Are your saddle trees prefab or custom made?

Now to tell you about my trees. Each tree is custom made to your horses pattern and your measurements. There are some specific sizes in trees that do fit a lot of horses and of course people also. I fit your horses pattern in it and do all the final work on the tree before we fiberglass it. This way we can get a superior fit on you and the horse. The fiberglass is light weight and it gives the tree strength as well as water proofing and bug proofing it.

Can I have the stirrup straps set anywhere I want them?

Yes. That is the beauty of having a saddle custom made. Normally we set them according to a persons physical build which can vary considerably from one person to another.

How do I care for my new saddle?

Above all I can not stress the importance of oil! Always use an oil of animal origin. Do not use anything that is vegetable or derived from a petroleum product, the reason is petroleum distillates will relax the fibers in leather weakening it and the stitching. All vegetable products can react with the air, moisture and ingredients in the leather to eventually turn rancid which rots the leather. We do not recommend leather conditioners as they do not put enough protective oils deep into the leather. We do recommend any good quality saddle butter in sufficient quantity, mink oil, lanolin, or any oil made for leather. We especially recommend Leather Therapy and Leather Therapy Wash. This oil far surpasses any product for it's restoration and softening qualities. It stays in the leather even after repeated soakings where most oils leach out in a short time. We suggest dumping your oil in a can and using a 11/2" to 2" paint brush with natural bristles ( don't use nylon) and brushing it on. Even if you don't have time to clean the leather first. It is more important to get the oil into the leather than let it go because of lack of time. No cows hide ever went to pieces because of being dirty but he can't function without moisture! The seat should not be oiled every time you oil the rest of the saddle. A light coat of oil a couple times a year is usually sufficient. If excess oil is put on the seat it will soak through into the foam and cause the foam to deteriorate.

I get a lot of pain in my lower back when I ride. What is the cause?

The cause for low back pain can come from the stirrup straps being set out in front of you too far. You have to lean foreword to try to obtain your center of balance and posting becomes very difficult. Even in trying to sit a trot you can not be in a balanced position and effectively take the shock out of the trot in your legs and ankles. If your horse spooks and your body is not properly lined up then you can not get your feet back under you quick enough to off set the centrifugal force and your posterior being the heaviest part of the anatomy will be at the mercy of gravity.

I get knee and ankle pain when I ride. What causes this?

The stirrup straps not set at the right position can cause knee pain. We make our stirrup straps out of nylon which offer great flexibility and offer the absence of torque on your knees and ankles. After riding a new saddle two or three times the single thickness of leather in the fenders will mould around your leg and at the same time molding the nylon stirrup strap.

I have used the wire method to obtain a pattern of my horse's back when I ordered a saddle from another manufacturer. When I received the saddle, it didn't fit. How can I be sure a Desoto saddle will fit?

All other manufacturers use trees of a pre determined size and shape and are already made. They use your pattern to fit as close as possible in these ready made trees. We actually have the tree built to fit your exact pattern. We also use the pattern off your horses back to fit in the custom tree and fine tune it before fiberglassing it. This way we can get a perfect fit.

If I feel the fork in the front of the saddle is too high, can I have it lowered?

Providing your horses withers do not mandate the need for the standard height than it can be lower.
If I get another horse and the saddle doesn't fit, can I change the tree to make it fit?
If the new horse is narrower or steeper pitched then we can rework the bottom of the tree to properly fill it in. If the new horse is much wider than the horse the saddle was built for, then nothing can be done to make the tree wider or have a more lay down pitch.

If I have several horses, can you make one saddle to fit all of them?

Statistically, many farms that have multiple horses have animals from similar or shared bloodlines. Genetically they are usually similar in conformation especially in their backs. If the horses are of different bloodlines then the tendency of a person to pick horses with very similar characteristics 80% of the time applies. One horse may have a longer back, shorter back or higher or lower withers but when you are on top of a horse looking down the picture you see in your eye as far as width and body mass is the same from one to another. The dimensions of the area where the saddle sits will often be very close to each other.

If my horse gains or loses weight, will the saddle still fit?

If your horse gains weight over the winter months or from being layed off from an injury use thinner pad under the saddle. If he loses a little too much in the summer increase the pad thickness. The tree in your saddle does allow for a considerable amount of change in his back.

If something happens to my horse, what chances do I have of this saddle fitting my next horse?

About 80% chance. Most people who have ridden horses a good share of their lives have in mind the type of horse they enjoy riding. About 80% of the time a person will purchase a horse very close to the same conformation as their previous horse. Close enough so the saddle will still fit.

My horse has extremely high withers. Can you build a saddle that won't hit his withers?

The trees are cut out in the fork so it is very thin and you are able to close your hand around it. It is no higher than the fork on an A Fork roping saddle but you don't have the bulk of the heavy fork so there is plenty of room for the highest of withers

My horse is short-backed. Can you build a saddle that doesn't bridge his back or make him sore in the loins?

We build all our saddles with trees that have short bars. They are long enough to displace the riders weight properly but short enough to fit the extremely short backed horse. When the bars are of the proper type and length and they fit down properly on each side of the withers the tree will not bridge the back.

What are the trees made out of?

The trees are made of Lodge Pole Pine from the western slope of the Rocky Mountains which has been desert dried. This is a very straight grained, relatively light weight wood with very small knots and when it is properly dried will not warp or twist over time.

What is the "wire method" of obtaining a pattern of my horse's back and how do I do it?

The "wire method" is explained on the Fitting Page.

Why do you use fiberglass to cover the tree?

Fiberglass is relatively light weight. It waterproofs and preserves the wood indefinitely. Nothing equals fiberglass for strength.