The System X – How does it fit?

Evolutionary saddles with the System X are built to fit your horse for a lifetime.

They ARE NOT the plastic, rubber or Styrofoam filled, 5-7 year replacement saddle. What you purchase is total quality.

The System X - How does it fit?Starting with the solid ponderosa pine saddle tree that is Kevlar wrapped then DURAhide finished! 

The tree comes with a limited, conditional lifetime warranty.  Limited and conditional to the normal use of the tree.

This is in addition to the 30 day Money Back Guarantee that comes with each saddle, unless otherwise discussed prior to build.  

So Why the Evolutionary Saddle with the System X?

This question is easy to answer, experts tell us that approximately 80 to 90% – perhaps even more – of all horses have back problems.

Unbalanced riders cause some of the problems, but the overwhelming majority of the issues are directly due to ill-fitting saddles.

Some riders may see this figure and say it's too high.  This is likely because many riders are completely oblivious to the issues their horses are suffering from.

By nature horses put up with a great deal from us humans, ill fitting tack is only one of those things that they endure because of us.

Saddle pressure

This is still often equated with the appearance of white hair, swelling, edema and dry spots.

By the time these symptoms appear, saddle pressure limits may have already been exceeded.  The damage already done.

In reality, saddle pressure begins much earlier. To recognize it the rider must observe the horse and judge its actions and reactions, honestly.

Palpating the horse’s body will give the best chance of finding and localizing problems.

This procedure of physical palpation is far more advantageous than anything on the market. It is more accurate and economical than any computer measurement.

Easy too, it is hands on, right now, right there with your horse.

To be most effective the palpation must be done and noted both before and after the horse is ridden. 

Then again a couple days later after hard riding, because we all have likely experienced that 'second day after' soreness.  Horses are no different.

Over the years riders have compensated for the issues they have found with all forms of pads and shims among the most popular of solutions.

This caused many horse owners to spend hundreds of dollars on these 'helpers' which do not actually solve the issue of pressure points.

Whereas with the System X, the pressure will be redistributed along the entire surface of the panel that in contact with the horse.

Clearly those that are researching and purchasing these 'helpers' are concerned. Showing their wish to do better by their partner.

Although to eventually find a real solution, one must first deal with the root of the problem.

How do horses move?

I'll begin with purely theoretical considerations about the effects of an inflexible object, like a saddle on a horse’s very agile back.

How can we expect that a stiff object such as a saddle be able to fit a free moving horses back?

The System X - How does it fit?

As your horse stands, with its head up he has a slightly bent back, which a rigid saddle may bridge, leaving a gap in the center of the back, putting pressure on the four corners of the saddle.

When your horse turns, one side becomes shorter and the other longer. A conventional saddle cannot adapt to this movement.  This results in increased pressure at certain points.

A horse with its head lowered has a relatively straight spine. Same with a horse that moves down hill.  More pressure is placed on the front edges of a conventional saddle.

The Conventional Saddle

Conventional saddles will always produce certain pressure points at some point in time, depending on the basic shape of the saddletree. This is a fact.

Allow me to share with you a few photos of some horses. You can see how different their withers are, how wide their shoulders are, how dippy their backs are, how long/short their backs are, how fast the croup rises up.

As you look at the following photos, you can see that not just any saddle will work to give the horse complete freedom of movement.

You can ONLY achieve this with a System X Panel.

For those of you that have used or worn a metal frame backpack, filled it up with stuff and then carried it around while running jumping and climbing up hills.

How comfortable would that really be?

Imagine if that pack was a lil too small or too big for you and causing rubbing, pressure points and sometimes even injury.  Because of the way it is carrying weight or applying pressure.

That is what wearing an ill fitting saddle is like for a horse.

In a pack you're carrying dead weight which can be better than an unbalanced rider.  Riding in an ill-fitting saddle, bouncing around will only make all those pressure points that much more severe.

You can check your present saddle by putting it on your horse (without any extra pads to hide a true fit) and slipping your hands right under the supporting surface (for example, on the front, rear and center).

Then check it with someone sitting in the saddle.

You will probably pinch your fingers and it will be uncomfortable. The situation for your horse is exactly the same as for your fingers!

What you feel when you slide your hand under the saddle is what your horse feels the entire ride.  Except that pressure moves around as the rider moves with the gaits.

This should make it clear to anyone that has performed this test with their own saddle.  That something as inflexible as a saddle can never really work together with something very flexible like a horse’s back.

Granted this is only the movement problem. Problems actually begin much earlier.

They begin with the fact that horse backs come in an infinite number of shapes, with different shoulders, different withers, different muscle structure, etc.

This is why the saddle industry has produced so many different saddle tree patterns (about 8-15), nearly all ready-made sizes. Can will these ready-made tree sizes really fit your horse?

Take a look at how many different horse types you can see in the pastures, regardless of whether they are all the same breed or not.

Can you really believe a saddle or saddle tree manufacturer could provide for all that variation?


So how can the traditional saddling industry, tree and saddle makers possibly cover all these variations? Truth is, they can't.

At best, they offer only a handful of saddle tree patterns to choose from, and your horse must conform to those few choices.

That is like saying that you must only select a pair of pants to wear from only 4 sizes.

Now that we have established the fundamental variation in horse backs, we still have the problem of how the shape of a horse changes with movement.

Finally, the same horse is continuously changing over the course of its life! As the result of growth, aging, training, conditioning, feeding, etc. its contours are constantly evolving.

This last point alone means you need to alter a production saddle or acquire a new one six to twelve times over the course of a horse’s life. A very costly matter indeed.

If all of this was not bad enough, another structural problem now arises, the pressure load on the horse’s body resulting from the rider’s weight.

What does all that do to the horse?

From medicine, we know that pressure of more than 105 grams per square centimeter [24 oz. per square inch] damages and can destroy organic tissue.

Let's take a look for example at an English saddle: an average English saddle has a supporting surface on the horse’s body of approximately 440 square centimeters [27 square inches]. Now, we put another 75 kg [165 lb.] onto the saddle – the rider.

This gives us a load of 170 grams per square centimeter [39 oz. per square inch]. Acceleration, gravitation, etc may at least double this value during movement, producing a load of 340 g/cm2 [78 oz. per square inch].

Let's repeat this sample calculation with a western saddle. An average western saddle has a supporting surface of 620 cm2 [96 sq. in.]. Let's take our 75-kg rider again, giving us a load of 121 g/cm2 [28 oz. per square inch], or 242 g/cm2 [55 oz. per square inch] during movement.

These values are valid for contact over 100% of the supporting area. As we know however, the horse alters its shape during movement, making this 100% completely impossible to attain.

Even if you add at least 1/4 to the load, your calculations will still be very much skewed in favor of the saddle. Now, think back to that 105-gram [24 oz.] limit once again.

So for review, any activity that involves concussion (jumping, posting, etc,) will effectively double or even triple the rider's weight.

What is that doing to our pound per square inch?

Are we causing damage?

The only way to know is by palpation.

SOLUTIONS? A flexible saddle tree?

This was out of the question, since it would not solve the basic problem of fitting the horse AND providing a stable seat for the rider.

It should not be like sitting on a sponge. But that would be the logical consequence if the saddle tree were to actually follow the horse’s movement.

Another effect would be a sagging of the tree, which would in turn concentrate the weight on certain points especially the spine

The final point against the flexible tree was that it would not have a large enough supporting surface to meet our – or rather the horse’s – needs.

An adjustable saddle (bars & gullet)? Well yes, not such a bad idea but here again it would still be subject to the basic constraints of fitting it to the horse.

Also, any adjustment reaches a limit at some point, not to mention that in this case the "normal rider" is always dependent on assistance from others (saddle dealers). In addition, we did not want something that is calibrated but something that changes continuously.

First, because there are almost infinite variations among horses, but also because these variations are gradual and not divided into standardized sizes.

These comments also apply of course to these interesting variations of "saddle systems" that work with individually added padding.

Custom made saddles?

On the basis of all these considerations, we rejected the idea of custom-made saddles from the beginning. Even a custom-made saddle can only in the best-case scenario, fit the horse 100% in a standing position, and then only with respect to the horse’s present state.

A treeless saddle? Also not such a great idea. With this, there is no need to take the traditional fit parameters into account. But there remains the problem of uneven, selective weight distribution.

And the added problem of the pressure load on the spiny processes, because a treeless "saddle" cannot keep this area clear.

A saddle in which the supporting surface is independent of the saddle tree, conforms to the widest variety of horses, then able to adapt to the horse during movement.  Additionally is large enough to distribute the weight over an area that is more than sufficient.

Thus the purpose of a saddle. To offer the rider support while distributing the rider's weight over a large surface area.

This was the beginning of the various systems that revolutionized the panel saddle.

With the System X there is a strong, inflexible tree as a "chassis" to give the rider the desired stability. Mounts are attached to this tree to connect it to the panels.

These mounts are shaped to allow the panel to move in all three dimensions (up, down, side-to-side)– independently of the tree! In order to guarantee that the weight is distributed over the whole panel, we have chosen a material that is very smooth and flexible - Delrin.

At the same time, it is strong enough to distribute the force over the entire surface. This was very important, because only in this way will it work as a whole.

Of course, there are many saddles "out there" that resemble these panels, where the panels give way in the front and behind, but they are not really able to actually distribute the weight.

All other saddles – whether flexible or traditional – have one thing in common: you ride these saddles on the bars of the saddle tree, which is the source of the problems.

Finally, let us repeat the calculations we have just done of the load per square centimeter [inch] on the horse’s back.

Our saddles have an average supporting area of 2088 cm2 [324 sq. in.]. This means that the calculations result in values of 35 or 70 g/cm2 [20 or 40 oz. per sq. in.].

And since our panels join in the movement, we don’t need to make any reductions in the supporting surface. We are obviously far below the 105-gram limit.

As you can see it is it is actually quite easy to build a saddle that is truly horse friendly.

In this section, we present the "inner lives" of our panels in simple sketched form. The illustrations are partially schematic, intended to merely show you the basic principles of our construction. We have omitted representations of the padding, etc.

The operational principle is based on simple exploitation of the laws of mechanics and physics and is essentially quite simple and logical.

Nevertheless, the application of these simple physical laws to saddle construction has required many years of intensive development work.


The System X - How does it fit?

This is a picture showing the panel construction. You can see that it has a multi-layered, balanced structure. This is very important, because only in this way is it possible to distribute the load over the entire surface.

A single-layer panel, as found under other flexible panel saddles, is flexible only in the ends. It looks nice, but it doesn’t distribute the rider’s weight. You ride such saddles – like any other saddle – on the bars of the saddle tree.

If connected with joints, a single-layered panel could even have disastrous effects. The joints could push through and cause uneven loads in certain places. With our saddles, the tree and supporting surface are independent.

The System X - How does it fit?

Although panel and tree form one unit, they are isolated from each other. This means that the supporting surface on the horse can assume a shape quite different from the shape of the tree.

The System X - How does it fit?

When placed on the horse’s back and carrying the rider’s weight, the panels follow the laws of mechanics and are forced to conform to the horse’s contour.
This will result in flush contact over the entire surface with even pressure distribution.

The System X - How does it fit?

In the front area, the panel is built in the form of slats. This permits an extra soft shoulder rotation.

Even during movement the panels adapt to the constantly changing shape of the horse’s back.

The slats extend as far as the withers area, so horses with extremely wide withers never feel too much pressure on this area.

The second layer of the panel, overlaps with the slats from the first layer. This transfers the forces to the subsequent layer and also a simultaneous distribution to the center of the panel.

The remaining course, the panel construction guarantees an optimal distribution over the entire surface. The distribution thus takes place in several "stages."

In this way, we for example prevent leverage on the panel from causing excess pressure on the opposite side for horses with very wide shoulder areas.

This gives us an even fluid distribution of forces. Through the choice of different material strengths for each layer, we also avoid the possibility of partially appearing pressure points.

Also developed is a particular design for each layer in the rear area, as well. This special shape guarantees an optimal weight distribution over the entire panel – even in the middle.


Having a great panel and mounting system does not assure that a saddle will perform correctly on your horse or mule. We took great pride in finding a saddle tree maker who would custom make each of our saddletrees to our specifications.

Remember that a traditional rigid saddle tree is designed to offer the rider support.  Then attempts, at the same time, to distribute the riders weight evenly over the horses back.

The System X - How does it fit?

However, in our case, the Evolutionary Saddles' tree is designed to offer the rider support and then is specially designed, for the System X panel.

It is this panel that will bend and flex enabling the saddle to distribute the riders weight evenly over a moving horse's back.

Too Thick

Having a saddle tree too thick, too straight and too narrow - not to mention crooked –would not allow the System X to perform properly.

Too Thin

A tree too wide, too heavy, and weak also raises havoc with the rider and life time performance of the saddle

The saddle trees are designed for the panel and the panels are designed for the horse.

After a very diligent search for perfection we were led to The Precision Saddle Tree Company.

Using modern technology not previously employed by the saddle tree industry, Precision Saddle Tree Manufacturing delivers quality and uniform trees.

They use only the best material. Tradition is disregarded when these superior, modern materials are available.

Precisely engineered designs and hands-on production ensure quality saddle trees that last a lifetime.

About The Precision in the Precision Saddle Tree.

Precision Saddle Tree Company uses Three-Dimensional Scanners and CAD software to engineer the parts that are cut on CNC Machines.

This equipment allows parts to be produced that are precisely the same each and every time. The right bar is a mirror image of the left bar.

The right side of the swell is identical to the left side. This unmatched precision provides greater strength and the highest level of consistency in the industry.

Once these precision parts are cut, a jig is created for each tree style. These parts are then assembled in this jig to deliver the same precision to which the parts were cut.

The saddle trees are made with Ponderosa Pine with a ground seat and then two different tree coverings are applied.

The first covering consists of hand-laid fiberglass that is wrapped on the horn, swell, bars and cantle and with a clear coat resin.

The second covering is made using a product called DURAhide™, which is sprayed over the fiberglass.

What is Fiberglass?

Fiberglass is a woven cloth that provides strength and durability when layered with resin to form a hardened composite.  It is applied by hand and has greater tensile strength than steel wire of the same diameter, at a lower weight.

What is DURAhide™?

DURAhide™ is a polyurea elastomer that is specifically formulated as a high performance coating designed to prevent damage from moisture, corrosion, abrasion, weather and wear. This material is not only an effective sealer, but adds strength to your tree. DURAhide™ carries a tensile strength of 2300-2500 lbs psi @ 75F. DURAhide™) withstands temperatures from minus 50 to plus 350 degrees Fahrenheit

We inventory a good supply of trees for quicker build times!

The Precision Saddle Tree Company is a stable company able to offer the best saddletree in today’s industry that carries a lifetime warrantee.

Photo's and sketches by Cathy Sheets Tauer, the Klee family and SMT manufacturing.

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