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Bar risers or not - pros and cons?

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I build all-leather groundseats, and with every saddle I ask myself again, "Bar risers or not?"

Without them, there is danger of scoring the rawhide when cutting stirrup slots, and the seat is closer to the horse's spine/saddle pad, but the rider is that much closer to the horse and it's easier to make use of the seat curvature built into the tree by a good treemaker.

With them, it can be more difficult to make the seat shape I want, and the rider is just that much higher off the horse.

 

Thoughts?

 

Julia McCormack

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Scored rawhide is a large cause of broken tree bars IMHO so a + for bar risers and that business about closeness is a myth, as far as I'm concerned; much better to have balance and comfort brought by a well shaped seat, so what if it is 1/16 or even 1/8 higher up in the air, if the insides of the thighs are as close to the tree as the bar risers allow and everything else is in balance.

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I agree with Oltoot on the scored rawhide.  I've seen many older saddles (and some not so old) where the rawhide had been scored and later split open to expose the wood underneath, resulting in breakage or rotted wood from moisture getting to it.  I do feel however, that the risers add a little bulk to my seats where I don't want it.  It takes more work and shaping to get back to where  I would be if I didn't put them in.  So, I haven't found the perfect answer.  I do know that the shape of the top of the bars has a big effect on how much work I have to go through to get the seat I want, and there are trees (makers) I won't buy, and won't buy again for this reason.

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I agree with toot also, and would say this as well, you need so much room for your stirrup leathers to pass through your seat (tunnels) whichever way  you build your ground seat.  I really feel a qualified saddle maker can get the seat a customer wants either way a ground seat is built rather it be solid  ground seat or risers.  Scoring rawhide can definately cause broken trees. I have retreed some pretty expensive handmade saddles caused from scored rawhide.  Just my 2 cents worth.

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