Taking a Template
The front arch of the saddle tree must be exactly the same shape and width as that part of the horse’s back where it should be positioned. This position is 3-4″ behind the top back angle of the scapula (shoulder blade bone). We need to find this point before a template can be taken.
1. Locate Back Top Corner
From the nearside using the right hand, slide your fingers backward over the shoulder blade until your fingers can dig in over the edge of the shoulder blade bone, then move your fingers upwards until you locate the back top corner or angle of the bone.
2. Front Arch Position
Then mark a point 2-3″ further back. Using an 60cm flexicurve, mould it carefully over this part of the back. This is the position where the front arch of the tree should sit.
3. Draw Around Flexicurve
Lay the Flexicurve on top of an A4 sheet of paper and draw around the flexicurve. Another template in the future will show you whether your horse has changed shape.
4. Spine Curve
Next mould the flexicurve along the spine and as before draw this outline onto an A4 sheet of paper.
Please note that the shoulder comprises both the scapula or blade bone itself plus the cartilage attached to the dorsal or top border of the scapula. Some saddle fitters use the back of the cartilage as the point from which to measure. However, Minster believe that the bone provides a more precise position than the cartilage.
5. Send Your Flexicurve Outlines
The templates can then be scanned and emailed to us at email@example.com. However, we ask that you also pop the originals in the post to us when it is convenient. To be 100% sure, Ian likes to see the originals! Please write your name and that of the horse on the template paper and send to:
Ian Jenkin, 39 Kingswear Road, London NW5 1EU.
If you have any questions about taking a template please do not hesitate to ask. It is quite straightforward and we can guide you through the process. If you are unsure we may suggest you ask your trainer or instructor or a more experienced friend to help.