Saddlemakers can't make a "Silk Purse from a SOW'S EAR". Yet they refuse to believe that the tree makes that much difference. As the manager at CACTUS told me;"We operate on the 70/30 theory. We fit 70% of the horses with our trees." I guess the 30% is just out of luck? Honestly, the percentage is probably switched and the Common Saddletree is lucky to fit 30% of the horse's you put them on. Even when they do, a saddlemaker often screws up a good tree with Skirts thick enough to make great CAST on your horse. Then the good TREE doesn't have a Chance. It's style boys. It's the fact that they would have to USE a bandknife splitter on every piece of leather or Order it split in the hide to make saddles like the oldtimers did. Skirts are only useful for protecting the horse from stirrup strap swing and softening the edges of the bars as a horse bends into them. Most of the time he hit's the stiff front edges of the Skirts and never feels the Bar. "IT MAKES NO SENSE!
"A BARE TREE OPERATES BETTER THAN A FINISHED SADDLE IN MOST INSTANCES!" - Len Brown
The saddle & horse below belong to a well known trainer in N.Missouri. It is a great example of a custom saddle that doesn't work. The bar angles keep the horse tight from being pinched at the top. It's strange he brought another saddle with him that he likes better but every horse he rides it on gets nervous & hard to handle. I turned it over and felt the skirts where the stirrup straps go under the tree bars. Sure enough: a nice BUMP from the strap that is like a set of knuckles every time the horse takes a stride and lifts his back. He went home with a Corrector pad and has bought extras since. They work on everything but the stirrup strap problem. That my friends is a SADDLETREE PROBLEM. No groove on the underside of the bars in The SADDLETREE! Lift your Fender & look at the skirt under the strap. Does it have a depression in it? I've pressed on that grove and the horse kept walking away from me. The Saddle was on an Inch thick Felt Pad! IT DOENS'T TAKE MUCH OF A BUMP TO MAKE A HORSE REALLY "PISSY".
Below is a roping saddle with quarter horse bars. An example of too much rock working up and down in front pinching and rubbing. The Q/H bar angle creates rocks off the middle of the back because the bars have become too curved when there turned out at the bottom in front. This puts too much curve front to rear, why your saddle pops up in the rear as you cinch.
Below you will see a picture of Len's Low Down Roper 14.5" saddletree with a 7 3/4" gullet with No-Pinch Twist bars.