FYI---Wither Tracing

Cordia Pearson

Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitter

Home A, B, C's of Saddlefitting Returns & Exchanges Dressage Saddles Hunt & Jump Saddles Endurance, Trail & AP Second Hand Saddles Western Saddles Children's Saddles Cutback Show Saddles ThinLine Pads Clearance! Saddle Pads Girths Leather & Irons Bridles, Reins, Halters Protective Boots Horse Hair Jewelry Avatar Morgans Upcoming Clinics Contact Us! Favorite Links Saddling The Breeds Search This Site

Wither tracing is an uncomplicated, low tech, yet vital element of saddle fitting.  All horses and all riders benefit from this practice.  Twice a year is the normal recommendation for this process and save your tracings.  If you are a year round rider, they are a valuable record of your horse's progress.

  1. Gather together a couple of legal size pieces of paper, a board to clip or rubber band them to, a black felt tip pen (Sharpie by Sanford works well), a flexible curve or a 24" long piece of plumbers' solder thick enough to hold its form, a piece of chalk of a color that will show up well on your horse and a helper if at all possible.
  2. With your papers affixed to the board and resting on a stable (heh-heh---barn humor, who can resist?) surface, gently fold your flexible curve or solder in half.
  3. Working down from the withers, probe with your fingertips, seeking out the BACK edge of your horse's shoulderblade.  Once you've found it, place two or three of your fingers alongside the back edge (more if your fingers are small, less if large.)  Draw a chalk line alongside the side of your fingers nearest your horses' hindquarters.  Repeat on the other side.
  4. Place one half of the flexible curve or solder along this line and stroke it into place until it takes your horse's form.  Ask your helper to hold that side in place while you move to the other side and repeat the process.
  5. Return to the first side and check that it is holding its shape.  Once all is well, pluck the form off your horses, lifting it carefully with both hands.  A flexible curve will do this with ease; solder takes a little more care.
  6. Lay the curve on the piece of paper and while holding it in place, trace the inside line with the felt tip.  (You will need to tip the trace to fit the piece of paper.)
  7. Lay out a new piece of paper and smooth out the curve.  This time, starting at the withers, where the mane ends, smooth the curve down the center of your horse's spine.
  8. Just like the wither trace, pluck the curve and trace it on the felt tip.  Be sure to write WITHER to indicate which end is which <VBG>
  9. If you are going to mail this to me, fold up and do so. 
  10. If you are going to fax, one more step.  Place a piece of 8.5 X 11 paper over your legal sheet containing the wither trace (or use a ruler) and draw a line with a pen.  Before cutting the two pieces apart, place a ruler across both sides and mark off 1.5" marks in .5" increments on either side of the cut.  This is will help a lot if there is any distortion in the faxing process.  Cut the two pieces apart and tape the littler one onto a standard piece of paper for faxing.  Make certain your name and contact info is on all three pieces of paper!  As long as you ship the wither portion of the back trace, an 8.5 X 11 will give me enough of a view to work with.  This is a workable drawing of a wither trace on the left and a back trace on the right.  The word, wither, would need to be added to the top left of the back trace, but that all.

                       

More articles and info:  Click on title

How to Select a New Saddle

How to do Wither Traces

Saddle Fitting Clinics

Saddle Selection Quiz

 

Home A, B, C's of Saddlefitting Returns & Exchanges Dressage Saddles Hunt & Jump Saddles Endurance, Trail & AP Second Hand Saddles Western Saddles Children's Saddles Cutback Show Saddles ThinLine Pads Clearance! Saddle Pads Girths Leather & Irons Bridles, Reins, Halters Protective Boots Horse Hair Jewelry Avatar Morgans Upcoming Clinics Contact Us! Favorite Links Saddling The Breeds Search This Site