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Should I Choose the Classic Tucker Tree or Gen II Tree for my horse?

Please Note: As of 2015 the Gen II Tree became an OPTION on the High Plains, Meadow Creek, High Plains, Plantation, Endurance Trail, Equitation Endurance Trail Saddle and Summit Endurance Trail Saddle.  Although you will still see the Gen II "SADDLE" which historically incorporated the Gen II tree and the Gen II seat out there used, they are no longer being made.   My understanding from Tucker is that SaddleUp is the ONLY retailer still offering the Gen II tree  and the Gen II seat as OPTIONS.   

Since my main concern is fit for the horse, that is the deciding factor for me in determining if a horse needs a Classic or Gen II... there IS a difference in fit for the horse.   Most horses are diffinitively better fit in one or the other with a small percentage able to use either tree.  By sending me your wither tracings and pictures I can usually determine if you are better off with one or the other, or if in your case you can choose either.

Let me explain...

The Classic Tucker saddle tree was developed many years ago and has been proven to do a good job.  It has some very distinct attributes compared to other saddles on the market.   It's NOT a QH bar tree, but rather one developed by Tucker  in response to fitting concerns across the market.  The standard Tucker tree is cut back from the front with flared bars at the shoulder to allow maximum shoulder rotation under the front edge of the saddle.   It also has more rock than some on the market and is shorter in overall length.   Rock is the angle of the tree from pommel to cantle.   Like the bottom of a rocking chair all saddles have a certain amount of rock.   Tuckers Classic saddle tree has more rock to it than the Gen II saddle, with a upward tilt of the tree behind the cantle to accomodate short backed horses.

The Gen II saddle tree has all the attributes of the older Classic Tree, but it has less rock than the Tucker Classic Tree, less tip to the bar behind the cantle, and a bit more room in the shoulder area particularly above the rotation of the shoulder and behind the wither.  The tree has been beveled back all the way around with a flexible myler panel protruding from under the wood part of the tree so that as the horses movement rolls up against the edge it actually bends away from that motion. 

So... If you have horse with a notable contour to his topline or quick rise to the rump from the center of its back (like the bottom of a rocking chair .. or a smile)  the Classic Tucker Tree is probably going to fit that horse better than the Gen II..

On the other hand... if your horse has less contour to his topline... a drop off from the wither and then the spine is fairly straight.. you are going to be better off with the Gen II tree.  Interestingly of the horses I've fit who are the straight spine type.. they seem to also have a higher set shoulder with less twist and more muscle behind the shoulder requiring more room in the tree at the top of the shoulder and behind.  So the Gen II tree is a great fit for this type horse.   

Percentages from my data in fitting the various breeds seems to indicate that 25-28% of the horses need the Gen II tree, while the balance do better in the Classic Tree.

Take a look at these pictures.  Can you tell from looking which horse really should be in the Origional Tucker tree?


The correct answer?

The TWH on the left would need a Gen II Tree.  He has a drop off the withers but then his back makes a pretty straight line to his rump.. with no rise to the rump.

The blue roan on the right needs the Classic Tucker tree.  This horse has a very well defined rise (curve) up to the rump.. kind of like the bottom of a rocking chair. While the blue roan is a rather severe example.. I picked him because its SO accentuated that you almost can't miss seeing it. 

Here is another horse with  a more typical contoured topline.  Best fit for this horse would be the Classic Tucker Tree .  He has a good contour to his topline with rise to the rump from center of his back. 


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