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Trail riders: Flex tree or non flex tree? That is the question..

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  • Trail riders: Flex tree or non flex tree? That is the question..

    As trail riders, do you prefer a rigid tree or a flex tree. It seemed liked a few years ago, flex trees were the in thing. Now I'm hearing contradictory things about them and people prefer a rigid tree.

    Of course I just ordered an Abetta Endurance with flex tree...

    Any opinions on the pros or cons of flexes?
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
    http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    Here's my take on it

    I had a Circle Y Endurance saddle with a flex tree. I got it way back when they first came out with it. Can I say HATED IT!!!

    The flexing of the tree torqued my hips so badly I could hardly walk when I dismounted. It also made my horse so sore that she would pin her ears and threaten me if I got near her with the saddle. I sold it on Ebay for a huge loss....I could not GIVE it away. But it was one of the most poorly made endurance saddles I've ever ridden in, and believe me, Circle Y got a very long, nasty letter about their poor design. The stirrups were set forward like a Western Pleasure saddle and posting was nearly impossible. There were ALOT of things wrong with that saddle, and the flex tree was just the beginning.

    Flex tree or not, the saddle just didn't fit my horse. So don't think just because the tree "flexes" that it is a guaranteed fit. The shape and angles of the bars, width of the gullet and all the other things that make a saddle fit or not still matter....even more so with a flexible tree. If it doesn't fit your horse, the flexing motion will make things even worse.

    As for the pain in my hips, that was just me. It may not happen to you; I've never heard of it happening to anyone else, so maybe it's just the way I'm put together.

    But I think flex trees are just another gimmick to make people think the saddle will fit more horses. NOT.
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Angel Can Fly

    Comment


    • #3
      Abetta Endurance Saddle

      I don't know much about which tree is best, but I do have an Abetta Endurance saddle, and I love it. I have a high-withered OTTB, so I have to put a closed-cell foam pad under it (cut the withers out of the pad) to lift it above the withers. So far, no back soreness, and I've never been sore from using it either.
      "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by matryoshka View Post
        I don't know much about which tree is best, but I do have an Abetta Endurance saddle, and I love it. I have a high-withered OTTB, so I have to put a closed-cell foam pad under it (cut the withers out of the pad) to lift it above the withers. So far, no back soreness, and I've never been sore from using it either.
        Matryoshka, is your's a flex tree?

        My mare is mutton withered with wide shoulders and every site I checked recommended full QH bars, which I ordered.

        I'm not a CTR. My trail rides consist of maybe 1 1/2 hours. 2 hrs absolute tops.
        MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
        http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

        Comment


        • #5
          I just bought a slightly used (very slightly - like maybe 30 minutes total) Abetta endurance saddle on ebay with full QH bars. It fits my horse very well and has been a comfortable ride for me so far but I've only done a couple of rides in the pasture. Mine isn't the flex tree.
          To many, the words love, hope and dreams are synonymous with horses. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

          http://www.ctgponies.4t.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            I have the Abetta endurance both with the Flex, and one without. I honestly can't tell the difference. I had the opportunity to see the two trees side by side (without the saddle) and honest to god, I couldn't with all my might flex that flex tree even a smidgen. I was actually pretty pissed about it. I felt that my extra 300 bucks was wasted. I love the saddles, but wish I hadn't paid 600 for the flex model.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Crap! So I paid extra for nothing? I don't know if they are all different, but I paid a little over $400.00.

              GE, I checked Ebay all the time. I guess you beat me to it..lol

              P.S. Anyone know what the Aire grip skirt is about?
              MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
              http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

              Comment


              • #8
                I bought mine for $300 (I think that's how much it was) new a few years ago. I guess it isn't the flex-tree model. I got it back when State Line Tack was still part of Pet Smart. I took it home to try it out, put it on my lively OTTB, and managed to stay rock solid through all the shenanigans she put me through that day. She's normally easy to ride, but it was windy, she hadn't been ridden in a while, she's a TB, and... well, I bought the saddle. I've ridden many miles in it since then on that mare and numerous other horses.
                "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I also have an Abetta Flex Tree saddle. I cant tell the difference either from a flex tree or non flex treed saddle. But I do have to say that my Abetta is the most comfotable saddle I've ever owned, or sat in.

                  My sweet hubby bought it for me for Christmas 2 years ago. I think he paid around 350 dollars for it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
                    P.S. Anyone know what the Aire grip skirt is about?
                    The Aire grip skirt is neoprene-lined, I think, instead of the fleece/wool lining. It's kind of textured, and grippy.
                    "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
                      P.S. Anyone know what the Aire grip skirt is about?
                      It means you can go in the river and get the saddle soaked and it will dry out in a few minutes, unlike a wool lined saddle that will mold, rot, smell, get heavy, etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
                        GE, I checked Ebay all the time. I guess you beat me to it..lol
                        It was $250 BIN AND she lived close by so I saved on shipping AND she had the stirrups professionally shortened so I didn't have to spend money on that either. Turns out I knew her through another friend. Great saddle BTW!
                        To many, the words love, hope and dreams are synonymous with horses. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

                        http://www.ctgponies.4t.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I give thumbs up to the Abetta flex, which I purchased NEW for 300 dollars on line. I cannot tell it is a flex, but I had a high, wide withered TB with some sway to his back that I got it for, and he never complained. I am now using it with a sway back pad on my little quarter horsey mare.
                          I also tried some other brands of non leather saddles, but only this fit. I am comfortable in it all day. I am even thinking of getting one to fit my narrow high withered TB.
                          I also never thought I'd go for anything but the best leather, but due to not being able to lift a heavy western, I tried these. I feel like I am "cheating".

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I bet your horses don't feel like you are cheating. They probably think you are brilliant!
                            "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                              I have the Abetta endurance both with the Flex, and one without. I honestly can't tell the difference. I had the opportunity to see the two trees side by side (without the saddle) and honest to god, I couldn't with all my might flex that flex tree even a smidgen. I was actually pretty pissed about it. I felt that my extra 300 bucks was wasted. I love the saddles, but wish I hadn't paid 600 for the flex model.
                              I have an Abetta Arab Flex-tree and my horse loves it. I can't tell the difference when I ride in it. You can flex the tree but you have to do it diagonally. Grab the right side of the pommel and the left side of the cantle and pull your hands toward each other and it will flex.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Bad question. ALL saddle trees flex.

                                I'll say it again: ALL SADDLE TREES FLEX!

                                Some flex more than others. A heavy duty steer roping saddle will flex a lot less than something with a light tree.

                                So the answer is, "Get a saddle that you like, that fits the horse, that does what a saddle does, and is appropriate to your discipline and pocketbook."

                                For the record, I ride a Stubben Scout and highly recommend it. Frankly, I've no idea how much the tree flexes. I only know it fits me and and horse and what I like to do.

                                G.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  And I hated the Abetta, no flex. It put my legs too far forward and I was off balance. I resold it to someone on another board.
                                  ********
                                  There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've used flex and regular trees. I like the regular trees better and so did my horse.
                                    Horse'in around in Upstate NY

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I had a chance a few months back to try out an ortho-flex endurence saddle. Awful! I felt like I was riding on a trampoline. I could not keep my seat and it killed my hips and knees. I prefer to ride in a McClellan millitary saddle that has a solid tree. (Same horse) So much better than that Ortho-flex.

                                      But in saying all that the gal that let me use that saddle LOVED it. So I think flex or not it really just comes down to what a horse and rider combo ride well in.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Bank of Dad View Post
                                        And I hated the Abetta, no flex. It put my legs too far forward and I was off balance. I resold it to someone on another board.
                                        Hmmm, I surprised by that. Perhaps Abetta changes the way they make them? I have mine and it keeps my feet/legs right under me.
                                        MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
                                        http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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