Rigid trees traditionally made from timber,
steel fiberglass and structural polyurethanes, by
their very nature are unable to adapt (unless physically
altered) to the daily fluctuations of an endurance
The Flex Foam tree "gives" and automatically
positions the rider in the most natural balanced riding
position, enabling the rider to feel the motion of
the horse as the animal experiences new found unrestricted
freedom of movement.
The lining of the panel is pure wool felt. Wool is
absorbent and insulative, which assists in heat dissapation.
Between the pure wool felt lining and the tree we
use a slow release foam, often used under long term
hospital patients to aliviate pressure points. This
has a memory, and takes into account the subtle variations,
and gives the panel resilience, but without bounce.
Overall panel length is 20" or 50cm.
Stainless steel fitings are used throughout where
ever buckles or attachment dees are needed. Stirrup
straps are made from treated nylon with reinforced
holes, the stainless steel adjustment buckle sits
down low near the stirrup irons to avoid any bulk
under the riders leg.
The aluminium stirrups have a wide base for weight
distribution, and are fitted with a "Fatigue
Fighter" foam with a ribbed rubber surface for
Two one inch chrome girth straps are standard, they
connect to load restraint web, which is sewn to the
sweat flap, and then in a Y configuration, attaches
to the both sections of the tree. No pressure is placed
on the tree from the girth, as the pull is down on
the flaps, making it self centering.
The girth is a non elastic anti-gall girth made using
stainless steel roller buckles. They are fitted with
a stainless steel dee in the centre of the the girth
to clip a breast plate on to. Non elastic girth is
chosen because the saddle has more than enough "give"
|| With this picture we can easily
see that the stirrup leather and iron is attached
at the front of the tree. If you can imagine the
effect, just like a "see-saw", with
the majority of the riders weight being foreward,
resulting in pressure, discomfort and ultimatly,
pain for the horse in the shoulders.
||The Mackinder "FLEX RIDE
SADDLE" is built from the horses back up.
The panel (underside) of the saddle is contured
to the wither and spine profile. The stirrup attachment
is built into the panel, in fact you could ride
on this section before we even stitch the seat
on. The seat is sitting on top of a"bare
back" pad! This unique design eliminates
the problems associated with traditional trees,
such as jamming shoulders, restriction of movement
due to rigidity and shortness of the horses stride
due to pain.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Is the Mackinder FLEX
RIDE SADDLE the same as a treeless saddle?
A. Definitly not. When designing a saddle, one is
trying to create a medium to bring the horse and rider
together. The tree plays an important part in this,
such as for the horse he needs some spinal clearence
to allow the vertabrae to function unhindered. For
the rider, it provides stability and postural comfort,
a sloppy rider would have a disasterous result on
a horse over five or six hours riding.
Q. What about even weight
A. When your horse is moving, so to is his back swaying
from side to side, and following the terrain up and
down. Imagine a piece of wood either side of the spine
shaped to the contour of your horses back, as the
horse and rider move the rigid tree remains the same,
so people compensate by using larger thick saddle
cloths and space age saddle pads to create some sort
of a cushion to negate this effect. The FLEX RIDE
SADDLE does not have this problem due to the unique
design and properties of the tree, as it is not rigid.
Q. I had my saddle custom
made, ie measured and fitted to suit my horse, why
is it not fitting now?
A. The goal post in the saddle fitting is being continually
moved! Athletes such as endurance horses change shape
on a continual basis. After researching the weights
of horses competing at the Shahazada Memorial 400klm
Endurance event for the last 15 years it was found
that the average horse lost between 5% - 7% of its
own body weight, the largest weight loss took place
in the first 80klms. The FLEX RIDE saddle adapts to
the changing shape of the horse through the competition
season alleviating this frustrating, and very common
Q. Will my position on the horse remain the same as
A. Your centre of gravity will be closer to the horse,
you will sit around the natural shape of your individual
horse, and you will feel much more of the horses movement.