Does anyone use a treeless saddle? I am looking for a new saddle (endurance and light) for my shark fin withered TB and I have heard treeless saddles are good for high withered horses, but they seem like they wouldnt be a lot of support or something. Any feedback would be great! :)
Unless someone is really skinny you shouldn't ride in a treeless saddle. There is no support and I've seen horse's backs screwed up from people riding in a treeless who shouldn't have been.
"Skinny" people can hurt a horses back even more than not skinny people if they do not ride correctly.
I thought of this for my TB as a possible solution for his saddle fitting problems, but when I read up on them I found that they're *not* actually recommended for high withers. All the ones I saw which were deemed suitable for high withers were half-treed saddles which required fitting the same as a normal saddle.
High withered TBs are notoriously hard to fit, so I'd say get a saddler to come out and fit your boy/girl, even if you go for a cheaper or second hand saddle (most saddlers will carry a stock of second hand ones, or look out for one for you).
ANYONE who doesn't ride correctly can hurt a horse's back mls, no matter what kind of saddle you are using.
The poster implied that skinny people did NOT hurt a horses back.
Think of it this way - if I jam my finger into your back, it's gonna hurt more than if I slap your back with my whole hand. The science of weight distribution.
I did not imply that skinny people did not hurt the horse's back. I simply said that if you are going to ride in a treeless you should be skinny. I would hope that every rider has help riding correctly. And I do understand the science of weight distribution ;)
I use a specialized Skito pad designed for treeless saddles and a ThinLine pad underneath. My weight is distributed well and my horse is more comfortable than she was in her custom fitted saddles. We ride anywhere from short 30 minute arena/pasture rides to 4-5 hour trail rides. Our trail rides, whether it be 1 hour or 5 hours, consist of flat and hill work, walk, trot, and canter work. We take breaks when needed.
Both of my horses show less fatigue and "grumpiness" at the end of our rides with the treeless than they did with a properly padded pro-fitted treed saddle (western or English).
The reason some horses may be "hurt" by a treeless saddle include improper fit (yes you DO need to "fit" a treeless saddle), improper padding underneath, improper riding (I am a very balanced, long time rider), a cheap poorly made Asian saddle, or a combination.
You can't just buy some cheap (or not so cheap) treeless saddle off eBay, slap it on your horse, and expect it to be perfect. As with any saddle purchase, you need to do your homework. Different saddle work for different horses and riders. Padding becomes VERY important with treeless saddles. There are many brands of pads to choose from. The first one to start with should be the pad recommended by the saddle manufacturer, or a Skito pad (always a favorite among treeless and treed riders alike). Girths and breastcollars can be tricky as well.
To the OP:
The best way to begin a treeless journey is to start with a retailer that offers demo saddles. Demo the brand and model that sounds like it will work best. Be sure to get pads, shims, girths, and all the extras you'll need. Send in pictures and details of your horse to the appropriate "goodies" will be sent with your saddle. Try to demo during a period where you can ride daily, or at least 3-4 times, so you can get a real feel for the saddle. Both horse and rider need to "get used to" the new feel. Some horses take right to it, others need some adjustment time. Keep a notebook with your thoughts of each ride and your horse's reactions/actions during and after each ride. Talk to your dealer if you're having any issues. Sometimes just a different placement, girth, or shim can "fix" an issue.
For high withered horses, I would look at Sensation, Freeform, Ghost, Trekker, Heather Moffett saddles, and a "peaked" Bob Marshall saddle. Each brand has many models. Talk to the dealer of your choice to decide which one will be best for you and your horse.
There is a great group on Yahoo with treeless afficianados and dealers. They can be very helpful in deciding which treeless brand and model to start with. The members there have all kinds of horses and most have tried two or more brands/models of treeless saddles. You're bound to get some good feedback. There might be members near you willing to let you try out their saddles as well.
treelesssaddles : treeless saddle discussion
Good luck saddle shopping!
I just purchased a treeless saddle- specifically the Barefoot london dressage. I have mostly ridden western my entire life, but tried a friends out and fell in love with the comfort and security of the seat position. I wish I could tell you more, but due to darn winter have not been able to try my own out yet. I am certainly looking forward to trail riding!
The one thing that I did notice in the short time that I used it on my gaited mare was that she moved alot more free and gaited very nicely.
I also suggest checking out the treeless group on yahoo. They are very helpful and willing to give lots of feedback. There are also suppliers on there that will be willing to give feedback to you as to which might work best for you- also can explain the pads, ect. With the saddles it is very much recommended to get the correct pads for wieght distribution- I have and used the grandeur pad and didn't have any problems with my mare.
Good luck to you!
Thanks everyone, luv2ride I am taking your advice about keeping a written record. Great idea! I'll let you know what I end up with, currently I am looking into the Bob Marshall brand.
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