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Endurance saddle suggestions

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  • Endurance saddle suggestions

    I know there have probably been a million threads similar to this. Here's my dilema- I have two saddles I love dearly, a devoucoux xcountry saddle and a county dressage saddle. However i'm going on a really long ride and know it would probably be better to purchase and endurance saddle. I'm trying not to spend too much... Any suggestions? any brands I should stay away from? thanks!

  • #2
    Just one really long ride? As long as the saddle fits your horse very well, I don't see any reason to have to buy a new saddle. In fact, it's probably better to stick with what you know works for your horse. Buy yourself a $50 sheepskin cover from Easycare, Inc. for comfort, and maybe some endurance stirrups. Lots of people ride endurance and trail in dressage saddles. World famous John Crandell III rides in a dressage saddle.


    • #3
      Lots of people do endurance in dressage saddles. If it fits your horse and you are comfortable in it, then you'll be fine. If your horse shows any signs of discomfort from an ill-fitting saddle, it will be compounded during a long ride. I used to do competetive trail (25 miles) in an old, no-name allpurpose saddle and the horse and I were fine.

      I hope you enjoy your ride!
      "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


      • #4
        My husband trail rides (up to 10 miles) in an old dressage saddle. It fits the horse, and he finds it comfy, and we can't afford a new saddle...


        • Original Poster

          Yeah I guess I should have mentioned how long the long ride is.. around 2,200 miles.. from NM to Wash. DC... As much as I love my other saddles, and they work fine for trails usually.. I think I really need to buy an endurance saddle for this.


          • #6
            Treeless saddles are a monumentally bad idea for short rides. For long rides they guarantee a crippled horse. And all the anacdote in the world won't make this reality go away.

            Try a new direction. Look at the reproduction McClellan, Whitman, Grimsley, or Universal Pattern (a British offering) saddles. Google any one of them for more information. These are all cavalry saddles, have a long history of use in "long riding" and when properly fitted work quite well. They are also lighter in weight than many current "endurance" saddles.

            You might want to try the Long Riders Guild website. They may have some guidance for you.

            Good luck in your ride.

            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


            • #7
              Opinions are like noses; everyone is entitled to at least one.

              I stated mine; you've stated yours. Now the OP has at least two points of view.

              I also referred the OP to the Long Rider's Guild where she can get REAL information on real world people who have done what she is considering.

              How can anyone argue, intelligently, with such suggestions?

              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


              • #8
                Sensations are not recommended for high withered horses. Or I'd have one. Now that I've got an Arabian, I'm hoping to get one. I like that the trail model has stirrup straps that are separated to spread the pressure of the rider's weight.

                LLong, I have a trimming client who did such a ride. She had custom-made saddles for her horses. The only problem is that the custom-made ones only fit your horse at the time they are measured. Changes in fitness levels will affect the shape of the back and hence, saddle fit. I think that is why endurance riders like treeless so much: they change as the horse's shape changes. You've got to be really careful about wither and backbone clearance, or you will cause more soreness than you save.

                The Balance saddle people say that saddles should be wide and padded to fit. If you've got padding options, you can change your padding system if your horse's back changes during the course of the ride. Treeless seems a whole lot easier (and cheaper). As a compromise to expensive Balance saddles, Wintecs with adjustable trees would work (set wide with appropriate padding). Again, you could accomodate the changes in your horse's back that way. I'm not saying I buy their theory, but I wanted to point it out to you.

                There are many people who think that treeless do not give the horse's back enough support, and there are anecdotes both ways. It bears further research.

                Just more food for thought and things to consider while making your choices. The longest ride I've done is 30 miles in an Abetta western, which hardly qualifies as "long". The horse finished with a good back and little or no soreness. But day after day after day, who knows how it would have been for the horse?
                "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                • #9
                  I referenced the Long Riders Guild. Mr. O'Reilly is a well-spring of information on long riding. The site is a treasure trove of good information.

                  Go to http://www.thelongridersguild.com/LRG.htm For specific information on saddles click on "Equipment" and go from there.

                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                  • #10
                    25 miles a day, almost every day for several months...this is not about speed its about comfort for horse and rider. I like the new Y rigging that Goesthedistance talked about, that would help with pressure problems and is a new feature that not all treeless saddles have. But people have done these rides in everything from western saddles to homemade rigs (including McCellan type saddles). If you are a heavier rider or plan on packing everything you need in some sort of saddlebag system then a better example of types of saddles might come from the folks that do ranch work or extended pack trips on horseback.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for the advice so far. We've (my mom and I) have been in contact with CuChullaine O'Reilly and other long riders. They've been really helpful. I just thought I should probably get more advice on saddles since I know practically nothing about the quality of different endurance saddles. So anymore input is welome..


                      • #12
                        I've researched this a bit and from the info I found, of all the treeless saddles, the only two that haven't had any pressure problems reported are the Torsion saddles and the Freeform saddles (the proper freeform ones not the copies). From personal experience, my Torsion is fantastic for my TB, who does have reasonable withers. It's stable and she loves it. It's not so great on a rounder horse as it rolls a bit. The Freeform saddles aren't good at all for high withers, but are very stable on a rounder horse. Both were designed with endurance in mind and have been used by endurance riders.

                        Wintecs are horrid to ride in for a long period of time from the rider's point of view - I only ever manged about 10 miles in one and that was not fun. With treed I would definately get it made too wide and pad. That's what we did for a while and it worked really well.

                        I haven't ever gone that far, but I put a lot of time into researching saddles when nothing seemed to fit my horse!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                          Treeless saddles are a monumentally bad idea for short rides. For long rides they guarantee a crippled horse. And all the anacdote in the world won't make this reality go away.
                          This may be your opinion, but you have no facts to back that up, do you?

                          One of the reasons I switched to treeless was the many many stories I found of endurance riders who do hundreds and thousands of miles treeless. In my research of the saddles though, it's true that not all treeless saddles fit all horses, and the pad, girth, breatcollar, etc. are all a very important part of the setup too. There's more to consider than you might initially think of. ANY badly fitting saddle can damage a horse, whether it's treed or not.

                          Gothedistance - Thanks for the correction. I was thinking of Stagg Newman, as per this link:


                          He says he rides in used dressage saddles. Still, I think it's a good indiciation since Stagg has been riding since the 80s and has over 6,000 career miles


                          • #14
                            I have NEVER seen a so-called "treeless" saddle that effectively distributes rider weight. I've researched many, and ridden or sat in four or five offereings over the years; all were wanting in this critical aspect.

                            The FIRST saddles were treeless; skins or grass mats thrown over the horse's rump and, later, the back. The Romans (possibly imitating the Partians) developed the first true, rigid tree saddle. They found it enhanced the horse's utility allowing more rider stability and permitting the horse to go for longer distances without soring the back. Roman cavalry also differed from the "barbarian" cavalries in that the Roman soldier typically had one horse on campaign; the barbarian typically had multiple mounts.

                            No major horse culture I'm aware of ever continued the use of "treeless" saddles once they were introduced to the rigid tree.

                            So the Laws of Physics and history are enough fact for me. When somebody else comes up with research that puts my fears for the horse's back at rest I'll look at it. Until then I'll maintain my opinion.

                            Of course I referred the OP to the Long Riders Guild precisely because there IS no hard evidence, only anacdote and exptrapallation. She's done that (sounds like on her own; good on her for that). The Guild people know what they are about. Their opinions should carry weight. Have any of you "treeless" backers read the Equipment section on the Guild website?

                            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                            • #15
                              Endurance Saddles

                              Our family owns and uses two Bob Marshall Sport Tack treeless endurance saddles. We wouldn't consider using anything else. Our horses have completed 50 mile endurance rides with horses in outstanding shape. A friend of ours that is in the AERC Hall of Fame uses the same saddle (many years ago he loaned us one of his which is why we bought our first). This gentleman has received many best condition awards on 100 mile rides, as well as being in the top 10 consistently. I don't know what else to tell you - they work!


                              • #16
                                Some people obviously have trouble when tresured preconceptions are challenged. I've given the OP another viewpoint. She can take it or leave it as she sees fit. Ditto for everyone else.


                                If, by any act, error, or omission, I have, intentionally or unintentionally, displayed any breedist, disciplinist, sexist, racist, culturalist, nationalist, regionalist, localist, ageist, lookist, ableist, sizeist, speciesist, intellectualist, socioeconomicist, ethnocentrist, phallocentrist, heteropatriarchalist, or other violation of the rules of political correctness, known or unknown, I am not sorry and I encourage you to get over it.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                  Some people obviously have trouble when tresured preconceptions are challenged. I've given the OP another viewpoint. She can take it or leave it as she sees fit. Ditto for everyone else.


                                  If, by any act, error, or omission, I have, intentionally or unintentionally, displayed any breedist, disciplinist, sexist, racist, culturalist, nationalist, regionalist, localist, ageist, lookist, ableist, sizeist, speciesist, intellectualist, socioeconomicist, ethnocentrist, phallocentrist, heteropatriarchalist, or other violation of the rules of political correctness, known or unknown, I am not sorry and I encourage you to get over it.
                                  Hey G, whatever you're smokin', I'll take a snort.


                                  • #18
                                    I've ridden in several treeless saddles. I currently have a Barefoot and like it. I dont however agree with the blanket statement that treeless saddles are better than treed. It really just depends on the horse and rider, like pretty much everything else.

                                    My favorite saddle however is the DeSoto that I had made for my gelding about 4 years ago when I was having a terrible time with saddle fit. It cost about $1400, closer to $2k when you add up the fees associated with measuring for it, fittings, etc. It is quite heavy, and has a western look to it although it feels like a dressage saddle to sit in. I cant say enough good things about it. It is extremely comfortable for me and my horse never has a sore back, ever. We have probably 900 AERC miles in it, including rides up to 65 miles and a multiday. Even though my horse's condition / weight, etc. changes periodically with more or less riding and as he gets older, it still fits. I use an Equipedic pad with it. I would highly recommend it.


                                    • #19
                                      I prefer treeless for distance riding. I've had better back scores with them than with treed. They are infinitely more comfortable for my horse and myself.

                                      That's not to say there aren't plenty of great treed saddles that work for distance. Its a matter of the fit and combination and preference. Different strokes for different folks. I really liked the old OrthoFlex Feather paneled saddle I had and a lovely Black Country Vinici dressage. Ended up selling them due to back issues but they were wonderful saddles.

                                      Usually when I look for opinions, I like to pick the brains of those that have actually walked the walk. Otherwise, I could just ask the opinion of the child on the mechanical horse in front of Wal-mart.


                                      • #20
                                        A2 aren't you currently pi$$ed off about your own treeless saddle rolling and getting dumped off your Arab of late? I can't quite figure how you're passionate about a saddle that keeps leaving you face first on the precious land of cheese and cow patties?