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Treeless Saddles?

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        05-12-2013, 06:20 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    I'm not a fan. I've only ridden in one once, but I prefer a traditional saddle.
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        05-13-2013, 10:12 PM
      #12
    Started
    I own a Torsion as my "catch-ride" saddle.



    I have used it for several 50 mile endurance rides, as well as just casual riding. It's nice to have a saddle that will fit just about anything. I have not had problems with it putting me in a bad position (though I am far from a fantastic eq rider!), nor bothering the horse's back.. but I don't know that it would be my choice for every ride, every mile.

    My DH used a Bob Marshall Sports Saddle exclusively for many years and you can def tell when it comes to the horses' backs. They both go in treed saddles now and its made a huge difference. Personally, I don't care for a BMSS at all, as it puts me in a terrible chair seat and I can't get out of my own way, forget getting out of the horse's.
         
        05-13-2013, 11:39 PM
      #13
    Yearling
    I have one I only like it on my horse. He has such a short wide back I thought it would be best. He hasn't had any issues, but my seat is thicker than most.
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        05-14-2013, 04:11 PM
      #14
    Yearling
    While I know that some endurance riders use them, those horses generally get a break afterwards (in those cases it's for more than just to recover from the race.....the back needs to recover too).
    If you ride distances over weeks you end up with a horse that's out of action with a sore back. Something you don't have with a well fitting tree.

    Almost every major nation with a large Cav had at some point in history experimented with saddles that didn't have trees. This was because sore backs were a major cause of horses being unfit for duty and out of action. In every case the lack tree ended up being worse. A riders weight needs to be distributed over as large an area as possible. Unfortunately the Cav saddles developed by the Hungarians and Germans (what we in the US call "English" saddles although the English had nothing to do with disigning them), while great for giving better mobility than ealier saddles, didn't distributed weight well enough for horses that were on campaign. In the mid 1800's the first of the Universal Pattern military saddles was developed (this time you can say it was English ) and it allowed for much better weight displacement and also allowed for alteration that allowed it be fit vertually any horse (bars attached to metal that could be bent). Later the US adopted the McClellan saddle. The only advantage it had over the UP saddle was weight (UP was heavier....17 lbs vs over 20 lbs) and it was significantly less expensive to make.

    Easy way to think of it is load 150 lbs in a backpack without a frame, put it on your back and carry it for 25 miles. Then load 150 lbs in a backpack with a frame and carry it 25 miles. You'll figure it out pretty quick.

    I do own a treeless. It's a cheap child size saddle I bought for my under 12 year old grandchildren to use, because it will "fit" any of the horses (and they never ride for more than about 30 min and they seldom that anymore).
         
        05-14-2013, 04:21 PM
      #15
    Trained
    Treeless saddles need to be fitted just like a treed saddle does. You're not assured of a sore backed horse from hard work in a treeless saddle. Just ask my gelding if you don't believe me. He's been ridden treeless almost exclusively for over two years and has never had a problem due to the saddle - not even with the cheapie eBay one.

    If it says anything, I say almost exclusively because I have tried treed saddles on him - under the guidance of different professional saddle fitters. They always cause a negative reaction: pinned ears, reluctance to move forward, choppy striding, bucking, head tossing.

    You can't give a blanket statement on what will always cause a sore back and what won't. The key to treeless is a correct for and correct support in padding. Just like with a treed saddle.
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        05-15-2013, 09:18 AM
      #16
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
    Treeless saddles need to be fitted just like a treed saddle does. You're not assured of a sore backed horse from hard work in a treeless saddle. Just ask my gelding if you don't believe me. He's been ridden treeless almost exclusively for over two years and has never had a problem due to the saddle - not even with the cheapie eBay one.

    If it says anything, I say almost exclusively because I have tried treed saddles on him - under the guidance of different professional saddle fitters. They always cause a negative reaction: pinned ears, reluctance to move forward, choppy striding, bucking, head tossing.

    You can't give a blanket statement on what will always cause a sore back and what won't. The key to treeless is a correct for and correct support in padding. Just like with a treed saddle.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    We obviously have different meanings to concept of a working horse.

    When was the last time you rode your gelding with a treesless saddle for 5 or more weeks, 20 or more miles a day with no more than 2 days off each week? Unless you actually work in the saddle (like working cattle was 35 years ago...and might still be), or do real long distance riding, you won't be testing what that saddle is like. If you do, you won't be doing it on treeless saddle for long before you horse is out with a sore back.

    I've yet to meet or hear of anyone who's done it and didn't end up with a sore back (and before 5 weeks of that kind of riding). There is a reason why none of the Cav in history switched from saddles with trees to saddles without them. Just like there's a reason why people who've tried them for distance riding (we do fuss over the fit of our distance saddles and treeless saddles are light....weight is important when you ride distances) didn't embrace them after trying them (no fun having to hold up to give your horse time to recover from a sore back....not to mention having to find a well fitting tree to replace the treeless saddle that put you there).

    Granted that most people never have and never will do any heavy riding for any lengthy periods of time. Those that do almost certainly represent the smallest % of todays riding population.

    If you average a few miles a day and never more than a few days during the week you probably won't have an issue (I've seen people ride with poor fitting trees and not have real issues for what little riding they did, but that's not a endorsement to use an ill fitting saddle). As I said, I know of endurance riders who love them (they are light and it is a race), but they don't ride for weeks on end without the horse getting a significant break to recover They ride hard, but it's for a couple of days, then it's rest and recover (just like human endurance athletes). Of course even endurance riders who use them are in the minority. They'll never compete with a well fitted tree for spreading out the weight. The whole point is to spread out the weight, because that is what's easiest on the horse's back.
    Otherwise most of us wouldn't be using saddles, but just be using pads with perhaps stirrups attached . And while I know plenty of people who do that, I've even done it....who hasn't ridden around bareback before, but it's for short periods relatively (and my horses never "pinned ears, reluctance to move forward, choppy striding, bucking, head tossing" when I ride bareback.....so I guess it's the best way to ride? )
         
        05-15-2013, 10:50 AM
      #17
    Trained
    Sorry on mobile and quoting bigger posts mucks up my screen :)

    My gelding is ridden 6-7 days a week, for 1-4 hours at a time, mostly at the trot and canter, with some jumping and hillwork thrown in. I don't know mileage (it kills my phone battery). Some arena work (like for jumping and obstacle work), and some for schooling on the flat but we both prefer to be out on the trails and he schools better out there anyway. He's been that way for over 2 years now and never had an issue with his back from the treeless saddles. He's also seen by a bodyworker and chiropractor so if there had been an issue, someone would have seen it I would hope.

    We also haul out to clinics and small events. Tried barrel racing and that was fun. Haven't tried cows yet but that's only because I haven't found a clinic for it yet. We've also gone to different kinds of trail and gaming clinics/events/fun days.

    The last time I tried to fit him with a treed saddle was a couple of months ago. I very carefully made the template and measured and measure and chose a saddle that fit the templates. Even before I sat on him he was trying to plant his feet. He's a pretty forward little man typically. Prior that, I had a pro saddle fitter at the barn I was at. I think it was CWD saddles. He was also trying to plant his feet. When I sat on him, he'd pin his ears and buck when I asked for forward.

    Prior to me getting him, he was lightly worked in a treed saddle and be trucked along fine. Maybe I've had some really bad fitting suggestions, or maybe he's just a jerk.

    My horse is a saddle snob. I'm okay with that. :)

    Anyway my point is that from my experience, you can't make blanket statements about some stuff. Like about feed or shoes vs barefoot or blanketing or whatever. He's doing okay. If I suspected there was a problem I would absolutely change to accommodate him.
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        05-15-2013, 07:45 PM
      #18
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
    Otherwise most of us wouldn't be using saddles, but just be using pads with perhaps stirrups attached .
    A good treeless saddle isn't just a pad with stirrups attached. Just saying.
         
        05-15-2013, 08:47 PM
      #19
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ponyboy    
    A good treeless saddle isn't just a pad with stirrups attached. Just saying.
    No, but the weight it displaces isn't much different. Just saying
         
        05-15-2013, 08:56 PM
      #20
    Foal
    Treeless saddles are one of those things that you have to borrow one and take it out riding for a really long time and try it for yourself. You either love it or you hate it, and no one can tell you what to think except you and your horse :P I own a Bob Marshall treeless trail saddle. I always thought treeless was voodoo, but I was forced to consider one when I was given a wide, big shouldered, short backed mare. After many western saddles on trial, I held my breath and tried out a treeless. Man, did that little mare open her stride up more! She loves it, and so do I. As for the sore back, I've never had a problem nor have I known anyone who had a problem WITH THE CORRECT SADDLE PAD. Maybe you can find someone close by who has a treeless?? Good luck
         

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