Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System, Take Two

Whew! I spent all weekend measuring horses, examining photos, and documenting results. The Dennis Lane system proved consistent and user-friendly, so after practicing on the Barbs, I felt prepared for the real deal: Aaruba.

Measuring Aaruba was serious business. He's the one getting the custom Stonewall endurance saddle, so I needed to get it right. Travis and I squared him up on the driveway and started through the now-familiar process.

First, I located the rear edge of Aaruba's scapula and drew a vertical line to mark the spot, known as "A". Next, Travis and I each made independent judgements regarding the lowest point of Aaruba's back. We discovered that there was about an inch-long section of spine, any part of which could be considered the lowest point. Fortunately, the Dennis Lane system can accommodate an inch of error on this particular measurement. We settled on the forward end of the inch in question and drew another vertical line, known as "B." Finally, we measured for a third vertical line, "C," eight inches behind "B."

We then used the profiling cards to determine ideal tree width at A, B, and C. Each profiling card has four, graduated sizes; all Aaruba's measurements fit within the narrowest set. Here, you can see how the S5 slot on the A card fits Aaruba's A mark. At B, Aaruba measured S6; and at C, S7.

At first, I was concerned because the S5 card didn't fit neatly over Aaruba's withers. However, Jackie Fenaroli of Stonewall Saddle Company explained that the saddle's generous gullet will easily accommodate such variations; the important thing is that contact between horse and card be equal on both sides of the short, black line on the wing of the card, because that line indicates where the horizontal center of the tree will rest on Aaruba's back. The horizontal lines you see crossing the vertical lines on Aaruba's back in the photo above correspond to the short lines on the cards.

Next, we needed to measure "rock." As you can see, the R card must line up with the horizontal marks along Aaruba's back. R6 is the flattest of the three "rock" cards, and Aaruba is on the verge of being even flatter.

Following instructions from Stonewall, I took photos of Aaruba from the side, and from above and behind. We also measured his height (15 hands) and recorded other pieces of information such as his age (6), gender (gelding), and use (endurance).

Finally, Travis and I used soldering wire to make a tracing of Aaruba's back. The lines on this graph paper represent the shape of Aaruba's back at three-inch intervals from withers to flank.

While I did paperwork, Travis and Aaruba tried on hats.

I've sent photos and measurements off the Stonewall so Jackie can check me for accuracy and advise me regarding anything I should re-do or double-check. Meanwhile, Aaruba is spending the day at Idaho Equine Hospital being scoped for gastric ulcers. Though he seems perfectly healthy 98% of the time, subtle symptoms and occasional, mild colics have us searching for an explanation. Cross your fingers for him!


Related Posts

Upward in the Night

It's Here!: Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System

The Measure of a Horse: Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System, Take One


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Anonymous said...

Gastric Ulcers - I have a mare that was treated for this her symptoms were chronic (weekly) mild colic. Gastroguard was prescribed and it worked well costly stuff but it does the trick.

I now give her Aloe Juice (a cup a day) as a maintenance regimen, its cheep and has other health benefits too.

Susan Catt said...

Tamara, please be sure to send your measurements in to me at: qiwmn@yahoo.com for the SM/CS saddle tree fitting project. We need all the SM/CS/Barbs we can get for the database. Please make it possible for the Painter Barbs to be included. Be sure to include their pedigrees as far back as you can. I need the documentation to research if any similar conformation traits revealed by the measurements run in family groups.

Spartacus Jones said...

Interesting measurement/fitting protocol.

Have you used the "equimeasure" kit that molds a sheet of plastic to the horse's back?