Treeless saddles vs heavy riders
   

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Treeless saddles vs heavy riders

This is a discussion on Treeless saddles vs heavy riders within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Best treeless saddle for a large rider
  • Heavey rider on treeless saddle

 
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    04-23-2011, 10:08 AM
  #1
dee
Started
Red face Treeless saddles vs heavy riders

I bought a treeless saddle at the recommendation of my farrier (who is no lightweight himself.) He uses them on some of his horses. I've been using mine on Dancer, though admittedly our sessions are pretty short - only about 15 - 20 minutes max. Daughter rides her a lot longer, but daughter is a tiny thing.

Now I hear that heavy riders should never use a treeless saddle because they don't distribute the weight of the rider. Is this true? Could I still use it for my short sessions? Dancer doesn't seem to be having any soreness issues.

We are working on building up the muscles on her topline. She's never really had a lot of muscle anywhere - when we got her she was really fat - but not well muscled at all. Carrying and nursing a foal pulled the fat off of her and she really looked bad. Still doesn't look very good, but she's better than she was. I don't expect her to carry me any great distance any time soon - she's not ready for that, yet.

I sure would appreciate your input. If I need to get a different saddle, I can sell the one I have and get a more appropriate one. She's just been hard to fit (I thought) but we used a regular saddle on her at the trainer's that fit quite well, and I could get one like that (larger seat size) without breaking the bank.
     
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    04-23-2011, 11:28 AM
  #2
Weanling
I imagine a treeless saddle is much like a bareback pad with a pommel and cantle. Sounds like bareback riding to me. I think the flex-tree saddles can pose a bigger problem for heavy riders, as the weight causes the flex-tree to collapse and pinch the horse without distributing the weight.

Is a Treeless Saddle Right for You?
     
    04-23-2011, 01:40 PM
  #3
dee
Started
Thanks - I feel a little better. I have the Hilason model pictured in the middle of the top row of pictures in that article your link took me too. Guess, if it's one of their top pics, it's okay.
     
    04-23-2011, 06:37 PM
  #4
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara    
...I think the flex-tree saddles can pose a bigger problem for heavy riders, as the weight causes the flex-tree to collapse and pinch the horse without distributing the weight.
Source? Everything I've read indicates a flex tree saddle attempts to restore the flexibility normal in a pine/rawhide saddle to a saddle whose tree is made of plastic. Pine was used because it is more flexible than oak.

What is a Flex Tree?

Differences between Saddle Trees
     
    04-23-2011, 08:06 PM
  #5
Weanling
I was told by a treeless saddle maker that it does distribute weight less than a treed saddle. Your horse should be fine but I suggest getting a saddle pad that is meant for bareback riding. Usually they are thicker. Many have wool.
     
    04-23-2011, 09:00 PM
  #6
Green Broke
I am a heavy rider (265 lbs) and use treeless saddles. My husband also rides in my saddles and he is 240-250 lbs. I have two, one Bob Marshall and one Black Forest. You do need to use a specialized saddle pad to distribute weight with most treeless saddles. I use a quality Skito pad with a ThinLine pad underneath. Skito will custom make you a pad based on your saddle, your weight, and your horse's conformation. I use the ThinLine underneath for added weight distribution and because it makes things very non-slip.

If you do not use a good saddle pad, one that is truly shock absorbing and allows spinal clearance, then you can risk soring the horse. Pressure points can come from the rider's seat bones, the stirrup bars pressing down from stirrup pressure and the weight of the rider's thighs over them, and the rigging straps pulling down across the horse's withers and back. A quality saddle will help alleviate some of those issues, but many need the addition of a quality saddle pad designed for treeless saddles.

Other pads that work well with treeless saddles include Equipedic, Haf, Saddleright, Supracor, Grandeur, and Toklat Woolback with UltraCell inserts. Saddleright and Supracor work best with saddles that have built-in panels as neither pad provides great spinal clearance.

Hilason saddles are not well made. Be careful in using it. I have seem them sore horses and break during riding.

If you do a search on Treeless Saddle here in our forum, you will find lots of good links and information.
     
    04-23-2011, 11:29 PM
  #7
dee
Started
I do have a good saddle pad. Everyone that I've shown the saddle has said it was a lot better made than they thought it would be. It should last a couple of years at least. Dancer hasn't had any soreness, but then, I don't ride her for very long at a time. We are neither one of us up to a long ride, yet.
     
    04-24-2011, 01:09 AM
  #8
Weanling
Just curious but what constitutes a heavy rider?
     
    04-24-2011, 09:06 AM
  #9
Showing
Why not just ride bareback? I know, everyone will tell you your pelvic bones will dig into the horse's back. They don't stop to think how much a rider moves around when riding bareback, not as stationary as in a saddle. Besides, you're suppost to pinch your bum muscles which lift the pelvis. Think of the nice tush you will develop.
     
    04-24-2011, 11:01 AM
  #10
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by dee    
I do have a good saddle pad. Everyone that I've shown the saddle has said it was a lot better made than they thought it would be. It should last a couple of years at least. Dancer hasn't had any soreness, but then, I don't ride her for very long at a time. We are neither one of us up to a long ride, yet.
What kind of saddle pad do you have? The pads that Hilason sell for their treeless saddles aren't very good, especially for a heavy rider. They have two types, with foam or gell. The foam pads have panels that are oddly shaped, aren't long enough, the foam is thin, and the foam isn't very long lasting. My first Skito pad is 8 years old and still going strong . Gel is not a good choice for treeless saddles. It isn't a truly shock absorbing material. Under pressure points, it simply moves out of the way. It also traps heat against the horse, making their backs very hot.

I'm glad the saddle seems decent. That seems to be the case with Hilason. Their saddles are either "okay" and last a year or three, or they are total junk and fall apart on the first ride. Hopefully yours hangs in there and lasts until you can save up for a better brand . If you keep your eyes open, you can find Barefoot, Blackforest, and Torsion saddles for good deals used. I got my Blackforest, nearly brand new, with leathers and irons for $300, shipping included.
     

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