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Re: Re: Rigid versus flexible saddles

HI Karen

I hope Agntta doesnt mind me butting in ( particlarly as I seem to be
developing into a rather sad free and easy groupy!)

The  reasons I can see for not eradicating trees is the twist to the saddle,
and stability for both horse and rider.

I used to have a treeless sports saddle for a year as I thought the concept
was brilliant - freedom for the horses back and the incredibly close
contact. however I had no end of problems with it. In fact I first met
Agnetta at a ride when I was having problems with it.

 My main problems were as follows:

excrutiating pain from my hips when riding ( which I have never expeienced
before or since with any type of saddle). My horse is very wide backed and I
think that the fact that the sports saddle twist in effect was the whole
width of his back was the source of the problem. I also tried a 'balance'
soft seat saddle ( an english gp saddle with no tree , just a pommel and
stirrup bars ) and this had the same impact on my hips.

my horses back dropped after I started using the sports saddle - it became
sway . Its now still slightly dippy but not as bad as it was for a year with
the sports saddle.

Finally, whilst a ridgid saddle tree removes the close contact feel for the
rider, have you ever thought that your horse might be grateful not to have
close contact with the rider? Some one emailed me ages ago ( sharon Suhr?)
on this subject. Their analogy was as follows;-

would you prefer to carry a load in a rigid frame ruck sack on your back
over a distance so the weight was evenly distributed and any imbalances
leveled out, or would you just prefer to stuff the objects into an old
fashioned  unframed rucksack and expect to cope with the weight sagging to
one side occassionally , maybe concentrating in one area or shifting about
and bouncing? That really made sense to me.

Also re the tons of padding to cushion a saddle. My free and easy saddle
just has panels which are approximetly 1 inch thich including the poron
foam, plastic panel and cover. Its panels are actually thiner than my wintec
gps!  I can still feel my horses bakc as well - I cant explain really how
the saddle works - it just does!


I have a free and easy , but prior to that had a sporsts
----- Original Message -----
From: Karen Sullivan <>
To: <>; Agneta Pallinder <>
Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2000 5:19 PM
Subject: RC: Re: Rigid versus flexible saddles

> > That's where the weight distribution qualities of the panels come in -
> > other words the panels have to be firm as well as flexible. On the
> > Free'n'Easy saddles the panels are made up from several layers of
> > and open cell foam - the former for weight distribution, the latter for
> > shock absorption. The layers of plastic are harder as well as shorter
> > slimmer the nearer the tree and the fixing you get, so the panel as a
> whole
> > is firm along a center line from fixing to fixing and flexible further
> > and forward and back. The pressure of the rider's weight transferred
> through
> > the attachments to the panel gets progressively distributed by the
> > layers of the panel. A rough simile is if you imagine standing in high
> > heeled shoes on soft ground - the heel sinks in; if you put a board on
> > ground and stand on it - your weight is distributed by the board and
> > heel does not sink into the ground.
> >
> > I can see that it could be confusing that with all the flat panel saddle
> > types the panels tend to be described as "flexible" - this they are, and
> > have to be, but they also need to have a more rigid core in order to
> achieve
> > weight distribution.
> >
> Hello Agneta,
> Thanks for explaining it, now I have another question. If the panels can
> made to be both firm
> (weight distributing) AND flexible, then why can't you just dispence with
> the tree? All you would need is some sort of system to suspend the
> and girth that also distributes the weight over the panels, and the tree
> becomes un-necessary.
> Why would  you want to dispense with the tree?
> 1.  Added weight you don't need
> 2. rigidity that inhibits the horses movement
> 3.  Any saddle built with a seat over a hard tree is uncomfortable unless
> has tons of padding---
> 4. that padding AND tree further put you higher off the horses back and
> out of balance.
> Seems all you would really need is some sort of soft and flexible pommel
> cantle to give the rider some stability.......
> Karen
> Karen
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