Saddle Tree Mystery!

Impu1sion

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18 April 2013
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I am mystified as to why one of the most important parts of saddle fitting seems to be kept a bit of a secret. When saddlemakers advertise a saddle for sale, they always state the seat size and the width. I think they should also let customers know what type of tree is inside, it is surely the most important part (for the horse!). Maybe there wouldn't be as many horses with sore backs if we had some sort of clue as to the shape of the tree. I have never seen a saddlefitter with a selection of trees to try on the horse's back (but recently heard of one used by a friend, this prompted the thread) and honestly, I have used many saddlefitters in my 50 years of horse owning!
My horse has a back like an ironing board, and I have been advised to look for an Ideal or Jefferies having flatter trees. I wondered about an Albion but lady in shop said they were far too curvy. Sorry for the moan I just feel this is a bit overlooked by manufacturers.
 

HufflyPuffly

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Oh I'm so with you here! How much easier would life be, as a fellow owner of a flat backed pony! Added difficulty with mine is that she is not flat and wide, so could do with more of a drop panel, currently work has halted until I can find something to suit!

I would think that although it could be done for new off the peg saddles, the difficulty would be for the second hand market as people could have had a different tree put in if they had the saddle made for them. I tried an Albion which was very flat, just not quite flat enough lol, whereas a previous Albion was much curvier.
 

burge

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I had my Albion MTM (horse very straight in back). Depends on the model. It was only about £300 extra for MTM but well worth it !
 

DirectorFury

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Albion do flat and curvy trees, it depends on the horse the saddle was originally purchased/made for. Any Albion that is W or XW will have been made to template, just to complicate things further!

I certainly agree that stating the tree style would massively help with the second hand market but given most of the utter rubbish I see sellers spouting I doubt it would actually be correct or helpful. The number of people who can't measure seat size or give an accurate indication of width (not D-D! >:-| ) is staggering.
 

pansymouse

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I've had a saddle fitter come out with a selection of trees; her name is Inga and can't for the life of me remember what the name of the saddles she fits is. We didn't buy from her in the end but she was very interesting and knowledgeable. I now use Kay Humphreys who is extremely knowledgeable about trees from all brands. As a bridle maker I know from looking at the trade supplies catalogue there are in fact very few tree makers, probably less than a handful.
 

Impu1sion

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I've had a saddle fitter come out with a selection of trees; her name is Inga and can't for the life of me remember what the name of the saddles she fits is. We didn't buy from her in the end but she was very interesting and knowledgeable. I now use Kay Humphreys who is extremely knowledgeable about trees from all brands. As a bridle maker I know from looking at the trade supplies catalogue there are in fact very few tree makers, probably less than a handful.
Maybe we should get a petition going to ask the saddlemakers to stamp the stirrup bar with the type of tree :) And that the trees are displayed a bit more widely than they are at the present time! It is difficult to find out this tree information, even in this age of internet googling! I realise that in some second hand saddles, the tree might have been changed, but I feel that this is quite rare in the whole scheme of things? It is such a bloomin' minefield, I'm not wanting to buy a new m2m for a baby horse :-(
 

Impu1sion

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That's a good idea, FrankieCob! I'll do that; I need to find something flat but not wide, this is the problem!
 

Wheels

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I've had a saddle fitter come out with a selection of trees; her name is Inga and can't for the life of me remember what the name of the saddles she fits is. .
Could it have been Ilga? If so was it strada saddles? They come in different tree shapes for different types of horses.
 

sbloom

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There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of trees (though yes, there is only a handful of makers), they vary by tiny degrees and even saddle fitters can vary in their opinions of how they fit, plus we all have our own ways of fitting, our own "best practice" as it were. You can usually find out whether trees are flat or not, but most brands have a variety of trees so you need to know the model, in some cases, like Silhouette and Farrington, most are custom made so you have no way of knowing which tree is in it. Jeffries etc will have some trees that are flatter and aimed at natives etc, though I've seen few that are super flat, and some that are more high wither. Ideal, Black Country etc the same. Panels are made differently too, so you need to know whether they will suit.

So in summary trees vary massively and by minute degrees so it’s not only almost impossible to be able to give a simple categorisation for them, but every fitter is subjective and will view things differently according to how they fit.

A good fitter should be able to explain how THEY see a tree, and how and why it will or won't fit your horse.
 

Impu1sion

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18 April 2013
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You can usually find out whether trees are flat or not, but most brands have a variety of trees so you need to know the model, in some cases, like Silhouette and Farrington, most are custom made so you have no way of knowing which tree is in it.

A good fitter should be able to explain how THEY see a tree, and how and why it will or won't fit your horse.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the informative replies. SBloom, are you saying that a good fitter would also be none the wiser as to what tree is in a second hand saddle? Argh, it gets worse!!
AlexHyde my horse is a very flat backed warmblood with Donnerhall lines, rising 4 and quite weedy :)
 

JillA

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I've had a saddle fitter come out with a selection of trees; her name is Inga and can't for the life of me remember what the name of the saddles she fits is. We didn't buy from her in the end but she was very interesting and knowledgeable. I now use Kay Humphreys who is extremely knowledgeable about trees from all brands. As a bridle maker I know from looking at the trade supplies catalogue there are in fact very few tree makers, probably less than a handful.
Ingeborg Taffijn? She calls herself a saddle ergonomist to distinguish herself from the "whack it on and feel round it" brigade. She was trained by Jochen Schleese, who make saddles to fit both horse and rider, but if you have an adjustable tree she can adjust any make, and reflocks on site. She is based in Belgium but comes to the UK every few months (or weeks, depending on the demand). Her email is inge@zadelpunt.be if anyone wants the gold standard in fitting
 
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