1. Comfort for the horse above all else
2. Value of product to the consumer
With those values in mind, Stübben's spring tree remains the number one reason to invest in their saddles over another brand. Their revolutionary design focuses on the comfort of the horse's back by allowing the tree to bend and flex with the horse's movement and properly absorb the rider's weight while transmitting the rider's seat aids through the saddle to the horse's back.
Stübben starts off with the frame of the tree.
The blue sections of the tree are made of a molded composite (not plastic, wood or fiberglass) that will not break under normal circumstances. Jim spoke of an instance where a dually truck accidentally backed over one of these trees at a show, bending it pommel to cantle, popping most of the rivets off the steel but left the composite unharmed!
Steel makes up for the rest of the framework, including recessed stirrup bars strategically attached to the points of the tree to distribute the rider's weight evenly across the horse's back.
Within the pommel, the steel plate designed to protect the horse's withers has ridges to add strength and help eliminate the possibility of a properly fitted saddle ever damaging the horse's spine.
|Ridges for added strength and stability in the steel|
Once they have the molded composite, steel frame and variety of sizes, Stübben's next step is to tension the tree and add strapping.
To tension the tree, it is bent from pommel to cantle and strapping is strategically positioned on the frame and stapled in place. The whiter strip in the picture is used for the billets. Stability and longevity is added to the billet straps by attaching them in this manner. As depicted in the image, four main straps are used to tension the tree; two from pommel to cantle, and two across the deepest point of the seat (where the rider will ultimately sit). This allows the rider's weight to be properly absorbed by the spring of the tree as the webbing works with the steel frame. Also, once girthed down, the saddle can bend and flex with the horse's back and movement.
Once the saddle is placed on the horse and is properly balanced, the circle in the above image will become the deepest point of the seat. This is where the balance of the saddle becomes very important; a rider to far in front or behind the deepest point of the seat will not allow the saddle to distribute the weight across the horse's back.
There are a lot of saddles out there, many will be very viable options for you and/or your horse. Some manufacturers forget that the main goal of creating this vital piece of equipment should put the horse's comfort above all else, and instead focus more on their profit margin. Stübben is strongly dedicated to designing, producing, and distributing quality products for both horse and rider where the horse comes first. After all, it's hard to stay in business for 120+ years by providing saddles and strap goods in barns across the world that don't live up to equestrian's expectations for quality equipment.