There have been many innovations in the saddle tree world as technological advances bring about a new generation of synthetic trees. These can come in all sorts of materials: plastic, fibreglass, polymer, elastomere, carbon fibre, carbon composite, fibreglass reinforced ……
Generally speaking synthetic trees are more adjustable with some of the trees being able to go in and out several sizes and sometimes as many times as you need. These need to be done by a saddle fitter on a saddle press – sometimes using heat to warm the tree and make it pliable (see this photo of one of our fitters adjusting an Erreplus saddle)!
This gives a lot of flexibility for horses that do change shape quite a lot or when changing horses.
However some materials are not recommended to be adjusted at all as they can be more brittle and prone to breakage so always make sure when buying a synthetic tree saddle that you are aware of whether it can be adjusted and for those that can be – how much and how often you can do this!
Synthetic trees usually don’t have the ‘rails’ that you find in a wooden tree either and have a solid base as you can see in this photo.
This can make them a little more forgiving when matching the shape of the tree and the shape of the horse as there are no inside rail edges to dig in, only the outside edges. If you look at the tree below on the palomino you’ll see that although the very back of the tree is a little flat for him, because of having solid tree there is no pressure through the middle whereas in a wooden tree you would have some pressure on the inside edge of the rails.
Then there is the changeable gullet tree which is usually synthetic as this allows for numerous changes in gullet size. These are great for horses that change shape constantly, going in and out in a gullet size through the seasons etc. Usually they are easy to change and the horse owner can do this themselves – although we always advocate that you only do this yourself under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable saddle fitter as just changing the gullet doesn’t always mean the saddle now fits – there are many other aspects to look at. But what an easy solution for the ever changing horse!
Next time we’ll have a discussion about treeless and flexible tree saddles.
How do you correctly store your saddle? The wrong saddle stands and racks can cause damage to your saddle panels & flocking. Check out the types of racks that are safe to use and how to convert others using Smoothie slip ons, pool noodles or other thick padding.
How to Measure up for your Mattes Pad mattes-pad-measuring-guide-3Using a measuring tape measure the distance, following the contour of the saddle at the top of the channel, between an imaginary line at the front. Add a minimum of 6cm. The measurement you have just taken is the MINIMUM pad length required for your saddle. Choose the appropriate size from this guide: Small=47cm Medium=54cm Large=58cm Extra large=62cm