Officers saddles

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Joseph Sullivan
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Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:35 pm

In prepping some more of my stuff for the great winnowing out of the storage area, I found that I had forgotten that I had the '16 tainig saddle, the 1
'17 field saddle and pommel pouches and the '17 Saumur -type officers' saddle with pommel pouches. I took a lot of pix, some for auction site X and some for us. the ones for us (and I'll send them in the next day or so) revealed an unexpected difference. It is generally acknowledged that the US M '17 was essentially the French saddle with minor modifications. Howevef, with my two examples, I noticed that the French tree and seat seemed narrower. When I measured, it was considerably narrower in the gullet. One explanation could be that like modern cross country and dressage saddles, they came with different trees to fit different backs. Does anybody know?
Joe
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TL Foster
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Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:24 am

To answer your question the answer is YES! As a licensed Large Animal Massage Practitioner (WA), sore backs are a major issue that I frequently deal with. At some point after evaluating and treating a horse with a sore back, the saddle most used will be checked for a proper fit. I'm not a saddle maker, but I have training in basic fitting. A gullet the is too wide will frequently put excess pressure on the lateral spinal processes. Too narrow, interferes with the spine itself as an single example. A frequent fix is using pads or multiple layers to mitigate a poorly fitting saddle. That rarely works. The reason I have 8 saddles is that I have a variety of breeds that have huge differences in their back conformation, which also change as they age. In dressage, if the saddle doesn't fit, you will NOT make progress. Yes, good fitting and well made saddles are $$$$. The French saddles are different from the German, or the Russian and on and on. Other than the Thoroughbred, US remounts have little in common with European Cavalry mounts. Thus the reason for the difference in the gullet width of my 1917, 1936, and my UP1915 to the French saddle. Different conformations, from hundreds of years of breeding to develop the ultimate cavalry mount.
Now that I've got that out of my system, I can't wait to see pictures of your saddles. :thumbup:
SUGEBAT SED PERFICEDAMUS (IN THE VULGAR) 5-B-89
...Specialization is for insects. RAH
Joseph Sullivan
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Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:51 am

Yes, well aware of the saddle fit problem, and how often it is ignored. In fact, I cannot use ANY historic military saddle with my wide barrel- and-backed Arabians. Even with most modern saddles, like my Stubbens, I must have the very widest tree and sometimes use pads with pockets for shims in order to get a comfortable fit. A tree that is too narrow cannot be managed by using more saddle pad; it is the equivalent of wearing ticker socks to stop a tight boot from hurting.
Joe
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