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  1. #21
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    Dec. 13, 2008
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    If treeless saddles inherently caused back problems people wouldn't keep winning Tevis in them (etc, etc). The debate on this is really over and it turns out a well-fitted saddle is a well-fitted saddle. A heavy rider will always put more pressure on the horse's back, and finding the right match for horse and rider becomes more important.

    Hilason does not have a great reputation, but some very committed and competitive endurance riders end up with a pretty cheap saddle on a particular horse as that just seems to be the one that works for the pair (Abetta's seem to fit the bill on occasion). If you and your horse are happy in this saddle - and the chiro has even found no issue! - that's all there is to it as far as you are concerned.

    As far as your trail buddy is concerned, her opinion isn't based in reality, so none of that really matters. I agree with much of the advice already given and would advocate a "validate and redirect" approach. People are much less likely to keep repeating themselves or harping on some irrelevant opinion if they receive some validation; "I hear you, I respect you." Then, if you feel comfortable being direct, "Let's agree to disagree." Then, "Gosh, the weather sure is doing it's weather thing, blah, blah."



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Boston Area
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    8,485

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    It sounds like you have found something that works. I have a Freeform saddle that I ride in some of the time and treed saddles that I also ride in, whatever strikes me on a particular day.

    Since you have the proper padding for your saddle and are aware of the potential issues, you should be fine (just check your horse's back). I'm not a fan of Hilason, but maybe you got a good one.

    Honestly, I think there are more problems that are caused by ill-fitting treed saddles -- and I certainly see plenty of those!

    Next time she looks funny at your treeless saddle, why don't you eye her saddle and suggest that she have the fitter out since it looks like it may be pommel high and you know what problems that could cause .
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2007
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    TX
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    ***
    Last edited by dacasodivine; Oct. 10, 2012 at 11:57 PM.



  4. #24
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    Apr. 27, 2008
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    To the OP: I would reply something like, "OK," or "I hear you," or "I heard you," or "Thanks for the input." Nothing more is needed.

    Regarding the treeless discussion: I have ridden in a Rebecca Treeless for about ten years. It's as comfortable as a sofa. It doesn't slip when I mount or dismount. It doesn't sit on my horse's spine. (I can pull a string out, from pommel to cantle while mounted. It's loose.)

    I only have one horse, so it's possible my good luck with the saddle is as much about his conformation as the saddle's; I honestly don't know. But I like the saddle.

    Oh, and for the blowing up while girthing, you should always tighten the girth at least three times: The first time, just snug it up. Move the horse around and/or wait a minute, then snug it up again. Rinse and repeat as needed. If each time, you're only snugging it up, the horse won't put as much effort into blowing up his belly.



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2009
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    574

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    I ride a Freeform. On a 14.1 horse. And I'm 230 pounds. And I distance ride.

    My horse is 7. This is the only saddle that I've ever ridden him in. I've owned him since he was 4 months old. He was started in it, and I've ridden him many a mile in it. With steep hills and everything. We have also done some dressage lessons as well as some low jumping.

    Just like a tree'd saddle, if I don't tighten the girth, it slips. I ALWAYS use a Haf pad underneath it and a breast collar as insurance. Of course, I did that when I rode a tree'd saddle. The one thing I have noticed is if my saddle pad is not exactly centered, it throws off the balance of the saddle, and therefore my balance (it tips me one way or another).

    I've had the chiro/vet out to check my horse on multiple occasions (it helped that I worked for her) and she always has commented that my horses back was excellent without any sore spots or bracing. The vets at distance rides have not seen any soreness.

    The only thing we are currently working with is that my girth is rubbing behind his front legs. I need to figure out what is causing that and fix it, but I don't think that is a saddle issue honestly.



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2011
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    128

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    Are you comfortable with confrontation? If so, simply say, "I've heard your opinion now please respect my decision enough to let it go." If she refuses simply tuen around and go the other way. If she asks why you did that be honest, "I'd rather ride alone than listen to you degrade my opinion today." Leave you the option to ride with her another day, but makes your feelings clear.

    I used to ride with some women like this. ALWAYS had an opinion on stuff. SWORE my horses could live shoeless because theirs did (different breeds). SWORE my horses didn't need grain (I have TB and they have QHs and Arabs). They even had opinions on what horses I should keep and sell, based on who they liked better! I finally got so frustrated I said, "Listen, I do not tell you how to manage your horses so please stop telling my way is wrong." I did end up making exxcuses not to ride with them because of their attitudes. I was more at peace riding alone than with those women.



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
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    south eastern US
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    I figure if treeless works for endurance riders it can work for me. Endurance is one of the very few equine sports that have vet checks along the way and at the end. If treeless saddles weren't working for them you can be sure they wouldn't be using them. That being said a well fitted saddle that works for you and your horse is golden. It doesn't matter whether it has a tree or not.

    Since your riding buddy has no personal experience with treeless....just some vague something that she might have heard or read ignore her. There are a few subjects I refuse to discuss with certain people: politics, religion, & horse care. We can just agree to disagree

    The slipping problem you are having while mounting can maybe be solved by a different padding system or by using a mounting block.

    With the new technology in foams and layered felts inside many treeless saddles they are much better at dissipating weight than ever before. I've been riding in a treeless saddle for several years and have never had soreness issues or any pressure related issues. When you are a heavier rider it does become more challenging to get adequate clearance and weight distribution but it can be done.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



  8. #28
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2009
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    Dairyville USA
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    Wow, that takes some nerve! I personally do not care for treeless saddles, but unless you asked me my opinion as a DVM or experienced horseman about your saddle and how it fits and how I feel about them in general I would keep my fat yap shut and just enjoy having a competent riding buddy!

    Guess what-I used a super thick somewhat stiff pad the other day when I was schooling my WP horse at a local arena and since I was lazy and didn't want to carry the WP saddle out to the trailer when I was packing up I used my roping saddle and OMG it slipped a bit when I mounted, that saddle certainly wasn't treeless!
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2005
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    Just east of Short Hill Mtn.
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    2,696

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    Life is just too short to ride with people that annoy you. I only get out on the trails twice a week, and make it a point of not riding with the know-it-alls, nervous divas who blame their horses for everything (Dobbin is afraid of this, Dobbin won't go by that, Dobbin needs to walk here, when really it's the rider, not Dobbin), or folks that spend the ride bad mouthing other riders or disciplines or farriers or vets or supplements or saddle choice or... you get the idea. I agree with those that said just to tell her enough. Give one polite shot across the bow and if she doesn't get it, start looking for some new riding partners. It's your time -- you deserve to enjoy it.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
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    Trail riding is supposed to be fun - if your "company" is taking that much fun out of it, ride alone or find other people to ride with.

    My SO and I occasionally ride with a woman who has a knack for saying things that come off as quite rude. She doesn't do it intentionally, she just has no filter between her brain and her mouth. At all.

    The woman is a die-hard gaited horse rider, and if she sees a nice-looking horse on the trail she will compliment the rider and ask what breed it is. If they say it's anything BUT a gaited breed, she replies, "Oh, that's too bad. It would be really nice if it was a gaited horse."

    At which point, my SO and I want to wander down the trail and act as though we don't even know her. But she doesn't realize that the things she says are insulting to other people.

    It sounds like your friend/trail buddy is more like someone who likes getting a reaction and creating drama, and who always has to be "right" and won't stop talking until she thinks she has "converted" you to her way of thinking.

    Tell her you appreciate her willingness to "help" but you're happy with your choice in saddles and it seems to be working well for your horse.

    Then change the topic.
    Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar. 17, 2008
    Location
    SE PA
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    394

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    Quote Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
    It's not a treeless saddle problem, it's a know-it-all-horse-lady problem. So yes, absolutely, we've all had this experience. In fact, I bet most of us have played both parts at one time or another.

    In situations like that, where you both have entrenched ideas on the subject that are unlikely to change, I find it best to just not discuss it period. I wouldn't bring it up to start with, and when she does, just point behind her and say "Wow, look! It's Halley's Comet! No? Oh. What were we talking about? I forgot. How bout those replacement referees?"
    This!!!



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2010
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    1,699

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    On the bright side, I like having a trail riding buddy who talks all the time. It gives the deer advance notice we are coming.



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2011
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    5,204

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    Is there a difference between bareback pads and treeless saddles on your horse? I ask because I always thought that treeless was hard on your horse's back, but I've been riding bareback (pad) for weeks now on a regular basis. Do they sit the same way on your horse?

    Will I hurt my horse by riding regularly bareback? He seems alot more relaxed and happy to go. He used to jig away from the saddle when tacking up (I'm thinking because NONE of the saddles I rode him in fit his short curvy back -sorry Fella. We get none of that now, not even when I was trying different saddles on him these last couple of days.

    If it is the case that the pad and a treeless would fit/wear the same way and riding that way consistently is not hurting my horse, then I should probably revisit treeless.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  14. #34
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    Jun. 15, 2007
    Location
    TX
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    CindyG, yeah, I need to do more checking. I usually tighten it the first time then go get my helmet or water or go pee then tighten up one more time before mounting. I'm finding that's not enough.


    PRS, I do use a mounting block. The slipping is because I'm not getting the girth tight enough before mounting, and it will be loose. I think the problem might be I was riding English for a while before getting this saddle. I only had to do once check/tighten before mounting. Now I'm back to Western and 2 of the horses need to have the girth checked/tightened at least twice, or I will wind up with a loose girth.
    Last edited by dacasodivine; Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM.



  15. #35
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    Jun. 15, 2007
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    TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPFarmette View Post
    On the bright side, I like having a trail riding buddy who talks all the time. It gives the deer advance notice we are coming.
    *
    Last edited by dacasodivine; Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
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    14,856

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    And how long has she been around horse folk? is she a relative greenie who reads all she can about the new wave stuff and is died in the wool follower of NH, bitless, shoeless, etc. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but newbies think they can read all about it and become an expert...and then feel the need to share it, wanted or not.

    I think we've all come across those types - it would drive me crazy and I'd ride alone.

    I have a shoeless friend who is the best fun, until she took a weekend course in barefoot trimming (is there any other kind of trimming?) and she's shocked at my horse's feet, which are kept impeccably by a top farrier, she rides bitless on the trails and wants to show bitless, and has sheepskin under the chin from chafing. She does Parelli with her horse... etc. I just wish she wold get the hint that I'm not a subscriber. I'm fine with her doing it, just don't preach to me.
    She jumps on every new wave, mumbo jumbo bandwaggon.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  17. #37
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    Aug. 15, 2009
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Is there a difference between bareback pads and treeless saddles on your horse? I ask because I always thought that treeless was hard on your horse's back, but I've been riding bareback (pad) for weeks now on a regular basis. Do they sit the same way on your horse?

    Will I hurt my horse by riding regularly bareback? He seems alot more relaxed and happy to go. He used to jig away from the saddle when tacking up (I'm thinking because NONE of the saddles I rode him in fit his short curvy back -sorry Fella. We get none of that now, not even when I was trying different saddles on him these last couple of days.

    If it is the case that the pad and a treeless would fit/wear the same way and riding that way consistently is not hurting my horse, then I should probably revisit treeless.

    Paula
    A bareback pad doesn't have any weight distribution/spinal protection built in. A treeless saddle may have those features, or it may rely on a specialized pad to provide them. If your horse is so much happier bareback than in a saddle, he'd probably be comfortable in an appropriate treeless saddle.

    As for whether or not bareback is hard on a horse - that's a good question. I've been riding bareback a lot lately - generally short rides at home, but several times lately on camping trips. We ride bareback to a swimming hole, or a moonlight ride, and it's been 4-5 miles at a time. I just happened to have the chiro here on the Monday after a weekend where I did 9 miles bareback (and I did wonder if that were too much, although Jet seemed happy, and I wasn't a bit sore), but the chiro found no back soreness or issues at all. She didn't think there was any reason to avoid riding bareback, and she obviously saw my size and my horse before reaching that conclusion.



  18. #38
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    Jul. 17, 2009
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    south eastern US
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Is there a difference between bareback pads and treeless saddles on your horse? I ask because I always thought that treeless was hard on your horse's back, but I've been riding bareback (pad) for weeks now on a regular basis. Do they sit the same way on your horse?

    Will I hurt my horse by riding regularly bareback? He seems alot more relaxed and happy to go. He used to jig away from the saddle when tacking up (I'm thinking because NONE of the saddles I rode him in fit his short curvy back -sorry Fella. We get none of that now, not even when I was trying different saddles on him these last couple of days.

    If it is the case that the pad and a treeless would fit/wear the same way and riding that way consistently is not hurting my horse, then I should probably revisit treeless.

    Paula
    Most name brand treeless saddles are going to perform way better than a bareback pad. Manufacturers of quality treeless saddles have worked into their designs ways to better distribute stirrup and girth pressure as well as rider weight. The problem with many early treeless saddles is that they were little more than bareback pads with stirrups. That is no longer the case. I ride in a Sensation Hybrid which IMHO is one of the best thought out designs out there. The lady who designed the Sensation line of saddles also rides and has listened to feedback on her product. She uses state of the art materials and quality leathers. You can demo a Sensation for free from any dealer. I demoed and purchased mine from Melissa at www.freedomtreeless.com
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



  19. #39
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    TX
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    [
    Last edited by dacasodivine; Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:01 AM.



  20. #40
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    Dec. 13, 2008
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    Somewhere over the rainbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Is there a difference between bareback pads and treeless saddles on your horse? I ask because I always thought that treeless was hard on your horse's back, but I've been riding bareback (pad) for weeks now on a regular basis. Do they sit the same way on your horse?

    Will I hurt my horse by riding regularly bareback? He seems alot more relaxed and happy to go. He used to jig away from the saddle when tacking up (I'm thinking because NONE of the saddles I rode him in fit his short curvy back -sorry Fella. We get none of that now, not even when I was trying different saddles on him these last couple of days.

    If it is the case that the pad and a treeless would fit/wear the same way and riding that way consistently is not hurting my horse, then I should probably revisit treeless.

    Paula
    I'll bite.

    Is there a difference between treeless and riding bareback?: yes
    Will you hurt your horse by riding bareback?: Maybe, maybe not.

    I think it's useful to keep in mind that dispersing pressure is only one quality of many a saddle will have. No one likes a heavy backpack with spaghetti straps - dispersing pressure is generally more comfortable. But if a had to choose between spaghetti straps over my shoulders and a wide, cushioning strap going around my neck, I'd choose the narrower straps any day

    In a similarly weird example, imagine a treed saddle which was designed to spread the pressure directly along the horse's spine, and lift pressure off the sides and rib cage. The pressure of your seat bones would be dispersed, but not in a way that is helpful. Obviously, that's an extreme example, but hopefully you can see that a saddle needs to do a lot more than just disperse pressure.

    I may be wrong here, but this is my understanding. I'm interested in understanding better!:

    A treed saddle can have nasty pressure points if it's ill fitting. Also, part of it's stability comes from it's ability to firmly straddle the horse's spine, especially the wither. So you may be able to mount from the ground, turn and lean without the saddle budging, but it's because it's bracing (putting pressure) against the horse's spine. A Western saddle may redistribute pressure all across the horse's back and less against the spine, but sometimes a Western saddle that doesn't fit great - but may seem to- will really dig into the wither and shoulder even more.

    Take your thumb and push it into your thigh. Now place a magazine (preferably Vanity Fair) on your leg and push again. Lastly, take a hardback book and push your thumb on it against your leg. That's 3 ways of experiencing the same pressure.

    Not everyone's seat bones protrude in the same what or at the same angle. A balanced rider on a fleshy, well muscled, aligned horse is unlikely to bother the horse's back much riding bareback.

    A bareback pad offers some minor cushioning (weight dispersal) but does not balance the weight or the rider. A good saddle will do all of those things. A treeless saddle will not have pressure points that hurt as much in the areas or times the fit is less perfect. This is true with curvy-backed horses, or anytime the shape of the horse's back changes while moving. It will also not tolerate an unbalanced load well, for better or worse (mostly for better IMO, since if one is always relying on the saddle to stay balanced, the back is being strained). But the actual pressure of the seat bone through the saddle, especially while sitting deeply or heavily, will always be greater than with a treed saddle. There's just a lot more to saddle fit and sore backs than that.

    ETA: I think I'm using the term "balanced rider" in two ways. To clarify, I think a good saddle will distribute weight in a balanced manner and encourage a balanced and aligned position by the rider. This is a different meaning from describing a rider who is, for example, lopsided, but their saddle stays centered on the horse's back.



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