I read on the trail saddle which states Steele equi fit fiberglass covered flex tree. Fiberglass isn't flexible. The roper tree offers a 5 year warranty. Does that warranty expire the minute the saddle leaves the retailer? My Tex Tan offered a 5 year guarantee - big difference. If considering a Dakota, be sure to read the fine print if there's a warranty. I don't know of a saddlemaker in North America who can make a custom saddle for $750 unless he opts to work for less than min. Wage.
Steele Saddle Tree LLC - EQUI-FIT FLEXIBLE (EFF)
That should answer your 'isn't flexible' comment.
Why do you ask if a 5 year warranty expires the moment the saddle leaves the retailer? Unless it is a fly-by-night company - and neither Steele nor Dakota are those - then the warranty starts when the saddle is purchased for use. 5 years is fairly common in western saddles.
"Circle Y saddles have a ten year tree warranty, a one year parts warranty, and a one year silver warranty. Saddles have a warranty registration card attached which contain a complete explanation of the warranties. All warranties apply to the original purchaser. Saddles manufactured before January 1, 2004 have a five-year tree warranty."
Circle Y Saddles - Western Saddles, Trail Riding Saddles, Barrel Sadles, Roping Saddles
"All our leather Tex Tan saddles have a five year warranty on the tree"
Tex Tan Need for Speed Barrel Saddle
I have no clue why someone would think TexTan has a superior warranty.
Dakota doesn't offer custom saddles. They offer semi-custom. That means standardized parts, with some interchangeability as the saddle is being made. I don't know what they pay, but they are not pretending they offer a true custom made saddle.
BTW - here is a list of folks using Steele trees:
Steele Saddle Tree LLC - Vendor Directory