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Hello Folks,

Been a year or two since I've been around here.  I am looking for some assistance with balance.  I have a bunch to learn yet about construction.  There are more pieces on this saddle that I did a few times and still didn't get them right, but got them close enough to live with.  So here is my questions.  Making a saddle that is built well and fits the horse and rider seems fairly straight forward.  How do you make one line up to the eye to be appealing.  I know what I like but is there has to be some rules of thumb to live by when cutting in the exterior lines that will make the front, back, top and bottom tie together well?  With the pictured saddle we were trying to keep things as tight as possible without loosing the overall balance.  I feel like the flat plate confounds things by adding an additional line to the overall view.  I certainly prefer a flat plate, especially for this saddle which will be on a bunch of colts and likely roped out of some, just feel like there was a better way to cut the lines on it.  How do you set the lines on a saddle?

Thank you,

Rob Gerbitz

Near side pic.JPG

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Rob,

This is an interesting subject and not one I have enough experience on to hold very valid opinions...

However, when I started building saddles what I observed was that saddles that had the seat jockey and the rear jockeys more or less lined up on the horizontal looked 'balanced'.  I also try to get my rosettes lined up horizontally - The ones at the latigo carriers and the farthest back ones on the rear jockeys.  The other thing I think looks good is a seat jockey depth that matches the skirt depth at the cantle point - However, that does make a deeper skirt which some may not care for.

Very subjective in my opinion...What I like may look terrible to others for all I know!

Here are some examples of my work showing what I have done... as you can see I struggle to line up my jockeys on the horizontal - However I do try too get it so that the lines from one to the other, if imagined, flow nicely.  I have yet to build a saddle I think looks really good.  I typically only see mistakes.

My last two rigs have been inskirt rigged which I really like - I believe they are strong if built right and cleaner looking than a flat plate.  I also like the lack of leather bulk under my leg - It does feel closer to the horse.  So far they have held up to roping well - We rope bulls from time to time and have observed no problems.

Rigging-Ring.jpg.f20389ad809e952be9d889f797fcfcc3.jpg

large.3-02.jpg.12dfbf22c387486551f9d7c820146a5f.jpglarge.SS-01.jpg.7978ae713524bc83be46dc987a8ca9ea.jpg

Makers who have lines that I really like are Mike Keetch and Bryan Kendrick - I like to study saddles like theirs and analyse why they 'look great' with the goal of improving my own work.

RDL

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All I can say is all of the above look awesome!  I would be proud for my pony to wear any of them!

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Rob,

First off, I think it's a nice looking saddle and appreciate you sharing it. I am far from an expert and am just trying to learn. My initial observation was that the skirts looked shallow in the rear and the rigging dominates the view. I like the rear dees to be up on the skirt. I think the rigging is balanced, but the skirts are just too shallow for my taste. I will admit that the saddle I ride (#3 for me) has skirts a little too shallow for my liking, but it wasn't enough to cut new skirts (attached picture). I think the skirts (right or wrong) changed how the rest of the pieces were shaped (front and seat jockeys in particular).

After I read Ron's comments, I looked at your jockeys a little closer. I would like to see a more defined front jockey. I am going to blame my skirt depth and lack of experience for my front and seat jockey shape. 

Regardless, its a great looking saddle and remember I am nowhere close to an expert.

Randy

IMG_8133.JPG

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Rob, one thing I have been looking at is the color you got on that saddle - Really, really like that coloring - Looks very rich - How did you achieve that?

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Great looking saddle!

I think we all have preferences in line , shapes , rigging , skirt size and ........

Your rigging looks good - most importantly is it's function!

You mention your flat plate not having the lines you would like to see. But I see a well constructed rigging with very short skirts. 

That throws my eye off a bit and also a large Cheyenne roll with short skirts. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I find it hard to balance shapes when using short skirts. Again great looking saddle Billy

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Great input gentlemen, very much appreciated.  It is a challenge to balance out customer wants vs. what looks good.  In this case the customer (my wife) wanted as shallow of skirts as possible and a heavy, easy to hold on to Cheyenne roll (it's her go to "OH !@%$" handle).  I believe that a thinner and narrower roll with a steeper angle out the back may have helped the back end tie together a bit better.  I am in the process of building another one with similar skirts and will be changing a few of these lines to see if I can improve the overall balance.

Billy,

I like and prefer the flat plate construction and in this saddle feel that it worked into the design as well as possible.  Just saying that the additional lines that it adds to the saddle take some additional planning to make the finished appearance look planned and balanced.  For instance I had made the flat plates prior to blocking the skirts.  during the fit up the point where the flat plate leather meets the rear dee was hanging about a half inch below the skirts once they were blocked.  Which took a bit of correcting on the plates before I could install them.  Novice mistake.  Tuition paid in full for that lesson.

RDL,

The color came from using Herman Oak's russet skirting and olive oil.  Which prompted the purchase of a Cobra 14" splitter due to Weaver only selling 13/15 in the Russet.  Bonus.  Please don't shoot me for using olive oil.  Not my preference, but in this case it produced the color Princess desired.

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image.jpg.3a951f786169fe8cf92d63b7c2bfa885.jpg

image.jpg.45bf5b8523acaba43206e8e6ce210f54.jpgRob ,

I'm a big fan of Flatplate rigging also. This saddle had fairly short skirts and I narrowed the Cheyenne roll to help its lines a bit.

image.thumb.jpg.958b6b10819f5371f07fd63afd9f0081.jpgThis saddle I think needed a shorter Cheyenne Roll with more angle

image.jpg.4bb27d60ff6a8a31aeeba3e45cd9c42e.jpgThis saddle had a very shallow skirt - so I used a Ring Rig to help the saddles lines a bit. The past few years Ring Rigging has fallen out of favor, but I like them a lot.

Looking forward to your next saddle!  Regards Billy

Edited by Billy H

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