Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

June 3, 2009

Info on McClellan style saddle?

Was there a McClellen tree that fit the wide rides rather than the narrow high withered horse? I'm thinking that the Stonewall saddles are modeled after that style of saddle? Yes? I really like that style of saddle, the simplicity of it. However Phebes is very wide, takes an almost 13 inch gullet. Is there anyone other than Stonewall making a wide tree McClellan style saddle? Mel you are into some of the military style saddles, any insight on this? Did any of the old trees fit this type of horse.

And on gullet width is it the same principle as a western saddle or is the angle of the bars more important.

Last but not least, placement of that style saddle. Forward or well behind the shoulder? ~E.G.


  1. The original trees are EXTREMELY narrow - I don't think they would be suitable for your girl at all. I would suggest a reproduction mcclellen in either a semi or full quarter bar. The semi fit my Standardbred nicely when she had some weight on her (she took oringal tree when she lost weight). I sold my full-quarter bar mcclellen to my father, who uses it on his fat (sorry - "well-sprung") Morab. It fits like a charm. Further more, the original saddles were usually centered fired, where most modern horses need a 3/4 rigging at least (where the girth angles forward a tad instead of hanging straight down).

    I would say that the fitting principle is more like a English saddle and less like a Western. The angle of the bars is important. The nice thing is you can SEE the tree which usually makes it very fast and easy to see whether it fits.

    I would definately fit the saddle behind the shoulder, at least by 2 or 3 fingers. Keep clear of that shoulder and let it move!

    In my experience a horse either fits a mcclellen saddle or it doesn't. Nothing worked better than a Mclellen for my Standardbred, but I don't see it ever working for my Arab.

    If you are interested in getting more information, call Doug at Borderstate Leather works in Arkansas(google it). He's the best saddle maker of the Mclellens in teh country in my opinion. Even if you don't buy from him, he can give you a good opinion of the saddle and whether it might work for you. Even if you decide to go with a "modernized" Mclellen, most of the same principles should apply.

    Good luck and let the great saddle hunt begin (or rather continue!)

  2. E.G., Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I'm glad to see Phebes is coming along nicely - but we all know it has its ups and downs. Sorry to hijack your comments, I don't know anything about this type of saddle. :)


  3. Yes, the original McClellan were fashioned after army remount horses, for the rangy built type horse and were very narrow. It just so happens that I have customized, or modernized McClellan that I am looking to sell. It fits my wide Barb stallion and my Morab width wise but has too much rocker for my horses. You can see a picture of it on my blog site and if you want more photos I have more I can send you.

    Let me know

  4. Hi Jacke,

    You're correct that Jerry Stoner (Stonewall's original owner) based his design on the McClellan, with a number of modern improvements! Wide-treed Stonewalls are available, and the company will send you the Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System to help customize a tree for your horse

    Stonewalls (and McClellans) are designed for the point of the tree to sit just behind the shoulder, so that the rotating scapula isn't jabbed by the tree as the horse moves.