Question-pack saddle fitting.

Discussion in 'Pack Goat Gear' started by royinidaho, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. royinidaho

    royinidaho New Member

    6
    Oct 31, 2011
    Going through fitting a riding saddle to a mammoth jack. Also know that one saddle fits all horses doesn't exist. So . .

    Why are all goat pack saddles the same?

    It seems that most goatees purchase a cross buck saddle and put it on a goat.

    I guess that would Bo ok if all goats in a pack string were of similar breed or shape?

    I have Saanans and La Mancha. The Saanans are built like Holsteins. The Manchs more round like a Belgian. Not that drastic butcha catch my drift.

    I put wooden cross bucks on the Manchas and my own design Decker type with hinged bars on the Saanan.

    Not being an expert, I notice no problems.

    But a goat seems to be quite tolerant of discomfort. As in the last time out when saddling for the return trip down the hill, I inadvertently caught a goodly chunk of hair in the cinch gator clip. Didn't notice a thing until it came to unpacking. Bit of a rodeo until I figured things out.

    If a goat is that tolerant of discomfort how does a fella fit things properly.

    What do u watch for?

    BTW, if I packed my goats like I've seen people doing it on the web I'd be run out of the forest:devilish:
     
  2. idahonancy

    idahonancy Member Supporting Member

    436
    Dec 13, 2008
    Idaho North
    Roy there are options in fitting a saddle to a goat. Northwest Packgoats have aluminum saddles where the cross buck paddles are adjustable. If we could get our Packgoat Forum put back together there is a lot of information about properly fitting a saddle to a goat. When the Goat Spot swallowed up the Packgoat Forum it scrambled years of work on this issue. If you do a search you may find some of it.
     

  3. TOU

    TOU New Member

    293
    Aug 18, 2013
    Top-Of-Utah
    Hey Nancy,

    This thread on packs reminds me of a question I have been meaning to ask you. I noticed several pictures of your & your Ober boys that have NW Aluminum/Composite saddles. But it seems you also may have some of Sopris' Llama style softer saddles?

    If so can you elaborate as well as compare & contrast them for us. BTW, on the latter, Clay Z & I visited about them in person a few weeks back and he loves them. However with his pack goat outfitting business he has to keep them simple (its tough to have them for newbies) and mainly uses saw-buck style...many from NW.

    Good thread...hopefully we are getting closer to getting our threads where they should be.

    Cheers,

    TOU
     
  4. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    I won't get many friends by saying this.

    The goat pack saddle has been developed for a certain type of goat. It will not fit goats that differ strongly from that type: large (100lb or more, please correct me, if I got the weight range wrong), well muscled, deep (but not too deep) chest, long enough (but not too long) back.

    Since Rex from NorthWest developed his adjustable aluminium saddle there's a saddle that will fit most other types because you can adjust width and angle. But it still will be too long for smaller goats. For these goats there was a saddle type available from an outfitter that closed his business due to health issues. The soft saddles from this company would fit smaller goats (but had also limited weight bearing capabilities).

    Slighter irregularities can (!) be covered by use of a thick pad, larger will cause the goats discomfort. I often have the impression - and I can be wrong here - that newbies to goat packing lack knowledge in areas that a horse owner will simply pick up by taking riding lessons. There are no "goatpacking schools", we all learn as we go along. So I assume that there are goats out there with saddles that don't fit them. Looking at packgoat photos on google there are several that show ill fitting saddles or wrong saddled goats.

    But, to be fair, if you pack with horses you don't have that much to choose from either, unless you opt for one of the newer - and more expensive - pack saddles with flexible or adustable bars. The standard sawbuck can be found in only a few variations: for mules, for horses and doesn't take different back shapes into account. Again, thicker/more padding is presumed to take care of that.

    @TOU: I got curious last year and ordered a Sopris soft saddle - the Rookie - together with a friend. We both tested the saddle. It is great in adjusting to different widths but it's still too long to fit goats that are under 100 lbs.
     
  5. royinidaho

    royinidaho New Member

    6
    Oct 31, 2011
    Seems like I struck a chord.

    Be a DIY and tight also I'm not about to pay those outrageous prices for something that doesn't measure up to the task. Thus after getting a couple of cross bucks of reputable name for 60 bucks I came up with my own design.

    Appears to me (?) to fit the goat it was made for? I'll post a pic later.
     
  6. NH546

    NH546 New Member

    21
    Oct 1, 2013
    I just started looking at cross bucks last night. I went to home depot today and picked up$25 dollars worth of wood and I've built 3 that are custom fit to my goats right now. I just need to make the rigging right now. I placed the saddles on them today and used a bungee cord to hold them on. They did a lot of looking behind them but eventually settled down.
     
  7. royinidaho

    royinidaho New Member

    6
    Oct 31, 2011
    NH546,

    I gather that you're not cool if the bars aren't made of poplar,:laugh:

    Mine is pine and 1/2" rebar in a sort of Decker style.:think:
     
  8. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    Hello,

    I'm not sure why one would think this could be funny. The inventors of the goat pack saddles have spent considerable time thinking about the best design resp. cost effectiveness.

    And I remember Rex writing about goats he sold and took back years later that had been packed with home-made saddles. These goats had taken such damage from these saddles that any further working was no longer possible.

    If someone has enough knowledgee in how to work wood AND how to fit a pack saddle, ok, go ahead and try it. Buying a pack saddle, copying it and then talking about "how much these things cost" is neither fair nor cool, in my opinion. Because the cost saving result is based on the work and costs of other people.

    If you talk about how expensive packgoat saddles are, do you take into account that f.e. Rex (can't speak about the others) offers a life-long guarantee for his saddles? He will - I speak from experience - exchange a broken saddle without problems - except when the cause for the damage is negligence on your part. Speaking from a business point of view, offering this guarantee has to be reflected at least partly in the price for the finished product because one has to keep a certain number of saddles/amount of earnings back to cover these guarantee - basic accounting knowledge.

    On the other hand: if you calculate the cost for your home-made saddle AND you take your time into consideration (applying a fair hourly wage), including the failed attempts, the fitting and re-fitting, ordering webbing and snaps in smallest quantities, paying freight costs for that, spending time searching for the right ones, I doubt that you will come out much on the positive side. I sure didn't.

    This is the other side of the coin to the discussion about saddle fits. Yes, the existing wood (!) sawbuck saddles have all the same design and therefore won't fit every goat. The existing custom-fit aluminium saddle will cover most of the goats used for packing and we have a lack of saddles for goats too small for the standard saddles.

    After years of changing saddles on my goats (I use the wooden NorthWest and have a few old Owyhee aluminium saddles which fit a different type of goat) depending on age and development I would now every time chose the more expensive but also so much adjustable custom-fit saddle. This saddle will fit my goats through every stage of their development.

    @NH546: your comment alone about putting the saddles on with a bungee cord makes me wince. You might think that it was animal friendly because it's flexible but because it's - most likely as you didn't post pictures - very thin and therefore restricting blood flow and causing pain after a very short period of time, it's anything but.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  9. TOU

    TOU New Member

    293
    Aug 18, 2013
    Top-Of-Utah
    Some great & experienced pearls of wisdom Sabine thx for taking the time.

    TOU
     
  10. TDG-Farms

    TDG-Farms Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State

    Jul 12, 2013
    For the quality, warranty and usability, I think Northwest Pack saddles and panniers are a bargain. Unlike most things now a days, this is a one time purchase.
     
  11. NH546

    NH546 New Member

    21
    Oct 1, 2013
    I will try to respond without any attempt at further offending anybody. I'm sure that NWPG makes an outstanding saddle and I'm sure he had trial and error and a lot of hard work while coming to his current model. However I have heard alot of talk about saddles not fitting and not being perfect. So I am making my own. I have a few design features that I think would improve on the current saddle. I did not order a saddle from NWPG and copy it. I made and am currently making mine to use as a template. I'm glad that whoever saddled a goat with the first saddle did not listen to people tell them that it could not be done or improved upon otherwise we would not be where we are today. On any invention for that matter. I do understand that damage can be done to a goat with the equipment which is why I take great care of them. You assumed I used a thin and overly tight bungee. Which is not the case. You assumed that I am just looking for a cheap way out. I'm fairly certain you assumed I have no skill. What you failed to realize is that I am looking for a cost effective way to template a saddle here in my shop so that I can ultimately make them out of carbon fiber which I feel would be a far superior material. I apologize if my previous post lead you to believe I am just a knuckle head. Every great invention starts somewhere. Thank you again for your input it is always appreciated.
     
  12. TDG-Farms

    TDG-Farms Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State

    Jul 12, 2013
    NH546 you didnt offend anyone, just voiced your opinion and that is exactly what forums are for. I think its great when people have the ability to build their own or modify what they have. The only problem I have is statements like "I have heard alot of talk about saddles not fitting". As with most things, you are more likely to hear the problems then the praises. So it goes to reason that the much larger number of saddles that do fit right, you are not going to hear someone post. "My saddle fits prefectly. I dont need any help".

    On the flip side, I am defending Rex and his saddles but may within the next year or so have to find a new one for Legion as the Northwest saddles are made to fit the bulk of or the common sized pack goat. Legion isnt even 2 years old yet and is well over 200 lbs. I am almost curtain his saddle will not fit him in another year and will have to look to someone like you for advice on how to maybe tweek the one I have or to build a whole new one.

    So you see its not a matter of offending anyone. Knowledge is knowledge. The path to it is rarely paved.
     
  13. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    In regard to the basic question, how to figure out if a saddle fits, here a few pictures.

    Here in Germany the most commom problem is that the goats that are used for packing are smaller, sometimes way smaller than the standard packgoat in the US. We have approx. 25 years of breeding to catch up to. People here start with the goats they have and therefore the saddles are rather too wide, too long than too narrow.

    This saddle - the NorthWest wood saddle - is on THIS goat much too wide. The goat in question was an approx 90 lbs blackneck doe. Problems:

    - too little weight
    - blackneck: this breed has as a whole very narrow chests with little muscle along the spine
    - doe = already smaller than a wether


    [​IMG]


    This is another blackneck but with the old version of the Owyhee aluminium saddle. Although this saddle has flat bars I found that it fits the goats with this particular body shape best. This is a 4 or 5 year old weather, weight approx. 180-190 lbs. And although the fit is already better than if I'd use a wood saddle, the additional use of a pocket pad did much to improve it from "ok" to "well" - see picture below this one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Please don't mind the face I'm making - it was bitter cold that day.....

    BTW - these pictures illustrate why I so strongly speak against packing with younger goats. The two saanen-crosses that acompany us are 9 months (without horns) and 2,5 years (with horns) old. This isn't standard, both where rescue goats, but the average German goat isn't big enough for a standard pack saddle before it's at least 2,5 years old and I imagine that this is true for a lot of American goats, as well.

    Next ones. Again the Owyhee (I have to apologize to Rex but I can't find many pictures with the goats carrying the NorthWest wood saddles - I know I have several but can't figure out in which folder I saved them) on a 10 year old wether, approx. 160 lbs - btw this is the one from the pictures above, grown up :grin:

    The saddle fits at the end of the ribcage but is way too wide on the shoulders, therefore riding too low and pinching the vertebrae and shoulder. An additional pad would most likely take care of that. This wether worked most of his live with the wood saddle but has lost muscle due to age and not working for several years.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Three year old wether, Owyhee aluminium with Northwest pocket pad but without original pads, approx. 180 lbs. This saddle fits nicely but would maybe fit even better if it still had the original pads (see saddle above)

    [​IMG]


    Seven year old wether, Northwest wood saddle and pocket pad, approx. 180 lbs. I don't have earlier pictures but when he was a few years younger and had more muscles - all my goats haven't packed for two years - the wood saddle fit better. Right now I'd say it's a bit too wide and rides too long on the ribcage.

    [​IMG]


    The Sopris Rookie saddle on two different goats. First on a four year old wether, approx. 190 lbs (narrow chest but large) without pad and second on a three year old doe (his full sister), approx. 120-130 lbs with additional pad. You can see that the sopris adjusts well to the different width but is too long for the doe. On the second picture you can also have a look on how the Owyhee with pocket pad fits on the wether. Sits well enough but still a bit too wide at the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And to bring this to the end. Of course you can also mis-adjust the custom-fit saddle from NorthWest. I was in a hurry and just put the saddle on for a training hike without load. It was adjusted for a wider goat and you can already see that it's too wide in the shoulder (this is again the 10 year old wether) and that sooner or later the pad will slide out from under the saddle (I had to drive back with the car and search for it in fact).

    [​IMG]
     
  14. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    I've been looking through photos and videos.

    here's one snapshot of the 10 year old wether with a NorthWest wood saddle, two years earlier. The jacket across the saddle obscures the view a bit but you can see that it fit better than the Owyhee two years later

    [​IMG]

    And this would be a reason to invest in the more expensive custom-fit aluminium saddle. With this saddle I can adjust to changes due to age and/or training while with a wood saddle - even a custom-fit, homemade - one has to do much more, maybe even buy/build a new one, to make it fit if the goat underwent drastic shape changes.

    PS: please don't take this as marketing for the custom-fit aluminium saddle. I write this to point out that you have to evaluate the fit of the saddle on a constant basis, just like with horses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  15. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    http://www.pic2fly.com/viewimage/Go...yMDExLzAxL2hvbWVtYWRlLXNhZGRsZS1icmlkbGUuanBn

    this is something that can't get worse.

    http://www.llamahardware.com/images/goat saddle.jpg

    saddle is way too long for the goat and I not sure about load bearing capabilities.....

    http://hoeggerfarmyard.com/xcart/product.php?productid=3510

    this saddle is placed much too far behind the shoulder, it rests on the loin vertebrae already

    http://www.thegoatspot.net/forum/f191/about-saddle-fit-158100/

    check out this old threat. It gives great insight and shows pictures of a too narrow saddle.
     
  16. TOU

    TOU New Member

    293
    Aug 18, 2013
    Top-Of-Utah
    I thought it was a great post and we all have our opinions based on our own unique experiences. Keep it coming Sabine.

    Wow, goats are smaller over there...100 lbs (45.45 Kg). My Alpine is 2.5 years old and currently is over 180 lbs (81.8 Kg) & about 35" (88 cm). I hope he hits 200-220 lbs (90.91-100+ Kg) when he is done growing and maybe another inch or three taller.

    I would really like to also add a couple of Dwite's Monster Sabor goats to my herd in a year or so...at an honest 42" & 270+ lbs . They are by far the biggest goats I have ever seen in my life as I estimate them at nearly 8.5-9 feet on their back legs...they are huge!!!!

    After playing with one myself for an hour or so I would agree. They are definitely NOT for the novice as they have so may abilities and hence variations in adjustments. But they really allowed so many options. And once fitted for a specific goat they look like they ride great...but NOT cheap by any means.

    Below is the goat we were playing with on. As you can see, he is an "Air Craft Carrier" in regards to his back. He has one of the longest backs I have ever seen and has a huge head...it is as big as it looks in the picture in real life...actually he is a big goat overall. For him it was great but I can see a smaller backed goat it could be problematic.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    what a big guy. But I got it wrong, weight wise - just checked what Rex writes on his website. It's 125 lbs, not 100 lbs minimum weight for the NW wood saddle.
     
  18. TOU

    TOU New Member

    293
    Aug 18, 2013
    Top-Of-Utah
    Hey Sabine, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that your post are awesome and you are a real asset to the Pack Goat Community.

    Also, while your goats over there maybe a bit smaller they sure are beautiful. Thx for taking the time to post the pictures and info...we appreciate it!

    TOU
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  19. sanhestar

    sanhestar New Member

    771
    Dec 10, 2008
    Thanks.

    Looking through the pictures was going down memory lane.

    [​IMG]

    This was my first packstring. Only the blackneck - Nero - and the horned Saanen-cross - Nox - are still alive. Blacky died of a tumor around his heart about 4 years ago, Muffin (the black&white) and Oliver last year from neurological problems resp. UC complications and Nero and Nox will most likely retire in 2014 as soon as the youngsters have enough experience to go out without the support of an oldtimer.
     
  20. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Problem taken care of.