Sizing Your Saddle
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SADDLE TREES
The saddle tree is the foundation of a good saddle. The tree shape determines what the finished saddle will look like. Suprisingly there is little or no information available to explain the differences of the various types of trees found in today’s saddles. We hope that this guide will help in explaining exactly what is that you are buying. It is written for the novice as well as the expert.
The saddle maker’s great challenge is to build a saddle that fits both the horse or mule and the rider. We here at Colorado Saddlery pride ourselves on accomplishing this goal. Our trees are the foundation that allow us to do this. We use only top quality trees whose design has been proven to fit a wide variety of horses and mules.
When it comes to making sure that one of our saddles will fit an individual horse we try our best to provide all the necessary information so that both the consumer and dealer can make an informed decision.
Some definitions to help make the decision easier:
- Horse Bars: The bars of our horse trees are curved to fit evenly from the withers, back over the ribs and up onto the loin of the horse. The front of the bars is flared to allow for free shoulder action.
- Mule Bars: The bars of our mule trees are flatter and curve less to fit evenly along the mule’s back. The front of the bar is flared to allow for free shoulder action.
- Bar Angle: The bar angle is the degree that the front of the bar slopes away from the fork or
pommel of the tree. After many years of careful observation we feel that the 45 degree angle
fits the widest possible number of horses.
- Full Quarter Horse Bars: This means that the distance between the bars at the base of the
swell or pommel is 7”.
- Semi Quarter Horse Bars: This means that the distance between the bars at the base of the
swell or pommel is 6½ ”.
There seem to be saddle trees made of new materials on the market every day. The following are the “basics.” These are the types of trees that we use in Colorado Saddlery Saddles.
Rawhide Covered Tree
This is the “original” style of tree. The tree is constructed of wood and covered with rawhide which is stitched around the wood parts. This type of tree can be used for any purpose.
Equi-Fit or Fiberglass Covered Tree
This style of tree is constructed of wood and covered with fiberglass. It is strong, durable and decreases the weight of the tree. It can be used for any type of riding.
New & Improved Ralide® Tree
Ralide® are molded trees of a specialized, rugged type of polyethylene. The new and improved Ralide trees provide the correct fit while the flexibility allows movement away from pressure points giving a comfortable saddle to horse and rider. These trees aren’t recommended for roping.
All of our trees have a 5 year limited warranty.