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Re: Rigid versus flexible saddles

Hi again Karen - 

You said: " If the panels can be 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 stirrups and girth that also
distributes the weight over the panels, and the tree becomes un-necessary."

Well, "a system to suspend the stirrups and girth that also distributes the
weight over the panels" - that's just what a tree is, when you think about
it. In addition the tree provides the opportunity to balance the rider
relative to the horse - in the case of the Free'n'Easy saddle we do this by
raising or lowering the cantle end of the seat via the adjustable
screws/bolts until the seat is level so the rider sits in the middle, above
the centre of the horse's movement, whether the horse is croup-high or
wither high. Many English style saddles tend to ride high over the withers
and leave the rider sitting towards the back of the seat, which makes hard
work of the posting trot in particular, as well as being tough on the knee

Have a look again at the pictures of saddles and riders on our website -
this might help to clarify (

Should also add that we are toying with the idea of a nearly tree less
racing saddle, but in flat racing the jockeys don't sit in the saddles
really, just crouch in the stirrups, so there the rider's balance *in* the
saddle does not come into it. Very very different in long distance riding,

All the best,

(Partner in Free'n'Easy Saddle Company, Co. Durham, UK)

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