Saddle Tree Soundness

Always check the integrity of the tree before you take a saddle home or let its return period lapse.  You can do this quickly and easily with your hands, ears, and eyes, and it will save you and your horse a world of trouble.

  • Place the saddle on one thigh with the head towards you and the cantle away from you.  Press down on the seat with one hand and grip and pull the cantle towards you with the other hand.  A tree that yields to the pressure or makes clicking noises may be broken or otherwise compromised.
  • Reverse the position of the saddle so that the cantle is now closer to you than the front.  Grip the front edge of the saddle underneath the pommel while pulling upward and outward.  As you did in step one, check to ensure that the saddle doesn’t give way to the pressure or emit noises.
  • With the saddle upside down, visualize a straight line running down the length of the gullet (empty space under the saddle) from the center of the pommel to the center of the cantle. The saddle’s center line should correspond to your imaginary one.  If the two don’t line up, a twisted or broken tree is the reason.

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