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mvinotime 03-07-2013 09:25 AM

Tree.....which style??
Ok so I am saddle shopping. I am wondering if you all could chime in on preference regarding a regular wood tree or the new ralide flex style tree? Pros? Cons? Experiences? All greatly appreciated! Thanks :)

Joe4d 03-07-2013 09:32 AM

how much do you weigh ? depending on the brand of flex tree, Ive heard from several HW owners that flex trees from some brands basically just become a wide tree when someone over 180 sits in them. Same saddles by lighter riders get great reviews.

SouthernTrails 03-07-2013 06:45 PM


Ralide Flex Trees are the only Flex Tree that does not have a weight limit, the problem is they come in limited sizes. Wood trees generally come in twice as many sizes, so you may have a better choice.

Ralide are generally used in less expensive off-the-shelf brands as they cost half the price of a good Solid Wood Tree


boots 03-07-2013 07:39 PM

I don't recommend a plain wood tree. A wood tree covered in rawhide or bullhide is great for heavy riding and roping.

I like ralide treed saddles for backing colts. So nice and light for putting on and taking off many times. Would not use one for roping, although I worked with a guy that did and he said it was the roping equivalent of fly fishing.

Not a fan of the flex trees I've seen. I have to admit they are rare here, but the times I've seen them ridden on varying country, they didn't distrubute weight like I like a saddle to do. The riders said they were comfortable for them.

SouthernTrails 03-07-2013 08:40 PM


Boots, lol....looking at my post I should have said Wood reinforced with Fiberglass or Rawhide :wink:


boots 03-07-2013 11:17 PM


Originally Posted by SouthernTrailsGA (Post 1927809)

Boots, lol....looking at my post I should have said Wood reinforced with Fiberglass or Rawhide :wink:


I used to come across saddles at auctions with wood trees covered in something that looked like burlap. I wonder if they even make those still. Maybe they are okay for normal riding, I don't know.

clippityclop 03-07-2013 11:27 PM

I have a flex tree in one of my saddles (Dixeland Gaited Saddle) and it is nice, but being that the entire saddle is leather (and I've been riding in it for 5 years now) the whole saddle squeaks on a regular basis. Nothing helps - anything from oiling to baby powder and everything in between. Makes it hard to hear conversations with friends riding next to you on the trail. That is about the only thing I could complain about.

boots 03-08-2013 06:55 PM

I've come back because a saddle making buddy educated my at lunch today.

He said what I saw around here that I didn't think worked in our type of country was treeless saddles.

He then told me that even my roping saddle (rawhide covered wood tree) has some flex in it. He went on to say that the Kevlar trees that were tried a few years ago didn't catch on because they were too rigid. He went on to get real technical and when he got into the chemistry of the composite trees, my eyes glazed over. Kinestetics I get. Chemistry, beyond the math of it, makes my head spin.

He said he gets his trees mostly from LaPorte and they gone to some composite materials that have been holding up without weighing a bunch.

So, apparently I ride a flex tree and so do most of us. lol

SouthernTrails 03-08-2013 07:10 PM


That is true,
but what most people think about is a Flex Tree that mixes, wood, rubber and plastic.

You cannot start mixing dissimilar material like that and expect it to last, Solid Wood Trees have been covered/reinforced with Rawhide for 100's of years, many of those trees are as good today as they were 50-75 years ago. Today to save 4-5 lbs, they cover them with a Fiberglass Matte and Resin which makes them just as strong as rawhide but lighter.

There is a reason some Flex Trees are on Version/Generation II ... the 1st version failed miserably, I am not a fan of the 2nd version either.

Instead of Fancy Fads like a Flex Tree, spend the extra Money on a Very Good Saddle pad, your Horse will be Happy and so will you.


Saddlebag 03-08-2013 08:25 PM

I own a Simco roper that I was told was made in 1958 so the makes it...........I don't have enough fingers. It was made in the days when quality mattered and every part of that saddle is 100%. The rawhide wrapped tree is in excellent shape. It's not the prettiest saddle because it was built to do a job. With a little care this saddle will likely be around in another 60 years. I've joked that it could be dropped off the 10th floor, thrown on a horse and be good to go.

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