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Barefoot vs Black Forest Western Treeless vs...others?

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  • Barefoot vs Black Forest Western Treeless vs...others?

    Hi there,
    A few months ago I posted right after abdominal surgery and several months after a broken hip that had healed. I was considering gaited breeds, etc. I am pleased to report that the abdominal surgery healed VERY fast, the hip is also now in good shape, and I just bought a horse! Since I ride hunter when I ride in arenas I actually returned to my old favorite breed that I have showed for years and years...an Arabian I am also planning to use him for tons of trail riding.

    I don't like trail riding in my hunt saddle due to knee torque during a long ride. I love trail riding western. I'm considering a treeless for my comfort, and the horse's comfort. I think I've basically narrowed it down to the Barefoot Arizona and the Black Forest. I'd love to get the pros and cons of the 2. There's a price difference of course.

    Any thoughts on their construction (one over the other) comfort for horse and rider, etc? I am light, only about 110lbs. My horse is about 15.1 He's got a medium build, not a mutton withered barrel but he has well sprung ribs and a medium wither. Is the Arizona made of leather or synthetic...I can't tell. If synthetic, that may be a downside for me...

    Anyway, love to hear about both!

    Thanks,
    Jenny

  • #2
    My son rides in a Black Forest western saddle, but ours in synthetic. He loves it. I'm not wild about the leg position. My Bandos allows you to move the stirrup plate, which is a feature that I love.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have no personal experience with either of those saddles. I strongly encourage you to join the Treeless Saddles group on Yahoo Groups and ask your question there. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/treelesssaddles/
      There is lots of experience and wisdom on that group and you'll be more likely to get an answer there.
      "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."

      Comment


      • #4
        The Black Forest is better quality, and lower price than the Barefoot. You will love riding in it!! WE used to carry the Barefoot, but changed to the Black Forest because of the price and quality. If you saw the synthetic, you would not know it wasn't real leather. We've been selling these for a few years and so far 98% of the customers prefer the synthetic.

        Kim
        The Galloping Grape
        www.GallopingGrape.com
        Kim
        The Galloping Grape
        Warrenton, VA
        http://www.GallopingGrape.com

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a Barefoot and my knees did not like it.

          I currently have a Freeform and a Sensation and love them both.

          The Sensation is so comfy that it is sinful.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LMH View Post
            The Sensation is so comfy that it is sinful.
            I have to agree with this statement. I have a Sensation Hybrid and from the first moment I sat in the saddle I was in love. The quality was obvious from the first time I saw the saddle. The things I like best about the saddle is that it has no hard parts, each one is custom made to order with your choice of leather, color, and options. Since there are no hard parts in this saddle, it is soft and squishy yet suprisingly stable and secure. Yes, it costs more than either the barefoot or black forest but IMHO well worth the extra money. That being said, the Sensations are not suitable for every horse, they don't work well on horses with prominent spines or very high withers. BUT my hybrid works well on every horse I've put it on so far. I love it and my horses definitely love it.
            "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."

            Comment


            • #7
              I have several treeless saddles and have ridden in them for years. BUT....many of them are stressful on your hips, especially if the stirrup position cannot be changed, moved forward or back. I have a bad hip and found it is far more comfortable if I can move the stirrup hangar further forward. The Sensation is very nice in this respect. However, The Sensations are best used on horses who are wide with lowish withers.

              to be honest, a horse who is more narrow in the barrel and girth area is more comfortable for a treeless rider than a wide, flat-backed horse. So do consider your horses build when choosing a saddle to demo and go for a looooonnnnng ride to see how you really feel in the trial saddle.

              chicamuxen

              Comment


              • #8
                I have several treeless saddles and have ridden in them for years. BUT....many of them are stressful on your hips, especially if the stirrup position cannot be changed, moved forward or back. I have a bad hip and found it is far more comfortable if I can move the stirrup hangar further forward. The Sensation is very nice in this respect. However, The Sensations are best used on horses who are wide with lowish withers.

                to be honest, a horse who is more narrow in the barrel and girth area is more comfortable for a treeless rider than a wide, flat-backed horse. So do consider your horses build when choosing a saddle to demo and go for a looooonnnnng ride to see how you really feel in the trial saddle.

                chicamuxen

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Really good points about stirrup placement and the width of the horse. That actually isn't something I would have thought of, but it makes sense...a wide flat back, will give the rider a very wide spread in the treeless.

                  I ordered a custom made western trail saddle for a horse I had last year. I HATED the stirrup placement and couldn't return it...and ended up selling very cheap since it was custom and not a brand. Grrr!

                  My horse is medium build to medium-narrow. He's an Arabian however he's not incredibly narrow...since he's 4 I like the idea of a saddle that will also fit him when he's more well developed and older.

                  I hear nothing but good things about the Sensation, unfortunately, I prefer the look of a more traditional "horned" western saddle. Wish they made one!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LMH View Post
                    I had a Barefoot and my knees did not like it.

                    I currently have a Freeform and a Sensation and love them both.

                    The Sensation is so comfy that it is sinful.

                    I also have to agree with this statement! I don't own a horse, nor my own saddle, but I ride and help keep a herd of endurance horses in shape for most of the year.

                    All the saddles available to use (I think there are 5?) are sensations, and while I mainly stick to using the same one, a hybrid, I have ridden in a couple of the English ones here and there. They are soooo comfortable! And they are all endurance horses so there are many hours spend in these saddles hehe

                    They have a range of horses and can use them without issue on any of the horses (with the exception of one who needs extra padding and stuff since she has a really long back that is hard to fit). When I get my own horse one day, I will for sure save up for one of these.

                    That said, I have no idea about the other brands of saddle since I've only used sensations. But I'd recommend them to anyone

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Anybody need a Freeform ?
                      http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tchlink:top:en
                      ... _. ._ .._. .._

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chicamux View Post
                        to be honest, a horse who is more narrow in the barrel and girth area is more comfortable for a treeless rider than a wide, flat-backed horse. So do consider your horses build when choosing a saddle to demo and go for a looooonnnnng ride to see how you really feel in the trial saddle.

                        chicamuxen

                        A wide backed horse is more comfortable for a wide hipped rider !
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

                        Comment

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