Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The New Saddle Arrived Today and Red is HOME!!!!

I went this morning to pick my boy up from Dr. Schneiter's. He had his teeth floated this morning - he had some hooks in the back. He was still a little sedated when we got there. It was raining but Red got in the trailer after one attempt.

The bill was $599 with the teeth floating at $75. Way better than that $214 for Sarge! I did get a "colic pack" for Red. A hit of ace and banamine shots in case I ever need it. Dr. Schneiter was great and I really appreciated all of his hard work and his good care of Red.

We hauled him back to the barn and I put him in the little arena. He is going to stay there for two days and then I will put him out in the pasture.

Margaret and I went out to see him this afternoon and he was doing just fine. His feed arrived at the same time and he was eager to eat. Before we left I put his blanket on him. It is new and looked great on him. He is such a pretty boy.

My new saddle came in! It is the BOMB and I think Red is going to be gorgeous in it. I will have to wait til Friday to try it on him. I am so excited about it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Aussie Saddle will arrive tomorrow!!!!

I got a phone call today from UPS stating that a package would be delivered tomorrow between 9 and 7 PM and needed a signature! Woo HOOOO!!! It is my new Aussie Saddle. I am so excited!

I tracked the package to Dallas and it left Dallas at a little after 6:00 PM. It should be in Beaumont sometimes late tonight. I can't wait to see it. I ordered the woolie legging thingies to keep the leather from being scratched. Red and I will be trying it out Friday in the arena and then Saturday at Tyrrell Park when Kellie and I ride together. Woo Hooooo!

Red is almost better!

I think that Red could be a circus horse! He certainly can perform amazing tricks for a blade of grass. Could he be any more adorable?



I went to see Red today and he is doing well. Doc said he passed a huge pile yesterday and is coming along nicely. Woo Hoo I can pick up my boy tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM!!!

Some Improvement



I went out to the barn in the morning and Susan was there with Dulcie and her other horse! She said she had been admiring Red and didn't realize it was my horse! LOL It was good to see her. We visited and I visited with Red. He is doing better but still hasn't passed enough stool.

I talked to the Doc and he said rough estimate was $400 to $450. I asked him to float Red's teeth if it is needed. I will be getting his shots to give him too. Red will be vetted up!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Red is improving but still at the Vet's



I called the vet and he said Red was better and we discussed him coming home either today, tomorrow or Wednesday. We settled on Wednesday morning. He will be giving Red treatments.

Ms. Jean called and was all concerned about Red and gave me her cell number in case I ever needed it. Bless her heart. She is so sweet. She said Nebbie was trying to colic. Ugh. Colic bites.

I trotted out to the Vets and Susan was out there with Dulce and her other horse so we chatted. Red looked good but he is hungry! I hugged him up and petted him and took pictures.

I talked to the vet and he said that I got Red there in time so that he didn't have to do intravenous methods of treatment. The cost should be around $400-450. I can hang with that. I told Doc to check Red's teeth and if he needed them floated to float them Wednesday morning. I really like Doc Schneiter and will continue to use him. I like the other vet just fine and I know he is a good vet but I really do like Doc Schneiter. I like that his practice is on site to where he lives and if there is a major illness, he can watch my boys.

Barry went out and rode Sarge today and he said Sarge was blowing and snorting at the horses because they had blankets on. Sarge is so freaking funny - he makes me just crack up laughing.
I called about Red's Aussie Saddle and added fleece leggings and it shipped today. I probably won't get it til next week but that is how it goes.

Red is better


I went to see Red yesterday and he is better. Doc called just after 8:00 AM to let me know he was doing ok.

Barry and I went out to see Red. Bless his heart, he is hungry. He had two small poops. He got agitated around 11:00 PM when Doc gave him something for that. At 2:00 AM he rolled and Doc checked on him. He watched Red off and on all night.

I hugged Red up and took pictures of him. He hasn't pooped enough to come home though. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Red Colicks today - and I have known him one year

My Poor Boy
He is not feeling well
Laying back down
Ugh...my stomach hurts

I went to see Red for the first time a year ago today. Barry and I went out to the barn today to ride. I layered on clothes so I wouldn't be cold.

We went out to the barn and Red was laying down in the pasture. I thought that was odd and said so to Barry. I video'd Red from the front of the pasture. He finally put his front legs out. I got down there and he finally got up. He walked to me and put out his hoof and was pawing the ground. I didn't have a good feeling about this. Red walked towards Barry and then Barry walked Sarge up to the front. Red came back towards me and layed down flat on the ground. Then rolled. By then I was pretty sure he was colicking. I told Barry to get my cell phone. I tried to call Margaret....no answer. We started walking toward the barn and Red had his head down. I told Barry to put Sarge up and go get the trailer.

I wanted to haul Red to see if he would poop. I walked Red round and round the arena and he was walking with me but he would paw if we stopped. When we first got up to the front he looked like he wanted to drop and roll but I had a firm grip on him. Walk walk walk. Finally got ahold of Margaret. She thought he was colicking. I could hear some gut sounds.

Barry finally got there and we loaded up my boy and hauled to the Sonic on HWY 365. I got a coke and checked on Red. No poop. Hauled back to the barn...no poop. We got him out and walked him around.

I said, "Lets haul him to Tyrrell Park. I called Dr. Schneiter's answering service and asked that he call for a colicking horse. We got to Tyrrell and still no poop. Hauled back to the barn and there was a little bit of poop. We walked him around and Dr. Schneiter called and said he was colicking and to bring him to the clinic.

We hauled my boy out to Dr. Schneiter's and he lives down the street from Kelly. Dr. Schneiter checked his gut sounds and checked the poop in the trailer. We took Red and put him in the chute to examine him. The vet's arm up his backside was not what Red had in mind! His back was so humped up and his hinny was tucked under as far as he could get it. I kept talking to him and reassuring him. Poor darling. I kept hugging him today.

The vet said he was pretty packed up in there. I had told him about the hay and Red just pigged out on it. OMG - it is Archie's fault!!! LOL I will never give Red a round bale again. He can't handle a round bale. He will never be without alfalfa for this long again either. Alfalfa keeps them regular.

Dr. Schneiter said he was going to intubate Red and put mineral oil down him to get the packed stuff moving. He twitched Red - Barry held Red, I held the twitch and Dr. Schneiter put the tube up his nose and down his throat. It was going into his lung and he had to pull it back out and back down to the stomach. Poor Red. We put him in the round pen and he is staying at Dr. Schneiter's so he can keep an eye on him. He had gave him banamine and B12 in the jugular when we first got there. He said he'd give him more shots at 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM. I will be out there in the morning to check on my boy. I am just grateful that I went out to the barn today and didn't stay home. Red might have been too far gone. What a scary day.


Merry Christmas to my Boys!

I went to the barn on Christmas Day to see my boys. They were standing by the gate waiting for their dinner. It was just 3:30! Red didn't hardly move. He was like the rest of the people on Christmas Day...to full to move. I checked his hay bail and they had torn down some of it but they are eating it like crazy. Red looks like he has put on 100 lbs. His back looks like he has added VOLUME!!! I took some video of the boys and snapped pictures from the video to show his back.

Sarge was hoping for a treat while I was there but there are no more treats. I took several video's of the horses but they were really just standing there so none of the videos were too exciting but I am uploading one just the same to see how it looks on the blog. I will be having more videos as I make them of us riding.








video

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Woo Weeee it is COLD out at the barn!

It is Christmas Eve....I made a big breakfast for the kids. We had Stuffed Cinnamon Toast which was a big hit, pancakes, turkey bacon and turkey sausage, hot chocolate spiced with Tortuga Coconut Rum and mini cherry cheesecakes.

Margaret sent a message that there was a Santa! She got a 20 qt mixer that just fell in her lap - her brother in law had one and gave it to her. She was so excited. She and Ronnie came to visit and they loved the Stuffed Cinnamon Toast and Margaret liked the hot chocolate - added another dash of rum to it!

Kade and I made a gingerbread house together and after he left Barry and I went to the barn. Good grief, the wind was howling. It was 3:30 and the boys were eating their dinner. I guess the staff was getting off early. We checked on their round bale and they had moved some around...pooped on some but that is ok. It was WET out there. I think the hay will be good bedding for them too. It was only 54 degrees but felt like it was way colder than that. It is snowing in Dallas and Denton. The boys seemed comfortable enough and we just stayed a few minutes because it was FREEEEEZZZZZINNNG!!!!

Aussie Saddle on the way!!!

I measured Red for an Aussie Saddle yesterday. I emailed the picture of his wither tracing and called Ricki at Down Under Saddles today. She looked at his wither tracing and I gave her measurements. She thought he needed serge panels. She recommended the Down Under Wizzard Poley. I ordered it along with a breast strap and a saddle pad. The saddle has a medium chamber width. It was 25% off!!! It will be here hopefully next week. That would be great but it may not arrive til after the first of the new year. Hopefully, Red and I will be happy with this saddle. I am going to sell the Steele saddle. I am waiting to get the BC saddle back. I would like to keep the saddle and then I would have two!!! Woo HOOOOO









Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hay for the boys



This picture of Red just cracked me up. He is so funny!!!

Archie gave me a round bale of Tifton hay. He left it in his truck and Barry and I went up on the 23rd to get it. I left my car there and we drove the hay back to the barn and Edgar forked it up and into the run in. Red and Sarge were munching on their hay when we left!




Monday, December 14, 2009

Talking about my Saddle!!!


I told Barry yesterday that while the Steele is a very nice saddle, I feel I am sitting too far back on Red's back. Too much in the center of him instead of to the right behind the withers. I told him that as nice as the Steele Old Timer is - I don't think it is the saddle for me. I think their Outlaw or their Frontier would work for me. I like pommels! I have decided I am a POMMEL girl!! They make me feel more secure and I think I would LOVE an Aussie Saddle. I would like to try an Outlaw one day. Hummmm....

I told Barry that I love the way my Billy Cook feels to me. That I felt secure and comfortable in that saddle and while it didn't work for Red, it worked for me.

I called Billy Cook's today and spoke with Jody. He said Mr. Cook ordered a new tree for my saddle and they were waiting on it to come in! They are replacing the saddle. OMG what great news. I told him what I told Barry yesterday and that I felt that with Red's muscles in his shoulders that he needs a saddle that flairs at the front. Mr. Cook himself is working with my saddle...wow...Red will have a very special saddle. I just want my boy comfortable and can't wait to get my Billy Cook back and give it a whirl. I am going to order a new pad when I get it....I was looking at this one at the top.

Picked up the Saddle and riding a Steele




Christy and I picked up the saddle and had a good time visiting. I like the saddle and am excited about it. The next day I worked in Woodville and had lunch while there, with Archie and Margaret. Archie thought I got hosed - he doesn't know anything about Steele Saddles. Margaret thought it was very nice leather and well made.

I sent pictures to Fred at Steele Saddles. They are very nice to work with and generous with their knowledge. He thought the saddle fit well and was placed correctly on Red's back.

I got on it in the arena and it SLIDES around on Red getting on. The cantle is extremely high - higher than my Billy Cook. It will take getting used to.

Sunday Barry and I went out to ride. I went out originally to ride with Lee Anne and Krystina but I was too late. I cleaned the poop out of the trailer while I was there and called Barry to come out and ride. I went down and got the boys. Sarge was easier to catch than Red. He was being a little pill. Walks like he is 9000 years old going up to the barn. I was grooming him and he turned like he was going to nip me. I have never really thought Red was going to nip me but yesterday I did....he got a bop on the nose. I was grooming his sides and he turned around with a sour look and I bopped his side and said "straighten up". What a crab and he is usually not crabby. I took him into the arena and lounged him. He loped around on both sides and trotted. I guess he had the grimmly grimmlies.

I changed the neoprene girth for a cotton girth. It was hard cinching this rascal up to be tight enough! Finally got it tight enough to get on - and it was still loose!!! I rode in the arena and Red was moving slowly. If I pulled back slightly he STOPPED dead in his tracks. His tail switched some.

We rode out to the back and Red generally loves to go out there and is very forward. Not today. He didn't hardly want to trot and his tail was switching - not a ton but switching. Sarge was a hoot today. The cows were close to the fence and his head was up, he was excited! He had his eyes on the cows. One was next to the fence and he jumped into a cow stance and it was hilarious. Red walked right up to a cow but Sarge wasn't getting that close!!! We came down the side next to the refinery and Red spooked hard - in place. He is such a good boy. I had to hug his neck.

We rode around the entire parameter of the ranch after doing the half left side so we rode the ranch 1.5 times. I enjoyed it...we trotted and worked on neck reining. I think I can trail Red for endurance out there when I get saddle issues settled. I would say it is at least a mile or more around the back of the ranch. I will have to ask Lee Anne P. or Edgar if they know and if not, get Edger to track it for me. I could make figure 8's out there and do 5 or 6 loops around the ranch. Hummmmmmm....that could work to start.

I enjoyed my ride and Barry took the boys back down to the paddock while I put stuff away. We took them another bail of hay. I had gave them a bail of hay Thursday that Ronnie brought to me. They scarfed though that ball of Tifton and it was GONE. They have had at least 3 bales of hay this week - two from the ranch and one from Ronnie and Margaret. Hummm maybe it was 4. I want my boys to gain weight this winter and Red looks like he is. He needs it!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm going to pick up the saddle!

I talked to Carmen and I am going tomorrow to pick up the Steele Saddle. Christy is going with me and we are going to have a good time!

Steele Saddle



I found a Steele saddle for sale and Barry, Red and I went to check it out! I took pictures of Red in it and am going to ask for expert help on whether it fits. I think it is an ok fit and might work for my boy. I liked it.

I liked the couple that were selling it too! We are going to go riding with them in Louisiana and invited them to join us at Ebenezer! They have rode at Eminence, MO where I would like to go next year.

Here is the saddle:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow in southeast Texas!

It snowed this afternoon.....heavy furries that were flying around.

Barry and I went out to the barn in a freezing, drizzling rain. I wanted to give the boys a bail of hay. Jaimie helped me load it into the Rav4 and I drove it down to the paddock. The boys were in their shelter. I pulled the hay out and here comes Red. I had my pink galoshes on so I pushed open the gate and they were anxious to eat the hay and Red was running around. Sarge was pretty anxious to get his hay and dug in while I was trying to get it to the shed.

I set it down and wasn't going to cut the strings so it would stay together. Sarge laid back his ears at Red and ran him off so I ran Sarge off and he bucked up and kicked. Red ran out the gate and Sarge followed and down the alleyway. LOL Barry got out of the RAV, I got some hay, and went after them. Red came toward me and then started trotting toward the RAV with Sarge right behind him. Barry was standing there and waved them into the paddock.

I came with the hay and they were nibbling out of my hands. Off they went to the shed and I backed up the RAV so I could see them in there. They were happily munching and Sarge had decided not to be such a bully.

They were drier than I expected and seemed to be ok. I am such a worry wart where my boys are concerned!

Red, Sarge and Barry


We went to the barn to try a saddle tree on Red and take pictures of it. I am working with some saddle people to try and get Red outfitted with a decent saddle that doesn't hurt him.

Sarge was all up in Barry's kool aid. He is so funny. He loves to smell your hair and touch you with his face. He is so gentle about it though - never disrespectful at all.

Here is a picture of Barry with my two boys...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Learning about Saddle Fitting

I have been learning as much as I can about saddles and saddle fitting. I have chased down articles on how to fit horses and what type of saddles fit what type of horse.

Seems that Red needs Semi Quarter Horse Bars for his withers but I am not convinced totally. Red has pretty wide shoulders to go along with his higher withers. I am thinking an Aussie Saddle will work for him. I think he needs his Skito pad made into a regular saddle pad.

I am thinking about ordering this book:

"The Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit Book" by Dr. Joyce Harman. (Check Amazon used...can usually find it for under $20).

I read this article:

General Saddle Facts - Fitting Your Horse to the Saddle
There seems to be much confusion on the fitting of horse and saddle. One article you read tells you that even the least amount of wrong fit will permanently ruin your horse’s spine. They recommend an elaborate computerized measuring system, to be used only by a technologically trained expert, in the field, to recognize all possible pressure points on the back of the horse. The Feed store employee tells you that the saddles on their racks should fit any horse. Where is the answer? Probably somewhere in between these two scenarios.
Then we need to fit the rider. Which is the right seat size? Why do the saddles feel different when the specs show them all to have a 16" tree? Why do your legs feeling twisted? Does this mean you can only ride a used broken-in saddle?
Now there comes the selection of saddles available. Is a "nylon’ saddle good? How much money should I budget for the saddle? Don’t you save a lot of money at the horse sales? How do I buy a saddle if I have not sat in the seat? Why was that "show saddle" on E-Bay only $350.00 and all I see at saddle shops are $2500.00? Etc., etc., etc.
First, allow me to explain why I feel qualified to answer such questions. My parents have shown pictures of me riding a horse just after learning to walk. They tell me that all I ever wanted, as a child, was to be a cowboy. The Christmas that they gave each of their children bronzed first pairs of shoes, I got a pair of bronzed boots! My childhood heroes were Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Later in life, I listened to Roy and Dale give several inspirational speeches on their life experiences. And I was fortunate to know Gene personally. Mr. Autry once surprised me by recognizing who I was in a cafe in Denver. He even remembered my name.
This rambling does eventually come to a point....Early in life I learned the values portrayed in the "good guy" roles of TV cowboys. Even though our family lived in the suburbs, and we did not own horses until I was 15 years old, I had the burning yearning. At 15, we purchased a TWH and soon after, we had purchased a small farm and were breeding and showing horses. As the Walking Horse industry got bad press for the practices used to make "artificial" gaits, I moved into the Western market. Training riders and horses, several of us learned to make a team effort of sharing knowledge while in competition. As a team, we competed together in several breeds and various disciplines. English riding was in my roots with the TWH, so when several team members began riding English, I did too. It was easy to take the experiences of one breed or discipline and apply those basics to the others.
Over the years, I have been involved in Jumping, Rodeo, Gymkhana, Halter, ... almost every aspect of horsemanship. This vast, well rounded experience, plus having a tack shop since 1974, has given a lot of insight into the correct fitting of horse and rider.

The Western saddle was developed to aid the American cowboy. Almost every part was designed to help catch cows, or make a long ride comfortable, or to keep you in the seat when the going gets rough. This saddle had roots in the deep seated saddles of the Conquistadors. The English saddle was actually developed by the Germans as a lightweight solution for war horses that could move faster and jump higher than the enemy. This was an effective scare tactic used against the enemy footsoldiers and would out-maneuver the heavy armored knights.
The English saddles were first made for larger, wider backed horses that were bred for carrying the heavy armor of the knights. As the horses were bred for agility, their backs narrowed. So, different tree widths were developed to get better fitting. The Western saddles were first used on more narrow backed horses whose ancestors were brought to the Americas by Spanish Conquistadors. To make a long history lesson short, men have always made saddles for specific purposes to fit the horses they rode at the time.

Recent history: During the 1950’s and 60’s, horses were usually rather narrow backed and not tall, as compared with the horses of today. In Western markets, the favored horse was the Quarter Horse. This horse was developed for a short quarter mile race, but became a favorite for all occasions. The standard saddle of the day was one that was built on "quarter horse" bars. It fit most Quarter Horses of the day. The bars are the runners that follow the line of the horses’ back and whose angle is determined by the angle that is used on the pommel and cantle where the bars join those parts. Reference to quarter horse bars is actually referring to the angle of the bars on the tree. English saddle fans, this would be your narrow tree.
During the late 60’s and early 70’s, there was a movement to grow bigger horses. I think this was an American mentality at the time. Bigger cars, bigger planes, bigger horses, etc. Many breeds allowed appendix registries so that breeding could develop those larger horses. With these larger horses came wider backs and the need for the semi-quarter horse bars. Semi-quarter horse bars had less angle than the quarter horse bars and thus fit more of these larger, wider bred animals. The angle chosen was one that sort of split the difference between the QH bars and the wider angle that had been developed to fit Arabian horses. Today, semi-quarter horse bars will fit better than 80% of all Western horses. English saddle fans, this would be your medium tree. These QH bars and Semi-QH bars are available on different gullet widths. The most used standard is a gullet width of 6.5". Custom saddles can be made with other widths of gullet. The gullet width is the measurement across the width of the opening under the pommel. It is measured before the skirting and fleece is attached. If you are measuring your saddle, press hard into the fleece to get a more accurate measurement. Fleece will compact, but the leather of the skirting will not. If you are handy, you can detach, then raise or lower the skirt's attachment to the tree for some adjustment in gullet width. If you are not handy, take your saddle to an experienced saddler for adjustment. This is great to know if you just changed horses and if a small adjustment will let you continue to use your present saddle. English fans, you can have your saddles adjusted too. Often, the stuffing in the bottom of the saddle can be added to, or taken out, to adjust for your horse. With the English saddle, you can adjust the stuffing anywhere in the bottom. This allows you to "lift" the fit as needed, front or rear!

Over the past two years, in an effort to be more specialized, many production saddle makers are offering some saddles in the quarter horse bars’ angle on a 7" gullet width. This they call "full" quarter horse bars. It is designed to fit wide backed horses, those who tend to have a problem with saddles slipping sideways due to flat withers conditions or large bone structure. The saddle widens over the center back of the horse then has angles that hold the topsides. English saddle fans, this would fit the horse that needs your wide tree.
If, on the other hand, your horse has a high withers, you will not have problems with slipping sideways. Your problems will be rubbing on the top of the withers or poor fit on the sides of those high withers. Go to the quarter horse bars and request a high pommel clearance. This clearance is also called gullet height. English saddle fans, you have a distinct advantage with your English cutback pommel, open sky clearance!

The sad truth is that there is no true industry standards of measurements in tree widths or angles of English or Western saddlery. Often, in order to market to the masses, production saddlers will call the semi-quarter horse tree a "quarter horse" tree so you will better assume it will fit your Quarter Horse. Modern skirting techniques allow more general fitting than older styling. In today’s Western saddles, you simply assume that the saddle you order will fit 90% of horses. English saddles are often ordered by tree widths. The widths may be numbered, (1,2,3,4,5) or simply called narrow, medium and wide. This sizing varies by the maker and by the level of quality in the makers equipment and methodology.
Now that I have seemingly made everything sound hopelessly complicated, let me simplify in summation. Remember that the standard trees in most Western saddles will fit most horses. The medium tree width on English saddles will fit most horses with no problems. Most of this discussion is to help identify the problem fitting horses. Tell your dealer or saddle maker how your horses are built. Narrow backed and high withered, etc. Show pictures if you can. Discuss what saddles have or have not fit in the past. Has there been any injury that should be accounted for? What is the intended use of the saddle? With enough discussion, you will order a saddle that will fit your horse! Being an Internet source, and a location store, we suggest you call dealers with facts and questions. Be sure their sources use the same general theories that ours do, or have them explain the differences so that you can understand clearly. Saddles are not wise to order with a "BUY" button.

If you have enough budget, have a custom saddle built to fit each individual horse. Truth is that as your horsemanship needs get more intense and more specialized, you will need to consider this. If after discussion with the saddler, you still wonder about the fit, or if you have had problems fitting the horse in the past, follow these steps. Take a few tracings across the back of the horse at the top of the withers, and every 4" back from the first measurement, until you have the length of the back you will cover with the saddle tree. Do this by bending a wire across the back, then tracing the underside of the wire on paper that can be cut to slide under the saddle which you would like to ensure proper fitting. If your horse has an unusual top line, bend a wire to match it then trace on paper. Start from the mid withers. If the saddle is custom built, mail these papers to the necessary parties.
If you have a budget for one saddle that you need to fit yourself, but must use with all your horses, get a saddle built upon a medium tree, semi-quarter horse bars. Or if all your horses are wider backed draft breeds, or narrow backed gaited horses, buy accordingly. There are some wonderful pads made to adjust saddle fitting to an art.
If you have several varieties of bone structure with which to deal, use a cutback, built-up pad for the high narrow withered animals. Use a thin non-slip type of neoprene pad for those wider backed, flat-withered guys. There are also various wedge pads, pads with holes drilled for spine relief, contoured pads for the backs that seem to have more curvature, and gel pads that absorb the shock of hard work or a not quite fitting situation. Talk with your favorite tack dealer, Cultured Cowboy, about these needs in more detail.

Most all saddles are made with length of bars so that they fit almost all horses. Even when the seat sizes change, much of the change is done on top of the running bars. The cantle is moved forward or back on the bars, rather than elongating the bars to an uncomfortable position for the horse. Occasionally, you will have a short backed horse that is the exception to the rule. Semi-custom or custom bar lengths for trees can be made. We like to work closely with the tree maker and the saddle maker when this is the case. You do not want too much pressure on the kidneys. Or perhaps a round skirt will get the saddle off the flank area. Many Arab saddles are rounded for this reason.
Sometimes a "barrel racing type saddle will help fit a horse. They are usually made on the semi-quarter horse bars and are designed to fit a bit higher on the back of the horse. This is done to cut weight, but effectively makes fitting some horses easier. Most have a rather deep pocket and higher cantle designed for staying in the saddle on fast take-off. This tends to be very supportive to the lower back of the rider.
One of the features of the "treeless" or flex tree type saddles is that as you tighten the girth, it conforms to the back of the horse. Circle Y pioneered this saddle and Tex Tan also has a great version. Big Horn has just finalized their version. Moderate in price and toward the lighter weight of saddles, these units often fit when nothing else seems to be able. This flex tree is great for pleasure riding. However, if you need the rigors of ranch roping or wild cow catching, do not tie a rope to these things. They are durable, but not made for heavy pulling work. Go back to a regular ranch or roping saddle and use "too much" padding for the comfort of your horse.

What are some of the tell-tale signs of an ill fitting saddle? First, look for any places where the hair seems to be rubbing off. Hopefully you will catch the problem before there is a raw spot. If you find a horse with white patches on the area of the back, it usually had a problem with saddle equipment fitting in the past. Many pads are designed to allow air flow through them. If you are using one of these pads, look for areas of the horse's back that are wetter than others. Check to see if there is a tighter fit in this area than on the rest of the saddle fitting area. Other pads, such as wool pads, work to cool the back by wicking moisture. If there is a dry area, keep a close watch for problems. Especially watch for lines of sweat or dryness that tend to indicate the saddle is resting on either the top line of the bars without resting on the entire bars, or if the saddle is resting on the bottom line and not touching the top line. Saddles are designed for the entire bar width to rest in alignment, properly and fully along the line of the horse's back. If the saddle constantly slips sideways, use a three way breast collar with a neoprene girth and neoprene pad. If this does not stop the slipping, you probably need another tree type. If the withers area looks rubbed, use a cutback pad. If your saddle gusset is still sitting on the withers with no clearance, you need a different saddle. If your saddle seems to fit the alignment of the horse's back, but slips forward or back, check the tightness of the girth often. Change to a wider girth, and/or neoprene girth and pad to stop the slippage and a breast collar and/or crouper may be in order. If these tools do not stop the movement, you may need a different saddle.
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I am waiting to hear back from Billy Cook about the bars in my saddle. I know that the gullet is not that wide in my saddle but the bars are pressing into him like crazy so I don't know what to think. I am not sure what Bars are in my saddle but we will be finding out hopefully today.

I found a nice Aussie type saddle on Craigslist. I am going to call the man about it today.