Treeless saddle advice (picture heavy)
 
 

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Treeless saddle advice (picture heavy)

This is a discussion on Treeless saddle advice (picture heavy) within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Barefoot swayback
  • Barefoot cheyenne for sway back

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    08-11-2013, 05:11 PM
  #1
Yearling
Treeless saddle advice (picture heavy)

I have had much trouble finding a saddle, without a horn, for my 14.3 hand RMHA gelding, Chivas. The only saddle I could find to fit was a Fabtron western. We have been using it for the past year or so, but I just hate having the horn threatening my tummy on steep hills!

I also have an 16 hand Appendix gelding with shark fin withers, Drambuie. My teens have a 14.1 hand QH mare, and a 15 hand Arab/paint with a sway back. Their saddles are too small for me to use for occasional rides on their horses.

I decided to try a treeless saddle, even though I have never seen one in person, to give me the flexability to ride all 4 horses with one saddle, but the primary use would be for the Rocky, Chivas.

After investigating several brands, I decided for cost, features & appearance I would try a Barefoot Tahoe with a cute horsehead pattern on the side. Then I found a site with a clearance sale, so changed to the Barefoot Cheyenne (in brown). I was advised to purchase a size 2 based on my size, but I was concerned about the length of the saddle on Chivas's short back. Because it was on clearance, no returns are possible.

The saddle arrived promptly and it looked nice but BIG to me. I usually ride in a 15" western or a 17" Dressage saddle. I measured the Cheyenne and it was 24" long with a 18" seat from zipper to zipper. To contrast, my Fabtron is 22" long and the seat size is about 14.5 from the pommel to seat back.
     
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    08-11-2013, 05:20 PM
  #2
Yearling
First I tried the Cheyenne with my usual pad, an Aussie shaped pad with a 1"thick wool felt pad topped with fleece. I placed it high on his withers to keep it off his loins. The saddle did slip a lot but Chivas was relaxed and moved easily & freely in his shoulder.

Picture with pad:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG0553.jpg (69.3 KB, 136 views)
     
    08-11-2013, 06:27 PM
  #3
Yearling
So, I contacted the Bardfoot seller and was told I must use a special pad with treeless saddles, the Skito brand was recomemended and several other brands mentioned; Haf, Equipedic, Toklat, etc.

I contacted Skito and discovered the pads cost 250-300 dollars that is a a lot for a pad I was thinking, especially to not know if it will work!

I checked online for options and found a 15" Torsion treeless saddle with Equipedic pad to purchase. The Torsion looks similar to the Cheyenne, and the Equipedic was one of the recommended brands.

Here are the saddles side by side for comparision:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Saddles treeless.jpg (67.1 KB, 131 views)
phantomhorse13 likes this.
     
    08-11-2013, 06:32 PM
  #4
Yearling
( This post should be before the last one - computer error)

After riding Chivas in the felt pad, I tried him in a thin cotton dressage pad. The saddle fit perfect, but he was very unhappy so I added a thick gel pad I use on my Appendix. Chivas was happy and moving well, but I felt perched in the air with the gel pad and not really connected to my horse.

So then I called the saddle dealer (see above post)
     
    08-11-2013, 06:47 PM
  #5
Yearling
I finally was able to try the saddles out together with the Equipedic pad Saturday, no rain and no work!!

I tried the Torsion first and rode about a mile w/r/c.

I found the Torsion saddle to be very soft and comfortable! The leather is soft but strong, very good quality. It felt heavier than the Cheyenne, maybe from the western stirrups? I'm not sure, but the whole saddle felt heavier.

I could really feel Chivas's movement through my seat. Much like bareback riding, but much more secure and comfortable. I think I had the stirrups a little short; I was definitely in the same position an all-purpose saddle puts me in, but different because no knee blocks!

I did not use a breastcollar and the saddle felt very secure and didn't slide at all, even when mounting. I did use a mounting block, but still saddles can slip...

Chivas was not as happy as I was. He was chomping on his bit a lot, something he does when he is worried. He did move fine, but really no different than the Fabtron. He did calm down after a while, but I felt he was not getting enough support for his back.

This is what the saddle looked like before (with halter) and after (with bridle under halter) our ride:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG0566.jpg (51.3 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0568.jpg (56.8 KB, 121 views)
     
    08-11-2013, 07:11 PM
  #6
Yearling
Next I put the Cheyenne saddle on him with the Equipedic pad.

I rode the same 1 mile route w/r/c.

The Cheynne does not have as soft leather as the Torsion, but feels just a soft to my bottom! Right away there were a few differences I noticed.

The Cheyenne feels more like a treed saddle than the Torsion. It put me in a Dressage seat instead of the jumping seat of the Torsion. The Cheyenne does have adjustable stirrup attachment, so that could be changed)

Plus it was much lighter and holds its shape. The Torsion was like a thick blanket folding snugly around whatever it was on (even my arm).

I felt like I was on Chivas's loins and could feel every move of his hind legs. The saddle slipped a little bit when I first got on, but I discovered the pad was a little too short on the sides to use the bottom keeper on the pad. Once I pulled the billets out of the keeper the saddle no longer slipped when I remounted. I did not use a breastcollar.

I tried to sit more towards the front of the saddle to get off of his loins, but I kept sliding back.

Chivas at first was very mad when I mounted, but I think that had more to do with having to go back out and ride than being uncomfortable. Once we got on the path he settled right down. He was not chomping on his bit at all. Chivas also seemed more relaxed, but at the same time a bit uncomfortable, like he had to pull harded in the front. (I think from me sitting on his loins). He was able to really move easily in his shoulder though, and powered up the same hill as we rode with the Torsion almost a full mph faster. (10.3 mph compared to 9.6 mph).

Pictures of the Cheyenne on Chivas before (halter only) and after (briddle under halter) our ride: (next post)
     
    08-11-2013, 07:15 PM
  #7
Yearling
Pictures of the Cheyenne on Chivas before (halter only) and after (briddle under halter) our ride:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG0562.jpg (52.4 KB, 119 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0575.jpg (47.6 KB, 118 views)
     
    08-11-2013, 07:22 PM
  #8
Yearling
After riding Chivas with the Torsion and the Cheyenne, I tried both saddles on my other horses. I did not fasten the girth on them, cause the buckles are really tight on the girth and it is hard to push the billets through them.

First is Sassy, the 14.1 QH mare modeling the Torsion (black one) then the Cheyenne (brown):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG0580.jpg (54.5 KB, 118 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0589.jpg (56.7 KB, 114 views)
     
    08-11-2013, 07:27 PM
  #9
Yearling
Next is Dreamer, the 15 hand Arab/Paint showing swayback (from age - he's 22) modeling the Torsion (black one) then the Cheyenne (brown):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG0598.jpg (48.7 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0591.jpg (56.0 KB, 116 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0594.jpg (58.7 KB, 113 views)
     
    08-11-2013, 07:39 PM
  #10
Yearling
Finally is Drambuie, The 16 hand shark-fin withers Appendix gelding, modeling the Torsion (black) and the Cheyenne (brown):

I meant to try riding Drambuie in the saddles, but it was so hot by the time I cleaned up all of them and took pictures, and he hasn't been ridable since his fall in February, I figured I could wait! Please excuse the sweat marks and different angles, that horse would not keep still! No manners...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG0600.jpg (52.8 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0609.jpg (62.4 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG0621.jpg (54.5 KB, 114 views)
     

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