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The Strada Superflex® Tree - 5 trees, for the best fit!

Our trees are made to fit your horses back - that is why we have 5 different trees, designed to suit the varying back shapes of the modern sport horse as well as the traditional back shapes of the older breed types.

Our trees are light in weight, have no metal parts and are made from a combination of birch ply, leather, kevlar and carbon-fibre. 

The tree points are curved away from the horse to avoid interference with the shoulder, also the stirrup bar sits away from the horse and cannot cause any pressure.

The tree has flexing abilities & is designed to follow the movement of the horse, while remaining stable in it’s balance and distribution of the riders weight. The Superflex® tree allows uni-lateral movement - each side can flex independantly, up or downwards. This ability to move with the horse encourages the horse to use itself freely, especially important during collection – the back can influence the saddle, unlike a rigid tree which always remains curved towards the back. Trying to work against a restricting saddle, could be the reason why some horses take so long to establish true collection - if at all.

The Superflex® tree therefore allows the rider to ‘feel’ the horses movement more easily; feeling evenness in strides, strength of each side and length of steps. This allows the rider to identify and work on improving the balance and evenness in the horse - sounds simple - but the sort of thing you can’t recognise as easily in a rigid saddle. 

We came up with a more developed tree, so the saddle would do everything we wished for - a saddle that works!

The heat malleable, pressure sensitive panels...

Design features: Lightweight, allows movement of muscles while always maintaining a positive contact, adjusts to reduce pressure. Will not flatten, bounce or require any maintenance. 

These lightweight, close contact panels become malleable from the horses body temperature. This gives the panels the ability to adjust with the movement of the horses back muscles, reducing pressure. They will last the lifetime of the saddle and never require any maintenance. The panels combined with the features of the Superflex® tree, allow the back to have constant & even panel contact and continual distribution of the riders weight through every movement, in all paces. These panels feel great for the horse, which in turn feels great for the rider.

Designed for the conscious rider...

Strada Saddles have been described as ‘the Ferrari of the saddle world’ - but it’s more than just performance ability, professional or amateur - it’s about well-being. The horses back is so important.  We are certain many a horse has failed to reach their full potential due to the discomfort and restriction of rigid saddles. Horses labelled as over-sensitive, unwilling, difficult, lazy, dangerous, grumpy - the list is extensive, they act a certain way for a reason. Behaviours towards saddle pain are vast and frustrating - one would swear it can’t just be a saddle causing such problems. 

Additional info...

We wanted to bring a new level of innovation to gear - dissecting traditional saddle features, improving these through the use of modern materials, constructing the saddle in a way that allows the horse complete freedom of movement, to perform to the best of their natural ability - which in turn allows the rider sit easily and to improve as well. 

Why would you use gear that hinders or restricts? Or requiring a multitude of tack only to compensate for a saddles inadequacies, ie; raiser pads, breastplates, gel pads, etc. Or your horse then requires therapeutic treatments or corrective attention to undo the side-effects showing in their bodies - magnetic rugs or massage machines, therapy sessions, etc. Not that treatments for the horse are’nt beneficial, but if they require these treatments because of gear - that seems silly. Our aim was to make a saddle that worked as a whole, not requiring corrective treatments or additional gear. Any therapeutic treatments would then be further enhancing  an already happy horse and could show far greater results - imagine that!

Spending long hours on your horses back is going to require some maintenance, but if you have a saddle that has minimal effect then you already have a head start to keeping your horses back healthy, and your training and performances progressive and improving.

Technology + fitting Colours available...

Strada saddles use the finest available leather, thick Italian leathers and exquisite French calf hide on the seat, panels and knee rolls. Leather types include the textured, supple, grippy, ‘Rondine’ and ‘Dollar’ leather.

Leather colours include: 

The fit is crucial - this cannot be over emphasised... 

The use of the tree as a fitting system, works. Horses backs have characteristics particular to their breed conformation. This includes the shape of the wither & shoulders, the curvature of the spine (side view) and the angle that the back muscles slope from the spine (rear view). This means the head of the tree (also called the gullet), the positioning of the rails & their angle, the curvature and length of the tree - are all very important. If you have multiple horses of similar breeding more than likely they will be the same shape - and you will be able to use your saddle successfully on a number of horses. It’s deceiving, having only been used to the concept of ‘gullet-sizes’ - that it is actually the entire ‘shape’ of the tree that makes the fit accurate and balanced.

Below: The bay (left) is an 8yo, 16.1hh, Station bred cross. 
The liver chestnut (right), 15.2hh 16yr old Anglo x Quarterhorse cross. Both horses are a perfect, balanced IC type tree.

Positioning a saddle correctly... 

Positioning a saddle correctly is very important.  It should be positioned at least 1inch (2.5cm) behind the edge of the should blade. This allows the shoulder freedom, minimising restriction caused by the shoulder-blade hitting the front edge of the saddle.

Girthing up is also important & you ideally want at least one hands width between the elbow and the girth - this will allow the elbow freedom.

When girthing up - always start loosely and gradually tighten, one hole at a time. It is important not to over girth.  The girth stops the saddle falling off, not ‘hold it in position’, a saddle that fits should stay where it is put. The pectoral muscles & sternum should not be subjected to extreme pressure, these are used to lift the forearm, especially in canter, strike-off & jumping. You should be able to get your hand under the girth and the pressure feel comfortable enough to withstand, when correctly tightened. If it feels excessively tight, chances are it will feel the same for your horse. Remember, once a rider is in the saddle you may (or may not) be able to go up one more hole - again checking the tightened girth for comfort.

Strada saddles come with 3 girth straps - two will be used.
The way a horse moves could mean a saddle is prone to ‘wanting’ to move forward or backwards.  
If the saddle wants to move forwards: use the two front girth straps.
If the saddle wants to move backwards: use the two back girth straps.
One could use the front and back girth strap, as a neutral option. Example of saddle positioned too far forward: The saddle seat is on an angle with the deepest part of the seat nearest the cantle. The front of the saddle is basically on top of the shoulder. The girth is right behind the elbow. Saddle position also has a lot to do restricting a horses movement & incorrect balance not allowing a rider to sit easily straight & aligned. 

Example of saddle positioned correctly: One inch behind the top of the shoulder blade & girthed one hands width behind the elbow. The back of the saddle should not have weight bearing abilities past the point of the last rib. This saddle position has the deepest part of the seat in the middle as the saddle is sitting level & balanced.
Black calf with Rondine  skirt & flap
Dark havana calf with Rondine skirt & flap
Rodeo calf with Dollar skirt & flat