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  1. #1
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Default I need help with treeless saddles.

    I know there are a lot of former posts about these, but I have a few specific questions that I just can't seem to find the answers to. I was hoping folks around here who own treeless saddles, or have at least used them, could help me out.

    I'll just list all my questions off, and if you've got an experience or the answer, shout em out!

    1. How long does a treeless saddle last, under normal, everyday conditions? I don't do endurance rides, I usually ride about 40 minutes 4-5 times a week. In the winter, 3-4 times a week. I've heard treeless saddles don't last nearly as long as treed saddles do.

    2. Is it true that treeless saddles flatten and lose their shape over time? Can this be avoided or fixed?

    3. Do you HAVE to use a specialty saddle pad for a treeless saddle? What pads do you use, and why?

    4. For the round mutton-withered horses, do these saddles have issues with slippage, either front to back or side to side?

    5. Do these saddles create pressure points on the horse's back, since there isn't a tree to spread the load? I don't weigh much (just over 100 lbs), but I still worry about sitting on her spine.

    6. Do you need wither and spine clearance in a treeless?

    7. What kind of saddle do you have, what brand/model? What do you like about it? Which holds up longer, leather treeless saddles or synthetic treeless saddles?

    8. On a personal note, what made you go treeless? Will you ever go back to treed saddles? What do you like about them best?

    Thanks in advance for ANY answers I get on this subject. I am just so lost in the world of treeless saddles, someone throw me a lifesaver and get me outta here.

    EDIT; Some quick background info on me and my horse. I ride English and Western, whatever suits me that day. My horse is an extremely wide, round, no-wither QH with a history of lots and lots of poorly fitting saddles. I don't show, don't ever plan on it. I like to trail ride best, but in winter it's arena work for us. I have quite good balance and don't need the additional help offered with treed saddles. My horse is not trained in any specific discipline, just generic pleasure riding, w/t/c, etc.
    Last edited by sublimequine; Oct. 18, 2007 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Added more info.



  2. #2
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    Mar. 13, 2006
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    236

    Default

    well, it depends on what brand of treeless saddle. They are all different.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by redponyrider View Post
    well, it depends on what brand of treeless saddle. They are all different.
    That's why I asked what brands/models folks used.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 29, 2006
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    Default

    Why don't you tell us what type of riding you do. Hunter rider in the ring, showing, dressage western, pleasure rider, western rider trail rider? What breed and build is your horse? Are you a novice rider still finding your balance or an experienced rider that is secure at all gaits? Do you prefer a deep seated saddle that gives extra seat support or do you ride happily in a close contact, flat seated saddle?

    There are lot's of different treeless sadddle with a wide range of prices. I own a couple of types and have bought and sold several other brands so I can offer some opinions. And no, I may never go back to typical treed saddles again.

    chicamuxen



  5. #5
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    Nov. 4, 2003
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    Dallas, Georgia
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    Default

    Chic: Here's her thread from HC - http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=118525 - It should answer your questions and show you her dilemma
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2007
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    250

    Default

    I'm certainly not an expert, but have been trailriding in treeless saddles since 1999. I currently own two Bob Marshalls and a Sensation.
    "1. How long does a treeless saddle last, under normal, everyday conditions?" In my experience they wear like a treed saddle.

    "2. Is it true that treeless saddles flatten and lose their shape over time?" Not that I'm aware of.

    "3. Do you HAVE to use a specialty saddle pad for a treeless saddle?" It depends... For the Bob Marshalls with my Arabs, I can use a generic pad. For the Foxtrotter, I use a Supracor. With the Sensation, I use a Skito with a Thinline.

    "4. For the round mutton-withered horses, do these saddles have issues with slippage, either front to back or side to side?" Yes. You HAVE to be a balanced rider, and a breastcollar and crupper are often needed.

    "5. Do these saddles create pressure points on the horse's back, since there isn't a tree to spread the load?". I was having more problems with pressure points when using a treed saddle than I do now.

    "6. Do you need wither and spine clearance in a treeless?" In my experience, no. None of my horses have prominent spines.

    "7. What kind of saddle do you have, what brand/model?" Two Bob Marshall Endurance saddles (Sportssaddles), and one trail Sensation.What do you like about it? They are more comfortable for myself and the horses than a treed saddle, and are very lightweight.

    "7. Which holds up longer, leather treeless saddles or synthetic treeless saddles" I don't know.

    "8. On a personal note, what made you go treeless?" I couldn't find a treed saddle to fit one of my horses, and once I started riding treeless, had no desire to use a treed saddle.

    For more information, you might want to check the yahoo group "Treelesssaddles".

    Good luck!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
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    2,168

    Default

    sub, I have a half Arab that while not he is not big, his back is flat with no withers. After many saddles woes we went with a Freedom Classic. But it is over 1g new so the price might be more than you can do. For this horse, I love the treeless, for my other two, I love my Stubben.

    Good luck, I have found that the more I learn about saddles, the more I know my horses have been angels for putting up with bad fittings. Hopefully I've got it right now.

    ps I always ride with a breast collar and crouper on him



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2007
    Location
    VA
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    950

    Default

    I'll just list all my questions off, and if you've got an experience or the answer, shout em out!

    1. How long does a treeless saddle last, under normal, everyday conditions? I don't do endurance rides, I usually ride about 40 minutes 4-5 times a week. In the winter, 3-4 times a week. I've heard treeless saddles don't last nearly as long as treed saddles do. I ride and condition for endurance and no problems or differences so far btween my treed and treeless as far as wear. But I chose a well-made somewhat pricey brand (comparitively speaking). I've seen some cheapies I thought weren't wearing as well.

    2. Is it true that treeless saddles flatten and lose their shape over time? Can this be avoided or fixed? IDK I imagine that is a possibility with the reeealllly cheap floppy ones.

    3. Do you HAVE to use a specialty saddle pad for a treeless saddle? What pads do you use, and why?I prefer to use the pad recommended by the dealer or manufacturer to avoid pressure and slippage problems. W/the Freeforms I use HAF pads topped w/a Thinline. Used an Equipedic before but prefer the HAF for the Freeform.

    4. For the round mutton-withered horses, do these saddles have issues with slippage, either front to back or side to side? I've had none w/my wide round barreled horse but others have had them. Balance is important. I also use a thinline pad to stave off any slippage issues and in the mts use a breastcollar. So far so good.

    5. Do these saddles create pressure points on the horse's back, since there isn't a tree to spread the load? I don't weigh much (just over 100 lbs), but I still worry about sitting on her spine.From what I know, you are ideal weight wise to use a treeless. I've heard of more problems cropping up pressure wise w/heavier riders (200 and up). Also, some folks have reported pressure problems under the leathers as lay across the horse rather than attached thru a tree. Again, depends on the brand/model.

    6. Do you need wither and spine clearance in a treeless?Its recommended to use saddle pads that have a clear channel down the spine to give spinal clearance. I think you would also have to watch wither pressure depending on the brand/model.

    7. What kind of saddle do you have, what brand/model? What do you like about it? I have two Freeform Classics. Lightweight, well made, Italian calfskin, one w/wool fleece bottom and one w/sympanova bottom, super comfortable.

    Which holds up longer, leather treeless saddles or synthetic treeless saddles? IDK

    8. On a personal note, what made you go treeless? Went treeless when on the great saddle hunt to find a saddle that fit the horse and was comfortable for me and my lower back (lots o' problems). The treeless saddle group on yahoo had tons of info and helped me decide which one to buy. The horse really likes them and they are soooo light-with all fittings under 10lbs.

    Will you ever go back to treed saddles? No plans to but never say never. Depends on how the horse does in the saddle.

    What do you like about them best? Comfort for horse and rider



  9. #9
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Illinois, USA
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    Default

    Added info to first post. Hope I answered some questions.

    Thanks for all the answers guys, keep em coming! I'm soaking it all up!



  10. #10
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    Mar. 29, 2006
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    Maryland
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    Default

    sublimequine,
    I think you would like the Sensation saddles which are available in several models. I have the English Trail model with custom shorter flaps. for around $50 you can demo the saddle for 7-10 days and really test it out.

    For hard use, like endurance riding I do prefer the bob Marshall Endurance saddle (of those that I've tried/owned) because I feel it distributes the riders weight really well across the horses entire back. I do recommend that you use a pad made for treeless saddle and I prefer the Skito pads as there is a wide variety of inserts available for their pads.

    Like someone else said, some of the treeless saddles would be best used on really mutton withered horses with a breastplate and crupper, mainly because of mounting issues. I have one Arab with low withers and my sensation will turn a bit if I 'm not careful while mounting. I have to keep the girth snug on him but mounting my other horse that has decent withers isn't too bad at all. No, I don't use a BP or crupper on either of them, too lazy.

    I have several high $ english saddles gathering dust in the house as I gave up trying to get them flocked correctly for my horse. I'll stick with treeless.

    chicamuxen



  11. #11
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Default

    Thanks so much for everyone's responses.

    gothedistance; I'm actually looking at the Barefoot Cheyenne as a consideration right now. You said you like it? The price is definitely in my range, whereas a few of the others are not.



  12. #12
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    Nov. 4, 2003
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    Default

    Ooh. Here's a whole thread dedicated to the BF Cheyenne

    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=113828
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  13. #13
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoMare View Post
    Ooh. Here's a whole thread dedicated to the BF Cheyenne

    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=113828
    Thanks!



  14. #14
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    May. 22, 2005
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    888

    Default

    check out the yahoo treeless saddle forum, tons of good free info there!



  15. #15
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by gothedistance View Post
    I love it. The first time I sat in it (a friend let me try hers - she had the sheepskin seat) I thought I'd never felt anything so soft and cushy and comfortable in my life. It was like sinking down into a soft, overstuffed easy chair. My horse felt the difference immediately, and within two strides I fould FEEL his back lift, and suddenly....we were floating across the field in a stunning lengthened trot. I probably didn't go more than 20 strides, turned around, put my guy in the barn, and promptly rushed into the house to call the dealer to buy one. I wanted it right now. This second, if not sooner! And this was on a Sunday. The dealer was wonderful, and shipped the saddle out the next day. I've been using it for endurance rides (50 miles/day and greater) ever since.

    The transition from 30 years of riding in narrow twist treed saddles, to a no-twist treeless, wasn't difficult because the comfort factor (softness of seat) was greater on the latter, and the stirrup hanger was positioned just right for this former dressage rider. I use the Wintec webbers, covered in sheepskin, and endurance stirrups.

    I did find I wanted the sheepskin seat -- it pushed the comfort level up several notches -- which is nice when you are spending 7 hours in the saddle. I'm not too thrilled with the billets -- I don't like the synthetic backing to the leather, but eventually I'll get them changed over (once they wear out in about 10 more years) to just leather. You will need a dressage girth -- a nice fleecy with elastic ends will do perfectly. I did get the Grandeur pad with the saddle, but never use it. I find a traditional sheepskin pad works just as well for the training rides, and a Cloud Nine for endurance (doesn't hold heat or sweat).

    My Cheyenne is the older model that had no panels underneath for back clearance -- which was no problem for me because my guy is pretty much round. The Cheyenne now comes with panels underneath for those horses that need a bit of clearance.

    I purchased mine from this dealer. They were very pleasant, and readily accomodating. And yes, the price is really reasonable.
    Wow, sounds like the saddle really worked out for you!

    I saw in some reviews some folks say the saddle put them in a chair seat position. Did this happen with you at all? It sounded more like the folks didn't buy the right size saddle, but I wanted to ask anyways.

    island; I'm going to head to that group now.



  16. #16
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    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
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    Default

    1. How long does a treeless saddle last, under normal, everyday conditions? I don't do endurance rides, I usually ride about 40 minutes 4-5 times a week. In the winter, 3-4 times a week. I've heard treeless saddles don't last nearly as long as treed saddles do. I have had two treeless saddles for two years and they look fine. One of them was used when I bought it. I think it depends on the brand. I had a Barefoot Cheyenne before my current saddles and I disliked the way the nubuck was wearing. Currently I have one that is Italian leather, the other is Buffalo. I do not anticipate that the will last as well as my treed saddles, but they are also less expensive. I have one treed saddle that's at least 25 years old and is in great shape but I'd be pleased if these lasted for 10 years.

    2. Is it true that treeless saddles flatten and lose their shape over time? Can this be avoided or fixed? Different brands have more/less structure in them. It also depends on they type of the materials used in the pommel/cantle area.

    3. Do you HAVE to use a specialty saddle pad for a treeless saddle? What pads do you use, and why? I guess that for some saddle/horse combinations it wouldn't be necessary. Some of the newer treeless saddles have gullets now. Personally, as I am not a light weight rider, I want to protect my horses' backs. I use a Skito pad under my Freeform and a Saddleright pad under my Torsion.

    4. For the round mutton-withered horses, do these saddles have issues with slippage, either front to back or side to side?

    5. Do these saddles create pressure points on the horse's back, since there isn't a tree to spread the load? I don't weigh much (just over 100 lbs), but I still worry about sitting on her spine. They can, depending on the horse, saddle, pad, weight of the rider and how the stirrups are attached to the saddle. I've read about horses becoming sore (and getting white hairs) in this area. This also would be influenced by how much weight the rider puts in the stirrups.

    6. Do you need wither and spine clearance in a treeless? You don't need clearance, but you do want to make sure there is no pressure on the spine. This is where the horse's nervous system travels and you can cause damage (with a poorly fitted saddle, treed or treeless), by prolonged pressure on the nerves.

    7. What kind of saddle do you have, what brand/model? What do you like about it? Which holds up longer, leather treeless saddles or synthetic treeless saddles? I have a Freeform which is more like a dressage saddle. I like the quality of the leather and the fact that you can change out the seat size and position the stirrups to accommodate your leg. I also have a Torsion Extra Light. It is an extremely close contact feel, which I like. I find the saddle to be very balanced and comfortable. As mentioned previously, I started with a Cheyenne and disliked it. I did not think the construction was as good as the brands I have now, partially because I think the nubuck doesn't wear well; it put me in a chair seat (I have very long legs, especially from my hip to my knee) because of where the stirrups were attached to the saddle; I didn't like the synthetic fleece on the bottom. It was hard to keep clean and because it was synthetic, didn't dissipate heat.

    8. On a personal note, what made you go treeless? Will you ever go back to treed saddles? What do you like about them best? I ride in both treed and treeless saddles. I like treeless saddles for hacking out because of the close contact feel. I school dressage in them. I jump only in treed saddles. I bought the Freeform because my daughter rides a very wide pony and I didn't want to buy a saddle just for the pony (which we don't own) and this saddle fits her since I can put on a smaller seat. I bought the Torsion because I really like the fact that there's so little of it and it puts me so much closer to my horse. It is convenient that they can be used on both my horses -- and my horses are quite differently shaped: One is a warmblood with low withers and the other is a TB.

    Personally, I bought my saddles on ebay as I felt I could get a better quality saddle for less $$$. My Torsion was essentially new, but cost only $700. Likewise, my Freeform was about the same. Other good places to look for used saddles include the yahoo treeless forum and endurancenet.

    I know lots of people like the Cheyenne -- you should try a few out and see which one works best for you. I do strongly recommend using the padding system recommended by the manufacturers; it's a lot less expensive in the long run to protect your horse's back rather than fix it .



  17. #17
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    Jul. 26, 2007
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    VA
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    As far as the chair seat goes, I'm not sure of other brands, but my Freeform allows you to adjust exactly where you would like to place the leathers.



  18. #18
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    Dec. 20, 2000
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    I have a Barefoot Cheyenne. I bought it used from ebay about 1.5 years ago, for about $600 which included all fittings. Its the "older style" model. I bought it for my hard to fit, very wide, round mutton withered Arab mare. It fits her very well, no sliding around or anything. Even now, she is starting to get some more definition as she gets older and fitter, and it still fits fine. I ride quite a bit in it and its still in very good condition. I doubt if it will last as long as a conventional saddle, but I think it was a good deal for the price and I dont expect to have to replace it any time soon. I would recommend a good pad for it.

    I think it is comfortable and does not put me in a chair seat. I bought it because my mare was hard to fit- however I have also since found a treed saddle that also fits her- the XW broadback Thorowgood AP saddle. I like treeless saddles but I cant say that I like them better than treed- it just depends on the particular saddle, how it fits you and the horse, etc. My absolute favorite saddle does have a tree.



  19. #19
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
    I have a Barefoot Cheyenne. I bought it used from ebay about 1.5 years ago, for about $600 which included all fittings. Its the "older style" model. I bought it for my hard to fit, very wide, round mutton withered Arab mare. It fits her very well, no sliding around or anything. Even now, she is starting to get some more definition as she gets older and fitter, and it still fits fine. I ride quite a bit in it and its still in very good condition. I doubt if it will last as long as a conventional saddle, but I think it was a good deal for the price and I dont expect to have to replace it any time soon. I would recommend a good pad for it.

    I think it is comfortable and does not put me in a chair seat. I bought it because my mare was hard to fit- however I have also since found a treed saddle that also fits her- the XW broadback Thorowgood AP saddle. I like treeless saddles but I cant say that I like them better than treed- it just depends on the particular saddle, how it fits you and the horse, etc. My absolute favorite saddle does have a tree.
    .... !!!

    I have that EXACT saddle! The Thorowgood Griffin Broadback AP! In an x-wide! What a small world!

    Ironically, it's her western saddle that doesn't fit quite right at the moment. I'm also going to have the trainer look at the english saddle next time, just to make sure.



  20. #20
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    Dec. 20, 2000
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    the good ol' Thorowgood! I really like those saddles and it was the only one of many that I've tried for her that fit.

    My most favorite saddle is the DeSoto. It is an endurance saddle, but western style. Custom made, not cheap- base price of $1500- but I had one made to fit my other very hard to fit horse and it really does fit! My husband was kidding me when i was sending the measurements in that I was wasting my money, since I'd been through so many saddles, but 3 years later I still love it and so comfortable too.



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