FIT CLASSIFICATION- UNCERTAINTY RULES! Despite the near-universal use of measurements (gullet, spread, etc.) and breed- or body type-specific descriptions (semi-quarter, full quarter, draft, gaited, etc.), there are NO INDUSTRY-WIDE ACCEPTED AND UTILIZED STANDARDS for saddle tree fits! It’s every saddle tree maker for themselves; one tree maker’s ‘quarter horse’ fit is not necessarily the same as another’s. Even within some tree makers’ own lines, the same fit description can be applied to entirely differently shaped trees. Furthermore, it is impossible to accurately describe - especially for comparison purposes - the complex, three dimensional shape of a saddle tree using a few measurements from one side to the other. DETERMINING FIT: THE PROBLEM & THE SOLUTION Due to the reasons mentioned, it is virtually impossible to determine that your horse needs, say, a ‘quarter horse’ fit. The only way to know if a particular saddle truly fits your horse is to place a tree identical to the one inside the saddle onto your horse. This is impractical and more often than not, impossible (How many stores have trees that correspond to all saddles in stock?). Steele Equi-Fit ®
saddle trees are the only ones on the market that adhere to an across-the-board standard of fit that can be readily tried or demonstrated on your horse. Ten of our most widely utilized fits can be demonstrated using ‘Fit-To-Be- Seen’ (FTBS), the Equi-Fit ® saddle tree fit designation and demonstration system. These ten fits, represented by lightweight ‘Fit Forms,’ are described below. When a particular horse requires a fit beyond those ten, an actual tree (or ‘Fit Tree’) must be used for demonstration purposes. However, due to the large volume of fits offered by Steele way to determine the most proper fit we will have for a particular horse. You will find this process detailed on the following page. Saddle Tree, there is a quicker and better
FTBS FIT DESIGNATIONS The different fits are labeled with a one or two letter designation. In addition, a general description of each follows along with the more familiar breed- specific or back- type classification. These limited descriptions cannot be readily utilized for fit determination but will assist when comparing one to another.
J - Semi-Quarter Horse (Semi)/Arabian - Steeper front and rear rafter angle and closer- spaced bars relative to Standard Quarter Horse fit when positioned at standard spread. In addition, sufficient bow (rocker) enables this fit to conform well to the short Arabian back having a narrow wither dropping off quickly to the shoulder. D - Standard Quarter Horse - Approximate 92º front rafter angle. Good front flare, bow and upturned tails to avoid bridging and bar edge pressure points. TF - Full Quarter Spread - Same bow (rocker) and wind (twist) as ‘D’ fit with an additional 1/2” front spread (‘GW+1/2’ or ‘+1/2’) than standard. NE - Straight-Back Quarter - Similar flare and rafter angle to the ‘D’ fit with much less bow. Developed for straighter backed, well collected horses. Also works well for mules that require a flatter front rafter than the ‘SE’. SE - Mule - Reduced bow and steeper front rafter angle to conform to the distinctive mule back. Helps prevent the back of the saddle rocking up when cinched, which creates tremendous pressure under the stirrup leather when the rider’s weight pushes it back down.
HA - Draft Horse - Approximate 105º front rafter angle. Flatter rear rafter also and less bow for broad, flat backs with little dip. LT - Gaited Horse - Steeper rear rafter angle, additional front flare and more bow relative to the ‘D’ fit. PW - Walking Horse - Flatter rear rafter angle, steeper front rafter angle. AW- Full Wither/Arabian) - Flared out front and rear to allow for full or mutton wither with no pockets. The resulting bow enables this fit to conform well to the short Arabian back having wide withers rounding out into the shoulder. The AW has also been found to work for more dipped-back draft horses. X- Performance Quarter - Flatter front and rear rafter angle and less convex front bar pads allow for the broad wither and well-developed shoulder muscles of the highly trained, daily ridden working quarter horse. A more open waist facilitates collecting and core development.
1343 SADDLE TREE ROAD • ASHLAND CITY, TN 37015 • Office: 615-792-7171 • Fax: 615-792-0015 www.SteeleEquifit.com • email: info@SteeleEquifit.com
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