Most saddles, but not all, are made with the base. The base of most saddles is a saddle tree. First, there are a few different types of trees that saddle makers use in their saddles. In this article, we are going to go over the different kinds of saddle trees used and their pros and cons.
Types of Saddle Trees
There are three main types of saddle trees. The main types are: flex tree, a ridged tree, and treeless.
Rigid trees have been around the longest and are by far the most common trees for saddles today. Generally, rigid trees are wood tree covered with either rawhide or fiberglass. In addition, the bars have no movement and are designed to give the maximum amount of weight and pressure dispersion.
These trees are generally stronger and last longer than any other tree. However, rigid tree saddles tend to weigh more and require a better fit to the animal. Rigid tree saddles are better for heavier riders and less likely to create pressure points than other types of trees.
A flex tree saddle is built with a tree that typically has a flexible dual-bar system, which is intended to provide both stability and flexibility in the saddle. Ideally, then the horse is able to move under the saddle, because it has a flexible bar that will move with them. These trees do not flex through the cantle or swells however, so they do not spread to fit the horse. Proper saddle fit is still necessary.
A Treeless saddle is just that. The have incorporated swells and a cantle so proper fit is necessary. Treeless saddles have a much reduced weight, sit the rider closer to the horse and allow for lots of free movement.
No matter which type of saddle you choose to ride, just be sure to saddle up! I have my favorites that really work for me and you need to use the type of saddle tree that really works for you! Hope to see you on the trail. And if you need help fitting your saddle, you can grab our FREE Saddle Fit Check List Here!
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P.P.S. If you liked this article you might also like to read about Flex Tree Saddles, or does my saddle fit my horse, or What size saddle do I need?
Or check them all out in our Saddles Series.