I'm curious about treeless saddles. I'm hoping I don't have to replace my saddle (it's a really nice dressage that I got for cheap) but I'm not sure it fits my horse perfectly or well enough for distance. So I've heard about treeless saddles, but I was wondering what are the quality brands vs. cheap brands to avoid. Also, how does fitting work? I'm assuming it's more adjustable than a treed saddle...?
I have a barefoot treeless saddle.After searching for one, Barefoot had the best reviews as far as quality and fit.They work really good on horses that have a wither but slide off horses that are round. It fits my hard to fit high withered QH really well. He had a even sweat pattern and it built up his top line from the freedom of movement it gives. But the only bad thing I have found is that it gives you a chair seat. You can go to www.actionridertack.com( I got mine from here.) ,they have several different brands or treeless saddles to choose from.And it tells you how the treeless saddle works and how to fit one to you and your horse.
Treeless saddles are very much like treed saddles.. some work great for the horse, some not so much. Same with for the rider. Its a question of finding what works best for you and your horse.. wish there was an easier answer!
In terms of personal experience, I have ridden in a Bob Marshall Sports Saddle and a Torsion. I hated the BMSS. It put me in a horrendous chair seat and one of our horses ridden in it had back issues from it. But I know several people who have ridden countless miles on many different horses in them with no issues.
I have had much better success with the Torsion. It puts me in a better position and I have found it to be very secure, both in terms of my position on the horse and in terms of the saddle staying put on the horse (I actually rode 18 miles in it once without a girth at all). However, that exact saddle came from a friend who called it the "ejection seat" because it would not stay put on her spooky horse and she was constantly falling from it.
There is a yahoo group for treeless saddles, so I would look into joining that as they are a wealth of information. Hopefully someone local to you carries them so that you can sit in one and demo it on your horse before buying.
This is what my flex ee dressage looks like. I'm not sure how it would fair long distance good or bad as I don't ride very often/much but, it sure is comfortable when I do. I let a good friend of mine ride in it and she was amazed at how comfortable the seat/twist was... identical to a treed saddle. I really like it and check the sweat patterns regularly (haven't noticed anything weird, in fact very symmetrical). I use a HAF pad LOL the one with the pockets which, I don't think is necessary but, helps with sliding. Also, I use a leather prestige girth and normal buckle leathers. I purchased it new (one of the only things I've ever purchased new) and it's so far stood up great. I think I should've gone a seat size up as I'm somewhat a petite rider and my horses are well... ponies so I opted for the 16" which, they said was more like a 16.5. It feels fine but, just a tad tight especially new because new it tipped up just slightly which, put me even further back.
Like PH13 says, treeless (and saddles in general) are hit and miss with horses. You have to find the right match for both horse and rider.
I have a Barefoot Cheyenne that my horses really like, they move freely (more so than with other saddles). But, I haven't used in on long distances because it causes me hip pain. My mare is wide so the twist is too large for my anatomy. Now, I have a Barefoot Atlanta on trial, but I think it will be the same. But it's so light and close contact, I love the feeling.
Generally speaking, treeless fit any horse since it conforms to the horse's shape. Then, you have exceptions ("A" shape backs, high wither etc.). You need a good quality treeless and a padded quality saddle pad to make sure you clear the spine while riding.
You need a good quality treeless and a padded quality saddle pad to make sure you clear the spine while riding.
This is an excellent point - treeless saddles are meant to be used with specific types of pads. A lot of people are not expecting the price those saddle pads are, so even a relatively "cheap" treeless saddle is not cheap when you get done buying the pad for it as well.
Action Rider Tack has a great demo program too. I bought my treeless dressage saddle from them. I went on an email group, sent photos of my horse and they (and other users) recommended saddles. I have a Ghost dressage saddle and an Ansur Konklusion jump saddle.
You really do need a great pad, but the pad is not hard to sort out. Many brand new pads can run you $200-250 but it is easy to find used ones out there for sale. I bought a Skito pad in excellent condition for $50!
Stay away from Hilason treeless saddles. Very hit and miss but mostly miss from what I've seen and experienced. Their pads are decent though.
Feel free to PM with any questions! Sometimes I miss threads. Posted via Mobile Device
I have a Barefoot Cheyenne, and while my mare loves it, and I love it for shorter rides, I honestly could barely do the trot out at the end of the last 50 miler because the twist KILLED me after 25 miles. My mare was looking over at me while stumbling along at the trot out and giving me an eye like I was total sissy. I was limping and definitely lame. She could've gone back out ... not me!
I am now actually looking at the FlexEE saddle only because I have heard the twist is much narrower and my mare definitely needs treeless - she is a believer and so weird and hard to fit that treeless just makes sense. I think I will demo the FlexEE and if we don't like it look at maybe a bolster for the BF, like a Smart Panel pad or something. I also like the look of The Dream by Rocky Creek Hill saddles, but it is just *that* much more expensive than the FlexEE that I will try the FlexEE first.