A Tracing Is required to determine the correct width of the tree. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- ZALDI BACK GAUGE
- WIRE TRACING OR ARCHITECTURAL RULER
The gauge is placed over the horse’s back, on the withers, 5cm (approximately 3 fingers width) behind the back edge of the horse’s scapula – see diagram below.
Gently adjust the gauge opening until both legs rest lightly on the horse.
You can then read off the measurement for the width of tree required for your horse. This should fall within the range of 28cm to 36cm.
Place the gauge 5cm behind the scapula. If you are unsure, the diagram should help you locate this.
WIRE TRACING INSTRUCTIONS (MOST ACCURATE)
Any wire measuring 22" in length, that is pliable enough to shape but rigid enough to hold its shape will work. A coat hanger wire will work, being careful press hard enough so the wire maintains the new shape. I prefer the Architectural ruler for this job.
Take two pieces of letter size paper and tape together. This will make it easy to scan later.
Tracing Position 1 (3 fingers behind scapula) - Locate the scapula. (Helps to mark it with chalk.) Bend the ruler/wire in half and place the ruler 3 fingers wide behind the scapula, over the wither. Take the wire/ruler and place it on a large piece of paper, trace the inside of the wire/ruler shape onto the paper.
Tracing Position 2 (Lowest point of the back) - To determine the lowest part of the back if it is not obvious to the eye, place a pencil at the wither and let it roll down the back. It will settle on the lowest point of the back. Place the ruler here. Bend it to shape and trace onto the paper (using a different color ink is helpful).
Tracing Position 3 (The topline) - Open the ruler to flat, then lay along the topline of your horse. Trace onto the paper.
Transfer the wire to the two pieces of letter size paper that you have taped together. Repeat for all 3 tracing positions. No need to make multiple pages, just place each tracing overtop of each other as seen in the example tracing.
SENDING YOUR TRACING
28cm (aprox. 11.02") very Narrow
29cm (aprox. 11.05") Narrow
30cm (aprox. 11.08") Medium Narrow
31cm (aprox. 12") Medium Small
32cm (aprox. 12.05") Medium( most common)
33cm (aprox. 13.") Medium wide
34cm (aprox. 13.04") Wide
35cm (aprox. 13.08") X Wide
36cm (aprox. 14") XXWide
The saddle should vertically clar the horse's wither when the rider is sittingon the saddle. As a rough guide, there should be a minimum of about 3.5 cm (about 1.5" or 2 fingers' width) clearance. The saddle must also clear the horse's spine and sith with an equal bearing surface at the front and rear.
Zaldi handcrafts (2.75") wide to clear the horse's spine. They offer the option of the saddle narrow width of 5 cm (2"), a wide width of 9cm (3.5") or the addition of the 11cm for the horses with very wide withers and heavier bone. The panels should sit on either side of the spine on the longissimus muscle. The panels should not touch the spine or be too wide that they are laying on the outisde of the longissimus muscle.
Place fingers on either side of the spinal column at the base of the withers, where the first vertebra begins, measuring the width with your index and thumb. This measurement is the width required between the panels, the Channel Width.
Note reference Zaldi saddles: If you order the wrong size, your horse changes or you need to fit to a different horse then the current generation of Zaldi saddles are 'factory' adjustable within the range above and can be returned to us for adjustment.
We offer free adjustment service, you pay shipping.
CHOOSING THE CORRECT SEAT SIZE
The seat size is not necessarily dependant on the size of your backside! When sitting, measure the length from the base of the spine (tail bone or coccyx) to the knee. This is the important measurement you need to choose your saddle size. The column on the right of the charge shows the saddle seat sizes.
Deep seats in the dressage saddle will require a longer size then the same rider in the flatter seat of a jump saddle, usually moving up 1/2 to 1 size. Example: 17" jump saddle semi flat seat would compare to an 18" professional deep dressage saddle. In the case of the very deep Kira Klass, high size increase again due to the deepness of seat.
SIDESADDLES - Saddle or tree width is measured from the front of the seat to the cantle, much like a western saddle. The photo shows the comparison between the sidesaddle measurement (red) and the english saddle measurement (yellow).
CARE AND WARRANTY
It is important to remember that by just placing a saddle on a horses back without tightening the girth, you cannot determine if there is a good fit.
A bottle of leather condition and instructions to oil your saddle upon arrival accompanies your saddle. Oiling everything that is leather extends the life of your sadle and aids in shortening the break-in period. Remember that leather is skin and dry skin cracks and is not supple.
Keep your stirrup leathers conditioned as well. When dry, they act like sandpaper and will rub the finish of your flaps. Caring for the leather on your saddle will give you a lifetime of riding.
All Zaldi sadles come with a 10 year limited warranty on the tree.
ZALDI SADDLE FACTS
Materials: Saddles are now available in a variety of materials as well as traditional leather. Latest synthetic materials, such as the ranges available in Z-plus, are very easy to clean - just soap and water - and virtually stain-proof as well as being strong, hard-wearing and available in a wide range of colours.
Trees: A 'new generation' of high-tech trees are now being produced by Zaldo to a very high specification. Made from special thermoplastic materials (and some also incorporate carbon-fibre) developed in conjunction with CIDAUT (Foundation for the Investigation and Development in Transport and Energy) these trees possess the necessary rigidity with a great capacity to deform and absorb energy in specified areas. They are also light in weight.
The saddle tree may be considered the 'heart' of the saddle and must have some elasticity to help disperse the rider's weight over the horse's back but the tree must not be 100% elastic because friction points can be created which can cut off the circualtion in the middle of the horse's spinal column.
Zaldi's latest saddle trees are specifically designed and differently shaped to suit each individual application. They include: deep dressage, very deep dressage, smei-flat jump, intermediate all-purpose, light flexible endurance/raid, comfortable 'mountain', resistant 'country'.
There is now even a new Zaldi lightweight design for the traditional Spanish Vaquera saddle incorporating state of the art carbon fibre, or carbon-fibre/polypropylene mix trees.
Traditional style Vaquera saddles are now available with the new Zaldi tree and being more flexible and signifcantly lighter in weight are kinder to the horse's back. Panels are now available filled with either natural animal hair or latex rubber. Older traditional saddles tended to be very rigid, relatively heavy, made in one 'standard' size and were filled with rush or straw fibres. These older traditional saddles would basically 'mould' itself to some extent to the horse's shape with the disadvantage that the saddle became less transferrable from horse to horse.
Note the traditional 'bucket' stirrups used on Vaquera saddles are effectively 'safety' stirrups as it is unlikely you can slip your foot through them (so long as they are correctly sized stirrups, i.e. not a child riding in adult/full size stirrups) and be dragged in a fall. Even these have been modernized now and are available much lighter in weight, using alloy or plastic materials.