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Maria and Bo having fun on an endurance ride with their Hidalgo leather tree saddle, model London:

"Bo" is an arab gelding and his owner Maria told us her leathertree story:

"It was at the end of 2017 that I had to accept that our old dressage saddle would never fit my arab gelding again. My horse’s back had changed a lot after a break of one year due to injury. Now it was fit enough to start training.

During the restarting work my horse started to buck under my old saddle. When I used my sheepskin saddle he was happy. So it was no question that I needed a new saddle.

A friend of mine had a leathertree saddle and got it fitted to her horse. I found out more about the saddle system and had the chance to try a leather tree saddle.

First impression: very comfy saddle but a very different feeling compared to my old traditional tree saddle. While my old saddle fixed me in one position the new saddle offered lots of space to move but also forced me to sit correctly. I tested a 18” saddle but knew that I needed a bigger size. I was happy to find a used 20” Hidalgo London dressage saddle in February 2018.

I found a Hidalgo saddle fitter who came end of February 2018 and fitted my saddle with new panels. Additionally, it was recommended to buy a numnah with pockets for shims to adapt the balance of the saddle if necessary.

The saddle size is a little bit to big for me and my horse which influences the balance. After a few times of riding I needed to use shims to correct it.

Supported by my Hidalgo saddle fitter I started experimenting with the shims. I used a trick to find out how to balance the saddle correctly: I took a picture before riding, with rider and after dismounting. At home I was able to compare the positions and to write down what kind of shims I used.

Already after a few times of riding I felt a huge difference: My horse stopped bucking, started to have fun when riding and showed his comfort by chewing and stretching forward-down.

 (March 2018)

In April 2018 we did our first endurance ride with my leathertree saddle. A few days after the 26km ride my horse’s physiotherapist came for a check-up and was surprised about his condition. The trapezius had filled in and started to lift the front.

At the far end of the panels my horse still had areas of tense muscles which were still remaining of his old saddle. The physiotherapist said it might take up to 6-8 months until these areas would relax and disappear. But all over she was extremely happy with his progress.

Beginning of June we went on a 29km ride. The back of my horse was great after the ride without any issues. We continued in the following weeks with long hacks, short trekking rides, Le Trec shows and dressage work as well as another endurance ride of 26km in August. At this point of time I recognized that his tense muscles had disappeared.


In September 2018 the balance of the saddle had to be corrected another time because of his back changing. Afterwards I went to show him on a big fair. There I got two know 2 saddle fitters – one of them being also an equine physiotherapist and one trading with Max Flex saddles. Both showed their disapproval when talking about my saddle and were really sceptical.

I asked them to come and meet my horse and his saddle. The Max-Flex-fitter and her friend – an equine physiotherapist – came over and were positively surprised. The hadn’t expected this saddle to fit so well and that his horse would have such a good back. The equine physiotherapist even stated that she rarely has ever seen such a good and well-muscled back before.

The tensed muscles disappeared and stay away since summer. My horse is a lot easier to ride, does stretch a lot better, shows his comfort and is motivated as never before. I am totally happy with my saddle – a perfect allrounder that can be used to hack, do flatwork or dressage lessons, shows, endurance, jumping and all other activities my horse can do.