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LMH
May. 31, 2011, 05:51 PM
I was just reading this on another forum

Why in the world??

spotnnotfarm
May. 31, 2011, 07:49 PM
Due to tons of angry members, they are still allowing treeless saddles.

pj
May. 31, 2011, 07:58 PM
What was their point for not allowing them?

Bells
May. 31, 2011, 09:25 PM
From this blog - http://www.actha.us/carriesbit/2011/05/treeless-saddles/


Treeless Saddles

Hi to all, I’m writing you today with my thoughts surrounding treeless saddles. We were adding a rule barring treeless saddles from ACTHA competition for this next season. However, we have decided to rescind this rule change. So, treeless saddles will be allowed at all ACTHA CTC’s. Many of you have written in asking why I would suggest such a rule, so here goes: First and foremost is safety — I have personally witnessed several “wrecks” involving treeless saddles. A treeless saddle seems to behave in the same manner as a bareback pad when mounting, in that it rolls on the horse’s back quite easily. The same is true when a rider becomes unbalanced; the treeless “saddle” becomes unstable quite easily. Furthermore, this type of equipment is not used in FEI, Rodeo, AQHA, Racing, Cutting, and/or Dressage. Please update me if someone in the Olympics or World Cup rides in a treeless saddle. The purpose of a tree in a saddle is to evenly distribute the weight of the rider. The spinal column of a horse is a far more delicate part of his anatomy, than the large muscles surrounding it. A treed saddle lifts the weight off the spine, and distributes it across the larger muscles. This makes sense to me. We must guard ourselves to clever marketing that makes something out to be what it is not. A Saddle to me means something that has a tree. Also, let’s talk about girthing. For a horse to breathe properly and effectively during performance, it is far better to not have him cinched too tightly. In order to have a treeless saddle stay in place, it must be cinched down very tightly. I personally use elastic girths, for the comfort and performance of my horse. Now, let’s talk about saddle fit. Sure, some horses are hard to fit. But, I have noticed that the saddle manufactures have risen to the occasion by using flex trees and interchangeable gullets. Also, the pad manufacturers, like Cavallo, have produced several magnificent pads to help alleviate saddle fitting problems. All this being said, ride in a treeless saddle if you really want to! Our overall goal at ACTHA is to help support horses in need and provide a fun venue for contestants, giving horse and rider an enjoyable goal. But remember this, we at ACTHA are also just as concerned for the welfare and safety of you and your horse at all times and wish you the very best. Carry on, Carrie

gaitedincali
May. 31, 2011, 09:33 PM
I like this statement best:


Furthermore, this type of equipment is not used in FEI, Rodeo, AQHA, Racing, Cutting, and/or Dressage. Please update me if someone in the Olympics or World Cup rides in a treeless saddle.Next thing you know they'll be requiring double bridles and spurs, and you have to ride in a shadbelly. :cool:

BEARCAT
May. 31, 2011, 09:36 PM
Wow, who is this Carrie person?

A quick search revealed this article on upper-level Dressage in a Treeless:
http://www.equisearch.com/tack_apparel/english-tack_apparel/treeless_091003/
"Professionals now using the Ansur [treeless saddle] include British dressage Olympians Christopher and Jane Bartle and FEI eventer Ann Bondi, and California dressage trainer J. Ashton Moore."



I have also seen several Freestyle reiners compete BAREBACK, so basically ger argument doesn't hold water.

I also know there are countless Endurance riders that use treeless, for 50 or 100 mile rides, not ACTHA's 5 or 6 miles...

(I don't own or ride in a treeles, but if it works for you and your horse that's great.)

Consider yourself enlightened miss Carrie!

Aelfleah Farm
May. 31, 2011, 09:42 PM
Many FEI-level endurance riders use treeless saddles... So treeless saddles are used in FEI, though maybe the writer meant to limit the disciplines to one not similar to her own, to make the tree vs treeless thing more silly.

walkers
May. 31, 2011, 11:01 PM
I wish i could find the research but don't have time to hunt for it tonight, probably from The Horse or AEEP. What I remember from it is that treeless saddle had the worst results for protecting a horse back of all saddles tested. They do not distribute your weight,put pressure on the spine (device tested pressure ) and resulted in long term damage to horses back. Don't flame me that's the research. Treeless saddles are a fad, poorly conceived and damaging to your horse. Look it up. Read research not ads! Save a horse ride a real saddle.

Bells
May. 31, 2011, 11:27 PM
I don't know who Carrie is - I just ran a google search and her blog was the 3rd option. It was the only thing I saw that indicated a reason.

gaitedincali
May. 31, 2011, 11:51 PM
I don't know who Carrie is - I just ran a google search and her blog was the 3rd option. It was the only thing I saw that indicated a reason.

It looks likes she's the person - or one of the people - who created ACTHA and who still runs it.

LMH
Jun. 1, 2011, 07:52 AM
Good Grief....what a silly argument Carrie gave.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 1, 2011, 08:33 AM
Actually Enlightened Equitation (Heather Moffett) tested their saddles and other treeless saddles for pressure points using some special electronic pad. The treeless saddles did better than many treed saddles in distributing weight so that is a myth. It depends entirely on the individual fit and the saddle...pretty much like anything else.

I've been riding treeless on my hard to fit Spanish Mustangs for years now and have never had the saddle slide underneath or had any wreck related to the saddle.

Guilherme
Jun. 1, 2011, 08:49 AM
Actually Enlightened Equitation (Heather Moffett) tested their saddles and other treeless saddles for pressure points using some special electronic pad. The treeless saddles did better than many treed saddles in distributing weight so that is a myth. It depends entirely on the individual fit and the saddle...pretty much like anything else.

I've been riding treeless on my hard to fit Spanish Mustangs for years now and have never had the saddle slide underneath or had any wreck related to the saddle.

I call "banana oil" on this one. :)

I've seen the results of several studies done with pressure sensitive pads demonstrating beyond to a moral certainty that "treeless" saddles create massive pressure points and serious impair the ability of a horse's back to function correctly. The best was done by Ray Miller in WI several years ago. I would want to see the 5Ws on any "study" that claims otherwise.

Carrie's decision was a good one and based upon sound judgement. She was dissuaded by threats of the mob.

G.

JenLS
Jun. 1, 2011, 09:15 AM
I don't know about the wrecks, but I always thought the lack of protection to the spine is why we had to use these special (expensive!) pads for treeless saddles.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 09:48 AM
With many endurance riders doing 50's and 100's (including Tevis) successfully and winning in treeless saddles I'll take that as a positive endorsement for treeless saddles. Endurance is one of the only equestrian sports that I know of where the animals are subject to vet checks along the way. I ride in a treeless saddle and will continue to do so. My horse is far more comfortable in his treeless saddle than he's ever been in his treed saddle. My saddle is secure and stable on my horse and I feel even more secure in the my treeless saddle than I ever did in my treed saddles. They have come a long way in the last 10 years or so with the advances in technology and designs. Yes, the pad should be considered a part of the whole package but once you get it right for a particular horse/rider combo it works. Like any saddle quality is important, going with an E-Bay cheapie might be detrimental to either your or your horses' health. Treeless saddles may not be suitable for every horse/rider combo and just like a treed saddle proper fit is important. I think this Carrie person attempting to define what a "real" saddle is or isn't just shows how narrow minded she and her association is. Follow the money...she has Tucker Saddle as a sponsor. They had previously banned folks from riding in rope halters until she visited and filmed a program or something at the Parelli ranch and suddenly rope halters are ok...as long as someone is promoting them...hmmm....something stinks and I won't be joining.

LMH
Jun. 1, 2011, 09:49 AM
You can't say treeless saddles create massive pressure any more than you can say treed do.

There are so many different brands, different pads, different riders and different horse shapes that it depends on either end.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 09:52 AM
I call "banana oil" on this one. :)

I've seen the results of several studies done with pressure sensitive pads demonstrating beyond to a moral certainty that "treeless" saddles create massive pressure points and serious impair the ability of a horse's back to function correctly. The best was done by Ray Miller in WI several years ago. I would want to see the 5Ws on any "study" that claims otherwise.

Carrie's decision was a good one and based upon sound judgement. She was dissuaded by threats of the mob.

G.

Yeah, the threats she recieved was a lot of folks who ride treeless taking their money elsewhere ;) I guess she didn't realize just how many members are riding successfully in treeless saddles with NO problems.

Beverley
Jun. 1, 2011, 10:23 AM
Actually, I've never been interested in trying the treeless saddles, myself. Precisely because of lack of weight distribution and protection for the horse.

But of course an improperly fitting treed saddle is a bad thing, too.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 10:45 AM
Actually, I've never been interested in trying the treeless saddles, myself. Precisely because of lack of weight distribution and protection for the horse.

But of course an improperly fitting treed saddle is a bad thing, too.

But that's the thing! A properly fitted, quality, treeless saddle DOES distribute the weight properly. But treeless or treed is a lot like the barefoot/shoes debate, it comes down to individuals doing what they think is best for them and their horses. Neither system is perfect and both can cause problems, as long as your saddle fits your horse and your horse agrees then all is well.

TexasBorn6G
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:07 AM
Very interesting and informative. From reading all posts above it appears that this is a debate that has gone on for years. I think I'll side with Carrie and although other may use treeless saddles if there is any question about the use then I'll wait for more research before putting one on my horse. However, I do agree that the fit of the saddle is most important and that you just need to find the right saddle for you, treeless or not! Thanks for all the posts.

philosoraptor
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:11 AM
A very interesting discussion!

Two of you mentioned studies showing more (or less) pressure points with the treeless. Would either of you mind pointing me to those studies, so that I can read & learn more? TIA.

Daatje
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:16 AM
What a silly notion, to ban treeless saddles. I think they're a great option for some horses and riders.

Personally, my mare has had more trouble and gone through more treed saddles than I care to count. Her back was always sore and tight at the end of the season no matter how "good" the saddle fit. (and yes, I had fitters out).

Since switching to treeless saddles and their essential pad counterparts (Ansur Carlton and Sensation G4 Jump) her back muscles have palpated like butter even after long rides! No tension, no ugly faces when being girthed. I actually can ride with a more relaxed girth than I did with the last treed saddle we hunted in.

When combined with the right pad on the right horse with the right rider, treeless saddles are fantastic.

Absolutely absurd to think of banning them.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:22 AM
A very interesting discussion!

Two of you mentioned studies showing more (or less) pressure points with the treeless. Would either of you mind pointing me to those studies, so that I can read & learn more? TIA.

At least one of those studies was done or sponsored by a treed saddle manufacturer...can't remember which one but consider the source when reading any studies. Also be aware that the padding under a treeless saddle is as important as the saddle itself and people who don't understand the proper set up may have done the studies. I wouldn't trust any studies that weren't at least advised by an expert in treeless saddle fit and that don't mention which brand and model of treeless saddle they used in their study, and the particular conformation of the horse's back, which pad they used etc. All play a large part in proper fit. Without those facts the studies are as worthless as the paper they're written.

HorsingRound
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:13 PM
I don't know who Carrie is - I just ran a google search and her blog was the 3rd option. It was the only thing I saw that indicated a reason.

Found this on FB: "ACTHA's General Mngr. and Co-founder Tom and Carrie Scrima"

ytr45
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:16 PM
Is there any truth to the claim that treed saddles are more secure and stable for the rider, in the event of a spook or mishap?

I'm not talking about weight distribution or pressure for the horse, but safety for the rider.

fuzzy.pony
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:26 PM
Here is one study, it is just a news report on the study though. http://www.yourhorse.co.uk/Your-Horse-News/Search-Results/Gear-news/April-08/No-advantage-to-treeless-saddles/

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:33 PM
Is there any truth to the claim that treed saddles are more secure and stable for the rider, in the event of a spook or mishap?

I'm not talking about weight distribution or pressure for the horse, but safety for the rider.

I have actually found the opposite to be true. I've found that my treeless saddle is MORE secure and stable in the event of a spook (my horse can teleport himself 6 feet or more to the side in the blink of an eye). I belong to a treeless saddles discussion group and several members on there have speculated that since the treeless saddle allows you to sit closer to and feel your horse better that you can actually anticipate and react faster. Also, that the horse in motion under the stiff treed saddle will actually throw the rider off balance easier.

I ride in a Sensation Hybrid treeless saddle which, IMHO, is one of the finest quality treeless saddles out there.
http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz258/dorim_2005/100_3925.jpg

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:41 PM
Here is one study, it is just a news report on the study though. http://www.yourhorse.co.uk/Your-Horse-News/Search-Results/Gear-news/April-08/No-advantage-to-treeless-saddles/

This was not an independent study. It was done by a group of saddlers (makers of treed saddles?) doesn't describe which treeless saddles they used, what the firmness or thickness of the padding under the saddle was, what the conformation of the horses were. They didn't have a treeless saddle expert on hand to assist in properly fitting the saddle....there is a lot wrong with this "study".

Daydream Believer
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:44 PM
I call "banana oil" on this one. :)

I guess you can call it whatever you want. ;)


I've seen the results of several studies done with pressure sensitive pads demonstrating beyond to a moral certainty that "treeless" saddles create massive pressure points and serious impair the ability of a horse's back to function correctly. The best was done by Ray Miller in WI several years ago. I would want to see the 5Ws on any "study" that claims otherwise.



Imagine that...conflicting studies! :lol: I guess I'll have to go with my own personal experience which has been very favorable for treeless saddles..in particular the Fhoenix..which I've used over 5 years now with no ill effects. Treed saddles caused all sorts of problems for my horse and no saddler could fit him. God knows I tried to make treed saddles work but I am so glad I was willing to at least try a treeless on him since it turned out to be a fantastic solution.

I vote for free choice and letting people use what works best for their horses. :yes:

HorsingRound
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:52 PM
I vote for free choice and letting people use what works best for their horses.

Hear! Hear! Well said!

I have both treed and treeless saddles, and like 'em n ride' em both. How's that for free choice right in my own tack room? :D

hundredacres
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:54 PM
Good Grief....what a silly argument Carrie gave.

No kidding! A treed saddle has never slipped? A rider in a treed saddle has never lost balance? What a ridiculous argument.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
I vote for free choice and letting people use what works best for their horses. :yes:

Me too! It just bothers me when people poo poo a whole idea based on nothing more than propaganda distributed by others with an agenda....or, even worse, opinions of strangers who have no first hand knowledge and proclaim treeless saddles dangerous and harmful. Heck...Carrie said in her blog post that she had personally witnessed wrecks involving treeless saddles so therefore they are dangerous. Sure...in that case we should blame the saddle! Oh, wait! I've witnessed wrecks with treed saddles so they must be dangerous too! Yeah, that's just stupid.

cowboymom
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
I use a treeless on one of my horses after nearly going broke trying treed saddles on him. He loves it-goes better in it than he did in any other saddle. I am not running out to use this same saddle on all my other horses but for this horse, it's his saddle and pad, but it's certainly been a functional saddle for me on hundreds of mountain miles.

I have mounted from the ground on this saddle many times, once having forgotten to tighten my cinch, and it's never slipped. I have ridden out several hard spooks on it too-it has never slipped. I've used it on a variety of our other horses-no problems.

This one is a circle Y/ BMSS-I can't speak to the Barefoot saddles. It's not my forever saddle, there is a treed saddle in my future as I move on to other horses. I am short and not having any structure is uncomfortable to me after a few hours on the bigger barreled horses. I also need to be able to use a saddle horn and obviously can't on this one.

They aren't the cure for everything but they can be a viable saddle option, IME. I think experience counts for a lot. It's easy to sit behind a keyboard and find things on the internet to support your POV but first hand experience counts for something. My horse's experience counts for something, too-so I take it all into account.

Guilherme
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:25 PM
The "treeless sadle philosophy" is built on a number of fallacies.

First, that such a saddle will fit any horse. Not true at all. That which will do on an 800 lb. Arab or Paso Fino will likely not to at all on a 1600 lb. draft cross.

Second, that a treeless will effectively distribute weight. If you've ever taken high school physics you know this can't be true. If you haven't the try this test: make up a nice, gooey, mud wallow. Put a piece of heavy cloth over it and then step on the cloth. Note what happens. Now put a 12" by 12" piece of wood on the mud and step on it. Note what happens. Now apply this principle to your weight on a horse's back.

Third, as noted, they require heavier girthing to maintain stability. Maybe not such a good thing. Perhaps this is a subset of the "one size fits all" fallacy.

Fourth, rigid tree saddles do not give. A tree made of cast iron might not give, but even a heavy, steer roping saddle will flex some under a rider's weight. Note that this flexion is a Good Thing as it helps the saddle accomodate the constantly changing geometry of the back. At the same time it provides a very stable platform for the rider without creating pressure spots. IMO this answers the question as to whether or not a treed or treeless saddle is a safer and more stable riding platform.

The constant stream of anacdotes does not, IMO, change the physics or equine biomechanics of the world.

G.

LMH
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:37 PM
G. I and others have experience with treeless saddle being quite stable without being overly-tight.

The ability of the rider place a far bigger role, IMHO.

And again-the padding is a big part of the 'system.'

Certainly all saddles, treed or treeless, will not fit all horses.

I have 2 ridden horses-each has 2 saddles-one treed and one treeless. I am not able to swap either treed or treeless between horses.

It is not treed or treeless-it is the entire package, saddle fit, padding, rider balance, etc

Daatje
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:38 PM
The "treeless sadle philosophy" is built on a number of fallacies.



Where'd you find that philosophy?

I've used them for YEARS and that is not how I feel about them at all.

1) they are NOT a fit for all horses, that's ridiculous
2) that's what the weight distributing pads are for
3) I girth mine lighter than I did with any of my treed saddles
4) They don't give enough or flex fast enough. Ask my horse, I did and she distinctly expressed her opinion of treed vs treeless in the favor of the treeless.

I would love to know the source of your philosophy on treeless saddles.

I say let the riders use what works best for their horses.

Ghazzu
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:55 PM
I'm not personally a fan of treeless saddles, but I don't see them as sufficiently "dangerous" to ban on a trail ride.

I do find some small degree of irony that the attempt to ban them was allegedly a safety issue, but the same organization does not require helmets for adults.

cowboymom
Jun. 1, 2011, 02:20 PM
The "treeless sadle philosophy" is built on a number of fallacies.

First, that such a saddle will fit any horse. Not true at all. That which will do on an 800 lb. Arab or Paso Fino will likely not to at all on a 1600 lb. draft cross.

Second, that a treeless will effectively distribute weight. If you've ever taken high school physics you know this can't be true. If you haven't the try this test: make up a nice, gooey, mud wallow. Put a piece of heavy cloth over it and then step on the cloth. Note what happens. Now put a 12" by 12" piece of wood on the mud and step on it. Note what happens. Now apply this principle to your weight on a horse's back.

Third, as noted, they require heavier girthing to maintain stability. Maybe not such a good thing. Perhaps this is a subset of the "one size fits all" fallacy.

Fourth, rigid tree saddles do not give. A tree made of cast iron might not give, but even a heavy, steer roping saddle will flex some under a rider's weight. Note that this flexion is a Good Thing as it helps the saddle accomodate the constantly changing geometry of the back. At the same time it provides a very stable platform for the rider without creating pressure spots. IMO this answers the question as to whether or not a treed or treeless saddle is a safer and more stable riding platform.

The constant stream of anacdotes does not, IMO, change the physics or equine biomechanics of the world.

G.

First-of course they don't fit every horse, I don't see that being asserted here.

Second-you haven't accounted for the weight distribution of the human rear end, pads and the construction of the saddle. A tree may distribute weight over a greater surface area but I'm not so sure that is the ultimate factor in all cases-my horse did better without the unyeilding pressure of the tree on a larger surface of his back-he prefers the squishier smaller pressure area. Take it up with him! :lol:

Third-my saddle is rigged exactly like our western saddles. no difference.

Fourth-if a rider is using the tree to stay on they are creating pressure spots. A tree does not accomodate a changing back to any useful degree.

I think treed saddles came about not for horse comfort but for the rider's comfort. Stirrups, packing, roping, warfare-all require a tree and horses were considered at least somewhat dispensable. I think that centuries of treed saddle craftsmanship have resulted in high quality saddle trees that now take the horse into consideration. People now need a tree for most things they do, people aren't just going down the trail as a means of travel like they used to. Plenty of horses were ridden bareback to school and town on a daily basis without documented issues. Even a generation ago people had one saddle that they used on every horse with very few exceptions. Government issue saddles for every horse in the cavalry.... I don't believe a tree is the end-all, be-all of horse comfort. It's a good place to start but it's not always the result.

And I think hands-on experience does count for something.

hundredacres
Jun. 1, 2011, 02:47 PM
So the treeless saddle doesn't fit every horse...neither does a treed saddle. And I have seen more treed saddles fitted improperly than I ever will see treeless.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 03:02 PM
The "treeless sadle philosophy" is built on a number of fallacies.

First, that such a saddle will fit any horse. Not true at all. That which will do on an 800 lb. Arab or Paso Fino will likely not to at all on a 1600 lb. draft cross.

Second, that a treeless will effectively distribute weight. If you've ever taken high school physics you know this can't be true. If you haven't the try this test: make up a nice, gooey, mud wallow. Put a piece of heavy cloth over it and then step on the cloth. Note what happens. Now put a 12" by 12" piece of wood on the mud and step on it. Note what happens. Now apply this principle to your weight on a horse's back.

Third, as noted, they require heavier girthing to maintain stability. Maybe not such a good thing. Perhaps this is a subset of the "one size fits all" fallacy.

Fourth, rigid tree saddles do not give. A tree made of cast iron might not give, but even a heavy, steer roping saddle will flex some under a rider's weight. Note that this flexion is a Good Thing as it helps the saddle accomodate the constantly changing geometry of the back. At the same time it provides a very stable platform for the rider without creating pressure spots. IMO this answers the question as to whether or not a treed or treeless saddle is a safer and more stable riding platform.

The constant stream of anacdotes does not, IMO, change the physics or equine biomechanics of the world.

G.

I don't know where you got your "treeless sadle philosophy" but Nobody here ever said that treeless saddles will fit every horse but then neither do treed saddles. Saddle fit is just as important for a treeless saddle as it is for a treed saddle.
My horse is happy being ridden in his treeless saddle. You can ask him if he has a problem with increased pressure, i have checked for back soreness after long rides and he has not reacted one bit, muscles remained soft unreactive. He had a definite opinion about his treed saddle though, complete with pissy expression, pinned ears and wringing tail.

You are right...rigid trees do not give, yet the live creature beneath it and live creature above it are in constant motion. I really don't know how a saddle that fits when the horse is standing still is supposed to still fit when the horse starts moving. :confused:

I don't need a "platform" to remain stable while riding. I find such "platforms" provide an unyeilding, uncomfortable, perched feeling. Nor do I require a tight girth to keep my saddle stable. My girth has elastic at both ends and is no tighter than I used on a treed saddle.

The constant stream of anectdotes provide "real life experiences" rather than class room math which IMHO is much more compelling. For pete's sake, it's not rocket science, if it works it just works. My horse said so!

ETA: Re: the cloth over the mud wallow....most treeless saddles have enough structure to them with foam panels and what not that they CAN distribute a rider's weight somewhat, certainly much more than a simple cloth. This, in addition to a quality treeless saddle pad, does a pretty good job. Your analogy of a simple heavy weight cloth to illustrate a treeless saddle shows that you've never had the opportunity to actually look at the detail involved in the structure of a well designed saddle. My saddle is a real saddle with real structure and is much, much more than a glorified bareback pad.

Kyzteke
Jun. 1, 2011, 03:49 PM
It would be nice to see a well-designed study with lots of different treed saddle, different treeless saddle, different shaped horses AND a wide variety of riders.

Personally, I suspect the biggest contributor to accidents, pressure sores, etc. are riders who can't really ride very well ;)

Those who don't have particularly good balance, are overweight and don't have an "independent" seat.

I suspect that a certain # of treeless supporters (aside from those who jump on any fad) are fairly new riders who are attracted to treeless because of the generally lower cost and the mistake-free idea that it will fit "any" horse.

Makes it as easy as writing a check....

Now, before the mob starts forming and lighting their torches, this is not an all-inclusive statement, but I have seen these people be attracted to treeless for the reasons stated...

Guilherme
Jun. 1, 2011, 04:09 PM
The orginal saddle was a cloth (animal skin or woven mat) thrown accross the horse's back.

Then some bright fellow figured out that a solid platform allowed him more utility from his horse. Now this guy was likely a mounted warrior of some sort. He might have been Roman, but more likely was Partian (a noted tribe of mounted warriors and experts with the bow; ever heard of a "Parthian Shot"?; if not, Google it). Even if he were a Roman he would have appreciated the solid platform for use of his lance, sword, club, etc. His horse would have appreciated that the solid platform gave his rider better balance and better distributed the weight of rider, armor, weapons, food, etc. on it's back.

The the bit, the iron shoe, the stirrup, all were devices to allow greater utility of the horse. The saddle tree is squarely in that family.

I note that not one of you defending these devices has ever addressed my little "mud wallow test."

Here are some scans that are interesting. There's only one "treeless" but it tells the story.

http://www.saddlefitting.net/equiscan/index.html

The "philosophy" noted is a compilation of the justifications of and for these "treeless" saddles over the past ten years or so I've followed them.

They don't work; they can't work, except, possibly, for extemely athletic, small framed riders (think jockeys, etc.). I watched a 250 lb. rider climb onto a demo horse with an Ansur saddle at a demo and I thought the poor horse was going to it's knees.

I've read the reams of anacdotes from folks who claim to use them without issue. Maybe they do, but maybe they don't.

G.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 04:10 PM
It would be nice to see a well-designed study with lots of different treed saddle, different treeless saddle, different shaped horses AND a wide variety of riders.

Personally, I suspect the biggest contributor to accidents, pressure sores, etc. are riders who can't really ride very well ;)

Those who don't have particularly good balance, are overweight and don't have an "independent" seat.

I suspect that a certain # of treeless supporters (aside from those who jump on any fad) are fairly new riders who are attracted to treeless because of the generally lower cost and the mistake-free idea that it will fit "any" horse.

Makes it as easy as writing a check....

Now, before the mob starts forming and lighting their torches, this is not an all-inclusive statement, but I have seen these people be attracted to treeless for the reasons stated...

OK...no torch but I'd like to respond to a few of your statements.

I'm 50 years old, have been riding most of my life. I can't afford to jump on every fad. I've owned my own horses for almost 20 years and for most of those years rode in treed saddles. I moved to treeless when my younger gelding started showing displeasure with his saddle. I was attracted to the design and the claims of better comfort for my horse and since I was moving to a more "natural" way of going (barefoot, bitless etc) treeless just seemed like the natural progression for me. Most people I know who ride in treeless saddles do so for a variety of reasons but none of them do so because they are "cheaper". My Sensation Hybrid treeless saddle cost far more than any other saddle I've ever owned. Quality treeless saddles are NOT cheaper....e-bay trash is cheaper but you will pay for quality. There is a wide variety of quality in treeless saddles just like there is a wide variety of quality in treed saddles. You can buy an entire "starter package" treed english saddle complete with fittings and bridle in most catalogs for less than $200...would you ride in it? The same applies to treeless saddles. http://www.chicksaddlery.com/page/CDS/PROD/English_Saddles/EP8414

ETA: If the only treeless saddles you have any knowlege of is the trash being pushed on Ebay then you are ill informed on the subject. Join the Treeless saddles group on yahoo, lots of good information on the better quality brands of treeless saddles.

LMH
Jun. 1, 2011, 04:25 PM
Well G, believe what you want, but I use them without issue for the horses I use them on. :lol:

Those scans prove nothing except that saddle on that horse with that pad and that rider did not work.

Change one factor and it would have a different outcome.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 04:37 PM
I note that not one of you defending these devices has ever addressed my little "mud wallow test."

Here are some scans that are interesting. There's only one "treeless" but it tells the story.

http://www.saddlefitting.net/equiscan/index.html

G.


Re: the cloth over the mud wallow....most treeless saddles have enough structure to them with foam panels and what not that they CAN distribute a rider's weight somewhat, certainly much more than a simple cloth. This, in addition to a quality treeless saddle pad, does a pretty good job. Your analogy of a simple heavy weight cloth to illustrate a treeless saddle shows that you've never had the opportunity to actually look at the detail involved in the structure of a well designed saddle. My saddle is a real saddle with real structure and is much, much more than a glorified bareback pad.

The scans shown above mentioned the sports saddle but didn't mention whether it had the proper padding system under it. I also noticed that they sell the Sharon Saare saddles on that site and coincidentally the Sharon Saare had the most perfect scan :rolleyes:. I would rather see an INDEPENDENT study with an expert treeless saddle fitter assisting, I just don't trust that Joe Blow treed saddle seller is knowledgeable enough to do a proper "study". You can believe what you want but unless you have personal experience (250 pound rider in an Ansur not designed for that heavyweight aside) you won't ever really "know" if they work or not. I worked with an experienced professional saddle fitter (she is qualified to fit both treed and treeless saddles) to ensure that I had the proper fit for my horse/saddle. I do have personal experience on trails for hours at a time and I know what works for me and my horse. The proof is his happy attitude and painfree saddle fit.

ETA:
QUOTE=Guilherme;5639940]
Here are some scans that are interesting. There's only one "treeless" but it tells the story.

http://www.saddlefitting.net/equiscan/index.html

G.[/QUOTE]
What story? That that saddle/pad/rider combo for that horse doesn't work? Meh, change one thing and probably will work. What I saw was the bigger story of a LOT of poorly fitted TREED saddles.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 04:49 PM
Well G, believe what you want, but I use them without issue for the horses I use them on. :lol:

Those scans prove nothing except that saddle on that horse with that pad and that rider did not work.

Change one factor and it would have a different outcome.

EXACTLY!!!! Joe Blow treed saddle seller has no motiviation whatsoever to try to make it work in his "study".

katyb
Jun. 1, 2011, 05:30 PM
With many endurance riders doing 50's and 100's (including Tevis) successfully and winning in treeless saddles I'll take that as a positive endorsement for treeless saddles. Endurance is one of the only equestrian sports that I know of where the animals are subject to vet checks along the way. I ride in a treeless saddle and will continue to do so. My horse is far more comfortable in his treeless saddle than he's ever been in his treed saddle. My saddle is secure and stable on my horse and I feel even more secure in the my treeless saddle than I ever did in my treed saddles. They have come a long way in the last 10 years or so with the advances in technology and designs. Yes, the pad should be considered a part of the whole package but once you get it right for a particular horse/rider combo it works. Like any saddle quality is important, going with an E-Bay cheapie might be detrimental to either your or your horses' health. Treeless saddles may not be suitable for every horse/rider combo and just like a treed saddle proper fit is important. I think this Carrie person attempting to define what a "real" saddle is or isn't just shows how narrow minded she and her association is. Follow the money...she has Tucker Saddle as a sponsor. They had previously banned folks from riding in rope halters until she visited and filmed a program or something at the Parelli ranch and suddenly rope halters are ok...as long as someone is promoting them...hmmm....something stinks and I won't be joining.

Very well said, so I'll just ditto you.

Unfortunately, I did join, after being told I could compete in a riding halter, only to later be told I could NOT compete bitless unless my equipment utilized leverage. ACTHA is a great idea, poorly organized and likely doomed to failure. The whole HSUS thing was proof that - not just the association, but the total mishandling of the entire thing.

katyb
Jun. 1, 2011, 05:31 PM
I call "banana oil" on this one. :)

I've seen the results of several studies done with pressure sensitive pads demonstrating beyond to a moral certainty that "treeless" saddles create massive pressure points and serious impair the ability of a horse's back to function correctly. The best was done by Ray Miller in WI several years ago. I would want to see the 5Ws on any "study" that claims otherwise.

Carrie's decision was a good one and based upon sound judgement. She was dissuaded by threats of the mob.

G.

A study done years ago would be irrelevant now. Treeless saddles and pads have come a long way in the last few years. Any study done several years ago would have to be replicated to carry any weight.

cowboymom
Jun. 1, 2011, 05:48 PM
Been riding for 38 of my 40 years and I ride hundreds of miles in a year over all sorts of terrain. I'm also on the short easy-keeper side. My treeless saddle was the most expensive one I bought.

I said your mud wallow test didn't account for the additional padding and weight distribution that is accounted for by saddle pad under a treeless. A better comparison would be to sit on a saddle pad in the mud and then sit on a saddle tree on that pad on the mud. And I would suggest that the difference you get in pressure would make little to no difference to some horses, if not all of them. My horse apparently prefers the flexibility of my saddle, pad and my rear end over the rigid weight distribution of a treed saddle. A horse deals with more pressure between a 100 lb rider and a 250 lb rider, tree or no tree. You're all about a few inches of weight distribution and I'm not convinced that's all there is to it.

They can and do work-your denials can't change that.

katyb
Jun. 1, 2011, 06:02 PM
Me too! It just bothers me when people poo poo a whole idea based on nothing more than propaganda distributed by others with an agenda....or, even worse, opinions of strangers who have no first hand knowledge and proclaim treeless saddles dangerous and harmful. Heck...Carrie said in her blog post that she had personally witnessed wrecks involving treeless saddles so therefore they are dangerous. Sure...in that case we should blame the saddle! Oh, wait! I've witnessed wrecks with treed saddles so they must be dangerous too! Yeah, that's just stupid.

And I've seen wrecks where people were riding bareback - and wrecks where people weren't even riding. DANG! It must be the horses that are dangerous. No more horses at ACTHA rides - there's the solution!

Daydream Believer
Jun. 1, 2011, 06:11 PM
I suspect that a certain # of treeless supporters (aside from those who jump on any fad) are fairly new riders who are attracted to treeless because of the generally lower cost and the mistake-free idea that it will fit "any" horse.

Makes it as easy as writing a check....



Not lynching you either but my Fhoenix is the most expensive saddle I've ever bought also. It cost about $2000 in 2006 and it's imported from the UK. Now, yes, you can buy el cheapo treeless saddles on Ebay which are a piece of junk but just like treed Argentine saddles you can buy cheap, you get what you pay for.

Speaking for the Fhoenix and other saddles of this line, they are not without form or shape to distribute weight. There is a cantle piece inside that holds open a gullet that actually clears the spine completely...just like a regular saddle. The padding is very soft and thick and the saddle forms around the horse's back when you sit in the saddle. It is not like the bareback pad types of treeless but most of the newer ones these days have evolved past that. The EE line of saddles like the Fhoenix do not need special pads. These are the ones that Heather Moffett tested and here are some comments off her site on it.

http://www.enlightenedequitation.com/faq_saddles.htm

More on the Phoenix style I use:

http://www.enlightenedequitation.com/booklet.htm

katyb
Jun. 1, 2011, 06:13 PM
I've ridden thousands of miles in my Bandos trail saddle with a Haf pad. I tried countless treed saddles first, and I had NO agenda in choosing treeless. I actually went to an all female camping weekend, where numerous people let me try saddles on my horse, because even though I was working with a saddle fitter and a trainer, I couldn't find a saddle that worked for us for regular, long, challenging rides. I think I rode in about a dozen different treed saddles and two treeless saddles that weekend. Jet chose the treeless, quite obviously, from the moment I first mounted her in one. Her gait improved, her expression improved; she was a happy horse. It was a bit of an adjustment for me, but I love riding treeless now. Her back is healthy with no soreness despite very long and difficult rides hauling my rather large self around. We have beautiful, even sweat patterns with a dry spine. I couldn't ask for better proof that treeless saddles can be a good solution. It doesn't really matter what studies you show me or don't show me - the proof is in my horse, day in and day out.

PRS
Jun. 1, 2011, 06:26 PM
And I've seen wrecks where people were riding bareback - and wrecks where people weren't even riding. DANG! It must be the horses that are dangerous. No more horses at ACTHA rides - there's the solution!

You owe me a new keyboard for that! I just spewed Dr.Pepper all over mine!

butlerfamilyzoo
Jun. 1, 2011, 07:04 PM
These threads crack me up, but i'll chip in and say that after 14yrs of riding and showing i bought the most expensive saddle i've ever owned out of desperation to make my mare happy when the fitters failed her.

I've been a very happy, satisfied treeless rider for the past 4yrs since that decision. I'm not anti treed saddles by any means, i'm for the fit and comfort of the horse. Mine firmly said trees dont work for her and after years and lots of $$$ trying to convince her otherwise but ending up riding bareback... I'm much happier in my treeless saddles. We've logged a lot of miles in that "heavy duty cloth???!!!" and she's never been happier.

For those that are so anti treeless saddles, put your hands on a good quality one before making these stupid comments. This is like comparing a 2k treed saddle with a piece of ebay cardboard treed saddle. It's laughable.

A good treeless saddle will cost you the same as a good treed saddle, if not more.

There is no substitute for the well made, well fitting saddle that makes both horse and rider happy, be it treed or treeless.

There is NOTHING more unsafe about a treeless saddle than a treed one provided they fit correctly and arent being ridden by total morons.

Daatje
Jun. 2, 2011, 09:27 AM
There is NOTHING more unsafe about a treeless saddle than a treed one provided they fit correctly and arent being ridden by total morons.

Yes!

Kyzteke
Jun. 2, 2011, 10:28 AM
OK...no torch but I'd like to respond to a few of your statements.

I'm 50 years old, have been riding most of my life. I can't afford to jump on every fad. I've owned my own horses for almost 20 years and for most of those years rode in treed saddles. I moved to treeless when my younger gelding started showing displeasure with his saddle. I was attracted to the design and the claims of better comfort for my horse and since I was moving to a more "natural" way of going (barefoot, bitless etc) treeless just seemed like the natural progression for me. Most people I know who ride in treeless saddles do so for a variety of reasons but none of them do so because they are "cheaper". My Sensation Hybrid treeless saddle cost far more than any other saddle I've ever owned. Quality treeless saddles are NOT cheaper....e-bay trash is cheaper but you will pay for quality. There is a wide variety of quality in treeless saddles just like there is a wide variety of quality in treed saddles. You can buy an entire "starter package" treed english saddle complete with fittings and bridle in most catalogs for less than $200...would you ride in it? The same applies to treeless saddles. http://www.chicksaddlery.com/page/CDS/PROD/English_Saddles/EP8414

ETA: If the only treeless saddles you have any knowlege of is the trash being pushed on Ebay then you are ill informed on the subject. Join the Treeless saddles group on yahoo, lots of good information on the better quality brands of treeless saddles.

What does a top-notch treeless saddle sell for? Last time I was pricing them the Ansur was selling for close to $2000 or am I wrong? That is the higher end of mid-range treed saddles. A custom treed saddle will set you back WELL over $3000.

And the "natural" thing is -- if not a "fad" then certainly a trend. Bitless, for instance. Unless a horse has a mouth injury, if it's protesting against a bit, it probably has more to do with the rider's hands than anything else.

But don't want to get too far OT...again I've found that many of those who flock to bitless, treeless, etc. are those who just don't have the knowledge or expertise to take the time it takes to weed through various other choices in terms of bits and saddles.

Kyzteke
Jun. 2, 2011, 10:37 AM
Not lynching you either but my Fhoenix is the most expensive saddle I've ever bought also. It cost about $2000 in 2006 and it's imported from the UK.

Again -- $2000 is not considered an expensive treed saddle (I can only speak for English -- I haven't ridden western in decades).

I can't speak for or against either one, as I've never ridden in a treeless. Actually sounds like a cool idea and I've looked at some at tack stores & booths at some of the bigger endurance rides.

The part I find assuming is that this organization who banned them -- don't their rides only go 10 miles or under? Or am I wrong? Not familiar with them or their competitions at all.

For that little distance you could ride in almost anything and the horse would be ok....

katyb
Jun. 2, 2011, 11:15 AM
The part I find assuming is that this organization who banned them -- don't their rides only go 10 miles or under? Or am I wrong? Not familiar with them or their competitions at all.

For that little distance you could ride in almost anything and the horse would be ok....


Yes - about six miles. I agree, for those distances, it probably doesn't make a huge difference what you ride in. My horse was hard to fit, but I think she would have been fine in a lot of saddles for the rides like that. We like to do long, challenging, frequent rides, which makes a good fit a much bigger issue.

And the "natural" thing is -- if not a "fad" then certainly a trend. Bitless, for instance. Unless a horse has a mouth injury, if it's protesting against a bit, it probably has more to do with the rider's hands than anything else.

But don't want to get too far OT...again I've found that many of those who flock to bitless, treeless, etc. are those who just don't have the knowledge or expertise to take the time it takes to weed through various other choices in terms of bits and saddles.

I don't see it as a fad here. I'm generally the only bitless/treeless rider around, unless one of my friends who had tried my tack and liked it is along. I went bitless much like I went treeless....my horse was happier and more responsive that way. I have one who is always bitless and two who go just as well either way. Again, what works for the horse/rider combination is probably the best choice, fad or not.

hundredacres
Jun. 2, 2011, 11:20 AM
What does a top-notch treeless saddle sell for? Last time I was pricing them the Ansur was selling for close to $2000 or am I wrong? That is the higher end of mid-range treed saddles. A custom treed saddle will set you back WELL over $3000.



Ansurs are over $3000 now. Most are between $3300 and $3800, new.

PRS
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:11 PM
What does a top-notch treeless saddle sell for? Last time I was pricing them the Ansur was selling for close to $2000 or am I wrong? That is the higher end of mid-range treed saddles. A custom treed saddle will set you back WELL over $3000.

And the "natural" thing is -- if not a "fad" then certainly a trend. Bitless, for instance. Unless a horse has a mouth injury, if it's protesting against a bit, it probably has more to do with the rider's hands than anything else.

But don't want to get too far OT...again I've found that many of those who flock to bitless, treeless, etc. are those who just don't have the knowledge or expertise to take the time it takes to weed through various other choices in terms of bits and saddles.

I find your assumption that folks like me that "flock" to bitless, treeless etc are just not smart enough to take the time to weed through other choices insulting. You are assuming those other choice can work for us.....or maybe we've already done that and found ourselves preferring treeless saddles. I look at it as a personal choice....not necessarily the LAST choice. I PREFER my treeless saddle as does my horse. I did my research before I bought it, I demoed it on my horse for several weeks on real trail rides. It is well designed, high quality and well made. My horse is happy to move out as he never did before in a treed saddle, the proof is there for me or anyone else to see. To assume that I just jumped on the first bandwagon that came by without doing my research IS very insulting to my intelligence. I am not anti treed saddles or anti bit. I ride one of my horses bitless and the other with a bit. They are all barefoot too...wanna take a shot at that? It works for me, where I live, with what I do with my horses.

I've found that most folks who speak against treeless saddles either don't have any personal, first hand knowledge with them or have experience with ebay trash, or did not work with an expert in treeless saddles on their set up. They DO NOT work with every horse, no more than any particular style of treed saddles do.

PRS
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:36 PM
Again -- $2000 is not considered an expensive treed saddle (I can only speak for English -- I haven't ridden western in decades).

I can't speak for or against either one, as I've never ridden in a treeless. Actually sounds like a cool idea and I've looked at some at tack stores & booths at some of the bigger endurance rides.

The part I find assuming is that this organization who banned them -- don't their rides only go 10 miles or under? Or am I wrong? Not familiar with them or their competitions at all.

For that little distance you could ride in almost anything and the horse would be ok....

Western saddles can run up into the stratosphere on cost. I've seen them well over $5000. What's cheap to you may not be cheap to me. For me a $2000 saddle is expensive. Treeless saddles can run the gamut just like treed saddles, from the ebay trash at a couple hundred to upwards of $3000. The bottom line is don't buy cheap and whatever you get it has to fit.

Beau's mom
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:54 PM
Just as an aside, the ACTHA folks don't allow martigales and we all know what death traps they are...I think it's more about what thye are comfortable with and not really about embracing different disciplines.

Arrows Endure
Jun. 2, 2011, 09:30 PM
*raises her hand*

I am a heavy weight rider (230#'s, thank you), and I ride treeless. On a 14.3 hand horse even. He does not have a sore back, nor does he show any signs of his Freeform hurting him during long rides. I ride him with a double elastic girth, adjusted the same as I would for a treed saddle. I don't NORMALLY mount from the ground because i have horrid knees, but I have, and as long as I'm not dawdling, I don't have a problem with the saddle slipping.

I use a Haf pad under the saddle, and always ride with a breast collar just in case the saddle slips (it never has). My horse is trained to go with a crupper too, but we very rarely use it.

My boy has never worn a treed saddle, so I don't know if how he would act with it. But I know me, the horse, my vet, and my chiropractor all agree, his treeless saddle isn't causing him any problems. As long as he's happy and pain free, we keep using that saddle.

Good thing I wasn't planning on riding any ACTHA rides anyway.

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jun. 2, 2011, 09:34 PM
Wow. I don't know what to think about ACTHA now. I agree with them about treeless saddles - but I hate they backed down from their position.

Well, my niece is marrying a fellow whose mama is big into ACTHA. This'll give us something to talk about at the rehearsal dinner!:yes:

Nizzina
Jun. 3, 2011, 04:45 AM
Sounds like after listening to treeless supporters, that although her personal opinion didn't change, she respected the personal choice of others to ride treeless and in an effort not to exclude people for their personal choices (just like the rope halters) they rescinded the rule. It ultimately was about personal choice in tack, which she obviously respects the rights of individuals to ride in what they see fit; don't think it was a "money" decision, just a decision not to enforce her personal opinions on members. Kudos to Carrie for having an open mind to listen to different mindsets. I ride in an ortho flex and a Tucker, have done endurance and competitive for 20+ years. Seen some very successful treeless saddle competitiors, but am not one. Believe no one knows your horse like you - you're responsible for the well being of your own mount!

mysaygrace
Jun. 3, 2011, 10:07 AM
If they ban treeless saddles I guess they'll be no ACTHA rides in my future. I went thru 9 treed saddles before I tried a treeless saddle on my mare, my only regret is I didn't try that route sooner. She has become a whole different mare, from being hot & nervous with her head in the air to relaxed, low headset & swinging walk, it was truly an amazing experience. I even paid Michael Stokes to make a saddle ($2500 many years ago) to fit my mare, but it never worked out, it kept causing pressure points and white hairs on her withers & it kept tipping me forward in the saddle. After much heartache & research I bought a BMSS & haven't looked back. It's been the best thing I've done for my mare. I am not against treed saddles one bit, everyone is entitled to use what works for their horses & themselves but for an organization to begin banning tack such as a treeless saddle seems useless to me. Maybe ACTHA isn't worried about attracting new members like ECTRA & AERC but to start nit picking peoples choice of tack is a good way to deter folks from joining your club in my opinion.

PRS
Jun. 3, 2011, 10:22 AM
The bottom line is that most folks who have moved to treeless saddles have done so for the good of their horse, not to join a fad or jump on a band wagon and certainly not because they are cheaper (the quality ones are not, necessarily). I would say that as a group we treeless saddle riders have a much, much higher percentage of folks that are hyper-aware of saddle fit issues because we have seen first hand the damage a poorly fitting treed saddle can do. Many of us regularly check for back soreness and look for obvious signs of abnormal pressure after every ride. Your average rider doesn't usually give saddle fit a second thought. How many of you know people who use the same saddle on every horse they own? I'm guilty of it, before my horse started having issues with his saddle I used that same saddle on all my horses, and on my friend's horses if I rode them. Looking back now with the clarity of hindsight I can see where there were several times that the saddle probably bothered the horse I had it on but it was explained away as a behavioral issue. At every big trail ride I attend I can spot dozens of uncomfortable looking horses now that I'm more aware of what to look for. It's sad, really, that there are folks out there so narrow minded that they can't see the value in something different from what they've always used. Many of them can only point to flawed studies and outdated information, or this: http://www.saddlefitting.net/equiscan/index.html .
There is one treeless saddle in this group of scans described as a "sports saddle". Doesn't say anything else. All the other scans are treed saddles and the overwhelming majority of them are causing severe pressure points. It should be pointed out that the Sharon Saare saddle had the most perfect scan and, oh yeah, coincidentally they sell Saare saddles on that website. I would like to see an INDEPENDENT study assisted by experts in fitting treeless saddles. On second thought, I don't need to see a study. I'll do my own in my barn and trails laboratory :-). Now that my horse and I are so comfortable in our treeless saddle I can honestly say: "Happy Trails!"

wendy
Jun. 3, 2011, 11:32 AM
I've ridden in several brands of treeless saddles and they have just as much structure as treed saddles these days-spinal clearance, stability, weight distribution.
One could argue that treed saddles should be banned- we all agree that saddle fit is highly important, but it's impossible for one treed saddle to fit a horse well all the time. Unlike a treeless saddle they have no give. So if your horse is well-fitted three weeks ago, if his muscling changes at all (which is very likely) it doesn't fit anymore. Do you buy a dozen treed saddles and check each day which one fits for this day? of course not. Most people don't even get their treed saddles restuffed every couple of months which is kind of essential for good fit because while the saddle may have fit when purchased the wool packs down.
One high-quality treeless saddle can adapt from day to day and fit well every day.

Nizzina
Jun. 3, 2011, 12:19 PM
There is actually a saddle fitting clinic at the Palmyra CTC the weekend of June 10th. Double Diamond Equine, one of the top equine saddle fitters will be there doing the saddle mapping and talking about debunking saddle fitting myths. She supports all saddle types - fit and comfort of the horse is paramount. www.doublediamondequine.com . I think that we as horsepeople, in general are becoming more aware of the direct correlation between better communication, comfort of the horse and a better performance. We've evolved a long way from a "one size fits all" approach. As we are all individuals, so are our horses. Kudos to those who seek to improve the comfort of their partners!

tomscrima
Jun. 7, 2011, 12:23 PM
Not really...our decision, even though the FEI bans them, we don't believe we should be a policing authority. We are about fun and horses. Therefore whatever our members feel, within reason, they want to ride in is fine with us.
Tom
Actha GM

PRS
Jun. 7, 2011, 12:42 PM
Not really...our decision, even though the FEI bans them, we don't believe we should be a policing authority. We are about fun and horses. Therefore whatever our members feel, within reason, they want to ride in is fine with us.
Tom
Actha GM

FEI doesn't ban treeless saddles! Include a link to where that is stated in their rules please.

Ghazzu
Jun. 7, 2011, 08:17 PM
Not really...our decision, even though the FEI bans them

Don't know where you got that idea--FEI has no rules that prohibit treeless saddles.

rainechyldes
Jun. 7, 2011, 08:33 PM
Treeless or treed - I compete in both, and which type used to ride 50 > 100 milers depends entirely on which horse being - who was fitted with with type. Each of our high end horses has *gasp* their own specific fitted saddle - some treed, some not. All depends on the horse. It's that simple.

I can't remember the last time any of them had a back issue during vetting, pre/during/post race, so obviously atm, we are in the luck and all our horses have correctly fitting saddles.

they don't need to be more heavily girthed, half the time my girth is loose. But thenI ride by balance (due to many years of riding bareback as a kid) I don't require a 'platform' to cling to when racing. *shrug*

as for being a fas.. eh, I'm not a fad person , I'm a 'what works best for each specific horse ' person.
Take bitless for example. fad? Maybe.
I have horses who race in bits, some who don't. I prefer to have horses racing in hackamores, simply because its easier for them to eat and drink on the a trail (imo) however.. I also have a few horses who race in snaffles, cuz they are just turds in a hackamore. Not what I consider 'fad'.

I also have shod and barefoot endurance horses - again - whatever works.
I have one gelding (100 milers) , who races in a snaffle, a treeless and is shod with pads all round so.. go figure.

another mare, she races in a treed CC english saddle, hackamore, barefoot (50 miler)
both examples work. so.. eh. I'm not changing it just to be or no be a 'fad' person

cloudy18
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:52 AM
I ride in a BMSS because I love the way I can feel my horse underneath me. I also enjoy the fact that my seatbones don't take a beating after being in it for more than an hour.

I didn't buy it to join a fad or follow a trend. I tried a friend's and liked it. I looked into various options and chose the BMSS with the thought that if it doesn't work out, I can always resell it and not lose a ton of money.

I also still occasionally ride in a cheaper old beat up Collegiate dressage saddle or a cordura Big Horn. My older mare gets ridden in the BMSS or the dressage saddle. She used to get ridden in a cheapo Aussie, but it doesn't seem to fit as well any more. So I obviously am not on the treeless bandwagon. I use what hopefully works. And the treeless so far has been our most expensive saddle, so I didn't get it to save money.

I also have never had an issue with my BMSS as far as mounting or having it roll. I can see where it could be a problem on some horses with some people. But I also have to be fairly quick getting into my dressage saddle from the ground. And I tighten the treeless less than the dressage saddle, and the same as a treed Western.

TalkTeke
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:11 PM
I presently ride in a treeless. My choice for the horse I was riding. They (she was leased) went thru 8 saddles before I got my older model Torsion. It worked much better for her. Less bucking an bitting of my feet! She was no longer a "problem" mare!

I have a bad feeling it is not going to fit my new hores and I am shopping again.

That said, I don't care if you prefer to ride in a treed. I just hope it is well fitted for that horse.

There was an interresting "study" posted, that I found very fascinating. http://das-sattelhaus.de/Druckmessung.html . Interresting because it is in German and I have no idea what it is saying! But they have linked video and pressure plates for 4 saddles; 3 treeless and one treed western. If you look closely, the Startrekk have really good reading at all 3 gaits. Barefoot, not so much (I think the rider was applying cues as it looked like outside seatbone when the horse turned). The treed western (not really a fair one to use, IMO) was the worst. It showed LOTS of pinching on the shoulders.

It showed me a few things. I definitely like Startrekk over Barefoots (but it just confirmed an opinion I already had about quality). Treeless are pretty good, if set up right. I KNEW IT!!!

The "conventional treeless" showed just how bad it can be! I find it to be the other was than what kyeteke stated: Unknowlegable horse people tend to get western treed saddles! (obviously not all, since there are many great western horsemen out there!) But how many times have you heard, toss the western on, it fits ALL horses?! I worked at a few riding stables. New horse came in, needs a saddle- put Rex's on, we sold him last week! Doesn't fit? Toss a second pad on! That'll fix 'er! GAH! In this impression it is both pinching and bridging. And you can clearly see when the horse moves it's shoulders and bends. Course, I wish I knew if this saddle was fitted to that horse! Bet it wasn't. But to me it shows a more common theory to saddle fitting that I have come across. Westerns fit all! NOT!

Do I think this is unbiased.... NO. Even without understanding the language, just by the saddles they picked I could see it wasn't. But it did show that those treeless are not harming the horses.

Anyone speak German and can correct me?

I think, like anything else in horses, it is up to the individual rider to do what is better for their particular horse. You certainly know him better than me!

Lieselotte
Jun. 8, 2011, 09:57 PM
I won't translate the whole page but just wanted to clarify: This was done by a business that sells a variety of saddles and they guarantee that your "system" (saddle with pad) is pressure-tested before you buy from them. So on this webpage they're just showing you some examples of what they've done and how they set up the test. They're not trying to make a point either way, or promote a certain brand or style, they're just showing you can test your saddle/pad fit this way and find out if it works for your horse.

pandorasboxx
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:11 PM
How uneducated to suggest that only beginners without any knowledge or skills gravitate towards treeless. Any one I know, which primarily encompasses endurance riders, are far from uneducated, rank newbies intent on following a "fad".

I guess the shit ton of people riding treeless saddles successfully in endurance, up to and including FEI level-are clueless morons who have conspired with the vets to pass sore and damaged horses through all those vetting parameters? Much more of a test than a 5-6 mile ACTHA snooze.

I have two Freeforms. Beautifully made Italian leather saddles that ran me about $1700@. I do not consider that cheap. Very few people can afford $3000+ saddles and that in itself does not mean it will be a good fit. FWIW, I've owned many treed saddles, some of which I liked but most I did not. My last one was a custom Black Country Vinici which cost me $2800 several years ago and is over 3k now. Beautiful saddle, but didn't work for me or my horse in endurance. What is important to me is the comfort of both my horse and myself and so I went through many demos finding a saddle which did.

I could give two craps what folks ride in whether it is bits, treed or non treed saddles, shoes or no shoes. Whatever works for that horse and rider is AOK with me. I've owned many treed saddles and would be willing to go that route again if one worked for my horse and me. At the present, it is a FF.

TalkTeke
Jun. 9, 2011, 12:53 PM
I guess the shit ton of people riding treeless saddles successfully in endurance, up to and including FEI level-are clueless morons who have conspired with the vets to pass sore and damaged horses through all those vetting parameters?

Is shit ton more or less than a metric ton? I like it. I'm gonna use that. Even though I have a shit ton of housework to do, I'm gonna go play with my horses...

Thanks Lieselotte, for the explanation! Wish there was a business near me with a system like this! My youngster was bought to do longer distances and I want to be sure we have the best system possible! I'd pay, to be sure my saddle money is well spent.

Auventera Two
Jun. 10, 2011, 01:18 PM
At the 2nd vet check at an endurance ride a few weeks ago, I counted 6 of 7 horses in the check wearing a Bob Marshall saddle, my horse included. A couple of these horses were entered in the 75, the others were 50s. My horse has gotten straight As on her back at every check she's been through since I've been riding treeless.

Yes at one point I had major problems with a treeless rolling under the horse, but I sold that saddle, switched to Bob Marshall and never had one problem since. And just this summer I finally learned how to MOUNT FROM THE GROUND in my Bob Marshall on my 15 hand Arab. No problems. The saddle barely moves. I reach over to the right side and grasp the breast collar tug with my left hand instead of grabbing mane. I never thought I could mount a horse from the ground anymore (broken pelvis), treeless or not. But since learning that one small trick I have no problems.

I have ridden out every manner of spook and bolt you can imagine in my Bob Marshall and been far more secure than in any treed saddle I have ever ridden. I have gone off my horse 9 times since I broke her out as a youngster. Of those 9 times, 1 time was in my Bob Marshall and ONLY because I mounted from the side of a hill, over-launched myself and promptly flopped right off the opposite side. It made for a howling good laugh from everybody, but it had nothing to do with the saddle. Every other time I've been spooked and spun off was in an Abetta, an Aussie, or a little western trail pleasure saddle. And I can recall a few instances in the Bob Marshall when the horse spooked and spun and I stayed on top perfectly fine.

You do have to buy the expensive, nice pads with a treeless or you will probably have problems at some point. I use a Toklat Woolback with ultracell inserts, as well as an Equipedic with inserts. I am 5'7" and 150 and only one ride did my horse's back get sore in my Bob Marshall. It was a 30 mile training ride over a lot of rock and hills, I let her roll in the sand at our rest stop and she got sand embedded down to her skin. I think the sand made her skin sore but also the inserts in the Toklat pad were too old and worn out. Totally my fault. No more sand rolling during a ride, and brand new inserts, and that was the only sore back experience my horse has had since we've been treeless.

But when I was riding treed, she developed white patches with various saddles, and was very sore under the bars. She was reluctant and stiff to go down hills. And while she's never been a bucker, she would twist her head and pogo stick in protest. With the treeless she can step out in a big swinging walk down a steep hill, put her head and neck down, stretch out, and have no pain or reluctance.

Treeless is an awesome way to ride, if you have the right saddle and the right pad. An endurance style breastcollar also helps stabilize the saddle side-to-side.

I really cannot imagine trying to fit a horse into a treed saddle at this point in my life. Their fitness and muscle tone changes constantly throughout the season. You can buy a $5,000 custom built and fitted treed saddle, and 1 month later it won't fit the horse anymore. Treeless saddles are just as changeable and flexible as the horse's back (for the most part.) You still do have to do some fitting, but it's nowhere near as touchy a process as treed.

I love my Bob Marshall so much I bought a 2nd one and my young Arabs coming on will be started in the Bob Marshall.

I would really love to see a current tack survey done through the AERC. I see so many Bob Marshalls at rides, and on the trails conditioning. They seem to be the most popular treeless of everything on the market.

The Barefoot London, Bandos, and Black Forest all were a total bust for me. I owned the Bandos and trialed the others. So it still took me a few saddles to find the one that works, but it was worth the journey.

percheron
Jun. 11, 2011, 08:12 AM
Reading through some of these answers I thought of this quote. Glad that ACTHA could go back and change a rule. "He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today." ~ Tryon Edwards

hundredacres
Jun. 11, 2011, 01:50 PM
The Barefoot London, Bandos, and Black Forest all were a total bust for me. I owned the Bandos and trialed the others. So it still took me a few saddles to find the one that works, but it was worth the journey.

I tried the Barefoot London too...I didn't like it at all - too "puffy". I think that's why I keep going back to the Ansur. I'd love to try a Fhoenix dressage saddle though.

cowboymom
Jun. 11, 2011, 03:21 PM
I didn't get any fancy saddle pad-I use a Pro Choice Air Ride pad-it has a channel between the two sides of the pad. The first summer I had the BMSS I used just a plain old Diamond Wool pad and we did great, no problems!

patti
Jun. 15, 2011, 11:40 AM
I'm sorry I'm late to this debate, but it's actually sort of funny.

To me, if you're an endurance rider and ridden enough different horses enough miles you get to the point where you shrug your shoulders and go back to the mantra that makes most sense:

WHATEVER WORKS!

When the new horse disproves your strongly held beliefs (because they almost always do in the way that horses seem destined to test your sense of absolutism) you simple refer back to the above:

WHATEVER WORKS!

I've got three horses competing, two of whom LOVE their treeless saddles although I try hard to keep them competing in their treed saddles because I am convinced my equitation in the treeless bears some resemblance to "troll."

But when all else fails we go back to

WHATEVER WORKS!

and I ride the horses in the treeless because, let's face it, their opinion is far more important than mine.

The more I hear about ACTHA, the more it makes me roll my eyes.

--Patti

tabula rashah
Jun. 15, 2011, 12:20 PM
I'm sorry I'm late to this debate, but it's actually sort of funny.

To me, if you're an endurance rider and ridden enough different horses enough miles you get to the point where you shrug your shoulders and go back to the mantra that makes most sense:

WHATEVER WORKS!

When the new horse disproves your strongly held beliefs (because they almost always do in the way that horses seem destined to test your sense of absolutism) you simple refer back to the above:

WHATEVER WORKS!

I've got three horses competing, two of whom LOVE their treeless saddles although I try hard to keep them competing in their treed saddles because I am convinced my equitation in the treeless bears some resemblance to "troll."

But when all else fails we go back to

WHATEVER WORKS!

and I ride the horses in the treeless because, let's face it, their opinion is far more important than mine.

The more I hear about ACTHA, the more it makes me roll my eyes.

--Patti

But, but, but.... you can't use common sense on COTH...sheesh what are you thinking- LOL!;)

HillnDale
Jun. 15, 2011, 09:00 PM
Amen to WHATEVER WORKS!

I wish these folks would stop saying treeless is banned by FEI, it's annoying. Besides which, what decision an unrelated organization makes about tack rules shouldn't affect yours.

I have seen horses both helped and harmed by treed saddles. I have seen horses both helped and harmed by treeless saddles. May you find what works for your horse without too much undue effort and heartache.

There are so many variables at play (waaay beyond just the tree or it's absence) I cannot imagine how I might begin to design a study that could truly and accurately compare treed and treeless and determine the superiority of one over the other.

Now horses come in all shapes and sizes, but if the governing body of the ACTHA is noticing such a high number of wrecks due to saddle roll, perhaps some of those riders might like to bring their horses over to AERC and go a few more miles and see if that doesn't help ;)

reubenT
Jun. 16, 2011, 12:55 AM
interesting merry go round discussion! Anyway, yah, do what works for ya.

The fastest saddle that ever slipped on me was a nice but illfitting rigid saddle, too narrow for the horse. (Borrowed horse and saddle) Fortunately I was quick to hop off. First long ride I went on, ended up using a different saddle.
Last year I was riding 5 miles at a time (3-4 days a week usually) with a bareback pad, (tall but slim paso fino) doing fine. went to a weeklong campout ride and started riding almost 20 miles a day, by 3rd day the bareback pad wasn't working, he was getting a sore spine, I switched to a western tree saddle for a couple days with a corrector pad and shims, (quality reining horse saddle) sore spot started developing at another spot on his spine, saddle was too wide in back and even the back shims were not enough. I carved some shim thickeners out of closed cell foam and finished the week with no more issues.
I learned long ago, when dealing with animals and humans who are of all shapes and sizes and characters, very few rigid rules actually work all the time, there will be exceptions to almost everything. training, saddle fit etc. The basic principals apply, spread out yer weight as much as possible with whatever appliance is chosen. And since we're dealing with a non rigid surface that moves constantly (the horses back) a rigid surface mated to it isn't going to work very well long term. The cowboys who really work horses steady normally have more than one horse to trade off on. Or they have to pay special attention to their saddle fit. And me sitting there with what little area I cover doesn't work well either, some inbetween solution must be used, anything from a well designed treeless to a treed with pad or adaptations to allow movement under it and still maintain plenty of area contact for minimal PSI.

I found it takes a lot of leg strength and good balance to stay on without using a saddle. Specially a quick moving horse like most paso finos are.
I have the balance as a natural gift from God and the strength from a lot of hard work even though I haven't rode a huge amount and didn't grow up riding.

katyb
Jun. 16, 2011, 10:11 PM
Hey, Reuben!

tammys
Jun. 17, 2011, 01:28 PM
Hi Everyone,
This is Tammy from ACTHA here. I wanted to let you know that ACTHA does permit the treeless saddles to be used in all ACTHA Competitions. We had discussed not allowing treeless saddles, but through discussion this did not become an official rule. The only types of saddle we do not allow are bareback pads.
Our overall goal at ACTHA is to help support horses in need and provide a fun venue for contestants, giving horse and rider an enjoyable goal. We are also concerned for the welfare and safety of you and your horse at all times. There is new equipment being introduced to the market all the time and the type saddle you use is personal choice. Regardless of your choice, whether Western, English, Flex Tree or Treeless, we encourage all riders to take advantage of professional consultation when fitting their saddle of choice to their horses. Proper fit relative to the shape of your horse, proper positioning of your tack, good quality and safety must all be considered. Safety is the most important aspect to us here at ACTHA.
The banning of tie downs and martingales on the ACTHA trail was due to the presence of water on a lot of the ACTHA trails, and we all know how water and head training devices are not good for horses! Safety is key! We also wanted trail horses relaxed and free of any head training devices while on the trail.
We love horses at ACTHA, and just want what is best for them!! Thanks so much. If you have any questions, please email me at tammy@actha.us

Happy Trails!!

PRS
Jun. 17, 2011, 03:32 PM
Hi Tammy...your statement doesn't change the original discussion as prompted by ignorant statments in Carrie's blog claiming treeless saddles are dangerous to both rider and horse. I say "ignorant" because I'm sure Carrie has no personal experience with a well fitted, quality treeless saddle. There is no one size fits all treed or treeless and it is alway wrong to make such sweeping statements as Carrie made on her blog. Many of the things she blamed on treeless saddles in particular happen every single day in treed saddles too. Some of her statements were just wrong. Tom Scrima also came on this very thread and claimed that they felt justified in making the rule in the first place because FEI banned them...that is just not true and I don't know where he got his information...he never got back to us with a link. That kind of ignorance will keep me and my money far away from ATHCA

From Carrie's Blog:
Hi to all, I’m writing you today with my thoughts surrounding treeless saddles. I have personally witnessed several “wrecks” involving treeless saddles. These particular “wrecks” were due to the saddle rolling while mounting, riders becoming unbalanced and discomfort to the horse by over cinching. (Seriously? This never happens in a treed saddle?)The spinal column of a horse is a far more delicate part of his anatomy, than the large muscles surrounding it. The overall purpose of a tree in a saddle is to evenly distribute the weight of the rider and protect the spinal column of the horse, lifting weight off the spine, and distributing it more evenly across the larger muscles. (Why the heck do you think we purchase those horrendously expensive pads specifically designed for treeless saddles?)This makes sense to me.

Let’s talk about girthing. For a horse to breathe properly and effectively during performance, it is far better to not have him cinched too tightly. I personally use elastic girths,(Me too and I ride in a *gasp* treeless saddle) for the comfort and performance of my horse. Now, let’s talk about saddle fit. Sure, some horses are hard to fit. But, I have noticed that saddle manufactures have risen to the occasion by using flex trees and interchangeable gullets. Also, the pad manufacturers, like Cavallo, have produced several magnificent pads to help alleviate saddle fitting problems. (Say...isn't Cavallo a sponsor of yours? Come to think of it so is Tucker...hmmmm I wonder....?)Our overall goal at ACTHA is to help support horses in need and provide a fun venue for contestants, giving horse and rider an enjoyable goal. But remember this, we are also concerned for the welfare and safety of you and your horse at all times. There is new equipment being introduced to the market all the time and the type saddle you use is personal choice. I have shared with you today the reasons I choose to use a treed saddle. Regardless of your choice, whether Western, English, Flex Tree or Treeless, we encourage all riders to take advantage of professional consultation when fitting their saddle of choice to their horses. Proper fit relative to the shape of your horse, proper positioning of your tack, good quality and safety must all be considered. Be safe and have fun in whatever you choose to ride in. Carry on, Carrie

mysaygrace
Jun. 17, 2011, 03:48 PM
Written by Tammy of ACTHA - "Safety is the most important aspect to us here at ACTHA."

Then maybe you'd require wearing helmets like many other recognized horse sports rather than worry about people who use treeless saddles - just sayin.

PRS
Jun. 17, 2011, 04:12 PM
Written by Tammy of ACTHA - "Safety is the most important aspect to us here at ACTHA."

Then maybe you'd require wearing helmets like many other recognized horse sports rather than worry about people who use treeless saddles - just sayin.

Haha! Yeah, I just BET safety is the most important thing. If so then all competitors would be required to wear helmets. Sounds like there are some folks in that organization who are more worried about the PR problem they created with such an arbitrary rule (even if it was rescinded). Ol' Carrie just didn't get how many folks are competing successfully in treeless saddles. :lol:

2enduraceriders
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:05 PM
YES!!! This is also why my daughter and I will not ever be riding one of their rides.


Written by Tammy of ACTHA - "Safety is the most important aspect to us here at ACTHA."

Then maybe you'd require wearing helmets like many other recognized horse sports rather than worry about people who use treeless saddles - just sayin.

Norgard
Jun. 29, 2011, 09:46 PM
I think it is to funny about the helmet thing! They are not worried about safety! My husband did one ACTHA ride, he was the only one with a hemet and vest. They all looked at him wierd. But we only get one body, and even the best horse is dangerous so we always wear our equipment, because we are worth it!

fairtheewell
Jun. 30, 2011, 01:41 PM
It sounds to me like the saddle makers are in revolt against treeless saddles..I agree that one should use tack that is safe and fits the rider and horse...however, people discuss the weight of the saddles etc., but where is the discussion about the weight of the rider? Certainly, that has an effect on the stability of the saddle when mounting and riding, as well as added stress on the horse. Riding is, after all, both an art and a sport, and requires athletic ability of both the rider and the horse. Just sayin'....and ducking...lol

wendy
Jun. 30, 2011, 02:50 PM
Safety is the most important aspect to us here at ACTHA.
The banning of tie downs and martingales

tie downs/standing martingales, ok fine, but there are lots of horses for whom it would be unsafe to do a trail ride without a running martingale (which isn't a "head training" device nor does it "stress" the horse since it doesn't even engage unless the horse misbehaves; many people think of them as a "safety" device because they also help keep the reins in place during more exciting moments of riding, and also help keep a horse under control).

percheron
Jul. 2, 2011, 02:20 PM
I posted this already -Glad that ACTHA could go back and change a rule. "He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today." ~ Tryon Edwards
ACTHA is a great idea. It is going to have some growing pains.

Instead of bashing try to help guide it.