Evolutionary Saddles tm 

Where fitting your horse and mule is our number one priority.

  Evolutionary Saddles Offers Extraordinary Performance and outstanding quality at a fair price.

Designed for gaited and non-gaited horses and mules in all shapes and sizes!

System Description

Evolutionary saddles are built for a lifetime.  They ARE NOT the plastic, rubber or Styrofoam filled,  5-7 year replacement saddle.  What you purchase is total quality.  Starting with the solid, three layered fiberglass wrapped, epoxy coated, duracoat finished ponderosa pine saddle tree.  And is gets better from there!  Read on.

So Ask yourself...  Why do I want a flexible panel system?
Photo's and sketches by Cathy Sheets Tauer, the Klee family and SMT manufacturing.
For some very candid words  Ask this customer (Click) 

 If we can fit this back - without using any shims,  

Just imagine what this saddle can do for your horse. 

For more on this horse and his story Click

Side note:  these photo's and others from our web site have been copied by other saddle company's showing how well their saddles fit.  These photo's are from our saddles.  I personally took the one on the left and Sue took the one on the right at her home. Be CAREFUL of BAD people.

  • This question is easy to answer. Experts tell us that approximately 80 to 90% – perhaps even more – of all horses have back problems. Unqualified riders may cause some of the problem, but the overwhelming majority are due to ill-fitting saddles. Some riders may think this figure too high, but this is probably because many riders are completely unaware of the problems their horses are suffering from. Saddle pressure 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 already have been exceeded and irrevocable damage already been done to the horse’s tissue. Saddle pressure begins much earlier. To recognize it (and to be willing to recognize it), the rider must observe the horse and judge its actions and reactions. A little prodding and probing of 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. It is easy too. It is hands on, right now, right there with your horse.

  • Some riders choose not to acknowledge these problems, for if they did, they might have a troubled conscience – not to mention problems with animal welfare legislation. But there are also many that recognize that their horse has some sort of problem with its existing saddle. However, instead of addressing the cause, they soothe their conscience with a variety of products such as; wonder pads, gel pads, air-ride pads, layers of sheepskin, shock absorbers, and many other forms of "fixes." Clearly the rider is trying, even if the effort is halfhearted.

  • To find a real solution, one must deal with the root of the problem. We begin with purely theoretical considerations about the effects of an inflexible object, like a saddle on a horse’s very agile back. Logically, how can we expect that a stiff object such as a saddle be able to fit a free moving horses back?

Let us take a close look at the dynamics of this rigid tree saddle.

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, and this results in increased pressure at certain points.

A horse with its head lowered has a relatively straight spine. As with a horse that move down hill, more pressure is place on the front edges of a conventional saddle.

Therefore conventional saddles will always produce certain pressure points-at some time-at some point, depending on the basic shape of the saddletree. Fact.

  • Have you ever considered fastening two wooden boards on your back? Imagine this if you can, after tying them nice and tight, just try to bend and move in all directions. No matter how wonderfully the boards are cut and shaped you will, no doubt, be very uncomfortable. This is no different from what horse feels with a rigid saddle. Worse still,) weight of a rider is piled onto the horse. Sit on your horse sometime without a saddle and ride a short distance. Look down and notice how the scapula rotates, how your horse’s whole back flexes and changes shape with each step. Now, think back about those imaginary boards.

  • 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 your feel is what your horse feels. Fact.

  • This realization should make it clear to everyone that something as inflexible as a saddle can never really work together with something very flexible like a horse’s back.

  • But 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. But 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?

Allow us to share with you a few photos of our riding 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.

Tito, Peruvian, 15 hands

Mister, Fox trotter, 15.1 hands

Joya, Peruvian, 14.2 hands

Arnosa, Peruvian, 14.2 hands

Ave, Peruvian, 14.3 hands

Stuart, Quarter horse, 15 hands

Princess, Peruvian, 13.3 hands

Henry, Peruvian, 14.3 hands

Colina, Peruvian, 15 hands at age 3

Below is a photo at the start of the riding season.
 Then below that, is Colina after five months of riding and maturing. Look how her top line and withers have changed. I NEVER had to change or adjust my saddle.  It did it all on it’s own.

* Young horses will continue to change and grow until the age of approximately 5 years, after that they will change but more slowly as they mature and age, gaining and loosing weight.   You must - as a responsible horse owner make sure your saddle fits your horse as he changes throughout the year and through the years of his life.  The upper photo is mirror image- flipped so you can see better the shape.  It is the same horse.

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.  Really now.... So are you so sure that your horse will fit into that one tree size?

  • 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. And, 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. 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.

So What Is the Solution to All These Problems?

  • 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.

The solution is brilliant if not quite simple

A saddle in which the supporting surface is independent of the saddle tree, automatically conforms to the greatest variety of horses, is able to adapt to the horse during movement, and 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 riders 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.

The Construction and Operation of the System X panel

  • 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.
  • This is a cross section showing the panel construction. You can see that it has a multi-layered 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. 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

  • 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, and even during movement the panels adapt to the constantly changing shape of the horse’s back.

Shown are the panels in initial condition, with no load.  Notice the huge weight bearing area.


Above right,  you see a simulated representation of how the panel conforms to a horse’s bent back.

The panel ends are extremely pliable so as not to hinder the horse’s lateral movements and turns. This also prevents interference with the scapula.


With a slender horse, for example, the panel would assume this angle. Here, on one side, we simulate the angle for a wide horse. In this shape, the panel can conform to a horse with extremely wide shoulders. NOTE:  This is my hand on the front edge of the panel without a rider in the saddle


 YES... This is a system that can fit a wide variety of back shapes and allow you to go freely from horse to horse  with little to no additional adjusting by you, the customer.

With this system on the increasable inserts, there is more than enough room for even the most distinctive, widest withers under these saddles. Click Here for photo's of  the fit on a high withered horse.


The panels- by Dupont is made from Delrin are very flexible. This synthetic material is both heat and cold resistant and extremely sturdy. 

Below is the panel shown under it's own weight.  This DELRIN panel will not fatigue and collapse.


Above is the  panel shown with out an encasement and with the encasement.  The encasement is used on all saddles that do not have a traditional western skirt.  This encasement is tough it is the same material used as over the road truck tarps (The panels that we produce are beefy and built to last.  Each panel with the mounting hardware weights 2 pounds each!  So a pair of panels is 4 lbs., which actually weigh as much as the saddle tree it self.) Below is a close up of the stainless steel slide plate and the nickel/aluminum rivets that are used.  Also the back side of a panel that is not encased.   Under this foam layer is another layer called the backer layer that keeps the washers in place and working.  It also keeps the hardware counter sunk so that absolutely no pressure spots will ever appear nor will the bolt that holds the panel into the insert ever fall free from the panel.


The slit in the backer layer is how the panel is put on to the EVOLUTIONARY saddle.  The under side that is against the DELRIN, is of two layers making sure that the hardware is counter sunk so no way can any hardware hit the horses back or come though.

TWO layers of NON-shrinking backer layers to insure a life time of trouble free panel use.

REMEMBER:  NOT all panels are created equal, NOT all saddles are the same.  USE common sense and ask yourself... just how do other companies make and assemble their saddles


   This panel with the Stainless Steel Slide plate- is produced on an ultramodern water jet CNC (computer number controlled) cutter.

Below are the photo's of water jet cutter in action.  Both the panels and the backer layers are cut to perfection with this machine.



With the panel now perfected, the mounting insert or how it is connected to the saddle tree is critical in the articulation of the panel.  The insert design of the System X operates as a true ball and socket or ball bearing.  This combined with the specially designed radius of the washer delivers pure fluidly of motion to the panel so that it can conform to the different widths of the horse. The panel thus independently produces the classic fit parameters like gullet width, flair, twist, rocker, etc. The flexibility of the material also helps it to further nestle against every curve.

State of the art technology

In the front area,1 the panel is built in the form of slats. This permits an extra soft shoulder rotation. The slats extend as far as the withers area,2 so horses with extremely wide withers never feel too much pressure on this area.

The second layer of the panel3 overlaps with the slats from the first layer. This permits a transfer of the forces to the subsequent layer and also a simultaneous distribution to the center of the panel.

The remaining course4 of 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 area5 as well. This special shape guarantees an optimal weight distribution over the entire panel – even in the middle.

The Saddle Trees 

Just because we have a great panel and mounting system does not assure that it will perform correctly on your horse or mule. We took great pride to find a saddle tree maker who would custom make each of our saddletrees to our panels specifications. Remember that a traditional rigid saddle tree is designed to offer the rider support while distributing the riders weight evenly over the horses back. However, in our case, the  Evolutionary Saddles' ä  tree is designed to offer the rider support and then is especially designed - not for the horses back, but 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. Having a saddle tree too thick, too straight and too narrow - not to mention crooked, will not allow the System X to perform properly.  Having 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 - not the horse!  The panels are not designed for the saddle tree - as so many are.  This panel is designed so that it will fit the horse and it is the tree that must be designed fit the panel. 

Below are two examples of trees from another manufacture - look how inconsistent the trees are!  To thick and the panel will not perform, too thin and you don't have a saddle tree that will last.

too thick and too thin is not good

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 is able to deliver 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 Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to engineer parts that are cut on Computer Number Controlled (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 allows the tree parts fit perfectly together (i.e. without the use of fillers), providing 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 followed by a fiber glass strainer or ground seat and then two different type tree coverings are applied. The first covering consists of hand-laid fiberglass that is wrapped on the horn, swell, bars and cantle and topped 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 great strength and durability when layered with a resin to form a hardened composite.  This cloth 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

In conclusion, Precision Saddle Tree Company is a stable company who is able to offer the best saddletree in today’s industry and that carries a lifetime warrantee. (Upper right tree has encased panels on and rigging)

The Dinning room table test

Mutton withers?  A frame withers?  A flat rear back or an angled rear back?


 The System X fits them all.

A soft shoulder?  A deformed shoulder?  Or how about a knobby one?  It does not matter the System X fits them all.

A sway back?  A flat top line?  How about an angled shoulder with a flat rear back - the twist?  System X fits them all.

How about that tree?  Narrow thin, strong bars with faired ends allow free movement of the System X panels that give the rider close contact. 
Just 1.25 inches from the back of the horse to the bar of the saddle.  Add a pad that is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and then compare that to ANY other saddle.  But that saddle when viewed from the rear REALLY looks high off of the horses back!!! YIKES.  Click here for a cheesy answer.

A customer brought these templates in to make sure our saddles would fit.  THEY SURE DO!

THERMOGRAPH TESTING?  YES WE ENCOURAGE THIS! Our saddles pass with flying colors.  With the adjustable rigging, when you change horses, you can adjust your rigging so that the saddle will fit accordingly. 

Taken after rider adjusted rigging and rode good and hard for 30 minutes.  An Evolutionary Cutback saddle with a merino wool saddle sox.

Notice how the heat is at the spine, where no saddle or pad is touching?  The back is hot and sweating there.  The merino wool saddle sox really keeps the back cool and the panels distribute the riders weight, whilst the horse is in motion!!  These saddles ROCK!

Variable Girth system:  Naturally these saddles will have the dropped cross-center fire ring rigging, eliminating bulk under your thigh and allowing you to adjust your girth placement up to six inches in either direction. We also are proud to introduce our new Slide n’ Lock rigging. This rigging is twice the strength, weighs a pound less and is the easiest to use. It also allows you to moderately adjust your rigging to your girth and pad length. Saving the expense of purchasing multiple cinches. With either rigging you can have Full, 7/8th, 3/4, centered and anywhere in-between. You have it all plus some, with this rigging. All forthcoming saddles will have the new, Slide and Lock rigging.

     (Over 6,000 lbs., test strength on each nylon strap!)

Performance Rigging

With any of the riggings shown, combined with our no-strain knee fenders on western saddles and the comfort flaps on English. One can ride all day in the saddle, get off and feel just as good as they did when they mounted up.

Newly added to the nylon rigging we have a cosmetic leather rigging flap.  This flap adds 12 oz to the total weight of the saddle.

Production Details: Distance, leisure and western saddles all have a tab "girth keepers" on the saddles for attaching your girth when your saddle is not in use. On the English and Endurance saddle models that have English rigging will come standard with the girth and stirrup strap that you can hook-up your stirrups so your shins will not get banged when carrying your saddle. With your saddle you can choose (If available for your particular model) between the comfortable standard seat containing 1/2 inch of neoprene or select the soft-seat.  The soft-seat is comprised of two materials, first is the 1/4 inch of neoprene padding followed by 3/4 inch of thick foam that is ergonomically sculpted for the riders butt.  This special high density (HR #26) foam, not only has best spring-back, but the longest life expectancy (20 years plus) in the industry. There are some points to consider when deciding to select this option-with the Soft Seat.  First, you will lose some of the room that the saddle has to offer for your rear-end - so if you are between sizes use this to help gauge your seat size. Secondly when you select the Soft Seat, you will lose a bit of the "pocket" to sit down in, (since the extra padding is now there for your rear-end and /or your bone-y butt bones). Lastly, with the Soft Seat, the saddle will have a bit of a narrower twist. The twist is the part that is between your thighs (your crotch area). Therefore, if you like a narrower twist, have a bony butt or need a smaller seat size, adding the extra padding of the Soft Seat is key.

  Western girth keeper and on the English saddles, a girth and stirrup keeper.  You also can select your seat style, such as the Soft-Seat

What seat size would you need? 

Stitching and Edging: We strive to make every detail as perfect as the next.  We use twist thread #207 with # 24 matching needle and never less than 6 stitches per inch. We then make sure every piece of leather is edged, burnished, died and waxed.  Quality is just that.  QUALITY.

  • Border Tooling: Available.


Egyptian Wall



  • Stirrup Hanger Bar:  All English and endurance saddles will come standard with a 3-position hanger bar. This allows the rider to select one of three setting for exact leg position. 

  • Hardware: The hardware is all stainless steel unless brass is selected. Saddles come with all of the necessary fittings, (breast, crupper and accessory D-rings)  The type and number of fittings varies according to saddle model and rider request. Western saddles will all have strings as standard.  Silver is also available.


  • The leather: The leather used is grade A, top and full grain hides (the highest quality on the market) and is purchased from US tanneries, using US grown hides. Only the Garment leather is imported, as that process has now gone overseas.  As for the color of leather, we have two color selections, a Havana or dark brown and Black.  These selections can be altered to offer the rider a two tone saddle, such as a brown saddle with a black seat. Now, in many western saddles and tack, no dye is used and the leather is left natural with oils such as peanut, olive, animal fats etc., used to darken it to a honey or amber color.  However these un-dyed saddles will continually change to a darker color when exposed to sunlight, cleaning, elements of the weather and the daily wear of riding. The saddle in time will not be recognizable as the same saddle color you purchased as every mud and sweat spot will show. The seat and leg area of your saddle will also become several shades darker than the rest of your saddle.  This inconsistency in color is unacceptable to us and therefore not offered in our line of saddles.    Click here  for a photo showing five NEW saddles in this light oil color and how the same color can vary directly from the tannery/manufacture.    

  • Price, Performance, Quality: The saddle will come standard the amazing System X panels. The panels are made and assembled in the United States, as are the saddletrees. All those little details that were overlooked or deemed unimportant, using inferior materials by shoddy builders are a thing of the past. Tauer Manufacturing cannot be more excited and proud, for it is here that you will find the best quality functional saddle at an affordable price. Evolutionary Saddles™, are engineered to fit horses and mules. Automatically these saddles address gullet size, twist, flare, and rocker, while distributing the rider’s weight, allowing for complete freedom of movement for the back and shoulders. Regardless of shape or size, this system flexes to fit.

Just how are those panels put on? To mount the panel, whether it is encased in a leather skirt with fleece on the bottom side or in the vinyl zippered encasement,  You will see a small hole or slit in the under side of the panel.  This is where an Allen tool is used to enter the panel to reach the bolt for the panel's attachment to the specialized mount that has been drilled into saddle tree.  This bolt is counter sunk and enclosed in the panel among the various layers of backer foam.

Extraordinary Performance at an affordable price.
Questions from the field

1.  Is the System X Evolutionary saddle ä a synthetic, flexible saddle?  No the Evolutionary System X is a high quality, all leather saddle with a solid wood tree, which is guaranteed for 10 years. This system is sometimes confused with treeless, sport or other flexible saddles because the name indicates a flexible panel system. But this saddle is NOT a treeless saddle or a flexible tree saddle.

2.   Is the System X saddle just a "knock - off" of other flex panel saddles? No, it is not a knock-off. This is an entirely new system and is not anything like the other flexible Delrin panel saddles. True, this new system design is based on an older original idea and true, this system uses Delrin in the building process, but the way the Delrin is cut, shaped, layered and assembled using advanced technology puts this panel in a class of it’s own. To get into this classification, stainless steel/nickel rivets are used to hold the various layers of Delrin together thus creating the unique progressive loading for weight distribution. Both the backing and the padding layers are cut to match all of the finger cuts in the Delrin panel – allowing for complete panel performance. The slide plate, as well as the washer are of stainless steel eliminating any rusting issues in the future, with the insert of steel allowing it to rust ever so perfectly securing a strong hold within the saddle tree. This combination of materials attached to a specifically designed saddle tree for the best panel function, is what makes this system so easy to use and maintain and, in fact, makes it so different it is in a class of its own.

3.   What is Delrin and how does this make this saddle different? Early in 1950 research director and chemist Frank C McGrew developed a tough and heat resistant material he called "synthetic stone." During the years of development, which involved a patent dispute, DuPont patented Delrin® in 1956. Delrin® (Polyoxymethylene) is an acetal homopolymer resin that is a durable lightweight crystalline plastic, which uses a breakthrough in stabilization technology. It has an excellent balance of desirable properties that bridge the gap between metals and ordinary plastics. This Delrin not only has memory (which allows it to return to it’s natural shape), but also has a unique combination of strength, stiffness, tensile strength, hardness, dimensional stability, toughness, fatigue resistance, solvent and fuel resistance, abrasion resistance, low wear, low friction, creep resistance under a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions, with high fatigue endurance, corrosion resistance and mechanical resilience. Due to these outstanding characteristics Delrin is popular for its versatility within a broad use of industry applications, such as automotive, aerospace, electrical and medical applications.  At our manufacturing facility, this product is cut, assembled and mounted to a saddle tree of very specific proportions to allow maximum performance of this incredible System X panel. In western models of Evolutionary Saddles ä , the flat panel is sandwiched inside the skirts of the saddle. These skirts are mounted so that they spread the rider’s weight over a large area and flex to fit either a horse or mule, whether the animal has a very wide round back or a narrow skinny back. You can actually see the skirts flex as you ride. These skirts do not look different from traditional western skirts. With over 20 years of feed back from earlier systems of panels and saddle designs, they have proven to a horse so much more comfortable. In many cases horses quit displaying behaviors caused by pain from rigid tree saddles, and now perform better than with a traditional saddle that inhibited movement. The very same panels are on the English and Endurance saddles mounted beneath the rigid saddle tree. The difference is these panels are encased in a zippered pouch, which actually gives the panel a softer more flexible feel since there is no added leather skirt.

4.  The Evolutionary Saddles ä System X is designed to make the horse move more freely, but what about the rider? The way the trees are constructed in the Evolutionary Saddles gives the rider a narrower seat which helps prevent hip and knee pain, while also providing a close feel to the horse. The bars of this saddle are very thin allowing the rider’s thighs to get closer to the mule or horse. The trees are thin and functional when made to our specifications, being solid wood reinforced with layers of hand-layered fiberglass cloth then coated with expensive epoxy resin. This allows the trees to be made thin and much lighter in weight than traditional trees without compromising the strength needed even when used for heavy roping. This is why these saddle trees can carry a 10-year warranty. Because the saddle trees are anatomically designed to the rider’s seat they require minimal padding; but if desired, they are available with nearly two inches of extra padding stitched to a correct pattern for incredible comfort during long hours on the trail. The unique way of mounting the rigging removes bulk from under the rider’s leg, which again, keeps knees from becoming strained and hurting. The stirrup leathers are generally narrower than found on traditional saddles and are mounted on the tree in such a way as to allow them to twist and move easily, which also prevents knee, hip and ankle strain. Our saddle models that use traditional one-inch leathers are designed so these leathers can be positioned forward, center and rear to give the rider additional leg positions – a feature not found on other saddles. All of our saddles come with stirrups that have a special pad that absorbs concussion and reduces aching feet. All of these features, plus the spring panels that absorb concussion provide much greater comfort for the rider – as confirmed by 20+ years of feedback. Many people who have arthritis in the back, hips and knees say they can ride much farther and longer in these saddles than in traditional saddles. Heavy weight riders see benefits in all areas due to expanded weight bearing surface area on the horses back, as the panels are sized in proportion to the seat of the saddle, thus providing for a comfortable transfer of rider weight to the horse’s back. This shock absorption is the icing on the cake for the horse and we all are pleasantly surprised that this jarring concussion to the rider is reduced as well.

5.  Why is an Evolutionary Saddle ä worth purchasing?  As consumers ourselves, we have purchased equipment from manufacturers, suppliers and saddle builders who make products for horses but do not OWN, RIDE or even FIT horses or mules – oftentimes with poor results. We find the people we can rely on to deliver good products are the ones who have worked hard and take pride in providing equipment made or designed by people who own, fit and RIDE the equine. Now, at last, we have the opportunity to take complete charge of making these incredible saddles from start to finish. We are directly involved in every step of production and produce the best product built to OUR (and in particular, Cathy Tauer’s) specifications. You can be assured when purchasing our saddles and tack, that you are purchasing from horse people who are just like you.  All of those who are directly involved with providing the HVF brand of products, have raised the bar for other manufactures to follow.

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