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Danny Kroetch claims that a wooden tree isn't adjustable, yet my saddle fitter claims that most wooden trees he can adjust, plus there are wooden trees designed specifically to be adjusted. So now I'm confused as to why Danny claims wooden trees are not

Yes there are many saddle fitters out there that claim that they can, or they do, adjust wooden trees. However, the point I would like to stress is this: if they are truly adjustable then why do saddle manufacturers sell them in sizes, such as narrow, medium, and wide? If the tree can be adjusted it should be able to be made to any size!! It should be able to be adjusted to fit any horse.

Please see accompanying photos for a greater understanding.

If you look at the construction of a wooden tree you will see that this is just not true. Let me explain the basic process of how a traditional English wooden tree is made. First, they take a thin piece of wood and then put it into water to soften it. After it is softened they take it out and form it to where they want it and then allow it to dry. After it is dried, if any person took a hold of the bottom of the tree points in their hands and squeezed them together the tree would break as the tree is not strong. Secondly, they take a tree that isn't strong and drill 16 holes, creating 32 stress points to the tree, making it even weaker. Then they place an English gullet plate on the underside which is 1/8" thick (also not very strong as a person can also squeeze the points and bend them). Then they attach a head plate (also 1/8" thick) to the top side of the wood. Then they put 16 rivets in the front of the tree attaching the metal to the wood;  8 of the rivets are over the head of the tree every inch apart. When you are adjusting a tree you are moving the head of the tree. How far do you think we can bend the wood that is sandwiched between two pieces of metal with rivets every inch before we break the wood and pop the rivets? You can adjust the wood tree approx 1 to 1.5 cm before it will break-- that's bending it in-- but if you try to open the wooden tree you will press the tree points up against the shape edge of the head plate and you risk breaking the tree points off. Clearly, this is not what one would call adjustable.

Yes there are some adjustable wooden trees such as the Passier, which the head of the tree is cut in half and then a thick gullet plate is attached with only 8 rivets with NONE in the head of the tree and then they stitch the tree back together on both sides of the gullet plate and this allows this tree to be adjusted. Then there is the system called a Wellup adjustable tree where again the tree is split in the middle of the head and an adjustable gullet plated system is riveted to the head of the saddle. The rider can adjust this system himself (or herself) with a wrench that is provided. This system has proven to be weak and break over time and different versions of this system are always being tried.

To me a truly adjustable treed saddle can be adjusted anywhere from 35 to 45 cm, in or out!  This can be done right in front of the customer in minutes. This is a truly adjustable saddle tree, as my tree has 46 cm of adjustability--not bending it 1.5 cm then stuffing the front of the panels with wool! The saddle should always be supported front to back by the tree points of the tree, then add the air system, or the wool, to fit the panels of the saddle to the horse's asymmetrical body, and to give a cushion to the horse's muscles and shoulders. To reiterate again: if wooden trees are adjustable, why do they come in specific sizes? The answer is they were never meant to be adjusted.