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Pressure points from treeles saddle?!

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  • Pressure points from treeles saddle?!

    I'm currently riding my mutton-withered little Arab mare in a Trekker treeless saddle I bought back in December. Well, I finally worked up a really good sweat on her and was able to see some saddle fit marks. It is a very, very nice saddle, fairly $$$, flexible, light as a feather 7.5 lbs. , and has these wonderful cushy panels to keep it off the horses spine and allow you to use any sort of saddle pad. But it's leaving dry marks on her withers!! How is that possible with a treeless saddle? I'm guessing it must be the pommel, which is supposed to be made of an 'elastic' material so it doesn't cause pressure points. But it is. And what on earth am I to do about it? It's not the kind you can just take out.

  • #2
    I'd go to the treeless saddle group on yahoo and ask about this also. I think there are some Trekker owners on the forum that may have experience with this.

    http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/treelesssaddles/

    I think you may be onto something with the pommel theory but if it's not removable like others then I'm not sure what to do. I use a Thinline pad over my HAF pad so you might want to consider one.

    Comment


    • #3
      What kind of pad are you using? Even if the saddle has panels, I wouldn't use just a simple schooling square or something thin. I'd still use a thick wool pad or something with foam inserts, felt, etc.

      Also - here's something I've noticed. Dry spots aren't ALWAYS from pressure. You know how the spine stays dry a lot of times? It's because there is nothing contacting the spine, and air can flow. A dry spine is okay.

      My treeless saddle is so "floppy" that I can literally slide my hands under the pommel and lift it up while I'm riding. There is absolutely no pressure or hardly any contact there at all. I got my horse sweated up really good one day and noted that the spine was dry, and the whole area under the pommel was dry.

      Now, those dry spots WOULD have been from pressure if I'd try to slip my hands under the front and they wouldn't go in. But because I can literally pull the whole front of the saddle up off the horse with no effort at all, I know it's dry because it's simply not contacting and there is air flowing.

      A good test is to not groom your horse, and then ride for 15 or 20 minutes with a brand new white square pad. See where the dirt marks are. If it truly is from pressure, then the white pad will be filthy with dirt ground deep into the pad where your dry spots are. If the dry spots are from lack of contact, then the white pad will be clean with only a light dusting of dirt there.

      I've found the white pad to be really effective in addition to analyzing dry spots.

      But it might be from pressure in your case. How easily can you slide your hands under the pommel while you are mounted up? If you can't at all, then it's pressure. You could remove the pommel from the saddle or try a different type of pad with inserts.

      Comment


      • #4
        An ill-fitted saddle will cause pressure points. The idea that "treeless" saddles have no pressure points is absolutely wrong. Anyone who claims such is either deeply ignorant or prevaricating, big time.

        I don't think the "treeless" saddle can work over the long haul. YMMV.

        In any event, you have a fit issue; resolve it.

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

        Comment


        • #5
          do the dry spots seem like the fur was rubbed? If not, could just be the saddle isn't putting much pressure there. On my Barefoot saddle the spine channel and shoulders are normally dry, but are obviously not rubbed at all, because the saddle doesn't make contact there. A treeless saddle won't put the same pressure spots as a treed saddle would.

          Like Auventura said, try putting your fingers up under the pommel, see if you can move it around or if it pinches your fingers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
            An ill-fitted saddle will cause pressure points. The idea that "treeless" saddles have no pressure points is absolutely wrong. Anyone who claims such is either deeply ignorant or prevaricating, big time.

            I don't think the "treeless" saddle can work over the long haul. YMMV.

            In any event, you have a fit issue; resolve it.

            G.
            There's a HUGE Yahoo discussion group devoted to treeless saddles and I've never heard anyone say that treeless saddles cannot or do not create pressure points. Actually what people "do" say is that you have to experiment and find the pad, girth, saddle, stirrups, etc. that work for your horse. People devote a lot of time to trying different shim options, girth placements, stirrup placements, etc. to make sure they don't have pressure points. It's really not that dissimilar to finding a treed saddle and accessory combo that works.

            And I suppose you better tell the native americans that they shouldn't have been riding all those hundreds of years without treed saddles. I'm thinking they didn't get your memo.

            I have found my horses to be MUCH "bigger" moving in the treeless. They seem really really comfortable with totally free shoulders and loins. My only issue with the treeless has been the lateral stability but making some changes to my setup has helped a lot. I still have 2 treed saddles that I use when the circumstances dictate but honestly I can tell a huge difference in the horse's gaits and attitude, and in the comfort of my butt.

            Comment


            • #7
              I ride in a Barefoot Sierra. I just rode at a State Park. It was in the 50's, so not real hot.

              We rode for about 2 hours. There is a lot of sand paths, so the horses got a decent workout for them first "real" trail ride of the year.

              I have a Skito Dryback pad. When I got off, the only place that was wet was along the very back of the saddle. Where I actually was putting weight on the saddle was completely dry.

              So, depending on how cool it was, that may be normal. W/treeless saddles, it is VERY important to have a VERY good pad. Skito or a similiar type. They do NOT work w/just a normal pad.

              Also, my horse will be 12 yrs old. I leased him for a year, then owned him for 5 years. I recently moved to a much more fancy barn. They have a chiropractor that comes once a month.

              I was more curious than anything, so I had her look at my horse. I KNOW he has NEVER had anyone really look at his back before this.

              I have been riding mostly treeless for several years.

              The chiropractor said his back was in VERY good shape. She showed me some stretches to do. She was surprised at how little he needed to be treated.

              Treed or treeless, it depends on the horse and person. I Love my treeless saddle for trail riding. It is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in for long periods of time.
              Riding is NOT meant as an inside sport, GET out of that arena!!!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                It looks like pressure points to me. I mean, it looks something similar to what she had in a treed saddle that didn't fit. Except this saddle sits farther back, it's actually on her back not her withers. I love it because it does not slide forward. It is the ONLY saddle I have ever put on the downhill little mare that does not need a tight crupper or any crupper at all. The hair under the pommel looked like it hadn't been touched. It was all laying flat back, with just a little sweat, when she was soaked everwhere else. It is kind of tight to slide my fingers under the pommel.

                But she doesn't seem unhappy, and she isn't sore. She's never had a big trot. Well, actually she does she just never uses it. The other day I took her out and for some reason she really stretched herself out and trotted. Today she didn't. Maybe it's the pad. I have been using a regular, cotton pad. I ordered a big, fluffy wool one, like I use on my other endurance saddle, but it is taking forever in getting here. I'll see how it works with that. I don't have $$$$ to spend on super, super expensive pads, unfortunately. These wool pads are as nice as I can afford. I got a treeless saddle because this mare is impossible to fit a treed saddle to. So this is really frustrating.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Aboriginal Americans did NOT ride for hundreds of years in treeless saddles. Saddles were a regular part of treaty payments (and were immediately claimed by the chiefs). They were the second item gleaned from battlefields (after weapons and ammunition). They were routinely taken when Indian boys "eloped" with the first horses in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries. They were also made by many tribes and examples can be found in many museums of Plains Indian cultures.

                  Again, I think the hype over "treeless" is the triumph of hope over science. But, again, YMMV.

                  G.
                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Romantic Rider View Post
                    It looks like pressure points to me. I mean, it looks something similar to what she had in a treed saddle that didn't fit. Except this saddle sits farther back, it's actually on her back not her withers. I love it because it does not slide forward. It is the ONLY saddle I have ever put on the downhill little mare that does not need a tight crupper or any crupper at all. The hair under the pommel looked like it hadn't been touched. It was all laying flat back, with just a little sweat, when she was soaked everwhere else. It is kind of tight to slide my fingers under the pommel.

                    But she doesn't seem unhappy, and she isn't sore. She's never had a big trot. Well, actually she does she just never uses it. The other day I took her out and for some reason she really stretched herself out and trotted. Today she didn't. Maybe it's the pad. I have been using a regular, cotton pad. I ordered a big, fluffy wool one, like I use on my other endurance saddle, but it is taking forever in getting here. I'll see how it works with that. I don't have $$$$ to spend on super, super expensive pads, unfortunately. These wool pads are as nice as I can afford. I got a treeless saddle because this mare is impossible to fit a treed saddle to. So this is really frustrating.
                    What I've been reading about treeless saddles is that you are supposed to fit them farther forward than a treed. With the tree you have to keep it well back off the scapula. With a treeless, you position the pommel right up over the withers and then the seat goes right where your butt would sit if you rode bareback. It's definitely different than how a treed saddle is fitted. So you may have it back too far??

                    Trekkers have panels underneath right? For spine clearnace? From what I understand, you can more easily get away with a normal pad if you have panels, but some people still say you need the treeless pads. Especially if you're experiencing any problems. I've always been told to just get used to the fact that when you buy a treeless, you buy the special pad to go with it.

                    I finally broke down and bought a Toklat Woolback with the Ultracell inserts. It came to just under $200. But, I am SO GLAD I did it. I've ridden a few times in the pad now and it's amazing. And the thing is, you can normally use those pads with treed saddles too so it's not like the pad is ONLY for one saddle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                      Aboriginal Americans did NOT ride for hundreds of years in treeless saddles. Saddles were a regular part of treaty payments (and were immediately claimed by the chiefs). They were the second item gleaned from battlefields (after weapons and ammunition). They were routinely taken when Indian boys "eloped" with the first horses in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries. They were also made by many tribes and examples can be found in many museums of Plains Indian cultures.

                      Again, I think the hype over "treeless" is the triumph of hope over science. But, again, YMMV.

                      G.
                      Nobody said they rode in treeless saddles. They often rode bareback or with a blanket.

                      But in any case, the good news is, you're free to choose whatever you want. And so is everyone else. If you feel best with a treed saddle, then use one. Not sure why you feel the need to jump into all these treeless threads and try to convince everyone else they're one nut short of a sunday. Live and let live my friend.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Yeah, Trekker's do have pannels. That's kind of what I thought about the saddle fit of a treeless. But this one wants to sit farther back. The billets are positioned so they slant forward a little, and the back one is longer than the front one. So the saddle wants to sit several inches farther back than my treed saddle, for the girth to be in exactly the same place. I don't know what to do about it. I'd rather not tighten her breast strap any more. I'll see what happens if my new pad ever comes in.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Weird. I don't know a thing about Trekkers. Maybe you could post on the Yahoo group and get some good advice from there?

                          Are you doing the rides in May down in the Kettles - north and south? I think I'll be there for both. You can look at the setup I have if you want?? I'm extremely happy with it, all except the lateral slippage issue but that's better now. Still can't mount from the ground but I don't like doing that anyway, even in a treed saddle.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Our horses probably won't be ready by DRAW I (the North Kettle ride) and it's over 4 and 1/2 hours for us. Too far. But we will definitely be at Palmyra, the South Kettle ride, May 10. I'll be riding both days. I'd love to look at your set up. One good thing about this Trekker is that as far as treeless saddles go, it stays in place very well. The other day I had to get off and remount in the middle of a ride from the ground, when by horse was sweaty and her girth not tight, the saddle didn't budge. It's quite stable. I really, really want it to work. I'll look into that group and see what they think.

                            About your saddle, I noticed when I rode in my sister's treeless saddle (just treeless without any panels) that is felt unstable when a horse was er... misbehaving. I didn't have much better control than I would have bareback. My two mares are spirited and flighty and a floppy treeless saddle just wouldn't have worked, I don't think. How is yours?

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