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I am very curious about treeless, but all the nay-sayers say that they aren't good at weight distribution. Those in favor of treeless say that treed saddle don't "move" with the horse and can cause poking.

We do the best that we can, I guess, but it makes me a little scared to ride....
The treed vs treeless saddle debate is much like barefoot vs shoes one.. you are going to get people on both sides saying their way is the only way, and nothing you say will change their mind. Your best bet is to do your own research and listen to your horse and your body.

I can tell you about my heavyweight friend Lani who has ridden thousands of miles in a treeless saddle, including 100 milers, with great success. Guess her horses didn't get the memo that only small people can ride treeless. I can also tell you about another friend who may weigh 100 pounds soaking wet whose horse will buck her off if she rides him in a treeless for more than 5 miles. Guess he didn't get the memo that treeless saddles don't poke.

If you are interested in treeless, see if you can find some in your area to try. Some saddle makers offer demo programs, so that is something else to look into. Personally, I have a harder time with treeless saddles as they don't offer as narrow a twist as a treed saddle. That wider position starts to bother my hips in time. So the horse may think the treeless is the best thing ever, but if I am riding crooked because I am hurting, that isn't going to work well in the long run. But you won't know until you try it for yourself. (And there are a lot of styles of treeless saddle around now, so may be there is one with a narrow twist that would work well even for me.)
 

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One of the most important things to check on treeless, if not THE most important is the clearance over the top of the spine. When setting up my treeless, I used a thin piece of plastic about 1/2 inch wide with a piece of firm foam about 1/2x1/2 on the end. I kept it on my saddle so at any point on a ride I could just slide it under the saddle and feel if there was any drag meaning less than 1/2 inch.


A saddle and pads will settle somewhat over a ride so it needs to be checked at the end of the ride with the rider on board.


I too have a problem with width on a wide horse so went back to a treed with custom fit bars. I also needed a more rigid fitting saddle for the occasional spin and short bolt which a treed saddle does provide.


But my horse seemed perfectly happy in the Barefoot treeless.



I also placed a custom fit rigid bar on top of the pad in the foam bar pocket in each side to ensure weight distribution. I have plans in my head how to make a set up where those would be quickly made for any horse without much cost or effort. When Hondo and my new digs are set up and finished.
 
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