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Twisted Saddle Tree’s

Being able to recognise a twisted tree or a saddle with tree faults is really important. Your saddle tree may twist over time . This could cause pain and discomfort to your horse and also to you as a rider.

How can The Saddle Bank help you?

Here at The Saddle Bank, the worlds most trusted online saddle retailer, we thoroughly check every saddle which comes into us to sell. Twisted saddle trees are often sold within the second hand market. This is something certainly worth looking for if you are looking to buy a second hand saddle. If unsure or in doubt always buy from a reputable saddle retailer such as The Saddle Bank. All saddles sold from The Saddle Bank come with a 6 month warranty and inspection report card. Therefore, you have the peace of mind your saddle has been checked thoroughly. 

In this article we will discuss twisted saddle trees. This will enable you to identify if your saddle tree is twisted and learn how to prevent it. If you find your saddle is twisted it will need to be replaced or have the tree replaced. Depending on the value of your saddle this may or may not be worth your time. If replacing the entire saddle is your best option why not trial one from The Saddle Bank. The Saddle Bank offer 5 day UK mainland trials on all new and used saddles with fast next working day delivery. If you are overseas don’t worry – we ship worldwide!  

If you are unsure what type of saddle you need why not get in touch with our friendly customer support team via phone 0345 030 4916 or email info@thesaddlebank.com. Our lovely team are always happy to help as much as they can and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your horse.

What we will cover

In this article we will discuss twisted saddle tree’s;

  • Saddle tree’s – what are they?
  • What is a twisted saddle tree?
  • How do saddle tree’s twist?
  • Why you should no longer use your saddle if the tree twists.
  • How to know if your saddle tree is twisted.

What is a saddle tree?

Most horse saddles are built with tree’s inside of them, with the exception of treeless saddles as the name would suggest! The tree is essentially the skeleton of the saddle. It is the rigid part that provides the saddle the support to be able to carry the riders weight up and off the horses spine and withers.

Saddle tree’s come in various different shapes and sizes to suit a variety of different horses and ponies. It is important to get the correct shape and size tree for your horse to ensure that you do not damage the horses back. Using a saddle with the wrong shape or size tree for your horse can cause irreparable damage. This is often displayed as muscle atrophy (muscle wastage), white hairs, cuts and damage to the scapula. Find out more about how saddles cause your horse pain here.

Traditional wooden trees are made from laminated beechwood. That means very thing layers of wood are layered up to create the structure and shape of the tree.

Tree’s also have a metal head plate at the front which helps hold the saddle in place to the width it is set at. Without the head plate the width of the saddle would collapse at the front and would not hold the riders weight up and off the horses back.

Adjustable gullet trees are often made of lightweight polycarbonate, a type of plastic. These tree’s can be altered in width with the gullet bar acting as the head plate to hold the saddle in place at the desired width.

Saddle tree

What is a twisted saddle tree?

A twisted tree is essentially when the cantle of the saddle starts to twist over. It is very obvious to notice from behind, or when looking at the saddle down the cantle to the pommel.

An easy way to check would be to see if your cantle lines up straight to the nail heads in the saddle. A twisted tree will show one side of the cantle higher than the other.

 Twisted saddle tree

Twisted tree saddle

How do saddle tree’s twist?

Often saddles twist from right to left. Therefore, the right side of the cantle is higher than the left as seen in the photo of the Monarch saddle above. This can be due to riders grabbing the cantle when they mount, and pulling it over. Over a period of time this can cause the saddle to twist. Therefore it is really important to use a mounting block and not to grab and pull the cantle. If mounting this way can do this to your saddle, imaging what it is doing to your horses back!

Twisted saddles can also be caused by wonky horses or wonky riders. As you can imagine, the weight of a wonky rider on a horses back hour after hour will cause the saddle to disform over time.

None of the above reason’s for a twisted tree will happen overnight. It will be a gradual twist over time.

Saddles can also come out of the factory twisted or with faults to the tree. Most manufacturers will check the saddle before dispatching it. However, it is not unheard of that a saddle can come straight out of a factory twisted. This could be caused by the webbing on the tree being pulled too tight and distorting the tree.

How do I know if my saddle’s tree is twisted?

When checking if a saddle is twisted, place the saddle on the floor and look down on it.  The cantle should line up with the nail heads in a straight line. If noticing an oddity at this point, it should be checked that the nail heads are on straight and the stitching is straight. This could make it look like a twisted tree when in fact it is just not quite symmetrical in design features.

If noticing a twist, put the saddle on a saddle stand and look at it from behind. A twisted saddle will lift one side and therefore the panel will not make even contact with the horses back (or the saddle stand).

Twisted saddle tree

My tree is twisted what should I do?

If you bought your saddle new and it is under warranty, you should check with the saddle fitter who sold you the saddle. They will then be able to discuss this with the manufacturer. Depending on the cause of the saddle tree fault you may be liable to some or all of the repair costs.

With a twisted tree the tree will need to be replaced which can be a costly repair. Therefore older saddles, or saddles with lower value are often scrapped rather than repaired in this instance.

Learn more about how saddles should fit….

Are a horse owner or rider and would like to learn more about saddle fitting and how the saddle can impact your horses performance and welfare?

Click on the link below to find out more:

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this article on saddle tree faults! We hope you found it useful!
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The Saddle Bank Team x


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