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Saddle suggestions?

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  • Saddle suggestions?

    My horsey pursuits are in the midst of change due to health issues and I was wondering if you guys could offer some suggestions.

    I'm hoping to be back in the saddle by summer but the thought of riding in my flat-as-a-board, 15 year old Ainsley CC makes me cringe. It is not the type of saddle you want to spend a lot of time sitting in!

    I need something comfortable to trail ride in, that will offer some support and security. Adjustable tree would be nice as I will most likely be borrowing horses. Lightweight would be awesome. I'm not looking to do anything serious just some light trail riding a couple days a week.

    Just trying to do a little research as I'm bored out of my mind and looking forward to getting back to riding....

    Any ideas?
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

  • #2
    I second the treeless suggestion. Hands down. They suit many horses and I ride both my horses in one. I have a Freeform but have heard good things about Sensations as well.

    FF's are extremely comfortable, stable and have a narrower twist than many other treeless which helps with my bad back and knee. I couldn't handle a treed saddle again.

    I did have a paneled Orthoflex Feather that I really liked. Ended up selling it because the treeless suited my horse better but I have always liked their saddles.

    Good Luck on the great saddle hunt~


    • Original Poster

      I have no experience with treeless but have heard they are like sitting on... nothing? As in no support/twist?

      I may be way off base but alas I am used to close contacts exclusively... educate me!
      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


      • #4
        Different brands of treeless saddles are just as different as treed saddles can be. I have Bob Marshall saddles (trail and endurance) and I love them. They are not like sitting on nothing and I find they feel somewhat like my old, comfy close contact saddle (except BM's have western rigging). I've tried Torsion before and didn't like it at all. I suggest you try a few before you buy one.
        If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....


        • #5
          I wouldn't say it feels like sitting on nothing. I think it feels like sitting on a big marshmallow. You sort of go poooooof down into the seat and there you are. I have sheepskin covers for my treeless saddles. I don't like the seats they come with. The only complaint I have about the treeless is the saddle slippage, but to balance the complaint out - I have fat, mutton withered horses, and I don't use the expensive pads that are recommended. I get by with others. People who have the expensive pads don't seem to have as many issues.

          I'm a treeless convert, for sure. I can't describe the feeling. It's bareback but better. You can feel everything the horse does, can even feel them breathing and their ribs flexing under your seat.

          Join the treeless yahoo group if you can and do some reading. There are tons of little hints, tips, and tricks to getting treeless to work, customizing things, etc.


          • #6
            Tried treeless.. Hated it to be honest. I will stick with my Aussie saddle.
            Last edited by CoopsZippo; Feb. 28, 2008, 03:43 PM. Reason: spelling


            • #7
              In follow up to GTD's dressage comments -

              What I found is that in the treeless, I weight a seatbone and the horse says "OKAY! I'M MOVING OVER NOW!" In a treed saddle, you weight a seatbone, and the weight is spread out and dispersed through the whole tree. I'm finding my horses to be unbelievably responsive now. Not in a bad way though. It just seems like it totally clears the lines of communication. Like the difference in talking through a muffled bad phone connection versus face to face.

              I would dare bet that a lot of what people chalk up to "stubborn horses" or "misbehaving" horses are actually horses that just don't understand what you're asking or they can't feel the aids clearly.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks guys for the really great info!

                The reason I've kept my Ainsely so long is that there is nothing to it-- no knee rolls, thigh blocks, and very little flocking in the panels. I just can't find another CC saddle that gives me the same feel. My friends hate my saddle but I just can't part with it... however now I would like something a bit comfier!

                So maybe a treeless might be an interesting option. I suppose it'll take some research and I've got nothing but time right not...lol....
                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by gothedistance
                  My first saddle was an Apollo by Hartley -- the same look/structure as your Ainsley. No frills, and as close to "nothing but a saddle tree covered in leather" as you can find. I rode in it for years, and sincerely learned to hate it because... it hated me.
                  Ha ha yeah mine is built exactly like that. Everyone else who sits in it despises it, and let me tell you there is nothing helping you out there. Taught me how to stick in the saddle for sure....

                  Well interested to do some reading now.... I'll probably hold onto the Ainsley but definitely wanting something more comfortable... and the thought of a heavy western saddle just isn't cutting it for me...
                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                  • #10
                    I have a Big Horn cordura trail saddle that I use just for trail riding. It weighs 15 lbs, same as my English saddle, and is really comfortable. It fit my wide foundation QH mare that I had and it also fits my narrower quarter pony pretty well now. Stagecoach has them for $300. Plus, when it gets muddy you can just brush it off. (:
                    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                    Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                    • Original Poster

                      Hey Sarah... I was actually perusing the Stagecoach website today, love that place! I think I may take a ride out there when I'm feeling a bit better and see what they have available. They are so good about test rides and swapping too...
                      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                        Hey Sarah... I was actually perusing the Stagecoach website today, love that place! I think I may take a ride out there when I'm feeling a bit better and see what they have available. They are so good about test rides and swapping too...
                        Amen. I could live happily at Stagecoach forever. (:
                        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                        Graphite/Pastel Portraits