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Laney Humphrey hit the mark about saddle fit. I would just like to add that the reason we are having so much confusion about saddle fit is that few people are using measurement. Every other sport, business, and discipline uses measurement. The Babylonians started measuring things 1,000's of years ago. For some reason modern equestrians want to try everything else, but measurement, to determine saddle fit. It is insane.

Without measurement is no way to make "value comparisons". The basis of "consumer protection law" is that customers must know what they are buying. Hello, you can not "objectively describe a three dimensions shape with one relative dimension like narrow or wide. The United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 15, Commerce & Foreign Trade, Sec. 16.3 Definitions. (f) "The term performance characteristic means a performance characteristic of a consumer product that can be measured in an objective manner with respect to a given consumer product."

It is high time that the saddle industry sets voluntary product standards for saddles so that customers can know what they are buying. Voluntary Product Standards are developed under procedures published by the Department of Commerce in Part 10, Title 15, of the Code of Federal Regulations. The purpose of these standards is to establish nationally recognized requirements for products and to provide all concerned interests with a basis for common understanding of the characteristics of the products. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) acts as an unbiased coordinator in their development, provide editorial assistance in their preparation, supply such assistance  and review as is required to assure their technical soundness, and to seek satisfactory adjustment of valid points of disagreement.  Producers, distributors, users, consumers, and other interested groups contribute to the establishment of Voluntary Product Standards by initiating and participating in their development, providing technical or other counsel as appropriate, promoting the use of and support for the standards, and assisting in keeping the standards current with respect to advancing technology and marketing practices.

The first draft of the UNITED STATES SADDLE STANDARD  is currently being written. If you would like to read this draft 1.0 or contribute any information or insight to these standards search For additional information about  Federal Regulations effecting the saddle industry can be found at direct links to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, The Federal Trade Commission and Dept of Commerce are available in the footnotes.


Laney Humphrey wrote:

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 08:48:29 -0800
From: Laney Humphrey <>
Subject: good saddle fit - long
Message-Id: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hi All!  Just had to add my 2 cents worth about Boz saddles and saddle fit
in general.
1st cent: just like all good, concerned saddlemakers, Boz has changed and
refined the way he does things over the years, so if you're using an older
version, send it in for refitting, you'll be surprised at the differences.

2nd cent: Boz' saddles depend for their fit on their foam pads.  These need
to be replaced - often!!!  If you ride a lot, maybe even twice a year but
usually not that often.  The reason is that foam breaks down and collapses.
 But before you write Boz' saddles off because of that, remember that the
stuffed panels on "english" saddles need attention JUST AS OFTEN - maybe
twice a year if you ride a lot, and the pads you put under your more
"western" type saddle need attention JUST AS OFTEN because guess why?
(Hint: they are made of foam.  Also, english-type panels are now most often
filled with foam and even the old hair/wool stuffing felts and compacts.)
        Leigh makes a very good point that it is easy to shim a Boz saddle by
putting the shim between the pad and the bottom of the tree; Boz will also
make specially shaped pads to fit, and there is no reason why you can't use
another pad incorporating shims under his pads if necessary.

        I'm not so interested in praising Boz saddles as I am in reminding you
that all saddles need constant attention - think of a saddle as being most
like you own shoes: they change shape and fit the longer you wear them and
finally need replacing or refittng.  The value of knowledgeable and well
trained farriers and even dentists is now pretty well accepted but we
aren't yet focued to the same degree on the importance of saddle refitters
and we should be.       Another way to look at the issue is to stop complaining
about all the time and attention we put into our saddles and start patting
ourselves on the back for being so concerned about such an importance piece
of equipment!  Think of it this way: if you finally find a saddle that's
perfect today, it won't be tomorrow because use changes it (just like our
shoes) but that doesn't mean you should throw it out, just establish a
repair schedule of replacing pads, adding or subtracting shims, reflocking
the panels and whatever else is necessary, which might include putting that
saddle away for a while until your horse's back returns to the shape the
saddle fits which it probably will at some point during the riding year.
And painful though this is, add "saddle care" as an on-going budget item
right along with vet payments, shoeing, and dentistry because it's just as
important.  Actually, from the number of posts about saddles, most of you
are already spending a bunch of time and money here, now is the time to
start thinking positively about it instead of thinking you've "failed"
because you can't find a saddle that stays perfect forever.
        Sorry this got so long!

fn:Robert Ferrand

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