"Special" Treeless saddle pads - necessary?
Let's get a discussion going!
Do you think that "treeless saddle pads" are necessary for a treeless saddle, or will a "regular" saddle pad work just as well?
(Assuming a properly fitting saddle, of course)
A lot of people that I know with treeless saddles use Limpet brand pads, which just don't work for my horse. They're not supposed to slip, but on my horse they do. There's a few horses that I know on whom those saddle pads just slip, and in one case, while riding, she's often actually LOST the pad because it slipped out totally. They wear out, crack, and need replaced after a couple of years. For the big price tag, I would expect more life out of a "special" pad.
So, assuming a properly fitting treeless saddle, is a saddle pad marketed as a treeless saddle pad REALLY necessary?
I have to admit that a the saddle pad hoarder in me really wants to come out and have a huge collection of pretty saddle pads, but I am holding the beast at bay.
(For the record, I ride treeless and am using a saddle pad marketed as a treeless saddle pad, so let's avoid assumptions).
In my opinion they are necessary to add the extra support and to help distribute the weight of the rider.. I use a skito pad and haven't had problems with it slipping or breaking/cracking.
I've been looking around and heard lots of things about Skito pads- so when I replace, they are high on my list.
Has anyone heard of th HAF pads by Freeform USA?
What about Tucker and Hilason pads?
I would definetly use one. I used to ride an endurance horse in a Bob Marshall with a western saddle pad, and it didn't distribute my weight very well and it made him lame. I use a skito pad and midnight Dixie pad.
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I think some of it depends on the saddle. Our treeless saddle has felt shaping that creates a spinal channel, so it does not require any special padding.
Some treeless saddles seem to be essentially bareback-pads with a pommel and cantle stuck on, in that case, I would think special padding would be helpful to create a spinal channel and keep pressure off the spine. That way the weight is distributed over a larger area.
As with everything involving horses, everyone will have a different opinion :)
Feel free to check out our treeless design on saddleonline.com
Good luck with your research!
I have nothing against treeless saddles. And if I ever came across a Bob Marshal at a good deal I would buy it. I have ridden in a couple and they are comfy. :D And feeling the horse beneath you is cool.
But it almost seems like if you have to buy a special pad to distribute the weight, you might as well just buy a treed saddle to begin with. Because that is the purpose of the tree- to distribute your weight. Plus treed saddles are generally more stable. And that is always a good quality in a saddle.
Am I missing something here? What is the major reason someone would choose treeless over treed? Perhaps a hard-to-fit horse?
Hard to fit horses, riding multiple horses with the same saddle, buying a saddle before owning a horse.
It was once widely believed that treeless saddles were "better" for the horse, easier on their backs, and all that. There's been some studies put out about how treeless really doesn't have an advantage over a treed and it can actually cause back problems!
My horse is hard to fit. I went treeless because I bought my barn's KoolAid and was convinced that treeless is nicer on the horse. I was new to it all. Currently, I keep my horse treeless because when I go to a treed saddle, he acts out and doesn't move the same way. He tenses up and becomes reluctant to move. My treeless saddle sort of has a "tree" -- it's not totally flat like a bareback pad, it does have a padding in there that simulates a traditional tree, but it's wool flocking instead of wood or whatever it is that's in a regular saddle.
I've found that some horses seem to have a preference in treed vs treeless, and I just try to find that preference and work with it.
Edited to add:
HM. SaddleOnline made a good point. Since my saddle is not like a bareback pad and actually has creates the channel over the spine, I wonder if I really need the special treeless pad or not. If anyone's curious, I bought a Stunni saddle typically seen on eBay for around $200 (mine was $250 shipped). I'd love to hear opinions on whether or not I need the special pad. The inner saddle pad hoarder in me is trying to break free, LOL!
If your horse moves better treeless, then you are probably on the right track. I can't comment on whether or not you need a special pad because I have never had a treeless myself and have no real experience with them.
I just sat in a Bob Marshal a couple of times and liked it a lot! I have a feeling if you ever got really used to the "feel" it would be hard to go back to a treed saddle. In the Bob Marshal I could feel everything! If the horse tensed up you could really feel it.
I know about saddle fit frustration. My Mustang was very difficult to fit. He's broad as a barn but also has a short, slightly dished back. Like a slightly swayed Haflinger. :lol: Eventually I found a saddle that fits him well, but I went through a bunch of them over the years. It's very expensive buying and selling saddles all the time.
I am a pad hoarder too! I am particularly fond of wool Maytex blankets and wool felt pads. I have a whole stack of wool blankets I've collected over the years. :oops: But I can't help it, they are purdy!
I just looked up Stunni saddles on eBay and clicked on this western one because it is a Bob Marshal copy. Look at the photo that shows the front of the saddle (gullet). It looks so poorly made. Bummer! I hope yours is much nicer. :-(
Stunni Branded Genuine Leather Western Treeless Saddle WTS-01 | eBay
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