Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Saddle Maker Is Coming - Pt 1 of 4 Part series of Saddle Fit

Howdy Folks, 

This'll be an exciting few days. Larry Wilson, the fellow who keeps me straight in the saddle, is coming to stay a few days. Well he's actually coming to start a saddle for a friend of mine, but he'll be bunking at our house while he's here. I know Larry for over 10 years, and he's built my horses 4 saddles.

If you've never heard about Larry Wilson he builds custom saddles. And I believe everyone should give their horse a gift of a Wilson Saddle. Larry builds the tree, right there on your farm. Fits it to the horse while you watch. Before he leaves for home you ride the tree and he inspects everything for perfect fit, freedom of movement and proper contact and support, for you and your horse. Because he builds all his own trees not only is the fit perfect for the horse, but for the rider, too. He even places the stirrup leathers and bar where they belong for you, the rider. But he can do so much more.

Over the years I've watched as horses with injured shoulders from pinching, or forward tipping saddles are healed by Larry's saddles. I've seen horses who've never had a saddle fit them, become happy and healthy. One of the things I see doing my "Therapy For Therapy Horses" clinics is plenty of sore backs, shoulders and hips.

Let me tell you of the magic Larry did for me and my beloved Diablo. This was the first saddle he'd made for me. Diablo was an ex-show horse, a stunning Spotted Saddle Horse I'd been riding for about a year. At the time I was doing a bit of Competitive Trail and Endurance riding. Because my disease had blessed me with, among other things, significant scoliosis and a pelvis that is quite twisted my horses always traveled a bit to the right. And I was always reining left. Too many times after an Endurance ride my horses needed the attention of a chiropractor. At a tack shop I'd heard about Larry and decided to check him out.

When the day came that he was watching me ride the tree on Diablo he asked why we were drifting to the right. Of course I told him my horses always do that because of my back and pelvis. To which he responded, "I think I can fix that." For half an hour he patiently put tiny shims under my butt and even one on what would become the cantle. Eventually he had Diablo gaiting perfectly straight without me touching the reins. Even though I can never sit quite even, now my weight was distributed evenly to Diablo. I'll never forget that magical day.

You see Larry fits the tree to the horse and the rider so both can move freely and comfortably. This I feel is very important. And you know one of the best things is, his saddles don't cost anymore than a quality "off the rack saddle." Even less than some. The way he customizes everything is truly amazing. And he can make any kind of saddle from Western Roper to light weight Trail Saddle, Aussies and even Dressage Saddles.

He also can reshape the tree if and when your horse changes. I'm again riding in that saddle Larry built for Diablo all those years ago. Kessy is the third horse he's adjusted the tree to fit, and he might adjust it some while he's here this week. She has really grown and muscled up since I've had her.

Well, I wanted to tell you a little about a great guy who really knows how to help a horse feel great while doing whatever it is asked to do. Oh and the saddle he's coming to start for my friend, it's for a mule
Here is Molly's saddle complete, and that's Larry

Have a fun day! - Read Pt 2 HERE

Gitty Up
Dutch Henry


  1. I would LOVE to have a new saddle for my TWH. I need one terribly. Thank you sharing Dutch. I look forward to looking at Larry's saddles.

    1. Any contact information would be greatly appreciated here in central NC!

    2. Email me dutchhenry@hughes.net - he is now mostly retired but I can help

  2. That's awesome! The pasos I find are particularly hard to find an off the rack saddle to fit just perfect especially because of their short back and the slope of their shoulder. You are so right about the importance of freeing the shoulder for complete execution of their magnificent gait. My husband's mare is a good sized Paso (quarter horse hind end) and almost every saddle we tried made a sore spot on the right side of her wither. We finally for the right one but boy it would have been nice to know about Larry. Get some pics if you can to show us. Does he flock his saddles with wool? On a side note: I saw one of the biggest Red-Headed Woodpeckers this morning sitting just as pretty as he pleased on my fence right outside my window :). Made my day! Over and out my friend. Have a wonderful day!!

  3. Dutch, my friend, you have hit on one of my bugaboos about horses, and I cannot thank you enough for doing so. Having a properly fitting saddle for horse and rider is the same as having proper fitting shoes/boots on oneself. Both save you a lot of trouble a little down the road, when you have to go to the doc to fix what you broke by not paying heed to the problem at hand.

    Happy trails!

  4. Is he considering travelling and helping those of us who need special saddles? I have had several spinal injuries and surgeries. I have a beautiful Fox trotter that I adore but we don't seem to get it right,,, you know. I think it's the way I sit which is nothing like what she understands. It's gotten better but know the saddle doesn't fit her right. Any help appreciated. I don't have a trailer right now or I would whisk her to your place now!