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wjp_05

Flex-tree saddles...do they work?

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I'm thinking about purchasing a flex-tree saddle for my 16 hh Paint, but I would first like to know if they even work. The saddle I used on him doesn't seem to fit properly..so I'm looking for a saddle that will. Do flex tree saddles fit any horse? I would like it to be a universal saddle...one that I could use for him and also my 14.2 hh Arabian. Is that possible? If anyone knows where I could find a flex tree saddle, please let me know!

Thanks

*Whitney*

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Sometimes "fit" depends upon the length of the ride. Let me explain:

I have spent years fighting the saddle fit war. (I believe I have spent more on saddles than any other horse item, with the exception of my truck....) I go through professional saddle fittings, custom saddles, custom pads, shims, white sheet test, sweat test, sliding the hand under, you name it. Somehow, even when given the professional thumbs up for a good fit, white spots crop up within a few months. The saddle seems to fit for the first 2 hours of a ride, then the pressure/rubbing builds up over time, resulting in rub/white marks.

So - not to sound pesimistic, but no saddle will "fit" a variety of horses. I am starting to doubt that there is any saddle anywhere that will fit any horse.

On the brighter side, I do believe that the flex tree saddles do a better job of fitting than traditionally treed saddles. You can find them just about anywhere nowadays, as most brands have started a flextree line.

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I have a Special Effx saddle designed by barrel racer, Marelene Eddleman McRae and I LOVE IT! It has a flexible tree and it fits my "rolly polly" Foundation QH and my high withered Appendix QH. I've had it for two seasons now and I know it fits them. Believe me, my appendix would let me know! [Wink]

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Dixie have you tried a Treeless such as Bob Marshall?? To me they fit EVERY horse and I never have soreness problems, even after 4-5 hour rides. I do use an Air ride pad with mine [Wink]

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I have a Bob Marshall treeless saddle also. I love it!! The only problem I have with it is that it slips when I mount. I had to take off my neoprene cinch and put on the felt one that came with it. That seems to help some. It is the neatest thing to ride in though. I haven't been on a ride over 1 hr with it so hopefully I can do that soon. I also bought the Skito Equalizer pad to go with it. It has that Tempurpedic foam in it. So light and cushy. I have always ridden my Price Mclaughlin, big heavy western saddle. This is easier for an older gal to lift on ,etc. If I can just conquer the mounting thing without saddle slipping some. Always have to find a big rock, etc.

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I do own a Bob Marshall currently - and it the second one I have owned. It does fix problems on some horses, but I had to stop using it on my main mare a few years ago. Not only was it rubbing her spine (even with the special order "high wither" model, AND skito pad AND custom shims), but it was also leaving rub marks next to the girth attachment rings. Due to my last saddle now showing undeniable signs of not fitting, I am trying it again. (She has gotten wider since last time I tried it.)

When I ride, I ride hard, through rough terrain, for 4-5 hours, usually 2 days in a row. It is this type of riding that has shown the lack of proper fit of every saddle I have ever owned.

I have wanted to try an air ride pad.... Is it the Prof. Choice version? Also is it the "wool pad covered/show" version, or the "working" version with the poly/cotton top?

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quote:

Originally posted by professionalameture:

so what's te difference (if any) between treeless and flextree saddles?
[Question]

The flex tree saddle comes in three main "types".

(That I know of...)

The first is similar to the Bob marshall version - the entire seat and skirts are made of a combined neoprene/leather "sandwich" that sits directly on the horse's back (no "gullet" area). You can feel the horse moving underneath you, similar to a well-padded bareback pad, with pommel and cantle added for looks and security.

The second is the Orthoflex type - where the "bars" are actually flexible panels connected to the rigid seat at several points, but the bars can bend and flex with the horse, while not affecting the seat.

The third is the newest version. Built like a traditional saddle, the "bars", instead of being fiberglass, wood, or rawhide, are made of a neoprene sandwich that allows the horse's back to flex underneath it, supposedly eliminating the problems of a rigid bar jabbing the horse or squeezing muscles in motion.

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Well, a treeless saddle is just that... treeless. They're not the same as flextrees. Hubby says most of the treeless saddles he sells come back on trade within a year or two. People find that they just aren't as good as they sound. They're usually barrel racers who are drawn in by the lightness of not having a tree, but find that they don't have the proper support for horse or rider.

Dixie Belle, are you ever near Birmingham, AL?

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Duh? [Duh]

I thought the question was what are treeless/flextree saddles. Sorry.

The Bob Marshall would be a treeless, the other 2 would be flextrees.

I beleive the ANSUR is a treeless, as well, but they carry English type saddles.

DHL - Nope - never been to Birmingham. I will have to look up how close it is to me now that I'm in TN.

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The other 2 would not be flex trees. There is a difference.

1.There are flex trees (which are supposed to have some flex in the actual tree) These are made by a variety of saddle makers.

2. Flex panel saddles are just that. It is a rigid tree set on panels that flex to the horse. Such as orthoflex, american flex.

3. Treeless - is no tree. You are riding on the horse in a saddle with no tree underneath the leather if you will.

and then there are your standard rigid trees saddles too and a variety of some in between.

I ride in a flex panel. It works great for my mare because of her being so mutten, but I have serious doubts if it would fit any horse I put it on. I had Circle Y flex tree before this and it did not fit her at all.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

I to have spent a small fortune on saddles trying to find the best fit. I have had a circle y flex tree, 2 american flex panel and now a rocking r flex panel saddle.

Saddle fit just plain bites when you have more than 1 horse in the stable in my opinion but I have been able to get what I need out of the flex panel saddles. (meaning they have fit the horses I typically ride)

They are not cheap though and that is the pits.

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I have a Crates with the "Steele flex tree" that is supposed to fit a variety of horses but have not found that to be true. It fits my older QH who has fairly high withers but absolutely does not fit either of my mustangs who have lower withers. I would love to find one saddle that would fit all of them but might as well wish to win the lottery. [big Grin]

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