Comfort and durability is achieved on this new saddle designed by Trevor James. The Northern Champion Drafter is made on a traditional carved timber tree. The tree being the backbone or the framework on which the saddle is built is simply super duty. No longer a wooden structure riveted to a thin steel perimeter, this super duty tree has 2" steel side rails welded to a double thickness laminated solid steel gullet, forming the front fork of the saddle. The stirrup bars an essential safety feature and recognised world wide as an Australian concept is not only welded to the gullet but riveted as well. The tree is rust proofed. It is, by far the strongest most durable timber tree available.
The Northern Champion Drafter is built on this super duty tree and features a "spring loaded seat", i.e. the centre of the tree where the rider sits has a rider support system which is suspended above the solid framework of the tree. The riders contact area never touches the solid base of the tree. Combined with this spring loaded tree is a one piece moulded leather seat section to which the steel reinforced kneepads are attached. Unlike most Australian Stock Saddles this one piece seat has no seam to rub a riders leg area. The one piece moulded seat is one thickness right through, around 4.2mm, but mounted on that spring loaded super duty tree gives a bounce back softness which cannot be achieved on any solid base moulded tree, commonly in use. This is the most durable super duty saddle to achieve such superb rider comfort.
Along with the moulded one piece seat, the saddle features a competition fender, reinforced end to end with 2" webbing. This special laminated fender moves with your leg unlike the old stirrup leather which tends to pinch and leaves the riders inner leg in a constant state of friction against the saddle flap The fender, being reinforced with the webbing does not stretch. It is mounted on the super duty stirrup bar which allows the fender to slip off just like the conventional stirrup leathers. Most riders having used a conventional saddle but considering a "new style" fender saddle say, "I don't like the fender saddles, you cant get your feet forward Australian style. The fender wont come off if you get hung up. So it is not safe".
This saddle addresses all those fears raised by potential users of fender saddles and all those problems faced by their makers building saddles on semi American style trees. Rawhide trees are great for American roping saddles, but they do not allow for a steel stirrup suspension bar.
The covered base of the rawhide tree is simply pine timber. There is no steel frame to attach a stirrup bar to. This means the fender goes around the side rail of the tree. Its there for life and when the saddle is girthed tight down on the horse its jammed between the saddle and the horse. Yes they are right about those trees, "You cant get your feet forward and the fender is there for life".
One of the great things the American style saddle has is the sheepskin lining on the underside which makes contact with the horses back. This provides a much larger contact area. This means less pounds of rider weight per square inch. It also provides a much closer contact saddle. The old styled counter lined saddles used widely in Australia over the last century has hair packed into the underside of the saddle and lifts the saddle high off the horses back. If you pack hair into the underside of the saddle its just like inflating a balloon. No matter how much the maker strives for that close contact ride none can compare to that achieved by a fleece lined saddle. This feature has been incorporated into the Northern Champion Drafter.
The end result is a masterpiece giving the rider strength, durability and a friction free ride. The benefits for the horse are less rider pounds per square inch and a rider with a lower centre of gravity. The close contact of the saddle weld horse and rider into one, it cannot be surpassed.
Whether you compete or are a working stockman this saddle is dual purpose. STOCK CAMP TOUGH AND COMPETITION READY. IT SIMPLY CAN'T BE BEATEN.