Okay,so I use to think that all treeless saddles were bad and that I would never consider getting one but lately I have been researching saddles so I can figure out what kind of saddle I would get for trail riding.
I was wondering what the materials were made out of as I know some saddles are actually made out of styrofoam and paper!!
so I am going to be cautious when it comes to saddles.
I know there has been threads on this but also what do you think of the treeless...do they do actual good?
I have two treeless saddles, a Bob Marshall and a Black Forest. Both are great saddles, secure feeling, and do well on my horses.
I would NEVER touch a Hilason saddle, even if someone tried to give me one... They may be assembled in the USA, but they are made with inferior leather and hardware, with little regard to symmetry or quality workmanship. I have had two friends buy Hilasons on eBay, direct from the manufacturer. One was so bad (a Bob Marshal copy), she sent it back the next day, and then waited 3 months for her money to be refunded. It took a certified letter from her attorney to get it... The other had about 3-4 months of a good use (a Barefoot copy), but then the saddle began falling apart... It was past the 30-day warantee period, so no money refunded there.
Granted, these saddles were purchased 3-5 years ago, but with the prices of Hilason saddles, I just wouldn't trust them. It costs more than $200 for JUST the leather to build a quality saddle (MUCH more if you want premium leather). Add on top of that the hardware, other materials, labor to build the saddle, and other sales/marketing costs, and there is just no way you're going to get a half-way decent quality leather saddle for under $600.
If you're on a budget, check out Barefoot or Black Forest synthetic saddles. Freeform makes a synthetic as well, though they are more. Or, buy used. Both of my saddles were purchased used. I saved 40% off the Black Forest and about 30% off the new cost of the Bob Marshall. Both were in like-new condition.
Also, your saddle pad is just as important as your saddle when going treeless. It's important to buy one that is specifcially made for treeless saddles, and it's best to buy one recommended by the saddle's manufacturer. I have had good like with Skito saddle pads. They are custom made in the USA (with all US made materials) based on your horse, saddle, your riding style, time in the saddle, and your weight. I am a heavy rider and have a couple of really round horses, so I add a ThinLine pad under my Skito, for extra weight distribution and non-slip.
My husband riding my paint mare in the Black Forest saddle. It's an English style treeless. He is using an English square pad with the Skito pad on top.
A student of mine riding in my Bob Marshall saddle. It is an endurance model with no horn, but a tall western style cantle. The Skito pad is fitted to the saddle and the ThinLine is the black square pad underneath. I use a mohair cinch to help with shifting. This young man learned to ride in this saddle, which a testiment to its stability. This was only his second or third time cantering.