Tucker Endurance/Plantation Saddles Gen II or regular - Recommendations and Tree Fit


I’m hoping to get some guidance on what Tucker saddle will work best for my frumpy, moody, gaited mare. I’m not sure what she is. The previous owner said that she was registered SSH and the papers got lost…don’t they always? I fell in love with her running walk and bought her for the bargain price of $200. She is forward moving and has a real animated, almost “poppy” running walk. Problem is…she is built unlike any other gaited horse I’ve ridden. She is overweight, I know. We are working on that. Her back is wide. I mean, I could set a glass of tea on that sucker. I currently ride in a Circle Y Flex2 Wide Tree Omaha trail saddle. It fits pretty good, but seems a tad snug in the withers once I add a 7/8" pad…and she seems irritated in it. I have also tried a Circle Y Trail Gaiter…it was a joke. The “wide” tree pinched her so bad. It was obvious just looking at it. When I cinched up…she gave me that “GO TO H***” look and pinned. It was definitely not wide enough through the middle of the bar area. Now, I am looking at endurance/plantation models (Tucker). I really like the Tucker River Plantation saddle. I’ve done research. I found out that the Tucker regular tree has more rock…it’s better for horses that have a dip in their back. The Gen II trees are designed for more A frame horses with straighter bars. Well…then I go to look at order options for the one I chose…Tucker River Plantation…tree options are:

Flatback Regular
Flatback Wide

Help! Please look at these pictures and help. She has a dip in her back…so not flat backed? Do Tucker trees run narrow? Will a Wide suffice or is XWide what I need? Thanks!


Not sure how much help I will be, look on the Western forum - I have a few threads for more info and pics.

My horse is downhill and has VERY wide shoulders. I took him and had him fitted about a year ago, was fine for a Tucker MED Old West saddle, so I bought it. I have two horses, it fits one of my horses fine, so I am keeping it, I do like the saddle, but my young horse is just too wide.

A few months later, he exploded (was 4 yrs old), saddle was pinching his shoulders, so I ordered same saddle in a WIDE (largest it comes in), that held for 7-8 mos, then in Oct, he started getting white marks on each side of his wither.

DANGIT!! Saddle was too narrow again.

This time, I contacted Steele Saddles, they sent out a demo that I could keep for 3 weeks. In that time, I did a 4 day and one day clinic, plus rode a lot. I LOVED it!! The saddle was really comfortable, super deep seat, VERY secure, but is built different than a normal western saddle.


Most of your weight sits on the center and back of the saddle, very little weight goes on the front or on their wither, is just enough to stabilize the saddle.

It sat me back, could NOT even tell my horse was downhill. Really, was amazing. I sent a lot of pics of the demo on him, Eric asked for me to take a few pics from different angles. It was deemed it fit my horse well. Strange thing is, it was their REGULAR tree, nothing unusual.

They said it fits 85-90% of all horses.

This is how they explain how their trees distribute the weight…

Once you put your weight in the saddle, it carries your weight underneath the tree like a ski in the snow. In other words, it carries your weight properly without tossing your weight forward onto the front of the saddle. This creates less poundage per square inch. Again, like a ski in the snow

It really is amazing! I think this is why it fit my horse so well. I have heard that Tucker tends to run narrow, so even the WIDE is more narrow than other brands.

When I sent back my demo, I almost cried!! I was soo sad to not have that saddle! Needless to say, I ordered one, but waiting a few more weeks until it comes in, but it may be worth a look for you.

I have to say, this time, saddle shopping wasn’t painful at all. Eric knows his shit, was a good experience.

I just checked their website. They have some beautiful saddles! I’ve actually never heard of that company before. I need a good experience after what I’ve been through…I’ve tried so many on her and they don’t “sit” right. The Steele demo option looks blonde-proof. Thank you so much for your reply. I will try to find your threads in the Western forum :slight_smile:

Eric said that all the saddles sit very similar. My Demo was the Trail Boss.

They just came out w/their Wade. I was a little leery ordering a different saddle than the demo, but I liked the looks of the Wade.

Eric said would fit my horse the same and once I got on, if I closed my eyes, I would not be able to tell it was a different saddle, if that helps.

So, I ordered the Wade in Dark Choc/Black w/Black fittings, is gonna be gorgeous. Bad thing is takes 6 weeks, I am half way thru, should be in around Christmas :slight_smile:

A lot of different saddle companies use Steele trees, are mostly the same price, so I figured why not just not go to the source.

They just sit on ur horse different, worked for my hard to fit horse. Most don’t have big skirts, so are very light, another nice benefit :slight_smile:

Good luck and keep us posted, esp, after you get a demo :slight_smile:

As she gets in shape, any guess as to whether her topline will lift and get rid of the dip?

I got my gaited horse as a 10yo who had worked most of his life. My buena vista fit him fine when I got him. A year later, taking him off of sweet feed, boosting his protien (ration balancer) and proper riding, his top line totally changed and he no longer fit the saddle. Got a new saddle and we are both happier. So I just put this out there in case your mare changes back shape once you get the weight off her and get her riding again.

It will take me forever to make a decision on what to order after I get the demos. Thank goodness this isn’t “prime” riding season for me :slight_smile: I have been riding my mare bareback some and she acts like such a lady, but it’s uncomfortable to me and I know that it’s probably not good for her. I am not a fan of treeless saddles…but that’s a whole 'nother thread I don’t want to start. Mention bareback or treeless saddles and you can really open a can of worms! Thanks for you help…I have been reading about and looking at Steele saddles since I saw your reply. I need to “get off of it” and get busy since it takes so long to actually get the “real” saddle in. I have seen several people complain about the price of Steele saddle in these forums I have been on. I don’t even want to think about all the money I spent and lost buying, trying, reselling. Once and done sounds wonderful to me…I think this Steele saddle might be the answer. It’s a good sign when you can’t find any used ones for sale. People are hanging onto them!

I haven’t thought about her topline changing, but I’m sure that’s a possibility. Hmmm, very interesting. Maybe I can find a cheap/synthetic or maybe used saddle to fit her until she trims up…then spring for a Steele saddle. I am really liking everything I have read about them so far. I slowly took her off sweet feed and she is getting high quality Bermuda hay…she just needs working. It’s such a bad time of year for that too…makes me wish I had a nice indoor arena instead of a soggy roundpen :wink:

Just thought I would throw it out there…

Since my horse is just 5 yrs old, I asked Eric “what he is explodes again?” He said, he thinks the saddle will be good, but if white spots appear down the road, he would ask for some pics, then could always make some adjustments, if needed. From MY pics, he thinks saddle will continue to fit.

My horse is fit, not fat, so your case may be different. Just wanted to let you know, they do make adjustments. I would take the required pic, then talk to Eric. He will answer all of your questions, like I said, knows his stuff :slight_smile: Was VERY helpful!

Shermy, I just figured out how to search threads about thirty minutes ago…yay. I did go back and read all of your posts and found them very helpful.

My horse is pretty fat, and doesn’t get rode as much as she should. She is 10 years old, so I’m sure she is done growing.

It’s good to know that they can/will make adjustments on the Steele saddles. They must understand that they are a big investment for most people! If the Steele works out for Molly mare, I might clean house, sell the Circle Y’s, and buy another Steele for my TWH mare. She’s a lean machine…much unlike poor Molly Muffin.

Thanks for the replies everyone…gotta love the COTH forum!

I did post two pictures of her in the Regular Tree Circle Y Omaha Flex2…it is my husband’s saddle and broke in nicely. It doesn’t scream “I don’t fit” to me. It just seems narrow on her, but I can throw this tight saddle on and she behaves like she isn’t in pain…even though I can barely wedge my hand in between the pad and her body. I thought “OH, a wide in this model will fix the problem”. NOT. It “looks” better but she acts uncomfortable…and I just spent 1500 on a new saddle that fits no better than the old one.

Now, the strangest part - my new Circle Y Flex with the wide tree is just as snug in the wither/shoulder area as the older regular flex tree, but it does lay flatter across her back. Guess she needs that special flare in front for a gaited horse.


Send wither and back tracings to Tucker. They can recommend the appropriate tree and size for your horse. I did this with my new horse, and the tree they suggested fits great. I bought a flexible curve on ebay for less than $10 to get accurate tracings. Here’s the instructions:


I would try both the Tucker and the Steele if I were you. My husband loved his Steele but I found it uncomfortable to ride in for very long. It wasn’t the wrong size, it was just hard IMO. So be sure you consider your own “fit” as well as the horse’s.

I have ridden Tucker Equitation Endurance saddles for about 12 years - one wide tree for my QH mare and a regular tree for my KMSH. Both have done well with their saddles, never any back problem (I do LD and competitive trail so going 25-30 miles/day or 40ish over a weekend). Both very comfortable for me. Mine were both the “classic” version. What my dealer told me about the “Gen II” versions is that the “gel cush” used in the seat area on the classics actually extended further down her thigh area in the Gen II version and she didn’t feel like she had as good a feel of the horse in that type. I know she rode the Plantation style but I’m not sure of the exact model.

In an ideal situation you’d be close to a physical tack store that sells Tuckers and carries various models in-house so you can go sit in them and see what suits your fancy.

I will say that I’ve never had any complaint with the worksmanship or quality on the Tuckers over the years.

Good luck, whichever way you you.

Thanks, GotMyPony. My comfort…that’s why I originally decided to go with Tucker since I sat in one at a tack store (the nearest dealer is 90 miles away). It was an endurance model…not sure of the exact model. It was very, very comfortable. I’ve got a lot of decisions to make. Thanks everyone for your help!

Just how tall is your horse? She appears to have a pretty short back, not a dipped back, just short. The saddle on her in the photo looks too long for her. The saddle panels should not go beyond her last rib, and a lot of saddles would possibly be too long for her back.


She is a wide 14.2 hands and her back is very short.

(the nearest dealer is 90 miles away). [/QUOTE]

If a few hours roundtrip could help you make the right decision on a saddle it’s well worth the trip IMO!


There are a lot of sales people out there who will try to sell you saddles that are too long for your horse’s back. And a lot of saddles “designed” for the gaited horses are LONG. A lot of saddles designed as very padded trail riding saddles are LONG.

What size of seat do you feel comfortable in?

First fit the horse, then fit you. Horse first.

You can always add a Cashel Tush Cush to make any saddle seat softer.


I would like to support what Chicamux said. Don’t let people tell you that long saddles or skirts do not matter. They do.

I looked at your pictures and your horse looks almost as short as ours (and slightly croup high, too ?).

We could not even fit any western or trail saddle- he has whooping 16 inches of weight bearing area. Even for an English saddle, we have to go with compact and adjusted back panels to make it work.

Naïve question: Could you ride a gaited horse in an English saddle?

Ideally, it would be great, if you could find someone, who could make you a custom western/trail saddle for a reasonable price.

Cherry Hill in one of her books featured such a custom western saddle for one of her horses- it almost looked funny with how short and compacted it was, but it served her short-backed horse well.

The saddle I am considering is an endurance style…it is 4" shorter than the Circle Y I am riding in now which is 27" long. I ride in 15.5" to 16" Western. That would put me at 18" on an English? I haven’t rode English in years. It’s not totally out of the question…I have to do what is best for my mare. The saddle would have to offer plenty of shoulder clearance. I am just concerned that an English saddle wouldn’t feel secure enough to keep my confidence up on some of those challenging trails with steep hills. I might have to look into the custom saddle option. This saddle fit venture is a WILD ride! Thank you guys!

Call Summer at saddleupshop.com. She’s very helpful with saddle fitting, especially with Tucker saddles.