1. Can flexible trees warp or cave in?
We don’t know where this myth came from, but quite frankly, it’s preposterous. Flex trees are relatively new to the equine industry (in comparison with the age old wooden tree), and we suppose that if someone only heard the term “flexible tree” without knowing what it is, this myth would be easily spawned.
Many people hear the term and assume that a flex tree is bendable like a piece of plastic or rubber. In reality, flex trees only “flex” about a centimeter in either direction, and only under pounds of pressure. You would probably find it hard to even see a flex tree “flexing.”
This centimeter of movement, however, is what makes the flex tree more comfortable for the horse and allows the saddle to conform better to his movement. We’re not going to recommend flex trees for roping or ranch work, but we’re willing to say that under trail and pleasure conditions, there’s no way a flex tree is going to warp or cave in.
2. Do the neoprene bars cause the saddle to flatten out on the horse?
No. Flexible bars made out of neoprene are made out of very heavy neoprene; think about the rubber sole of a work boot. The bars will not flatten out on your horse because they are connected to a ground seat, which forces the saddle to hold its shape.
3. Will the flexible bars help the saddle to fit better?
Yes and no. It depends on how good of a fit you have, to begin with. If you have a bad fit, to begin with, the flexible bars may make the fit tolerable, but by no means comfortable for the horse. If you have a good fit, to begin with, the flexibility will allow the horse to work with the saddle, giving him more freedom of movement in the shoulders.
4. The flex trees above are made differently. Is one better than the other?
If you want the highest quality, go with the flex trees that incorporate a wooden cantle and swell with neoprene bars. You get the benefits of strength and durability of a traditional wood tree with the new flexible technology. We don't see these saddles wearing out very easily.