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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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
- If you are going to mail this to me, fold up and do so.
- 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