To Take a Wither
I have been told that a flexible ruler works the best, but I have always
used a piece of flexible wire such as baling wire or even thick electrical
cable. Anything that will start as a straight wire and bend easily enough to
mold to the shape and then retain the shape long enough to trace onto a
sheet of paper.
Find the horse's shoulder blade. This bone is called the scapula, and it
drops off very noticeably when you run your hand from his shoulder to his
back. You want to make your tracing behind the shoulder, where you would
want your saddle tree to start. I like to have about 2” behind the blade
itself, or 1” behind the “movement” of the shoulder (if you have someone
lift the front leg and gently extend it forward, you will be able to find
this spot with no trouble. If you are alone, have your horse move around you
and look at the movement of his shoulders.
Once you find this spot this is where you should take the tracing. Making
certain that your horse is standing square (front feet equal); place the
tracing tool of choice over the horse's spine, with about 6” on either side
of the spine. We only need about 6” on either side of the spine. Conform the
tool to the horse's back exactly, and then put the tool onto a horizontal
piece of 8 ½”x11” paper and trace it. If you feel that your horse has an
unusual shape (very flat from hip to shoulder or very dropped behind the
shoulders, you can make several of these about every 4 inches. It is
actually rare that we need anything more than the first tracing. Be certain
to put your name, the saddle and seat size that interests you and your
contact information (email and telephone numbers) on at least the first page
and number the pages (if you feel the need to send more than one), with your
last name and the page number.
You can either fax or mail these tracings to us at the address on the “Contact
Us” page. If you decide to fax
them, please help us to determine if the Fax has distorted your drawings by
doing the following on each page: Put a 4” line on each page within the
tracing, marking the length of the line so that we can measure and compare.
If you want to check the saddle that is currently being used on the horse to
see if it fits and get an idea of how and why if it does not, you can take
the wire or wires (once you have carefully traced
them) and place them within the tree of your saddle starting directly under
the saddle horn of a Western saddle or under the pommel of an English one.
You are looking for how well the saddle tree and wire have the same shape.
The angle of the tree is as important as the width of the gullet since the
matching of the angles makes a wider plane to take the weight of the saddle