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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2009
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    1,419

    Default can you tell me about saddles with adjustable trees?

    I am looking at saddles, and I will be riding a wide variety of horses, they range from narrow TB's to wider warmbloods I was considering trying to get a saddle with an adjustable tree. I KNOW nothing about them, do they "work"??? How do they work???
    Kim
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2009
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    382

    Default

    I have the Pessoa GenX and I love it. It is a little bit of a pain to change the gullets but you can buy several different sizes to fit different width of horses. You do have to pay for each one seperately and they run about $25 a piece. I have the widest one in mine.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2008
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    879

    Default

    I had a very hard to fit TB. I bought a Bates with an adjustable tree thinking it would be the answer to all my problems, that's what the tack store I bought it at kind of was stating at least. After a few weeks my horse started acting out. Bucking, cow kicking and not wanting to go forward under saddle, very unlike him. I tried every gullet size and he still wasn't himself. Finally I got help from a professional saddle fitter and found out that despite the adjustable tree, the saddle fit him horribly. The panels did not lay on his back evenly and there was some pinching in his shoulders. I could put every size gullet in there and it still wouldn't fit him. So keep in mind that there is a lot more to saddle fitting besides the tree size and this saddle might not fit all of the horses you intend on riding.

    Changing the gullets is also not something that is easily done. It will take a few minutes (5-10 maybe if you're quick) but it's not something I'd want to do on a daily basis to ride different horses.

    After that experience I prefer saddle without adjustable trees.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2009
    Location
    Rock Chalk!
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    3,734

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hellerkm View Post
    I am looking at saddles, and I will be riding a wide variety of horses, they range from narrow TB's to wider warmbloods I was considering trying to get a saddle with an adjustable tree. I KNOW nothing about them, do they "work"??? How do they work???
    I have the Collegiate Alumni and do love it. Mare was somewhat too wide for a medium, yet to narrow for a wide in everything we tried. This saddle gave me the option to find the one that fit her best (they do have Medium-Narrow and Medium-Wide gullets). While it isn't the easiest thing to change (it takes about 10 minutes) I ride a variety of horses from DD's round pony to WBs to TBs in my saddle and it seems to fit all of them fine.
    A proud friend of bar.ka.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 1999
    Posts
    3,441

    Default

    There is a lot more to saddle fit than just the size of the tree, so no, they're not a universal problem solver. It still has to be the right shape for the horse and the panels need to fit correctly.

    That said, I just bought a Bates to start my young horse in. My other saddle didn't fit her by a long shot (wrong shape, bridged, already too narrow in the tree). I didn't go looking for an adjustable tree saddle, I actually went looking for something with a flatter shape and more angled panel than the saddle I had. Just so happens that the Bates looked right. I bought it and it fits her fantastic. Currently the wide tree is in it. I'm hoping that her basic shape will stay the same and I can just put in the next widest gullet as we go along with her training. For her, it's a "grow with me" saddle. If it gets us through 2-3 years of her maturing, it served it's purpose well. And as a perk, now I have two saddles that are pretty much opposite end of the spectrum as far as how they fit, so I should always be able to make one of them work with anything I ride.

    Those gullets are a pain in the rear to take in and out, I can't imagine having to do that on a regular basis from one horse to another.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2009
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    1,419

    Default

    I had heard they are hard to change, and that they are NOT the be All END ALL to fixing saddle fit issues. I guess my biggest problem is that I am not all that well versed in saddle fitting, I could swear that my DD's saddle is causing her pony to have some issues but m y mom looked at it today and said it fits fine ( not sure I believe her)! can anyone suggest a good way to learn about saddle fitting and what to look for?? along with definitions of all the "terms"? or maybe I just need to call a saddle fitter adn see what they suggest!
    Kim
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    4,290

    Default

    I always thought lasers were interesting, but I've never had one:
    http://www.laserequestrian.com/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003
    Location
    Horse Heaven, GA :-)
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    9,296

    Default

    I have a Bates Caprilli cc and kid #2 has a Collegiate Diploma.

    I got the Bates for a growing warmblood. I figured it would give me some flexibility while she grew and when she was mature, I'd get the 'ultimate' saddle for both of us. It worked pretty well, but I didn't keep the horse. Now I'm waiting for it to be the starter saddle for my baby. When he's mature, I'll get our saddle.
    The kid outgrew her old Rex and needed a saddle right now. She was between beasties, growing, and the price was ridiculously cheap, so I bought the Diploma. It's been a great little saddle for her. It's actually turned out to be nicer than I thought it would be and it fits her very well. That's not something that happens easily. The kid is skinny with super-long legs.

    I think the gullets are easy to change and I know it only takes me a couple minutes to swap one out. But remember, it's only that part that changes, everything else stays the same... Our adjustable saddles fit us very well and they fit most horses well, but they are not going to fit every horse. Neither of our saddles fits the shark-finned, but stout TB well, and I have another horse that I don't really like the fit on.
    Y'all ain't right!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    880

    Default

    It depends on your budget and how often you'd need the size changed.

    Saddles with the gullet system won't fit many (if any) horses perfectly and changing the gullet doesn't change the whole saddle. They will fit quite a few horses OK, but as others have said, they come nowhere near fitting some.

    One of my saddles is a Prestige (retails new $3,300-$3,600) and it can be adjusted up/down 3cm from its original size for about $100 by Dover Saddlery, VTO, or your saddle fitter if they know how. Then there's Stubbens, while aren't adjustable, some people swear they fit a wide variety of horses (mine has only been on my horse).



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 8, 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    459

    Default Bates- hard CAIR panels

    I love the option of changing gullets, but my horse absolutely HATES my Bates caprilli CC. I changed the gullet to a wider one which made it fit better, but I think he dislikes how unreasonably hard (like rock hard) the CAIR panels are. When the saddle doesn't fit he shows it by pitching his head down at the canter and after a jump. He doesn't do this with any saddles except for the Bates and one other one that ended up being a little too narrow for him.

    I borrowed a friend's old Bates with much softer panels (like half deflated?) and the horse loves it.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2008
    Location
    Tryon, N.C.
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    315

    Default ERS saddles many have interchangeable trees

    Currently the bates, wintec, collegiate and pessoa all of have models a that use an interchangeable gullet system. they are a pain to change, but our local tack shop ( farm house) will change them for free if you buy the saddle or the gullets from them.

    Now there are also saddles by Prestige.. very nice high end.. The trees in most of there saddles can be stretched or shrunk up to 2 sizes bigger or smaller for a fee ( 350? ) it takes about 3 weeks.. so if you arent riding a ton of horses w/ different backs, but are concerened about selling your current mount and getting a new one, this might be a way to go. =D

    Farm house has all of the saddles I mentioned, and I think they might have some Prestige Nona Garsons on sale. =) - www.farmhousetack.com 864-457-3557



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    40,001

    Default

    You really, really don't want to be changing those gullets frequently. Going narrower is pretty easy, but going wider can be a huge pita. Plus, I don't really know what's happening to the saddle if/when the wider gullets become easier to put in

    Just how wide is the widest horse? You can pretty easily use correct padding to pad up a saddle that's too wide, as long as not TOO too wide. I would bet that, assuming the overal shape of the horses is pretty close, you could take a W or XW saddle that normally comes in those widths, and be able to pad up for more narrow horses, as long as you know how to do it correctly.

    But if you're riding some horses who are very curvy-backed, and some that are very flat-backed, you cannot use the same saddle, no matter if the width fits at the shoulders. Just doesn't work that way
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
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    880

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by shoponee70 View Post
    bigger or smaller for a fee ( 350? ) it takes about 3 weeks.. so if you arent riding a ton of horses w/ different backs, but are concerened about selling your current mount and getting a new one, this might be a way to go.
    It's $100 from Dover Saddlery and VTO. Saddle fitters who works with Prestige can also adjust the saddles, or if you go to a show where Prestige will be, they'll probably do it there as well.



  14. #14
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    May. 7, 2009
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    1,419

    Default

    Like I said could use a weekend long course in saddle fitting LOL!! I do think a wide tree with padding would cover most of what I plan to ride, we have a few growing babies who are still a bit on the narrow side and then some older mares who are just so much fun to ride that no longer have regular riders and need to stay in shape, they are warmbloods and a bit more broad but not HUGELY so.
    The idea of switching the inserts for the tree sounds less appealing with each post I read LOL!!! so I think I will stay away from adjustable trees.
    Kim
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2008
    Location
    Tryon, N.C.
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    315

    Default

    ok.. then how about a fleeceworks perfect balance pad.. =) I used that for a band aid while waiting for my amerigo for my mare. It has memory foam in the front shoulders and you can buy inserts for the rear ( i did ) and you can move them around to make your saddle fit whatevers in the barn. =) i think if it was something you know you were going to keep i'd spend the money on a correctly fitting saddle, but if you are trying to get the green ones going it might be a better investment. they run 1-200 $ neighborhood. Ive had mine for 3-4 years now, and its still in really good shape.. -- the new saddle fits her but its so soft and comfy, i stick it on my youngsters who arent as wide as she is. =)
    Farm House has them 864-457-3557 and alot of other solutions.. they are really helpful.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2009
    Location
    Wyoming County NY where Wind is King
    Posts
    300

    Default

    my WOW saddle is being sent today. I should receive it by Saturday. It took several fittings to finalize a perfect fit. They developed the air panels, and this saddle has many many gullet sizes you can purchase to make sure you get the perfect fit. While I was waiting I used a Korrector pad under my Lauriche and in two months the entire shape and musculature changed on my horse. It was amazing. While a Korrector is great, because you can adjust the air, it did NOT address the fact that the tree was way too small, and the panels too wide in the Lauriche. It was made for my horse years ago. It was not a horrid fit, but certainly did not allow for optimum performance.

    Getting a good saddle fitter to fit your horse is really important, because they have the skills to see them at their work and can determine what will work best.

    Good Luck!!



  17. #17
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    May. 7, 2009
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    1,419

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    Quote Originally Posted by shoponee70 View Post
    ok.. then how about a fleeceworks perfect balance pad.. =) I used that for a band aid while waiting for my amerigo for my mare. It has memory foam in the front shoulders and you can buy inserts for the rear ( i did ) and you can move them around to make your saddle fit whatevers in the barn. =) i think if it was something you know you were going to keep i'd spend the money on a correctly fitting saddle, but if you are trying to get the green ones going it might be a better investment. they run 1-200 $ neighborhood. Ive had mine for 3-4 years now, and its still in really good shape.. -- the new saddle fits her but its so soft and comfy, i stick it on my youngsters who arent as wide as she is. =)
    Farm House has them 864-457-3557 and alot of other solutions.. they are really helpful.
    I will check these out THANKS for the suggestion!!
    Kim
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2008
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    879

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hellerkm View Post
    Like I said could use a weekend long course in saddle fitting LOL!! I do think a wide tree with padding would cover most of what I plan to ride, we have a few growing babies who are still a bit on the narrow side and then some older mares who are just so much fun to ride that no longer have regular riders and need to stay in shape, they are warmbloods and a bit more broad but not HUGELY so.
    The idea of switching the inserts for the tree sounds less appealing with each post I read LOL!!! so I think I will stay away from adjustable trees.
    Don't worry, I think most of us need that too! Saddle fitting still is complicated to me. I should be a pro at it by now too after all the saddles I last tried out. Sadly I am in the market for a new saddle again as my horse developed a top line and our saddle that fit perfectly doesnt fit anymore. Not looking forward to it. I think I'd rather go to the dentist and get teeth pulled.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 7, 2003
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    Horse Heaven, GA :-)
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    I'm really surprised at how many folks have a hard time changing the gullets. I think it's simple and once I was shown how to do it and spent a few minutes looking at how it worked, I've never had any trouble (just watch, I'll never be able to change a gullet again now that I've typed that ).
    Y'all ain't right!



  20. #20
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    May. 7, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeastieSlave View Post
    I'm really surprised at how many folks have a hard time changing the gullets. I think it's simple and once I was shown how to do it and spent a few minutes looking at how it worked, I've never had any trouble (just watch, I'll never be able to change a gullet again now that I've typed that ).
    Yup Murphys Law LOL!!
    Kim
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.



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