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.
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!
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