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Your opinion of treeless saddles?
Am just having a terrible time fitting my Qh with a comfortable saddle ( for him ) Have been watching YouTube videos, and my daughters trainer has looked at our saddles and apparently his shoulder blades come further back than usual when he extends... so am on a mission to find a saddle to accomodate him! Was wondering what people feel about treeless saddles. Can you mount from the ground with one? Safety? Would it be worth looking into trying one or would this really not solve the fit problem? I ride western, primarily trail ride, primarily walk/trot... If you have a treeless saddle.. what do you think of it? What brands are worth looking into? Anything to avoid?
You are really looking at an expensive bareback pad. The reason a saddle has a tree is to distribute the rider's weight evenly over the horse's back. With a treeless, with the artificial forks and cantle, the rider's position remains static and the pelvic bones dig in. When there's a tree, no sore spots are created by the cinch strap across the base of the withers whereas with a treeless this can become a problem.
Not all treeless saddles are created equal. I love my Rebecca Underwood Softrider saddle. They are made-to-order so you would have a bit of a wait but totally worth it. She also provides the special pad to go with it so you will have to tell her your horse's body type to get the right pad. They are different than other pads and create spinal clearance and good weight distribution. They are much firmer than other pads and help with the stability of the saddle versus other treeless.
The rigging is a Y endurance rigging which alleviates potential pressure across the withers like some of the other treeless and I find these saddles much more stable for the rough-terrain riding (including steep hills) than other treeless. They come with a breast collar and cantle bag.
Can you usually mount from the ground with one? My boy is 15.3hh and I am old:D So I need to use stirrups... I know bareback pads with Stirrups are an accident waiting to happen...
Once I got the rigging adjusted correctly I could mount from the ground, though I still prefer to use a mounting block (or downed log) whenever possible.
In my experience, you should not mount a treeless from the ground. Almost all of the company websites will tell you this as well. Without the tree, they are just not as secure on the horse and you will feel the saddle slip under you as you try. I have tried a few different ones and each one, no matter the pad or how tightly it was cinched, slipped on my horse when she pulled a 180 degree spin. A fellow endurance rider in my region had to dismount on trail during a ride in a bob marshall treeless and ended up pulling her hamstring badly when she attempted to remount from the ground as the saddle pulled down.
Fit will also depend on the withers. Most (not all I believe) treeless saddles will not properly fit a horse with high withers - there is just not much clearance no matter the pad you use. Everything worth the try with the demo programs that are offered adn treeless saddles are fairly popular around the endurance rides I attend with the Bob Marshall being the most popular western style around here.
I have rode in a treeless, and loved the way it fit and rode I never ad a problem mounting, because I do not linger and use the stirrups to pull myself up. I did have it slip to the side while dismounting using the stirrups. It.stays put for my rides though.
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Like I said earlier - not all treeless are created equal. I've tried and owned ones I could not mount from the ground for the life of me, but my current one I can.
I don't know about mounting from the ground (I always use a block , or a log or ?), but I will tell you that riding in a treeless will feel quite different. You may find that your legs feel more "splayed" out, since you are not raised off the back those few inches that the tree creates. aNd, the movement of the horse is more immediately felt by the rider. You will have to ride more responsively , and you may find this tiring at first.
Manufacturer of my Black Forest treeless does not recommend mounting from the ground. I now ride in a wade western saddle, and still don't mount from the ground. If you don't do it properly, human can make it a painful experience for a horse's back. That said, I loved my treeless saddle, but it did tend to put me in a "chair position". My horse was very hard to fit, so I finally bit the bullet and had a saddle made for her, and me. It fits her perfectly, and me too. Best money I ever spent. Better than spending 1000.00 bucks a time for saddles that almost fit, almost work, and are unable to sell them near what I paid for them. Buy one good saddle, one time. These saddles sell very close to what you paid for them.
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