Looking into treeless? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
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Looking into treeless?

So this will be a bit broad, because I'm really not sure what I want. All I know is I want a treeless (MAYBE a Specialized) saddle. This is the first year me and my boy have done endurance. I've grown up riding western, but he (a full Arab) didn't fit my western saddle, so I picked up a cheap English saddle that fit and adapted to it. It's worked pretty well, and I love how much lighter they are. I'm comfortable either way, but lately I've just been riding in the English saddle. However, we finally did our first 50, and his back was sore for the first time. Time for a new saddle!

He's going to keep changing shape, especially since I've been working to put more weight on him. And I have a quarter horse colt (not riding yet and will be minimal for a while), and would rather not have to get two saddles to fit them. So, I've decided to get one saddle that will adapt to both, hence wanting either a treeless or Specialized saddle. My primary goal is to fit my Arabian because he's the one getting ridden the most and doing endurance, and I just need a saddle that works at minimum for breaking my colt in the next year or so. We'll get a second saddle for him that fits him and my husband when he's (the horse!) is broke. For now, though, just the one saddle for me. I've been trying out a Ghost and like it, but am not entirely sold on it, and think I could get something I like better for the price.

So what do you suggest? Here's my requirements:
1) Under $1000 (so most likely used), but I could go a little higher for the perfect saddle - this is an investment!
2) Fits my Arab perfectly, but is adaptable enough to fit my colt
3) My Arab does have withers, and I can post pictures of his shape
4) I have a HAF pad that works with the English saddle and would like something that fits it
5) Knee rolls are preferable
6) LIGHTWEIGHT!
7) No horn

Some of the names I've been thinking about are Freeform, Barefoot, Ghost, Bob Marshall, and of course the Specialized... but I just don't know enough about them to get serious about buying one, especially if I have to order it sight unseen over the internet. In the meantime, I'll be using the Ghost since I can borrow it, and maybe it'll win me over, but for the $1300 it would cost me, I want to make sure I'm getting the RIGHT saddle. Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 01:14 PM
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I wouldnt buy any saddle sight unseen for an arabian, especially for endurance. The decent treeless saddles will also need specialized pads. The Specialized brand saddles are very much a pain to fit and soemthing you need an experienced dealer to do for you, once fit people tend to like them. Also look at your weight. I dont know any riders over about 150lbs that like them or dont sore their horses backs. They are also god awful expensive for what you are gettign. Personally I think their are way better choices especially for the
cost than treeless saddles.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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I'm a featherweight - A whopping 130 lbs without tack lol. And I'm a balanced rider.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 03:56 PM
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Your best bet would be to do some demos of the brands/models you are interested in. For endurance specifically, it seems that Sensations and Bob Marshalls are quite popular, but it all depends on your horse's conformation and your riding style. The treelesssaddles yahoo group is pretty good at determining what saddles may work for you with some pics of your horses back and other basic info like whether you prefer more/less twist, closer contact, etc. That way you can narrow it down and eliminate those that definitely won't work and not waste money on demos for those.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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I'm thinking I'm going to demo a barefoot cheyenne - any experience with these? They look like something I'd enjoy and are currently my cheapest option - maybe I can upgrade in a few years if I want to. For now, I'd probably be most comfortable spending the money on the cheyenne though
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 05:19 PM
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I've read a few times on the yahoo group (including from dealers) that the Black Forest Saddles are made with better quality leather than the Barefoots, and are cheaper. They are the same basic style.

I have a similar cheap ebay knockoff that I bought as my initial treeless experiment that I actually like very much but it has not proven to be durable at all, so I'm basically in the same boat as you - searching for a "real" treeless saddle on a budget. The one thing that I did discover that I don't like so much about it is that it does put a lot of padding between my leg and the horse. I never realized it until I started doing a lot of bareback riding then went back to the saddle after a couple weeks. Of course the actual branded versions may be different, but it is a complaint I've heard echoed about this style saddle before.

Once you decide what you want, definitely keep your eye on ebay for used saddles. There have been a ton of good deals on there lately and I've been driving myself crazy watching them all even though I can't quite afford anything yet!
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Well it seems I'm on both ends of the spectrum - do I get a cheaper saddle like a barefoot (or Black Forest), or a Specialized Saddle, which a lot of people in my endurance club use and absolutely love. I almost just want to drop the $1600-$1700 on the Specialized and have THE saddle - if money weren't an issue, I think this is the direction I would go. One of their dealers is in our club, so I think I'm also going to test one of theirs out.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 05:29 PM
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LOL I'm feeling the same way about Black Forest/Barefoot vs Sensation. I have a Sensation demo on the way and I almost hope for my bank account's sake that I don't like it!
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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I posted something similar to this on the treeless saddles yahoo group and every one of the replies recommended a Sensation, so let me know how you like it! Where did you order your demo from?
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-29-2012, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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OMG OMG I just saw an ad for a Specialized Saddle for only $900 - and it's someone from my club that's selling it! I sure hope it's still there, because I'll take it in a heartbeat!
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