"Welcoming" your horse’s back in motion is what truly makes a good saddle. MANAGEMENT OF THE INTERFACE – which is the space between your horse’s body and the underside of the saddle -- is the next important factor for successful saddle fit when you want to give your horse the opportunity to enjoy the journey with you. It is very simple, once you understand some basic principles. With SmartSaddlePads.com saddle pads and tapered foam shims you are best equipped to custom tailor the INTERFACE of your horse to adapt to individual age, top line shape and state of training.
SMARTFLX´S EXCLUSIVE, UNIQUELY SHAPED TREES ARE THE SUBSTRUCTURE AND MAJOR KEY TO SUCCESS.
NATURAL HORSEMAN SADDLES USES SMARTFLX™ TREES IN EVERY SADDLE (CLASSIC, CUSTOM & SIGNATURE):
SO YOUR HORSE CAN MOVE AS NATURE INTENDED
The very special SMARTFLX™ tree shape provides room needed for the horse’s back to come up in performance of any athletic maneuvers, especially ones requiring significant engagement or “collection”. Also sculpted into the SMARTFLX™ shape are the ergonomic considerations built in for the rider which enable feeling close to the horse´s body and it´s movement while securely balanced and unstressed in hip, knee and ankle joints.
SMARTFLX™ western trees contain “bars” and a “groundseat” that are a one-piece molded shape based on years of research and development incorporating thousands of horses worldwide. This molded piece is formed utilizing a particular, extraordinary elastomer compound material: solid enough to support the rider and protect the horse's back yet flexible enough to allow the horse to move as nature intended while the human feels connected in harmony. It is an amazingly thin, close-contact structure enabling you to be connected with your horse and actually feel the undulating movement beneath you. Our wooden forks and cantles provide the base stability to hold the bars at the attitude and angle that our research proved was optimal. SMARTFLX™ WESTERN trees combine the best features of a superior Western saddle (including optimum weight distribution) with the best features of a good English saddle (horse can collect, round its back and muscles, flex laterally and longitudinally with dynamic ease). Rider AND horse comfort for long hours is unparalleled. SMARTFLX™ trees are sculpted to welcome the expanded “moving” horse body and come in two different GULLET WIDTHS:
I. STANDARD (STD) GULLET:
The “STANDARD” tree is the narrowest gullet width we build, with subtle changes in attitude and angle along the bars that hug the moving horse without impeding in any way. Our open center channel does not impact the spine, of course and our broad, flatter-than-normal shape along the back invites optimum vertical and lateral flexion. Our "Standard" angles are approximately 10 degrees wider than "full quarter horse bars" and they are broader/flatter with less "rock". Observation of horses moving under saddle has consistently yielded evidence that bars narrower than ours, especially with "rock" shape get in the way of natural movement: they restrict the horses' shoulders and back, force high-headed/low back carriage and result in a myriad of other problems that are consequences of inefficient biomechanics.
II. SUPERWIDE (SW) GULLET:
The "SUPERWIDE" angles are approximately 10 degrees wider than the "STANDARD" and the bars are broader/flatter still. Broad backed horses (Warmbloods, wide Quarter Horses, Icelandics, wide-ribbed Arabians, Cobs, Drafts, Draft Crosses…and even wide-backed Mules) really travel beautifully/happily under our SW foundations. It should be noted that "wider" is not a simple matter of setting the bars further apart. There are many subtle changes of attitude/angles sculpted into our bar shape from front to back and left to right.
SMARTFLX™ saddle trees are easily customized to breed and training development through use of the SmartSaddlePad Collection´s unique pad and shim system, designed for dynamic custom fit. The welcoming “hug” of our saddles combined with your ability to MANAGE THE INTERFACE will provide for a physically and mentally un-restricted equine athlete capable of enjoying full physical potential under saddle.