Is it safe to ride in a saddle that has a broken tree?

Posted by Saddle Up on Apr 12th 2023

At Saddle Up the horse's comfort is our number one priority when it comes to saddles. The question of, "Is it safe to ride in a saddle that has a broken tree?" is a very important question that we would like to answer. It is not safe or wise to ride a horse in a saddle that has a broken tree. The chances of hurting the horse are very high.

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The tree is designed to fit the horse and be solid enough to keep the weight distributed evenly. This ensures the horse's comfort during riding. When the tree is broken there will be spots that are not solid enough to fit the horse's back the way it should, thus causing soreness. Because this tree is no longer sound, it will distribute pressure in the wrong way. It is a huge safety risk for not only the horse, but also the rider. 

There is a quick way to check if the tree in a saddle is broken or not. Lay the saddle on its front, horn into the ground. Place your hands on the cantle and push down. The saddle should not move. If it gives or wiggles or you feel movement, you have a broken tree on your hands. (make sure that you don't have a Flex Tree saddle. The tree in a Flex is designed to move.) Unfortunately there is no easy or cost effective way to replace a broken tree. It is always wise to see if the saddle is under warranty and could be repaired, but it is not guaranteed depending on the timeframe.  If it is not covered under warranty, you can reach out to local repair shops, but your next step would be to stop riding in the saddle immediately and begin searching for another saddle. The time and money you put into buying another saddle will be nothing compared to the stress and pain your horse would go through carrying a broken tree on its back and the possible vet/chiropractic bills if your horse becomes sore.

Riding in a solid, unbroken tree will keep your horse happy and healthy and give you many, many wonderful hours on the trail or in the arena.

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"When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your know you are loved." -- John Lyons

~ Saddle Up