Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My View on Tucker's New Mule Saddle

Tucker has been promising the release of their mule tree for a couple of years now. Like everything else, however, a good product takes time for design, and redesign, and more redesign. Tucker finalized the tree design last year, and have been testing it on all the mules they could get their hands on. They are now convinced that they have exactly the fit they were looking for and the Tucker High Plains Mule Saddle is now in production.

After seeing it at the Denver Market, I'm convinced that it will fill a need. However, don't think that just because you have a mule you need a mule saddle. I've been fitting saddles for 22 years, and I've found that mules, like horses, vary greatly in size and shape. A"mule" tree is designed to fit the really traditional "mule figure". It has wide, flat bars, with no "rock" from front to back. A traditional mule is somewhat broad-backed with little to no sway in its back and no discernible withers. If you have this style mule, then by all means try a mule saddle. Putting a regular trail saddle on this type of mule would literally be the same as putting a rocking chair on a table and expecting it not to move when you sit on it.

Keep in mind that this body type has been slowly bred out of mules over the last 15 to 20 years. Now, most riding mules are slightly narrower, with more pronounced withers and a little more curve to their backs. With the choices available in regular, wide and extra-wide trees from saddles we carry from Circle Y and Tucker, we've been able to fit the majority of these mules without resorting to a mule saddle. As always, if you have any question about what type of saddle will work, measure your horse so that an expert at Tucker Saddles can determine the correct tree. Of course, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, bring your horse by to see us and we'll get you the right fit.


RR said...

Does the new Tucker appear to be a saddle that might work on a Mammoth Donkey? Because of the straight back and the angles so many saddles, including many treeless don't work well at all.

Russ said...

In reply to your question about fitting a mammoth donkey, the answer is maybe... The problem we've seen with most donkeys is the narrowness of their backs. I think that if he is relatively broad for a Mammoth (at least 900 pounds), then there is a pretty good chance that this saddle might work. It does have very flat bars that are also fairly short in length. If you would like to send some pictures and measurements, we'd be able to tell you a little more.
See how to measure for a Tucker Saddle at