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Frustrated - broken tree!

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  • Signs of a broken tree in western saddle
  • Broken saddle tree signs on horse

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    02-11-2013, 12:52 PM
  #21
Green Broke
This is a very interesting thread for someone who rides western. I had no idea it was so common (so easy?) for english saddle trees to break.

I mean, if you can physically break a saddle tree by bending the cantle towards your body, how would that stand up to riding? I can't imagine them breaking THAT easy......right? If I could break a saddle tree with my bare hands, I would consider it already cracked/broken.

For western saddles I have always been told to put them nose down, on the ground, put your hands on the cantle and push downwards and look for movement. I have been guilty of buying saddles without actually testing the tree and all have been fine (to my knowledge). Now I think I am going to be even more careful with western saddles.

Also, is 12 years old, actually OLD for an english saddle? In western saddles, I would consider that practically new. I wouldn't turn down a 50-75 yr old western saddle if it fit my horse. In fact, these are often considered better quality than the newer ones.

So hmm. I've learned a lot about english saddles today. If I ever come across one cheap (which I would probably pick up just as something to play around with) I now know that apparently tree breakage is a common problem to be on the lookout for.

To the OP, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I would be heart-broken and upset too. What a major bummer!

I guess sometimes there ARE advantages to buying new saddles.
     
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    02-11-2013, 01:34 PM
  #22
Showing
Tiny, I don't know about english saddles, but in western saddles, pretty much any noticeable level of flexion will mean the tree is broken. However, there are other signs too. When you go to flex it like Faye mentioned, if you feel or hear any sort of creaking or grinding, that will usually mean a broken tree.

THR, broken trees aren't uncommon even in the western world. Of course, since our saddles are bigger and heavier, it takes a lot more to break the tree, but I've had 2 saddles that ended up with broken trees in them...and they were both quality saddles.

One, the tree broke while my brother was dragging a bull into a trailer (bull weighed about 1600 pounds). And the other, I had a horse fall with me in a pasture...at a gallop.
     
    02-11-2013, 06:36 PM
  #23
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
THR, broken trees aren't uncommon even in the western world. Of course, since our saddles are bigger and heavier, it takes a lot more to break the tree, but I've had 2 saddles that ended up with broken trees in them...and they were both quality saddles.
Thanks Smrobs! Yeah, I know they can break, especially if a horse falls on them (hopefully you didn't get hurt in that incident). But I didn't realize just how common a problem it was. I've been lucky thus far not to buy a broken saddle considering I've been through a good handful of used saddles.

I also never imagined breaking one with your bare hands. Those HAVE to be already cracked for that to happen.......I would hope.
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    02-11-2013, 06:43 PM
  #24
Showing
Oh, yeah. At least, the trees that I ride would be impossible for any normal human to break. If they can withstand dragging 1000+ pounds, then dinky little me shouldn't be able to break it LOL.
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    04-03-2013, 12:46 PM
  #25
Showing
Place the pommel against your upper thigh and pull hard on the cantle like you are trying to push the pommel thro your leg. There shouldn't be any flexion. Often a tree will break where the metal bracing attaches to the tree. On a cheap saddle, this metal has no flexion to it because of it's low quality. Often the wood tree isn't even painted to protect it from insects or weather and may warp. If riders get the opportunity it is worth $10 to dismantle a low end saddle and see how it's made. Unfortunately the way an english saddle is made we can't see what we need to see.
     

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