Treeless or Not?
So I've been looking pretty seriously into a new saddle.. I've always ridden with a tree and in to pleasure/western riding... (mainly trails or ditches). I've been thinking about a treeless saddle. I've only ridden bareback a few times and always just at a walk. My questions are: Would you get a treeless saddle? and if you own a treeless saddle, do you like it?
I cannot remember where I read (or maybe watched/heard) that treeless saddles aren't any more beneficial to horses than those with trees. Wish I could find it.
But personally if you have a chance to try one I would. Never know if it will be beneficial or preferred by your horse if you don't give it a go, right?
RG, there are pros and cons with treeless. First of all as with any other saddle it does not fit all horses (despite of what some people say). With treeless you don't have as good weight distribution as you do with treed, so you also have to look into special pad (that is not cheap). Also I was told (never experienced it myself though :wink: ) treeless is not for the horse that throws occasional bucks. On other hand some of my local people have treeless and love them (feel horse better etc.). So it's up to the person really.
I have a treeless and love it. The one I just bought is a Rebecca Underwood Soft Rider (google rebecca underwood saddles and you will find her site). They are hand made out of Oregon and made to order so it does take a bit to get them, but definately worth the wait. I don't think she even markets them - her sales are all by word of mouth from happy customers.
She makes 2 pad styles to go with her saddles - one for high withered horses and one for normal and mutton withered. If you aren't sure which to get, send her pictures of your horses and she can tell you. I actually have both because I my horse's backs are different enough to need different ones.
Its way more secure than my previous treeless saddle and has more "form" to it and spreads the weight much better. I have extremely nice even sweat marks on my horse. The rigging is the Y rigging of endurance, it comes with a breast collar and if you are riding steep hills she can make a crupper for you. Its the only treeless saddle I know of that the price includes the saddle, pad, cantle bag, breast colar and stirrups. No other special pad required.
As for security - my horse was a brat a couple rides this spring (not the saddles fault - he was hyped up with a group ride, without the group he does just fine) and he took off up a hill with a half rear and then ended up galloping sideways across the hill and even though I was knocked of balance - the saddle didn't budge.
The more I ride in this saddle, the more I love it.
Here is a pic of mine modeled on my haflinger. Its the McCullen style with hooded stirrups, though the stirrups are hard to see since they are turned in a bit. There are many color options you can choose from and my husband is looking to order a black on black. If you ask she will send you samples of the colors to help choose.
We have them on a couple of the school ponies and they work really well. 1 qh mare that is just too round for most thing a handful of ponies and an old round Arab.
Make sure you either have great balance or a decent non slip pad. Be aware of over girthing and make sure there is plenty of wither protection.
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I have a Bob Marshall barrel saddle and LOVE it. Very comfortable ride and it has fit a decent variety of horses for me. My gelding is "sensitive" and I had a hard time finding a saddle that he was happy with, so I tried treeless and he rode a lot better. He seems to have grown out of some of his sensitivity, but I still use the treeless saddle when I ride.
Cons I've noticed:
-not great for heavier riders
-people tend to over tighten the girth
-not good for people who don't have good balance
- very comfortable for the rider
- can be nice for a hard to fit horse
- can feel the horse much better
- usually fits a good variety of horses, but NOT all horses
Becareful of the flex tree saddles. I almost broke one all apart. I over flexed them riding team sorting, and pennings.
I have a Tammy Fischer Circle Y treeless barrel saddle. I love it on my gelding because he's so short bodied. It has a thicker seat than the Bob Marshall saddles. It never slips on my horses unless the girth is loose, which with it I need to buy a shorter girth. It's very comfortable. Not so sure if I would want to ride one that bucks in a treeless western saddle though, they hold you in very well.
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I have a Freemax English style treeless, used when my horse had a long layoff and outgrew his usual XXXW (!) treed GP.
Pros: Fitted ok after tweaking the girthstrap position (which originally marked him), very lightweight, no apparent pressure issues (though he wasn't ridden for more than 2hrs at a time)
Cons: Slips easily side-to-side (couldn't mount without a block or help), not very supportive - I wouldn't fancy competing in it.
In general I prefer my treed saddle (cob-treed Ideal Grandee), but the treeless did the job I wanted it to.
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