up, my definition of a real Wade tree, is one with a slick fork, >a large diameter horn, wide bars, and stirrups set underneath the rider.
                          That's fine, it's just not the same definition that actual treemakers use. The saddle will only be balanced if it fits the rider, and given people don't tend
                          to think very far sometimes, it's best not to be too general about ascribing "balanced" as an inherent characteristic of every Wade for every rider.

                          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                          It's nice to have a thinking conversation with someone, aktill. Thank you!
                          Not a worry.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            ONLY thing that affects leverage on a saddle horn is how high that support point is off the back
                            And again, the leverage comes JUST from the horn sitting lower
                            Sure.

                            But I've never seen a post-horn, swell fork saddle with the horn placed low for a low-leverage advantage. It might exist. I've just never seen one.

                            I have, however, seen TONS of slick-fork, post horn saddles with the horn way up high off the withers.

                            My point was that deeper bars aren't always an option for certain horse shapes (particularly ones with either deep wither pockets or very round withers). The bar profile and silhouette need to be appropriate for the the particular horse.
                            My experience, with both beer-keg-round horses and high withered, deep-withers-pocketed horses is that a Wade with deep bars fits the horse better than any other saddle I've used. Granted, the saddle padding has been adjusted greatly (and wedged where appropriate). It is completely counter-intuitive to me, given what I have learned about saddle fitting. But the deep-bars Wade saddles have given a better sweat pattern, and no back soreness, same saddle on two completely differently conformed horses. Which I don't completely understand...but I have had saddle fit examined closely on these two different horses, and two VERY different saddles pronounced a Good Fit respectively on two very different horses, (one wide saddle for the wide horse, one narrow saddle for the narrow horse) by someone who has been trained by Dr. Deb Bennett (and has hosted her anatomy clinics). These two saddles respectively did not fit each horse as well as the one Wade saddle I use.

                            I don't get it, because I agree with the theory that horses with really differently shaped backs will need differently shaped saddles. But the horse (and the sweat spots) tell me the one deep-bars Wade saddle fits each horse a bit better than the wide-saddle-for-the-wide-horse, and narrow-saddle-for-the-shark-fin-TB.

                            That's my own experience.

                            The fellow who made my saddle, uses a similar one in his work as a clinician. He has had the same experience with his Wade saddle fitting a variety of horses.

                            So I think there was something to the 'Wade tree design with wide bars' that will fit a lot of different horses, and fit them well, that the Freckers article about Tom Dorrance refers to:
                            http://www.freckerssaddlery.com/wade...ee_history.php

                            The top shape is largely cosmetic, with a larger overall diameter only requiring a larger dally movement.
                            The pitch of the horn cap/top will make a difference, to the ease of releasing your dallies. Unfortunately, a lot of pitch will also make it easier to lose your dallies. My own saddle was made with almost no pitch, with myself as a greenhorn roper in mind.
                            That traditional pitched Guadalajara horn probably influenced the Wade saddle, but the flatter horn cap and neck that doesn't narrow toward the top was an original Wade design specific for a more versatile use.

                            The saddle will only be balanced if it fits the rider,
                            Of course.
                            But there aren't 'forward stirrups' dressage saddles for those who like to brace their feet in front of them like a cowboy in oxbows, and 'balanced stirrups' dressage saddles for those who like to ride with their legs balanced underneath. A dressage saddle is designed for a rider to have their legs balanced underneath them. There will be different sizes of seat, length of flap, etc so that riders of different height, weight and shape can find a good fit.
                            (Of course, there are the huge-thigh-blocks modern 'dressage' saddles for those who need to pull with 40 pounds of pressure constant on their reins, and thus need huge thigh blocks to brace against. But I don't call that dressage.)

                            That's fine, it's just not the same definition that actual treemakers use.
                            Nope.
                            But that's how the original Wade was designed- wide bars, low-to-withers post dally horn, and stirrups balanced underneath the rider. So it's my definition of a Wade.

                            I don't know many bitmakers who would not define a broken-mouthed western bit with shanks as a 'shank snaffle' or a 'leverage snaffle'. Doesn't change my definition of a snaffle bit.
                            There are plenty of buckaroos who ride in oxbows, braced against stirrups and bucking rolls and a high cantle, in a slick-fork, post-horn saddle that they, their treemaker and their saddlemaker call a Wade.
                            I personally don't think calling a saddle like that a Wade contributes to the understanding of vaquero horsemanship, any more than calling a broken-mouth leverage bit a 'snaffle' does. However, looking into WHY there is a distinction in the definition might give a person some deeper understanding.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Bumping to fix display issues on front page.

                              Comment

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