Barefoot Treeless Saddle Questions...
Does anyone know if the Barefoot treeless saddles would be good for heavier riders? 150 - 190lbs?
I have a draft cross mare, who is great for our family and has no issues with the heavier riders, but her bigger size has been a nightmare for finding a proper fitting saddle.
To date, I have taken her to a highly recommended saddle fitter twice in the last year. Each time we purchased her a new saddle that fit wonderfully. The problem is her muscle built changed quite a bit several months after the first saddle purchase. The second time was the winter/summer weight flux. Nothing drastic, but enough to cause more issues with saddle fit.
I keep hearing that the right treeless saddle and correct corresponding pad will solve these saddle fit problems. Can any one chime in with some helpful info here?
IMHO, do not go treeless with heavier riders, or for moderate/hard working horses. Invest in a good sheepskin pad with removable shims, or one designed to improve saddle fit. Good luck!
treeless is not good for the horses, for any weight rider. they all put all your weight in one spot right at the girth line. Don't believe me go carry 80lbs in a rucksack with no frame.
i hear treeless saddles are not so great but the barefoot treeless on the other hand, ive heard great things about them and you can change the gullet size so you can adjust it to different horses.
First off, since when is 150 a heavier rider? I'm 145 and don't consider myself heavy in the slightest. If I lost more than 5 lbs I'd start to look gross.
Secondly, I don't recommend treeless saddles to anyone who doesn't have very good balance. I have a Bob Marshall myself and love it (as does my gelding), but they can and do slip if you don't keep on top of your horse.
I've been assisting vets in endurance and CTR for years and treeless saddles are a common thing. Those horses DON'T have more back issues than treed saddles. Just different ones. :wink:
That said, it's never black and white. Good quality treeless (like recent Barefoot models) have a structure and weight distributing system. It's not comparable to a bareback pad (which would be Joe's frameless rugsack) Treeless must be used with a good treeless specialized pad as well.
You can check if the spine clearance is acceptable by running a bale twine along the spine under the saddle: it should slide easily at all times, including while riding.
Then, there is the rider weight factor, the rider's ability and balance and the type of riding done. I'd be uneasy about a rider over 200lbs. Below that... it depends. My horses LOVE the Barefoot and move better with it. I personally find it hard on my hips (feeling of a large twist) so use it on and off.
If you want to stick with a treed saddle, did you look into Duett? They make saddles for draft, at a reasonable cost.
A treeless should be ridden with a long stirrup to reduce the weight of the rider's legs. It is about a 1,1/2" wide strap that applies the pressure to the horse's back, weight that isn't distributed by a tree.
I have a barefoot saddle for my hard to fit high wither gelding. It was so had to fit him a saddle so i bought the barefoot and he loves it and so do I. No more dry spots and Finely a even sweat mark left on his back after riding.He now has a rocking chair canter and his back muscles are rounding out.I also weigh 155 and I have no problems nor does my horse. I got a size two and I fit fine.
I also have a Duett and it works good for a big round qh or draft.
Even so...that wouldn't reduce the weight of a rider's legs (it's not making your legs lighter..) and wouldn't reduce the pressure of a rider's legs if a rider is trying to two point or just has bad form and is bracing.
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