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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 29, 2005
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    Default Very uncomfortable in the saddle- not balanced.

    I am not sure what I need to do to improve myself and my riding abilities.

    I competed in my first CTR this weekend and I was misearable. I felt like I was all over the place, and "double bouncing" when I posted. I just never felt right, like I was leaning to one side, but I wasn't.

    I have a Torsion Treeless (Extra Light) and I have been using it for a while, with a breast collar.

    I do have a new horse- for about 1 month- a NSH.

    I felt like my weight was never balanced and I was unsteady. The saddle is very flat and wide, (no tree) and the horse is narrow. Would that combination be the culprit?

    Does anyone have any recommendations?



  2. #2
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    Dec. 20, 2000
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    Default

    I would definitely try another saddle. I rode in a Torsion once and did not like it at all, felt kind of chair seat-like and unbalanced.
    Not all treeless saddles (or any saddle) works for everyone.



  3. #3
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    Mar. 18, 2008
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    How does a saddle with no tree spread the load out over the horses back. A load on the horses back should never exceed 1 psi Pound Per Square Inch or the back will suffer. A good saddle with a tree spreads your 100 plus pound load over a broad area.
    To ride bareback on a horse is not good for the horse, it will destroy the back.
    I weight 220 with saddle and have never had a sore backed horse in about 100,000 miles that I have covered but I always worry about a good fitting saddle, one with about 300 square inches of contact area.
    I did like the Browns orthoflex theory.
    I would like someone to explain to me how a treeless saddle spreads the load???
    It is like walking in high heels or snow shoes over deep snow??? IT is all about spreading the load or psi.
    Lets say you wiegh 150, just an example and your treeless saddle doesn't spread the load since no tree or foundation. If you contact load area on this treeless saddle is say 75 square inches the back of the horese feels 150 divided by 75 or 2 pounds for every square inch , way too much for comfort.
    Now if you run an old browns with 300 square inches of load spreading you end up with 150 divided by 300 or 1/2 pound per square inch of load on the horses back and a healthy back.
    Needles?? We all get them, we want them sharp so the load is very light as they prick the skin. Small contact area and it goes right in with little trouble.
    We want the opposite for our horses, large loading area .
    If you had to carry a 100 pounds of rock or 100 pounds of feathers in a sack on your back which would be easier for you???



  4. #4
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    May. 29, 2005
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    Default

    The saddle seems to fit nicely, never sore back, and even sweat marks.


    All of the sudden I feel like I just learned how to ride and trying to figure out balance and rythem. I want to be a better rider, I just never realized how hard riding was until I rode treeless.

    I am concerned about the psi- I do not know much about that. I purchased this saddle in particular so it would fit. I wouldn't want to do more harm than good. I like that I can use this saddle on more than one horse too.

    I am considered a lightweight, 130lbs or so.

    Just curious, as 100 lbs of feathers and 100lbs of rock would weigh the same, no?



  5. #5
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    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Default

    I have Torsion EL and really like it. I am not a lightweight rider but I've had no problems (so far) with my horses' backs. I use it on two different horses.

    A few questions/suggestions:
    - what type of pad are you using? It's important to pad correctly with a treeless saddle so that it protects your horse's spine. I use either a saddleright or a skito pad.
    - As for slipping, if your saddle is slipping you might try using a thinline pad as well (not a substitute for the above).

    A treeless saddle, especially the EL, does not give you the same support as a treed saddle. In particular, the Torsion design also has no "twist" and it's a different feeling. I like the fact that I can really feel my horses' backs when I ride and I do find the saddle secure, but it takes some getting used to.

    Remember, that everyone is different when it comes to saddle fit. I have very long legs and the position of the stirrup attachments works for me on the EL; on the Barefoot Cheyenne, the stirrup attachments were too far forward and they put me in a chair seat.

    I'd give it some more time and see how it feels after you've ridden in it for awhile.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  6. #6
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    Mar. 29, 2006
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    Maryland
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    Default

    I've been riding endurance in treeless saddles for years, no back problems yet. I agree with gothedistance that you need more time, on this horse, in an arena would be good and working with someone to improve your riding. The change to a narrow horse with most likely bigger movement is most likely what is really making you feel so awkward. A change in saddle and in horse at the same time will take getting used to.

    You do need to be using a good pad designed for treeless saddles, preferably with removeable inserts. You can trim the inserts to change the flat feel of the saddle by the way.

    I rode a NSH years ago that belonged to someone else. In my Sport saddle by the way. That horse was so much narrower, like a litle tube shaped barrel compared to my own horse. He also had a huge trot with a lot more sproing to it which literally tossed me off the saddle until I learned to control my posting and absorb all that movement. At first I felt really awful. It took time to change and feel comfortable. I just went into the arena and slowed him down and focused on my riding. I rode him in an LD eventually but I didn't buy him.

    Bonnie



  7. #7
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    Mar. 18, 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IrishKharma View Post
    I am concerned about the psi- I do not know much about that. I purchased this saddle in particular so it would fit. I wouldn't want to do more harm than good. I like that I can use this saddle on more than one horse too.

    I am considered a lightweight, 130lbs or so.

    Just curious, as 100 lbs of feathers and 100lbs of rock would weigh the same, no?
    First the rocks? Yes they weigh the same as the feathers but a bag of rocks thrown over your back would dig in in spots causing sores while the feathers spead the load , no sharp points so the feathers would be easier on your back.

    Everything from good handling cars to stable houses are built on a foundation. The most exotic handling sports cars are based on a very rigid frame. Solid floor in an expensive house is based on sturdy rigid frame or floor joice.


    If you have a good frame the load is evenly distrubuted over the back, covering a large area. If you ride bareback you butt bones dig into the horse and your load is not spread out enough. How does a treeless saddle help spread the load. Sure you are light but even you riding bareback would sore a horse.
    They talk about becomeing a better rider to make sure you are totally balanced?? That is fine for a short ride but not fine on the long haul.
    If you ever ride for hours on end you mind wanders, you get sore, you loose concentration and your riding becomes sloppy. A good saddle with a tree spreads the load. A well fitted treed saddle will hold it's possition in the center of the back and not slid to the side.
    I have demonstrated many times mounting a horse with NO girth, only using the tree covering the backbone of the horse and I can mount easily without the saddle slipping
    I ride alot, more then I believe anyone here on this forum does and have been dong it for 50 years. I average 50 miles a week and at times was running 70-80 per week and this is pleasure riding mainly.
    Last weekend I ran 45 miles in the weekend alone and this weekend 40 miles just having fun.
    'I do run with a GPS and keep an accurate log book.
    I believe strongly in a good fitting saddle, a treed saddle.
    I weigh 220 with saddle, the horse weighs 870, I do all shoing myself and in the last 17 years and 30,000 miles he has never come down with a sore back or lame.
    My new guy, a young 4 now 5 year old has over 2000 miles on him in 1 year and again is running sound with a treed saddle.
    For long distance you have to let your mind wander, think about things and forget the riding. Don't concentrate on it, have fun and the miles roll back behind you. If you are not at ease , have to worry about riding style, are you centered, whatever the miles become too hard.
    I have had alot of people start crying around the 40 mile mark and it is normal for alot to hit a wall and get tired and want to quit. I joke with them, try to get their mind off the ride and onto other things. Forget riding and just enjoy the horse moving under you, the beauty of the surrounding and don't concentrate on style. Reserve that for the ring if you must.

    Anyway preached enough. My life is long distance, 5 days a week I am out there just having fun, not training but enjoying my 4 legged friend.

    Good luck



  8. #8
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IrishKharma View Post
    The saddle seems to fit nicely, never sore back, and even sweat marks.


    All of the sudden I feel like I just learned how to ride and trying to figure out balance and rythem. I want to be a better rider, I just never realized how hard riding was until I rode treeless.

    I am concerned about the psi- I do not know much about that. I purchased this saddle in particular so it would fit. I wouldn't want to do more harm than good. I like that I can use this saddle on more than one horse too.

    I am considered a lightweight, 130lbs or so.

    Just curious, as 100 lbs of feathers and 100lbs of rock would weigh the same, no?
    Treed saddles can hide a LOT of rider weakness and flaws. I found this out painfully fast the first time I rode treeless. It takes all of about 15 minutes to figure out that you aren't as strong, as balanced, or as good as you think you are. It's more like riding bareback.

    Do exercises off the horse to strengthen your core.

    When you post, make an effort to recruit the deep inner core muscles. Don't push off your stirrups. Use your core and your inner thighs and hip muscles to post. Breathe in and out with deep breaths, keep your shoulders back and your body relaxed.

    I really had some serious problems when I started riding treeless. I ended up in physical therapy because in a treed saddle I was pushing off the stirrups for balance. With the switch to treeless, I was forcing my hip and core muscles to work triple hard and they weren't prepared for it. After a few rides in a treeless saddle I had such terrible pain in my hips I had difficulty even walking. When I went to the PT, I found out my hips were rotated and out of alignment. She did a lot of testing and figured out that my leg and calf muscles were extremely strong but my core is extremely weak. She gave me exercises to recruit the core and this has helped my stability tremendously.

    I would seriously pursue a pilates class or a physical therapist.



  9. #9
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    Default

    I think all the crap about trees being necessary to disperse load is just that - crap. If you have a good pad with a good foam core or wool or whatever, load IS going to be dispersed adequately.

    The horse's back is a dynamic structure that is CONSTANTLY flexing and distorting from second to second. A treeless is able to distort and flex with the muscles and spine.

    Native Americans rode bareback for eons. If their butt bones were soring and laming up horses, they would eventually have all their horses lame and out of service and the Native Americans would probably have been totally extinct. By the same token, if hard wooden trees sored and lamed up horses, then all cavalry horses would have been fed to the buzzards. So I think that EITHER scenario is perfectly acceptable if it works for your horse.

    If your horse and you do well in a treed saddle, then use it. If you want to use a treeless, then use it. No solution is perfect for every situation.



  10. #10
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    May. 29, 2005
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    NC
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    Default Padding/ twist ideas?

    I have the correct style of pads. I use a Christ Lammencelle pad with inserts, and I have a skito pad I alternate with.

    How do you cut the inserts to make a twist? I would like to learn more about that.
    The saddle DOES fit the horse, extremely well, no soreness.

    I just feel like a sloppy rider and loose in it. I have had the saddle for 2 years now, but this is a new horse. She is a NSH- and was a country english pleasure show horse in her past. I finally have her feet shod the way I want them and she is less animated than she was. (she was padded- yuck!)

    I just want her to be as happy as possible, not having to feel my bouncing all over the place!

    RE: the feathers vs/ the rocks- the feathers would be more comparable to a treeless saddle and the rocks a treed saddle? I guess since I am blonde I still don't get it?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Boston Area
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    Default

    I don't think you can use the inserts to make a twist. Heather Moffett makes a product that is supposed to help people who need more of a twist.

    Heather Moffett Hip Saver Pad
    The Hipsaver Pad was designed by Heather Moffett to provide an additional "twist" in the seat of treeless saddles. This model has a velcro base to attach it to the seat has "wings" that fasten to the front of the saddle. It cushions the rider and takes away the feeling of the hips being overstretched.

    These are mostly sold in the UK, but you can buy them at http://www.justequus.com/Shop-Enligh...cessories.html

    They are expensive! But I guess if they help, it's worth it.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
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    The first question is "are you riding effectively?" The best way to judge this is to have someone video you as you put your horse through it's paces. It's important that you ride like you did in your event. You may find that it's not the saddle, or it is; it's not your seat, or it is; it's not something you think about, or it is.

    The beauty, and the horror, of the video camera is that it doesn't care whether or not the saddle has a tree, or how much you paid for the horse, or how many miles you rode last year, or what your last name is, or the color of your riding outfit, or the balance in your checking account. It will give you an honest picture of you on the horse.

    Note, don't do this if you have a thin skin.

    G.



  13. #13
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    Mar. 18, 2008
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    Ontario, Canada
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    We pull the shoes making the horse run barefoot, we pull the tree out of the sadde making for a much better chance of a sore back, we make it hard on the rider causing you to totally cocentrate on riding, what is next?? One hand tied behind your back.
    Ask the people giving advice how long they have been in the sport???
    ONe year or two???
    I know one of the posters has only 1 year under her belt and is giving advice???
    Maybe we should just read books and forget about experience???

    There are people here agreeing that you can't hide bad riding with a treeless saddle. Is that what you want?? Every mistake you make amplified to the horse??
    Don't we want to protect him from our mistakes?? Don't we want to make life as easy for him as possible??

    Get a good fitting tree saddle, put shoes on the guy and go out and have fun.
    Forget training and just ride.
    I have a barn full of experts but I ride more miles then the entire barn added together, that's about 25 experts VS one that doen't know a thing???



  14. #14
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    May. 29, 2005
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    Default

    I pulled show shoes with giant pads off the horse. She is still shod all the way around, just without English Pleasure 4 inch pads!

    I don't care if my saddle has a tree or not, I have both. I just want to know what I can do to make me better, such as the core excersises etc.

    I will keep looking for ways to improve. At my CTR I learned I need to get lighter in the saddle and not to pull when I mount : )

    Those are the pointers I want, so I CAN improve, for my horse.



  15. #15
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    Aug. 25, 2007
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    The video of yourself will be the best "pointer" you can get. You can see, yourself, the things that others see and, with the help of some good ground coaching, address the issues.

    But, as I say, it's quite a "smug bashing" experience.

    As far as tree vs. no tree is concerned, once upon a time, about 2000 years ago, all saddles were "treeless." People who depended upon the horse for survival developed a saddle with a rigid tree because it enhanced the utility of the horse. Sometimes we "moderns" figure we know more about using horses than the Parthians and the Romans and Huns and Mongols. For folks who think that way I say, "God Bless Ya."

    G.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 29, 2006
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    Yes, you can trim the foam inserts of a pad to create a twist for a flat treeless saddle, I've been doing it for years with Skito pads. Think, what is it about many treeless saddles that cause them to have a flat seat? It'a wide, flat backed horse and a saddle that is built like a padded bareback pad. what ever the shape of the horses back is the shape the saddle takes. Not all the treeless saddles are built this way but many are. If you got on a horse bareback that had a wide flat back and then tried to put your legs back under you you'd feel this pressure on your hips and your legs and knees are forced into a bowlegged (painful) sort of shape. If you climb onto a horse who has a narrower build, and a less flat back (more of an oval barrel) you legs could drop down under with much less discomfort. When you ride in a nice dressage saddle with a narrow twist, the saddles panels and seat are shaped to raise you up off the horses back and allow your legs to hang down in a V shape, releaving the pressure on your hips and knees.

    So, you buy a pad with extra thick inserts. Remove the inserts and get out the electric carving knife. You will trim the inserts to artificially change the shape of your horses back, underneath the saddle, just like the panels under the dressage saddle. You can trim the inserts so they are thickest along the horses spine and taper thiner along the lower edge down under you thighs. You can actually cut a small 1/2 moon shape completely away along this lower edge to allow your mid thighs a closer contact with the barrel. this allows your legs to hang in that V shape. If you turn an english saddle that has a narrow twist over , you will see the saddles panels are narrowest in the center of the saddle where the riders thighs are. This is part of the twist.

    You can also taper the pad inserts at the front edge or back edge depending on your horses needs. many horses are short backed or high butted. Tapering the back edge of the inserts allows for the rise of the loins in a short backed horse and allows a saddle that looks to be a bit long for the back to fit comfortable. Some horses have a big dip behind the shoulder muscles. Taper the front couple of inches of the inserts then keep the full thickness to fill the dip. this will keep a saddle from sliding backwards into the dipped area and bumping against the back edge of the shoulders.

    You can do this pad customizing for treed saddles too. by the way, Skito makes inserts for treeless saddle pads with extra foam pieces laminated onto the "spine" edge of the inserts. This is to help create a twist.

    Bonnie



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow14 View Post
    We pull the shoes making the horse run barefoot, we pull the tree out of the sadde making for a much better chance of a sore back, we make it hard on the rider causing you to totally cocentrate on riding, what is next?? One hand tied behind your back.
    Ask the people giving advice how long they have been in the sport???
    ONe year or two???
    I know one of the posters has only 1 year under her belt and is giving advice???
    Maybe we should just read books and forget about experience???

    There are people here agreeing that you can't hide bad riding with a treeless saddle. Is that what you want?? Every mistake you make amplified to the horse??
    Don't we want to protect him from our mistakes?? Don't we want to make life as easy for him as possible??

    Get a good fitting tree saddle, put shoes on the guy and go out and have fun.
    Forget training and just ride.
    I have a barn full of experts but I ride more miles then the entire barn added together, that's about 25 experts VS one that doen't know a thing???
    You make a LOT of erroneous assumptions Norval. Some horses can go barefoot perfectly fine. Some wear boots, some wear shoes. Whatever works for the horse.

    No one said that a treeless saddle "amplifies mistakes." I think it's totally the opposite. I think that mistakes are just not as easy to make because one mistake and you're in the dirt. You HAVE to have good balance, good legs, and a good seat. It's much harder to jam your legs out in front, brace on the stirrups, and flop down the trail. You HAVE to use your core muscles and you must have good balance.

    Treed saddles can be just as detrimental to a horse as a treeless. I trim a horse who has two nasty huge white marks and muscle atrophy either side of the spine and withers from a tight, pinching saddle. How many of us have seen saddle sores, pressure points, swellings, white hairs, etc. from treed saddles?

    The fact is - whether you use treed or treeless doesn't matter. What does matter is that it fits the horse well and that it is comfortable for both horse and rider.

    Forget training and just ride? Not sure what you mean here.



  18. #18
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    Mar. 18, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    Forget training and just ride? Not sure what you mean here.

    Vickey people get too wrapped up in a training schedule and forget to have fun. They set training schedules that involve certian things on certain days and treat it as gospel.
    For get it and just ride for pure pleasure. When I had 2 partners we went for breakfast every Saturday and Sunday on horseback. The restaurants were both about 12 or 13 miles away one way and we would ride over, tie up the horses, eat a large breadfast and ride home. We had fun and at the same time the horse put on about 50 miles each.
    During the week we went for ice cream, dairy queen actually and it was 6 miles to one place and 7 to the other. WE went for ice cream, again tied the horses up, had out dairy queen and again rode home for another 12-14 miles.
    We used the horses pretty hard knowing they were going to get a break while tied and we had fun. We had horse races, went swimming and just, went shopping to a market again about 10 miles one way. Tied the horses in the horse barn at the market, shopped, had fies, whatever and rod home.
    I love wandering the forestest and spend 4 or 5 days a week wandering the bush and using the unplanted fields for some good runs.
    I also try to jump every now and then to keep the horse handy as well as a little reining for quicker response.
    50 years of riding, you have to find something to keep you interested.
    I just ride.
    That said I do keep logs on all my horses so I know what is happening, where I went and distances that I have travelled.
    I have a nice gps that also reads time of day for my watch, time of ride so I know if I have been out too long and altitude for heights of hills.
    It is small and I carry it in my pocket or in summer in the saddle bag.
    Have fun with the horse and while riding concentrate on the beauty of the mement, let the mid wander, ride relaxed and let the mind wander.
    Vickey like I said I have been doing this for 50 years and I know how to keep myself entertained while jogging along.
    I seldom walk anywhere, It can give you hemmoroids or at the very least a sore butt. I trot or lope all the time. If I am going to walk the horse get off and lead him. It takes the stiffness out of the body.
    http://i31.tinypic.com/20f9usl.jpg



  19. #19
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    Norval,

    I agree with you 100% on having fun. I just wasn't sure how it pertained to her problem. But in any case, yes, you have to have fun or it's no longer a hobby. Thanks for posting the pic of Strider. He's gorgeous. I wish you lived closer to me, we could have some nice rides!



  20. #20
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    I tell you what I don't enjoy riding a horse that doesn't fill up my leg and your current horse sounds like that sort. I'm short and roundish, it's not like I need much- but these little narrow critters - ugh- there's nothing to balance with, or much to sit on. Add a treeless to that, forget about it. Wreck city. I tend to sit pretty well, no chair seat, no pushing on the stirrups- but lacking an actual HORSE to straddle vs a wide board, I'm not happy...

    I'd be finding a treed saddle that captures yon sliver of a beastie, so I can enjoy the ride.



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