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Saddles: Traditional solid trees, flex tree, or treeless

This is a discussion on Saddles: Traditional solid trees, flex tree, or treeless within the Horse Tack Reviews forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Trees fall in the category of solid because
  • Bon marshall sports.saddle.BR011

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    11-08-2012, 02:11 PM
  #11
Trained
Well....sort of. If you count us cantering a pattern in an English treeless saddle with me in two point, then yes I have! We do dressage, jumping, obstacle course - that kind of thing. Haven't had any intro to barrel or pole clinics but I am going to sign up when I can - and to in my English saddle.

Bon Marshall would be the place you want to look: Sports Saddle, Inc. :: Bob Marshall Treeless Saddles

I will send you the mounting link tonight.

The two horses in question with the shoulders are owned by the same lady. One is a Missouri Fox Trotter and the other is a morganxqh. I used to find her saddle pads all over the trails because they would just push them out from under the saddle. Weirdest thing I ever saw!

My structured saddle, like I said can be used with a plain regular pad. But also because its an English saddle that does mean it doesn't need a pad at all.

My less structured (demo) saddle does need a pad to provide a bit more spinal clearance than it gives on its own. It feels very similar to bareback - I can feel a LOT Of my horse's movement. Not as much as I can bareback, and not as much as with a bareback pad, but I definitely feel him and its nice when I can feel him tense up in the body before it escalates into another issue.
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    11-08-2012, 06:35 PM
  #12
Showing
If the horse has high withers, the it will be narrow behind the shoulder blades. Usually semi fit this build. I'd look for a saddle with what is called a barrel front as it allows more room for the withers. Any saddle with sharp forks are too low. Any saddle with the Little Wonder tree likely won't fit. It comes in the three configurations with sharp forks. Ralide makes this tree. Google Ralide. They have an excellent website that displays all the trees they make, including measurements.
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    11-08-2012, 06:45 PM
  #13
Showing
When considering a treeless saddle think about the small area just behind the base of the withers that bears the weight of the riders legs, all the weight if the rider does a posting trot. Same with the girth. The tree distributes the pressure on the horse's back, reducing the lbs per square inch factor. There are horses with less desirable conformation in which finding a saddle to fit fairly well is nigh on to impossible and this is where a treeless may work. But so will a much cheaper bareback pad as long as there are no stirrups. Again, too much weight in a small area. When riding with a bareback pad riders move around a lot more than with a saddle, thus easing the pressure of the pelvic bones. JMO.
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    11-08-2012, 06:58 PM
  #14
Foal
As far as the pad slippage goes on the treeless...I poked a hole in the pad up near the where it would sit on the withers, looped a string through, and I tie it to my saddle horn. Pad stays in place.

Yes, mounting is harder with a treeless, but not impossible.
Winter riding is nice in a treeless because it radiates so much heat! Love it!
And, my mare has really responded nicely to the Bob Marshall Sport Saddle.
Big fan!
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    11-08-2012, 06:59 PM
  #15
Yearling
Most of what you see and hear about saddles and saddle fit these days, in my opinion, is Bull S%^$, and a marketing gimmick designed to make people who are unsure about how saddles work feel nervous or apprehensive about saddles and fitting and hopefully (hopefully for the marketing people) buy their magic fix all saddle.
I was extraordinarily lucky in that they guy who taught me to ride and train horses properly is also a saddler. As a kid, from about the age of 12 to 17-18 Iíd spend hours sitting in his saddle workshop watching and learning everything I could. He taught me most of what I know about saddles and how to almost build one (I never got to learn how to build the seat properly though I watched him do it plenty) so I can build a Charro saddle, which I like to do. And when I was a ringer (cowboy) I bought three saddles from him (2 for me one for my brother), and they are the best three saddles I have ever seen.
What he always taught me is that you need to get a saddle that fits the TYPE of horse you ride, not THE horse you ride. Old style trees have always been the best, wood wrapped in rawhide (sorry bsms, not leather). He always preferred hoop pine bars and maple cantle forks. As bsms said these types of trees allow flexibility. And the rawhide, though flexible has very high strength. In terms of building the saddle on the tree he always taught me that wood + rawhide always outlasts, well, fibreglass was the alternative back then, I donít think they had invented ralyde or whatever it is, and holds the nails and screws that you use in saddle construction better than fibreglass. The if the tree fits the type of horse you ride well it will find where it sits by itself and stay there (I could ride all day in my wade without a cinch working cattle and it wouldnít move a bit, unless I did). Also the only time a saddle has absolute contact over a horses back is if its standing on flat level ground with weight evenly distributed, their back is constantly moving under them otherwise what this means is that you donít necessarily want a saddle that completely distributes weight evenly all over (this is impossible since the horses back always moves) you need a tree that allows for the maximum distribution of weight while allowing for maximum freedom of movement.
I have carried that around with me for years and a month or so ago I found this website from a tree maker in Canada and they say pretty much the same stuff as my friend taught me, itís worth a read.
http://www.rodnikkel.com/content/index.php
Ultimately a good custom made saddle will be better than anything off the shelf.
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    11-09-2012, 07:47 AM
  #16
Yearling
Thank you everyone! This is all great to know! And I will definitely be continuing reading more about saddles. I"m in contact with 2 custom saddle companies. I will probably still try a treeless to see how I like it, and my horse. Thank you all very much, i'm off to check out your posted links!!
     
    11-09-2012, 07:53 AM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
If the horse has high withers, the it will be narrow behind the shoulder blades...
Not if it is an Arabian. While some lines of Arabians have no wither, others have a high wither.

There are at least 3 measurements to the front that are important: How high the front rises, how wide it is measured horizontally, and how flat the angle is where the saddle meets the horse. Lots of Arabians need a high front, narrow in horizontal width but with a flat angle. Tough to find saddles like that, though...
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    11-09-2012, 08:15 AM
  #18
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
Not if it is an Arabian. While some lines of Arabians have no wither, others have a high wither.

There are at least 3 measurements to the front that are important: How high the front rises, how wide it is measured horizontally, and how flat the angle is where the saddle meets the horse. Lots of Arabians need a high front, narrow in horizontal width but with a flat angle. Tough to find saddles like that, though...

Treeeeeleeessssssss
Cccoommmmmme ttooooo theeeee daaaaaarrrrrrrrrrk ssssssiiiiiiiddddde
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    11-09-2012, 08:47 AM
  #19
Showing
OK, when I made reference it was about the three most common trees that are marketed. The arabian doesn't fall into that category, nor do the various gaited.
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    11-09-2012, 09:41 AM
  #20
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
OK, when I made reference it was about the three most common trees that are marketed...
Understood. I guess I'm just frustrated. I'd like to use a western saddle on my mare, but finding one that really fits her and doesn't interfere with her movement isn't easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
Treeeeeleeessssssss
Cccoommmmmme ttooooo theeeee daaaaaarrrrrrrrrrk ssssssiiiiiiiddddde
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Sorry. I've carried a frameless pack on my back, and I prefer a frame. Thankfully, the Australians developed a saddle that works well for Mia & I...although I would like a western saddle.
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