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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll start off by saying my saddle doesn't fit. Why? Heaven knows. It looks to me like it fits but my horse moves oddly at any gait faster than walk and will buck unless I use a super thick pad. That tells me it doesn't fit at all. Unless there's a really weird chiro thing going on, so I'm trying to get her to the chiro as soon as I can to sort that out. She's obviously uncomfortable, but is it the saddle or a chiro issue? But since the saddle can also cause the chiro issue in the first place...it's complicated, but I'm taking her to a saddle fitter (who is the chiro) once things open up.

Till then, I'm riding English. She seems not to mind that and she only seems the littlest bit stiff in her right turns. That could just be a muscle stiffness, not necessarily an issue that needs chiro attention. In fact, I'd say making sure a horse isn't stiff and tight is more important in the long run than doing a quick chiro job that just adjusts them temporarily. If it's a muscle issue, you'll be right back where you started and needing the chiro again until the horse is back in shape.

I don't have pictures of her at the moment because she's gained some weight, but she has the teeniest roach in her back. It's not huge, I had her for years till someone on this forum pointed it out. She's got a narrower shoulder and saddles tend to slip forward on her (my English one doesn't do that though, probably just because it fits). The English saddle also has good spine clearance so there's no way it's hitting her back. She also has a fairly short back but she's not a huge horse, so that's not noticeable either. I'm thinking of trying a treeless. A friend of mine has a Circle Y treeless that she'd let me try out to see if it works. She won't sell it but if it works I'll just find a used one just like it.

I mainly trail ride and barrel race, but if I can't find a western saddle to fit her I guess I'll have to change my discipline! :icon_rolleyes: I was wondering if a treeless saddle would work for running barrels? I'm really not sure what I think about that since they don't have the rigid support a treed saddle has and might slip. the last thing I want to do is fly off a horse at that speed or get stuck in a saddle that slipped. I've heard that good ones (like the Circle Y I want to try) don't slip and balance well on a horse's back as well as molding to their individual fit. I think she'd be more comfortable in a treeless providing it doesn't slip and bump her somewhere, but then again it doesn't have that hard tree that knocked into her shoulder before.

I have zero experience with these saddles, I'm just spitting out what I've heard. Are they hard on a horse's back? Are they prone to slipping? At this point I'm open to trying anything and I'm not in a huge hurry since things are shut down anyhow. There's also the option of a flexible tree, but I know nothing about those either :biggrin:

I've been riding English for the past few weeks and I must say I miss my western saddle. I love riding English but if I have to fight to get my boots or half chaps on again...

I will forever be a cowgirl at heart, even if I do ride English sometimes. So I need a saddle. :cowboy:
 

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I've known people that run in Circle Y saddles and the Bob Marshall Treeless saddles - both seem to work great.

Keep away from the Hilason treeless saddles - they are junk.

It ultimately depends on your horses build, whether or not treeless will work. Could you post pictures of your horses back bare and your current saddle on? What breed is she? Has she gained/lost muscling throughout recently?

Depending on the fit problem that other people see (I am no good at saddle fit), they may have recommendations based on your current saddle on what to try next.

Right off the bat, hearing how your horse reacts to your saddle, I'm thinking something is poking through your saddle and poking your horse in the back. Have you felt everywhere, under the fleece of your saddle, for misplaced nails? I would check that too.

Otherwise, I wouldn't give up your search for a saddle for treeless quite yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hilason is terrible. I got some spur straps from them and I can't even use them. The leather might as well be cardboard.

She's gained some muscle since I last had some pics because I've been riding her a lot over the past couple months. She's arab/appaloosa...so two hard to fit horses in one. I've checked the fleece and there's nothing sharp also.

Next time I go to the barn I'll try to get some pictures.
 

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First, we will need pictures of your horse when you can get them.


Secondly, I agree a chiro visit is in order but I would ALSO get your horse to a lameness vet. I feel that those two therapies work best together, rather than separately. It could be the saddle, but I would want to rule out any other lameness problems that could be contributing to her bucking behavior. Do you have a good equine vet in your area?
**also, lameness does not mean "limping". It just means she could have pain somewhere that is causing her to act out.


How old is your horse?


Yes, there are barrel racing saddles that are treeless, such as Jackie Jatzlau and Tammy Fisher, who both have their names on treeless barrel saddles. I believe Bob Marshall has started making a barrel saddle too.

But keep in mind, treeless saddles also have to fit properly. They are not one-size-fits-all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The one I want to try is a Bob Marshall. The lady having me try it insists treeless saddles are a one size fits all. She also thinks it's my saddle pad that's the issue and that I should just pad thicker. :-? Thanks, but no thanks. That being said, the specific saddle looks like it could fit. Hopefully the gullet is narrow enough because the horses she uses it on are thicker than mine, but idk. She's not a saddle fitter.

I do have an equine vet but I wouldn't call her amazing. All the old folks around here don't go to her if they can help it. I've volunteered there and she's very high strung and stresses me out honestly. She does chiro but the guy I'm going to for it has done my horses before and I like him. She's also really expensive compared to a vet who does horses about an hour away. However, I don't know him as well. He did do a good lameness examination on a horse of ours a few years ago and if I remember the price was reasonable and he was really straightforward about everything. I could try him. I don't know if he has other vets that work there either.

She's 8. I was out there today but I was in a huge hurry and couldn't take pictures. I will as soon as I can though.

She doesn't buck or act up at all in my English saddle though, which hopefully means there isn't much wrong with her physically and that most of the issue is just the saddle. She walks/trots/lopes nicely in the English one or bareback.
 

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The one I want to try is a Bob Marshall. The lady having me try it insists treeless saddles are a one size fits all. She also thinks it's my saddle pad that's the issue and that I should just pad thicker. :-? Thanks, but no thanks. That being said, the specific saddle looks like it could fit. Hopefully the gullet is narrow enough because the horses she uses it on are thicker than mine, but idk. She's not a saddle fitter.

One thing to watch out for while trying/buying used treeless saddles is that the middle of the seat will begin to tear away from itself. Be sure to look where the latigo and off-billet connect for tearing, and also where the stirrups connect and the connection point themselves. Some saddles that I've looked at purchasing online, specifically Bob Marshall, I always request more pictures for. If the online seller only has one picture, automatically assume they are hiding something, and don't be afraid to ask for more specific pictures.

Sometimes you can find a great deal, where the owner of a treeless saddle doesn't want to get the simpler things fixed, and you can get a "broken" saddle for a steal, and get it fixed yourself. I personally wouldn't get a saddle that has the seat tearing, but the other problems I mentioned wouldn't be deal breakers, as long as I knew I had access to a person to fix it. I have also heard that Bob Marshall will fix things if you mail it to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I found a saddle made by a private dude that looks a lot like the Bob Marshall ones. Seller has been riding treeless for 20 years and says it's an amazing quality saddle. It's used and they want $500 for it. There's no brand mark. Could I be getting a good deal or ripped off? Idk. All I know is that I could turn around and sell the saddle for almost what I paid for it if it turned out to be no good. It's not a terrible risk. (Also, we did get her adjusted by a chiro and she feels much better. She hasn't stumbled since!)

It's not a Hilason or a Tough-1 at least.
 
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