There have been flexible saddles in many countries for centuries. For instance the Spanish Vaquera saddle is partly flexible. Modern materials and active research have made it possible to create a new generation of flexible saddles for all disciplines and individual needs. For example Trekker saddles have been made since the year 2000, and new models have been developed ever since.
What are Flexible Saddles for?There have been partly flexible saddles for centuries in for example Italy, Spain, Arabian countries and South America.
During last decades equestrian equipment has been developed world-wide more actively than ever before. New materials and technology have made it possible to create a new generation of Flexible Saddles – modern and thoroughly tested.
Many labels that do hard-treed saddles have models today that are called ‘flexible’ or ‘flex’. They flex, however, only at certain spots or only in one direction, which makes them fairly stiff and much more difficult to fit compared to Flexible Saddles.
Endurance riders found the benefits of a truly Flexible Saddle first: long hours in an ill-fitting saddle will quickly cause clear problems. Today there are many models for different disciplines like dressage, eventing and jumping.
Can Flexible Saddles be ill-fitting?A Flexible Saddle is a lot easier to fit than a hard-treed saddle, because the saddle adapts itself according to the horse’s shape. All Flexible Saddles do not fit all horses. However, as the saddle flexes, the same saddle fits a variety of different backs. It is easy to see and feel if a flexible saddle fits even without a professional saddle-fitter. The fitting instructions are in a separate document.
A Flexible Saddle can be ill-fitting, but it’s much more unlikely for a Flexible Saddle to cause back problems for a horse, as you can see in the following examples.
What causes the problems of a treed saddle?Usually problems occur because
1) the hard-treed saddle is too narrow or too wide
2) the hard-treed saddle is hard and non-flexible and cannot follow the horse’s contour
3) the underside is too straight or curved
4) The shape of the panels of the hard-treed saddle doesn’t otherwise match the shape of the horse
5) the panels have flattened which makes the saddle too wide or asymmetrical
6) A hard-treed saddle easily becomes lopsided
7) it is difficult to fit a hard-treed saddle in general.