Top Ten Saddle Fitting Myths | Fitness

The internet is chock full of information, but sometimes it can be frustrating not knowing what is true and what is not. Myths abound in the area of saddle fitting, and we sort through these myths with our customers on a daily basis. These myths can cause frustration as well as cost you money, so beware of the following:Myth #1: One size fits all.Quite a few times per week we find ourselves explaining that one size saddle does not fit all horses. This seems like basic information, but for a first-time horse owner, it can be baffling to find that not only do saddles come with different seat sizes for you, but they also come with different tree sizes for your horse. We tried to make a simple way for customers to measure their horses to find out what size bar they need and came up with our handy, printable gullet templates. Regardless of how much your horse weighs or how wide you think his back is, measuring just to make sure can save you the headache of returning an ill-fitting saddle.
Myth #2: I’ll be able to buy a saddle that fits two different horses.There is a rare exception to this myth, and that’s if you have two horses that are extremely similar in weight, back width, back length, and wither shape. But a mere 25 pounds in the wrong spot, a 3 inch shorter back, or a slightly higher wither can mean a saddle fitting one horse and hurting another. If you’re shopping for two horses, we recommend focusing on one horse at a time instead of trying to come up with a compromise between the two. Compromising saddle fit is, quite frankly, compromising your horse’s comfort and therefore, his behavior as well.Myth #3: A good saddle pad will solve my saddle fitting problems.Many horse owners think that putting a good saddle pad under an ill-fitting saddle will alleviate pinching, slipping, or uneven pressure. Good saddle pads can cause the saddle to fit better. There is much technology in the pad industry to help a saddle fit better and you should take advantage of that technology. Padding-up to help eliminate sores from a poor fitting saddle is not a good choice. For example, if a saddle is too narrow, padding up to buffer the pressure will make the horse wider which will cause more pressure.Myth #4: All saddles that claim to be semi-quarter horse have the same gullet width.There are many variations to this myth. The truth is that the saddle industry uses terms loosely. Semi-quarter horse bars are often referred to as quarter horse bars, but others use the term quarter horse bars to describe wide bars, so the same saddle can be given different terms. This is very confusing to someone buying their first saddle. We’ve tried to wrestle this myth to the ground in our shop by standardizing our terms. We apply the term regular to narrow, semi-quarter horse bars and the term full to wide, full quarter horse bars.Myth #5: There are standard measurements in the saddle industry.It’s surprising to find out that manufacturers do not have a standardized way to measure gullet width. Billy Cook may do it differently than Crates, so that if each company were to measure the same gullet, a different number might be the result. At the shop we built our own little tool to measure gullets. We measure each saddle by hand so that a standard of comparison between our saddles is achieved, no matter what manufacturer produced it. Most online saddle shops simply use the statistics that the manufacturers provide with each saddle, leaving you to guess how the numbers actually stack up.Myth #6: I can’t order a saddle online because I need to try it on first.There’s no denying that the best way to see if a saddle will fit is to try it on your horse. Yet thankfully saddle fitting is not rocket science, and our customers have successfully fit thousands of “hard to fit” horses simply by using our downloadable templates and discussing the horse’s particular needs with a saddle expert. We’ve dealt with all sorts of conformations, from sway backed to high withered, and unless your horse has multiple unique issues, there’s no reason to think you can’t make a great choice online and save money over your local tack shop.Myth #7: I have to be an expert to tell if my saddle fits properly.With all the helpful articles on saddle fitting on the web today, it can feel like you have to know a textbook full of information to be able to select a well-fitting saddle. Many customers call feeling exasperated wondering, “Is it really THAT hard?” No, it isn’t. All you have to be sure of is your horse and your saddle needs—no one can be an expert on those two areas but you! We have several tips regarding this frustration. First, if you’re having a specific problem, like white hairs on your horse or saddle slippage, troubleshoot those areas first. Secondly, if you know your horse’s build and figure out what size tree will fit, half of your work is done. Most saddle fitting problems arise from a saddle that…doesn’t fit! Review our checklist on how to tell if you have a good saddle fit here.Myth #8: You have to spend a lot of money or get a custom-made saddle to find one that fits properly.If you went to Wal-Mart and were unable to find any clothes that fit, would you walk out convinced that you should pay exuberant prices for custom-made designer clothes? Probably not. It’s the same with your horse. If you have a hard-to-fit horse and are having trouble finding a saddle that fit, it doesn’t mean you need to dish out more money. Have you thoroughly researched your horse’s specific needs? If you know exactly what you need but haven’t found it yet, give us a call. Not only do we have extensive experience fitting horses, but we also have the ability to tell you what can and can’t be done and at what price. We’re proud to be partnered with Dakota saddelry, a quality company that does custom work for our shop. Dakota has always been willing to work with our customers and fit their specific needs at a low price.Myth #9: Flex trees can warp or cave in after you use them.We don’t know where this myth came from, but quite frankly, it’s preposterous. Flex trees are relatively new to the equine industry (in comparison with the age old wooden tree), and we suppose that if someone only heard the term “flexible tree” without knowing what it is, this myth would be easily spawned. Many people hear the term and assume that a flex tree is bendable like a piece of plastic or rubber. In reality, flex trees only “flex” about a centimeter in either direction, and only under pounds of pressure. You would probably find it hard to even see a flex tree “flexing.” This centimeter of movement, however, is what makes the flex tree more comfortable for the horse and allows the saddle to conform better to his movement. We’re not going to recommend flex trees for roping or ranch work, but we’re willing to say that under trail and pleasure conditions, there’s no way a flex tree is going to warp or cave in.Myth #10: I can get a close contact, narrow twist saddle for a very wide horse.Can you get a high-fashion, well-fitting, sportcoat for a very wide man? Nope. In the same way, a very wide horse is going to have to unfortunately admit he’s in the minority. Extra wide saddles are not impossible to come by, but you have a much more narrow selection. We recommend checking out Tucker trail saddles if you need an extra wide tree. The terms close contact and narrow twist refer to how you feel on the saddle. A close contact saddle with a narrow twist has less bulk and won’t spread the rider’s legs far apart. But a horse that is extra wide is not going to allow a close contact feel because of his broad back.

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Business Continuity and Healthcare Disaster Planning | Healthcare

The Business Continuity profession has seen rapid and explosive growth in the days since 9/11. On that terrible day, the significant difference between those businesses housed in the World Trade Centers that would reopen and those that would close was the degree of business process resilience that business possessed.The years since 9/11 have seen businesses large and small implementing not only data redundancy, but continuity planning for all critical business processes. To be sure, healthcare has also implemented data redundancy and business process continuity planning for business and administrative activities, but what about the true business of healthcare?Business continuity planning is designed to preserve those critical business processes that must be preserved to maintain operations and profitability. For an investment company, those processes include data storage, client accounting and real time financial processing to mention just a few. Healthcare business contingency planning is directed at supporting such processes as data storage, client accounting and real time financial processing; but does this support the mission of healthcare?An investment company is in the business of managing money and markets; their business continuity planning supports that mission. Healthcare is in the business of delivering medical care. Currently healthcare business continuity is split between two professionals, the business continuity professional and the medical contingency planner/safety officer. The business continuity professional is charged with ensuring that the financial and administrative processes of the healthcare business are maintained. The Medical contingency planner/safety officer is charged with ensuring that the delivery of healthcare continues uninterrupted. But the does this split approach support the mission of healthcare?Healthcare business continuity planning must preserve those critical business processes required to maintain operations and profitability. This by necessity includes both critical medical services and critical financial and administrative processes. However, most healthcare institutions in the United States are private sector businesses. These businesses do not meet their operational budgets with emergency medical services or even general hospital admissions. This was borne out in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s when the losses in emergency medical services caused hospitals to either close or restrict services in the emergency room. In an effort to stop this trend, Congress passed the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). In 2007, healthcare institutions subsidize the unfunded EMTALA mandate with outpatient services. These are the very services that most medical contingency planners/safety officers close when disaster strikes.Like business contingency planning, healthcare disaster planning begins with a vulnerability analysis; however, unlike the business vulnerability analysis which focuses on identifying critical business processes, the healthcare vulnerability analysis focuses on quantitating external threats. Healthcare disaster planning is based on an “All Hazards” approach. Despite the apparent emphasis on external threats, an “All Hazards” approach is meant to be “Process Hazards” approach. Here in is the challenge for the medical contingency planner/safety officer and the new market opportunity for the business continuity professional.Healthcare desperately needs a planning professional who can combine the healthcare vulnerability analysis with the business process vulnerability analysis. The average daily revenue loss for a hospital that closes outpatient services following a disaster is a quarter of a million dollars. In addition, financial losses occur as a result of process failures in registration, charge entry and billing. The delivery of healthcare services frequently suffers as a result of process failures during disaster that cause a backlog of patients and a loss of efficiency. Healthcare disaster planning based on standard healthcare vulnerability analysis combined with process vulnerability analysis would not only address the business process continuity, but would highlight medical process vulnerabilities allowing limited medical resources to be concentrated on medical process continuity. Finally an attention to business continuity focusing on the primary mission of the healthcare institution to deliver healthcare and maintain profitability would support the business processes and the medical processes while quickly returning to normal operations to restore all streams of revenue.