Originally Posted by Saddlebag
You have been looking at brands rather than the fit of the tree. Most saddle manufacturers use Ralide trees and the three most common are semi, qh and full qh or wide. A good rawhide wrapped tree usually offers a better fit than the Ralide. And yes, as a horse's fitness level changes one often has to change saddles with a different tree.
I don't know why the ralide trees can't fit as good as a rawhide trees, because ralide is just a material and you should be able to make a good fitting tree out of it, but my observations have been the same as Saddlebag's.
Since I switched to wooden trees made by Steele (and they are not even top-of-the-line rawhide wrapped trees, but fiberglass wrapped) I am getting much better saddle fit with my horses. It's like a miracle to buy a saddle and actually have it FIT your horse!
I swear I don't think I have ever had a ralide tree fit one of my horses right. They must fit someone's horses right, but just not mine! They seem to be durable, I have never had one fail, but no matter what style of saddle or width of tree, I have just never had one fit well.