Fitting a Barrel Saddle, Trail Saddle or Ranch Saddle to a Horse

If you need a barrel saddle or trail saddle or even a ranch saddle you have to realize that just like people, horses change size.  Horses grow, add muscle, lose muscle, eat, etc.  You can buy a perfectly fitted saddle today and you may need to add shims and padding next year.

Most saddles are built for Quarter Horse builds.  Quarter Horse type breeds are round with hardly any withers with a flat back.   If you have a horse built like a Quarter Horse, you have a large selection of saddles.

If you have a gaited horse, draft horse, Arabian, Morgan, Paso, or other breeds not shaped like quarter horse be prepared to look harder for a saddle and pay more for it.

Rigid Saddle Tree

This is the frame or skeleton of the saddle.  The tree is made of wood or polymer plastic.  Both types properly constructed make a quality saddle.  Wood if not properly constructed, rawhide or fiberglass covered and made water-resistant can rot.  Wood is usually heavier.  Plastic is one piece construction.  Two companies make many of the trees in the US, Ralide Corp and Steele Saddle Tree Co.

  • Bars.  The bars contact the horse and support the saddle and the weight of the rider.
  • Pommel.  The front of the saddle tree attached to the bars and supporting the horn.
  • Cantle.  The back of the tree attached to the bars.
  • Horn.  Attached to the pommel with screws or nails.

Flexible Saddle Tree

This tree differs from the standard tree in that it has some flex from front to back.  The bars are plastic polymer that is a formula with a little flex.  The flex tree has little flex from shoulder to shoulder.  If you don’t have a saddle fitted to each of your horses and your horses have similar build, you might want to consider a flexible tree.  Buy the saddle to fit the widest horse.
Gullet.  The gullet is the part of the saddle where the pommel attaches to the bars of the tree on each side. The measurement is the width from side to side. Gullet height is the measurement to the underside of the pommel with the bare tree sitting on the floor.

Bar Types.  The bar type is the angle at which the bars lay on the horses back or if they may flare out in the front to make room for the shoulders.  Most single piece polymer trees are designed for Quarter Horses.  Unlike polymer trees, the bar type on wooden trees can be changed.

  • Quarter Bar.  Standard tree.  (Gullet width 6 ¾” at the tree)
  • Semi Quarter.  Bars are angled more than the quarter bar for horses with more withers like Arabians.
  • Full Quarter.  Larger, wider horses.  The back of the bars are the same and the front of the bars are wider to about 7”.
  • Gaited Bar
  • Draft Bar
  • Mule Bar
  • Arabian Bar

    The best advise is to become a knowledgeable saddle buyer and take your horse with you to try on saddles.  Take your time shopping and when you know what you want, buy from a reputable manufacturer.

Texas Boot and Saddle Makers Show 2010, October, 1 & 2

October 1 & 2, 2010
Two Days for $10

@ The MPEC
1000 Fifth Street
Wichita Falls, Tx

Contact Info:
Eddie & Kathy Kimmel
325.356.3197 ofc
325.356.2490 ofc/fax

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, Ft Worth

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame recognizes Texas individuals and women that have excelled in the sports as well as business enterprise of rodeo, as well as a traditional western way of life. A handful of of the Inductees consists of: Nolan Ryan, Tommy Lee Jones, Trevor Brazile, Don Edwards, George Strait, Lane Frost, Ty Murray, Barry Corbin, Red Steagall, Tuff Hedeman, J.J. Hampton (17 time PWRA World Champion), Charmayne James, and Don Gay (8 time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider)! Each one of the Inductees possess their personal unique presentation area that includes individual collectibles for the visitors to see.

 Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame opened its doors in 2001. The structure housing Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame is one of the horse and mule barns of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Initially constructed in 1888, all of these barns housed more than 3,000 horses and mules. The unique wooden barns which stood in this area were burned March 14, 1911 when the spark coming from a moving train ignited a fire. They were reconstructed and finished in March 1912 and regarded the initial “fire proof” barns. The bricks, columns, metal doors, cat-walks, and cinder blocks found here are all authentic architecture of yes-ter-year.

 Guests discover many of the world-class displays for a single, minimal, all-day entrance charge.

Help save the freedom of Texas horse teeth floaters

Follow this link.

Texas Cowboy Code

  • Don’t squat with your spurs on.
  • If you find yourself in a hole, first thing to do is stop digging.
  • If you’re ridin ahead of the herd, look back every now and then to make sure the herd is still with ya.
  • The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm.
  • Always drink upstream of the herd.
  • If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.