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  1. #21
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    A saddle is a big investment, especially for those of us who can buy one saddle to do everything, and especially for those of us who cannot spend thousands of dollars on a saddle! I borrowed an EZ fit to try this weekend. I am thinking of purchasing a Skito bridge pad to try under one of the dressage saddles that bridged, but I don't know that this is any better a solution than a treeless -it strikes me like wearing shoes that don't fit by adding extra socks or a moleskin or something.

    I'm telling you that this is getting frustrating. I've learned a great deal about treed saddles and how important it is for them to fit properly. It makes me feel like unless I can afford to have a custom made saddle for Fella I'm not doing him a service.

    I'm thinking if the EZ fit works I'll by a Skito treeless pad and go with the EZ fit.

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



  2. #22
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    Jul. 20, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post


    For example, one question for which I have not yet heard an answer is why, if treeless saddles promote a better, healthier back, do you not see them in upper level dressage competitions? These are riders that do everything possible to showcase their horse's gaits. What makes a saddle suitable for endurance (where they are widely use) but not dressage?
    I ride endurance with my own horses but I work at one of the top dressage facilities in the country. Anyway, my opinion on your question is they are two very different styles of riding and two very different types of horses. As endurance riders we are much lighter on our horses backs- lots of posting, lots of two point, for dressage it's all sitting (at least as you move up the levels). And if you've ever ridden the big moving warmbloods, it feels nothing like a big moving arab in endurance and really it shouldn't. But honestly, I think the biggest obstacle to dressage riders going treeless is that it's all about tradition and in endurance it's more like "hey this is new and sounds like it might work well for my horse, let's try it". So while I think a treeless could work quite well for many dressage horses, it's not going to happen right now when custom fitted/ made saddles from fancy name brands are what you're "supposed" to do.
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain



  3. #23
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    Jul. 20, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    A saddle is a big investment, especially for those of us who can buy one saddle to do everything, and especially for those of us who cannot spend thousands of dollars on a saddle! I borrowed an EZ fit to try this weekend. I am thinking of purchasing a Skito bridge pad to try under one of the dressage saddles that bridged, but I don't know that this is any better a solution than a treeless -it strikes me like wearing shoes that don't fit by adding extra socks or a moleskin or something.

    I'm telling you that this is getting frustrating. I've learned a great deal about treed saddles and how important it is for them to fit properly. It makes me feel like unless I can afford to have a custom made saddle for Fella I'm not doing him a service.

    I'm thinking if the EZ fit works I'll by a Skito treeless pad and go with the EZ fit.

    Paula
    Paula, Where in PA are you? If you aren't too far from me, you are welcome to try my Barefoot and my Black Forest.
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain



  4. #24
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    Oct. 12, 2001
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    For example, one question for which I have not yet heard an answer is why, if treeless saddles promote a better, healthier back, do you not see them in upper level dressage competitions? These are riders that do everything possible to showcase their horse's gaits. What makes a saddle suitable for endurance (where they are widely use) but not dressage?
    well, probably because in upper-level dressage they are mostly showing off the RIDER's skill, and one thing a treed saddle does well is really assist the rider in maintaining a solid position. Especially on one of those big wide bouncy warmbloods- a nice narrow twist-saddle with lots of structure to help you sit that powerful trot is more important than a healthier horse back.
    I'd pay more attention to the endurance people- they are far more concerned about horse's health and attitude than anything else, and they spend more time in the saddle than anyone else. If you only ride your horse for 40 minutes a day you can probably get away with poor saddle fit easier than if you ride for 8 hours a day.



  5. #25
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    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post

    I'm telling you that this is getting frustrating. I've learned a great deal about treed saddles and how important it is for them to fit properly. It makes me feel like unless I can afford to have a custom made saddle for Fella I'm not doing him a service.
    Very few horses need a custom saddle. Certainly, I would not buy one at the beginning of a horse's career as his body shape is bound to change. You would be better off buying something that fits a little big and learning how to pad it effectively.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  6. #26
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    Hey, I'm back!

    Tabula rasha, thank you so much for your kind offer. I live right over the border in PA (from MD) and actually teach and ride in MD. I'll pm you. Stand by.

    Bogie, I would hate to do my horse an injury with the wrong saddle, especially as I've realized that we have done him injury in the past with ill-fitting saddles. I'll tell you how the EZ fit goes. And, like I said, if I like it and he likes it I'll splurge on a Skito treeless pad for heavier riders and go with that.

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



  7. #27
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    Oct. 9, 2000
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    Have you looked at Stubbens for treed saddles? You're likely to find a banana-shaped panel there.

    I don't mean to be rude, but you should be looking at a seat size larger than 17.5 - you've mentioned before your long thigh, and your trainer's challenge to get fitter and lose weight. Riding in a too-small saddle is a very common problem; it affects your balance, how the saddle fits your horse (and his comfort level), the effectiveness of your aids, etc. You can go larger in seat size with a banana panel.

    Aren't there any independent fitters in your area? That would be your best solution - find someone who can bring you a LOT of saddles to try.



  8. #28
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    I don't think you're being rude at all. I'd prefer an 18 to a 17.5 but have ridden in both. The treeless I'm trying today is a large. If I go treeless I will be looking for a pad for a heavier rider.

    I contacted one fitter who basically said s/he didn't have anything in my budget so that fitter won't come. My new trainer has another fitter, but s/he's really hard to get in touch with. We'll keep trying, but there it is. (Fitters' genders have been obscured intentionally).

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



  9. #29
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    Jul. 17, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    well, probably because in upper-level dressage they are mostly showing off the RIDER's skill, and one thing a treed saddle does well is really assist the rider in maintaining a solid position. Especially on one of those big wide bouncy warmbloods- a nice narrow twist-saddle with lots of structure to help you sit that powerful trot is more important than a healthier horse back.
    I'd pay more attention to the endurance people- they are far more concerned about horse's health and attitude than anything else, and they spend more time in the saddle than anyone else. If you only ride your horse for 40 minutes a day you can probably get away with poor saddle fit easier than if you ride for 8 hours a day.
    ^^^
    "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."



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    well, probably because in upper-level dressage they are mostly showing off the RIDER's skill, and one thing a treed saddle does well is really assist the rider in maintaining a solid position. Especially on one of those big wide bouncy warmbloods- a nice narrow twist-saddle with lots of structure to help you sit that powerful trot is more important than a healthier horse back.
    I'd pay more attention to the endurance people- they are far more concerned about horse's health and attitude than anything else, and they spend more time in the saddle than anyone else. If you only ride your horse for 40 minutes a day you can probably get away with poor saddle fit easier than if you ride for 8 hours a day.
    While this may be true in some instances, when you get to the true upper level riders they are very concerned about their horses health, fitness etc. Both our big and small tour horses get regular massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, swimming, etc as well as correct riding. They also have custom (yes, treed) saddles which are seen and adjusted by the fitter/ maker several times a year if necessary. There is NO way these horses could preform at the top of their game with sore backs.

    I don't think either (treeless or treed) is better as long as they are done properly- a treeless saddle that is improperly fitted/ padded is just a bad as the same thing in a treed saddle. The treeless works great for me in my situation, so much so that I rode in one of my treed saddles after two months of riding exclusively in the treeless and then listed the treed saddle for sale the next day
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain



  11. #31
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    My suggestion of questions was for the OP. Too many people buy saddles without questioning the logic behind them or understanding the mechanics of saddle fit. There really isn't a "one size fits all" solution for saddles, not even treeless ones.

    I am lucky -- I have a horse that's pretty easy to fit and have access to one of the best saddle fitters in the county. I have both treed and treeless saddles and a horse with a happy back.

    I didn't learn about how to properly fit a saddle until I was in my 20s and I really wish I'd understood more about the impact of a poorly fitting saddle a lot earlier in my riding career.

    I also think everyone should learn some basic massage techniques and should then become familiar with how their horse feels. Where does he hold tension? Where is he tender? Is he tight in certain areas. Once you have that baseline then you can catch problems with saddle fit early and resolve them before there is a problem.
    Last edited by Bogie; Oct. 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  12. #32
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    Oct. 20, 2006
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    Default Treeless Dressage

    Ever try to ride a big moving warmblood in a treeless saddle? I have, several actually and it ain't pretty or comfortable. They simply are not structured enough to provide any support particularly in the sitting trot. I also had 2 pros ride warmbloods in my treeless saddle and both admitted the horses moved well, but they hated it for the reason mentioned above. You may get away with a treeless dressage saddle at the lower levels but they aren't conducive to upper level work. Having said that, I love my Sensation treeless, it is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in. My horse was having back issues with his custom Schleese, but went amazingly well bareback, so began my treeless saddle search. After trying several, I decided on the Sensation, but I don't ride dressage any more.



  13. #33
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    Mar. 4, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    well, probably because in upper-level dressage they are mostly showing off the RIDER's skill, and one thing a treed saddle does well is really assist the rider in maintaining a solid position. Especially on one of those big wide bouncy warmbloods- a nice narrow twist-saddle with lots of structure to help you sit that powerful trot is more important than a healthier horse back.
    I totally disagree.

    Upper level dressage (any dressage, really) is judged on the horse's performance first and foremost. The mark for rider's position and effectiveness of the aids is a very tiny part of the overall score. And those horses would not be able to do a good job with the super-athletic movements they do with a sore back.



  14. #34
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    Nov. 16, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Bogie,

    I really appreciate how much time you took for your post.

    I'd thought about treeless in passing along time ago and put it aside. I'm revisiting it again because my horse is really ridiculously hard to fit a treed saddle. Fella (Perch/STB) has a short, curvy back so everything I've thrown on him lately (Toulouse, Thorowgood, Barnsby, Hastilow) bridged. I've been riding him in a bareback pad for more than a month now -a few times a week. I found that he has relaxed so much and moves freer with the pad. Not to mention my seat has improved with the pad (for example, my aids have been separating and I am also much more relaxed).

    In hindsight all the issues I had with him not standing for mounting, jigging when tacking up, and more than likely the bucking his previous trainer experienced, were from other saddles not fitting (my Wintec 500 and her Albion)!

    So here I am looking for the elusive banana-shaped treed saddle, while at the same time riding a very different horse (tension-wise) bareback. I can't help but wonder if I am putting my efforts towards the wrong thing -that elusive banana shaped dressage saddle. I thought, if he goes so well in a Best Friends bareback pad that has no support, maybe the solution is a treeless saddle with good support?

    So this is why I'm revisiting treeless.

    Paula
    Paula, have you looked in to Duett? They are extremely helpful with measuring and doing custom orders. Their prices are very reasonable too.

    I've ridden in a Barefoot and hated it - couldn't get out of the chair seat (and from the looks of most of the riders in the gallery on treeless sites, they can't either ).

    I love, love, love Ansur treeless saddles, but they are way too expensive for me. I schooled in one off and on for a couple of years, on a Percheron. I've used a friend's a few times on different horses and every one moved better in it (especially by STB who had never cantered under saddle until I put the Ansur on her). You can usually find used Ansurs for under $900.



  15. #35
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    Jun. 8, 2008
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    There are two Ansurs on Ebay now, both for under $900. One is a even a small (which is roughly 17.5-18 in a regular saddle) They do both have the "ugly" front not the traditional looking front but it's not really that bad.

    I liked my Ansur well enough. Loved the seat, hated the flaps, but that's more because I hate the straight dressage flap than any fault of the saddle. Sold it on Ebay and my new Sensation will be here in a few days.



  16. #36
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    Jan. 23, 2001
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    "If you only ride your horse for 40 minutes a day you can probably get away with poor saddle fit easier than if you ride for 8 hours a day."

    Really?? Comments like that make my hair stand on end. Do you really want to subject your horse to poor saddle fit that could ostensibly eventually even cripple him even if you only ride once a day for about an hour?

    Sad attitude. I pity your horse.



  17. #37
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    Holy wow! I rode the borrowed EZ fit http://ezfittreelesssaddles.com/ and it was freakin' amazing!

    1. Big seat. When I borrowed it the saddle looked huuuuge, but when I put it on my draft cross it didn't look like the flaps were wings and when I put my big butt in it, it was like two giant hands were cupping my behind. It felt like the first time I ever wore Dansko clogs (for those of you who've ever worn Danskos you know what I mean). It's like when I discovered tampons and realized I didn't have to ride a mattress for 5-7 days a month! TMI?

    2. Center fire rigging. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...Q9QEwBQ&dur=23 Amazing stability, especially in such a long saddle. So instead of a girth at the girth notch you have anchoring coming from the front and the back of the saddle. I was a little freaked that the girth then didn't fit in the notch I'm used to, but I hacked up and down hills after my lesson, WTC and the saddle didn't shift.

    3. You can place the stirrup irons anywhere and I guess since I borrowed this from a dressage rider the stirrups were right under me. No chair seat. The one thing was that my stirrup leathers were far too long for this saddle and the leathers had to be triple wrapped for them to be somewhere close to short enough. I am sure when I get mine this will not be an issue because the stirrups would be made for the saddle.

    4. Fella was so relaxed and forward it was ridiculous!

    Most important -sweat patterns.

    We had a lesson WT and then hacked out WTC -rolling hills with one steep uphill we trotted. I did not have a treeless pad so I used my dressage pad (the lender said that would be okay).

    No dry spots, no rubs, no twists. Nice consistent wet on either side of the spine. The spine looked okay but I'd like to see a bit wider strip of dry. I think because I am heavier the line was narrower. The new saddles he makes have the padding velcroed on so you can make a wider channel for a flatter spine. NOTE -Fella has a nice reset spine -it makes a valley not a ridge. From what I read about treeless, it is not a good fit for a ridged spine because you simply would not get the clearance without a tree.

    I'm sold. I'll ride it a few more times, but I'm thinking the EZ fit and a Skito treeless pad for my heavier body and we're golden.

    I'm cross posting this to UDDB where I'd asked the same question.

    Verdict -barring unforeseen issues this is my saddle. I'm going to do everything in it: dressage, trail, hack, competitive trail, working equitation, cow sorting, barrel racing, whatever!

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



  18. #38
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    Aug. 27, 2010
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    I have a Freeform Classic that is truly amazing. I grew up riding bareback, and this saddle puts me in the same position and balance on my horse.

    It's worked really well on the two horses I've used it on. With an Equipedic pad, the sweat marks have shown the spine is clear and sweat-free, the sides are symmetrical. Both horses have been happier and moved better with this saddle than the ones I owned previously. I've used a breast collar to help stabilize the saddle, since I ride like an endurance rider.

    All that being said, the saddle and pad may be for sale. I'm no longer riding because of chronic back pain, that probably won't change, darn it all, and the saddle is just sitting here. If anyone is interested, it's the short back model, has been used maybe 50 times, and is awesome to the max. Pad and 2 mohair girths would be included. PM me if interested.



  19. #39
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    I think I like the EZ fit because it is rigid. It rides like a treed saddle. Many of the treeless strike me as rather soft and bendable. I looked up the equipedic and can only find this pad. Is this what you have? http://www.downunderweb.com/store/sa...FVBgMgodLn8AxA

    I don't see that it's a treeless pad with a split where the spine is and relief where the withers are. I was looking for something like the Skito http://www.carouseltights.com/prod02.htm

    or even the Hilason http://www.amazon.com/Hilason-Wester...I3BR1XYDA7BJFC

    If I could get the same thing in the Hilason I'd sooner spend $60 than $200

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



  20. #40
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    You do not want a memory foam pad as it will compress. You want the rigid foam of a skito pad (or similar). Otherwise you are not protecting your horse's back. The pad you linked to is a meant to go under a standard Western saddle, not a treeless sadde.

    This is a very, very important component of the saddle set up. It is a false economy to buy a sub-standard pad. The pads that are effective cost serious dollars.

    If you want to save $$ you can often find used treeless saddle pads used on eBay.

    Here's a list of some of the pads available from Action Rider Tack
    http://www.actionridertack.com/c-272...ddle-pads.aspx

    Gotreeless.com also has a list.

    Many problems that people have with treeless saddles are the result of not padding properly.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



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