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jillybean19 07-15-2012 09:24 PM

Specialized Saddle, Ghost Treeless, other...?
Just did my first 50 yesterday!! We did 3 LD's before then, including an LD on the same ride on Thursday and intended to do the same yesterday, but decided the day before to go ahead and shoot for the the 50 for the first time. I wanted to turtle, and did so!! The ride was GOREGOUS and I had an absolute blast - I want to turtle on all my rides now and build up my turtle collection!

We only had one issue - my saddle. I got the saddle when I bought him in Feburary and the only regular exercise he was getting before than was on a hot walker, so you can imagine how much his shape has changed. He also dropped a lot of weight including gaining muscle, which I'm now successfully getting back on him. My boy has never shown any signs of soreness before on our LD's and we've gotten all A's on his back and withers, even at the mid-ride vet check, but we got a C at the end and he was very sore!! Still got the completion, but I'm in urgent need of a new saddle. Of course, this situation is complicated by the fact that I don't think I can really be sure about how the saddle feels for him until I actually do a 50 since he's never showed any signs of discomfort before and didn't even show any while I was riding him - I was surprised by how sore he was after we took the saddle off! I want to make my money count, so I want a saddle that will adjust to him, especially since I'm doing my best to put another 100 lbs on him ASAP.

I'm strapped for cash at the moment (and a payment plan would be best) but have two somewhat promising possibilities:

Specialized Saddle - A friend of mine (who rides my boy's half brother!) has one of these and will let me borrow hers to see how I like it, but I'll need to get/borrow the pads to fit my boy as well. There are a few people who can fit him (may or may not be free) and hopefully have a used one I could buy. She's willing to coordinate the next ride or so with me so we can ride different days and use the same saddle (the pads are easy to switch from one horse's shape to anothers). Of course, that means I wouldn't be able to do a lot of conditioning in it, if any, before the ride. For something like $150 I could also demo one of their saddles, but, again, I don't really have cash to throw around at the moment.

Ghost Treeless - The friend that I board with works for a tack shop and has a ghost treeless that's been used as a demo saddle that she's willing to let me test out and then sell to me for a good price (to be negotiated). I like the idea of treeless, but have never ridden in one. From what I've read, I seem to fit the ideal description for a treeless if I decide to go that direction - I'm a featherweight (130lbs+tack), am a balanced rider, and have a horse with withers and a good back. I've never had anyone critique me for these specifically, but I believe I'm a balanced and light rider, putting a lot of weight in my stirrups. I also get off and walk more than other riders do. IF this is a good saddle, I think I'd like to go this direction because of my financial situation (I think it'd be the cheaper of the two and I know my friend will work with me on how I can pay for it), but also because I have more access to this saddle for conditioning and testing it out (and probably riding it on a 50) before actually having to purchase it.

So, what do you think? Have you used these saddles before? Pros? Cons? Any other creative ideas for me?

I think I've got a good chance of getting a great saddle between these two, but had never even heard of either before yesterday lol. I also will only consider saddles that will fit my HAF and Skito pads, since I've invested about $300 into those. I was told that both of these saddles will work with both of my pads. My main pad is the HAF, which looks like the picture below. The Skito has slightly longer sides, kinda like a dressage-saddle shape.

jufamarie 07-20-2012 03:19 PM

Maybe you already are aware of it but there is a Yahoo group for treeless saddles. There is a wealth of info on there if you are thinking treeless at all. I have rode in a Bob Marshal Sports for a zillion years with success but nowadays there are so many choices. Many of the choices depends on the conformation of your horse, you and how you ride and the distances you ride. Endurance (50's and 100's) are being done with treeless all the time now. For what is is worth (not much I have not heard a great deal of great stuff about the Ghost but then there are not a lot of them around in the states either I don't think. Do remember when it comes to treeless that the padding underneath is part of the system and super important. There are treeless dealers that you can demo saddles when you get what you think you want narrowed down ...often just for the cost of the shipping.

cowgirl928 07-25-2012 03:47 AM

I personally ride in a Freeform and LOVE IT. They are expensive, but it does a good job and is so light it is almost unbelievable (coming from someone who rode western her whole life:lol:) I do recommend a Freeform or a Barefoot tho. I know nothing about Ghost

jillybean19 07-26-2012 10:01 AM

Well, considering the circumstances, I'm going to give the ghost a shot. She's going to give me a fair price, but what works most for me is that I can make affordable payments on it while still getting to use it and make sure Snickers feels comfortable in it. I might as well because it's there - so if it works it's the easiest option! I'm going to get my first "real" ride in it today since we've been taking it easy after the last race. Still taking it slow, but I'll be able to get a better idea of how we move in it. Thus far, I've sat in it a couple of times and love the way it feels, so hopefully it works! If not, the barefoot saddles are much cheaper and seem to be popular, so I may give one a try. But cross your fingers that he likes the Ghost!

cowgirl928 07-26-2012 07:42 PM

*fingers crossed* I also just put my horseshoe necklace on for good luck for you :) remember, always keep the horseshoe right side up for luck!

jillybean19 07-26-2012 09:06 PM

Our ride today in general was ok, but I guess that's what happens when you haven't ridden for almost two weeks and you're in a new area. As for the saddle, I like the way I sit in it. We added on the fenders, which I like for the knee rolls, but they're going to take some getting used to. I think my knees go a little too far over them. They're easy to take on and off, but I'd really like to find a way to make them work. We had an even sweat mark as far as we can tell, but it was also really hot so he may have just been sweaty all around lol. I'll ride again Saturday and see how it feels.

endurancerdr 09-27-2012 11:21 AM

Hi Jillybean19,

If the saddle is still available and you are not interested in purchasing it, I would like to purchase it, or if you have purchased it and are dissatisfied with it or if you just ever wish to get rid of it, I would be interested in it. I own one already and would like to have another. Please let me know. Thanks

Safe Riding,

EnduranceCroatia 10-09-2012 09:18 PM

I don't know if I'm a little late, but I personally use podium saddles. I don't know if they do exist in America ( I live in Croatia, Europe). Podium makes specialized endurance saddles that are treeless, and I'm very happy with them. they are light, fit almost every horse, don't make the horse sore and are comfortable for the rider too. So if you didn't buy a new saddle already I can highly recommend you to check it out: SellePodium - la sella dei campioni

Saddlebag 10-09-2012 09:32 PM

I checked the SellePodium and there's a pic of what sure lookes like a tree to me. Problem is I can't translate in to english to know what the site says about it.

EnduranceCroatia 10-09-2012 09:51 PM

you got a button in the top-right corner of the site.. and yes, podium also makes saddles with trees. they also make western saddles. but most of their endurance saddles are treeless.. ;)

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