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saddle ideas for endurance (update need info on wintec pro endurance)

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  • saddle ideas for endurance (update need info on wintec pro endurance)

    I'm looking for a nice light hunter type saddle for my arab mare. Once I get her legged up I would like to compete her in longer distances(50+), so I want something super comfy.

    Can anyone think of a reason a close contact say Collegiate would cause problems in terms of weight distribution? I am a lightweight under 5", so I like a shorter flap as well.
    For my longer distance rides I have always competed in custom dressage saddles, but none of my saddles fit the new mare. I also want the ability to get up and out of the saddle, so the shallower the seat the better.
    Mare has big shoulders and hardly any wither, so I'm looking into wides.
    I'm open to any ideas, but for longer rides endurance and western type saddles kill me.
    Thanks for the help!
    Last edited by smilesthepony; Apr. 27, 2011, 05:42 PM.

  • #2
    For endurance lots of folks are moving to treeless saddles. A properly fitted/padded treeless saddle is so comfy your butt won't even know you've been on a long ride. I, personally, love my Sensation Hybrid. These saddles seem to be made for lower withered wide horses. Although they work on a variety of back types. My horse has, what I would call, an average back with average withers and he does so much better in the Sensation than he ever did in my treed saddle.
    You can have one made in any color you want here is a picture of the English trail: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/G3English.html
    My Hybrid: http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/z...5/IMG_5136.jpg
    Demos are free, you just pay for shipping: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/
    "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."


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for the advice. I have been told that you cannot jump in treeless, and I would need the saddle for some cross training/hunterpaces/ baby events. That's one of the reasons I am staying away from a dressage as well. Have you heard of anyone jumping in treeless, or can they not absorb the added shock?


      • #4
        Originally posted by smilesthepony View Post
        Thanks for the advice. I have been told that you cannot jump in treeless, and I would need the saddle for some cross training/hunterpaces/ baby events. That's one of the reasons I am staying away from a dressage as well. Have you heard of anyone jumping in treeless, or can they not absorb the added shock?
        Sensation makes a jumping saddle. http://www.freedomtreeless.com/G4Jump.html There are some that ride in a Sensation English Trail that fox hunt too. So, yes, some people do jump in their treeless saddles. They aren't doing olympic sized jumps...maybe 3' tops. You probably wouldn't have any trouble getting away with it since you are just a tiny little thing. I wouldn't want to see someone my size doing it (I'm a size 12 but I'm working on 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."


        • #5
          I use my Pessoa GenX (wide) with my Mustang. It's what fits both my horse and I the best.
          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


          • #6
            A question from the uninformed... Is a treeless saddle kind of like a leather bareback pad? That's what it looks like to me. Just curious.


            • #7
              It's mostly important that your saddle fits you both. If your saddle fits well and is comfy for you, I would just add a good pad, girth, breastcollar, and get out there and put some miles on your tack. All the planning in the world doesn't mean it will work in practice. You have to get out there and see how it works mile after mile, feel her stride, check her back, and see if either of you are sore the next day.... Honestly, I have all different pads for different horses/ponies and my saddle works for everybody so far, though some have only been on shorter rides at this point (1-2 hours).

              I have a western style endurance saddle, custom made, no horn, fairly lightweight, with full QH bars. I prefer the western style with lots of dee rings and the rigging is further back with the enduro style option. I also have an old Stubben that I love, and use sometimes when we aren't going out for long rides. It has seen better days and could use being re-stuffed. The billets put the girth too far forward for my ponies. It's ok for ring work or a spin around the field, though.

              Of course, I am only trail riding for fun right now and not in competition... That said, I have put a good 20 miles on my end. saddle in one day, and found I needed to make adjustments for myself but not the horse I was riding. He was quite comfy and had a nice even sweat pattern. I however found I need more seat padding...

              Good Luck!!
              Just cause you move to Texas, doesn't mean you are a Texan. After all, if a cat puts her kittens in the oven, It doesn't make them Bisquits.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                A question from the uninformed... Is a treeless saddle kind of like a leather bareback pad? That's what it looks like to me. Just curious.
                Uh, no. Cheap ones are. And that is "cheap" as in crappy quality.

                A good treeless has a lot of technology and research built into it. They have much improved from years ago!

                They usually have lots of padding and structure, but no (or few) solid parts. Many of them look just like a treed saddle.

                My favourite is the Sensations! Right now, I have a Torsion, and am in the market for a Sensation. http://www.nickerssaddlery.com/


                • #9
                  I rode in a Sensation Hybrid today for the first time. All I can say is that it is perhaps *the* most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in. My horse (a foxtrotter that has great gaits and a nice long trot for distance riding) was forward, balanced and responsive...it truly was the best ride I've had in the whole 5 months I've had him. When we got home he didn't have any dry spots (like with my Bob Marshall) or tender spots (like with my Specialized). He was playful and happy. I'm a believer in Sensations. I have the demo for 4 more riding days, if all goes well I will definitely be ordering!!


                  • Original Poster

                    After researching treeless, I think I definitely want to stay with a treed saddle.
                    I went to the local tack store today and tried a pessoa and some other huntery brands. Those seem to be the most comfortable for me, so I'll now be looking for an affordable close contact with a hunter type seat.
                    When I have more funds in the future for a separate saddle, I will definitely be looking into the treeless, so thanks for the advice there.
                    Any advice on good hunter type close contact saddles? Any brands tend to be lighter?
                    Thanks everyone!


                    • #11
                      I'm not sure if you've looked into synthetics or not, but I ride in the Thorowgood endurance saddle, and I really like it. On the surface, it looks like a regular english all-purpose saddle, but it has a few features that make it great for endurance. The panels are shorter and broader than a typical AP saddle, which is good for short-backed arabs and spreads rider weight over a wider area. The seat is shallower than a dressage saddle but more comfortable than a close contact on long rides. You can adjust the billets forward and back to suit your horse's conformation. And it has lots of d-rings, too. I'm 5'3", and the flaps are short enough for me.

                      RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                      • #12
                        A close contact is designed for jumping, not for distance. I had an Apollo by Hartley close contact which was my eventing/foxhunting saddle for years. After I stopped eventing, I lent it to my s-i-l who loved it and used it for years.

                        When I started competing in distance I did it in a County dressage saddle, but a few years later moved to treeless because the dressage saddle began killing my pony's back. The close contact saddle I would *never* use it for distance. The seat was gruelingly hard and far too shallow with the stirrup bars set too far forward. It is designed for the ring, for jumping fences. Not for long miles on the trail.

                        Your horse will learn to hate you if you try to use one for distance.

                        Cross train all you want....but do it with the type of tack designed for each sport you are engaging in at the moment - a close contact for jumping and ring work, and a distance sports saddle (treeless, semi-treed, or distance tree saddle like the Arabian Solstice) for distance work.

                        As in all sports, one "size" (read as: type of tack) don't fit all.


                        • #13
                          I have never done endurance riding but I can already tell you that close contact is not the way you want to go.

                          For one thing, your knees and or ankles will KILL you if you go on very long rides in it. As someone with a very comfortable close contact saddle, and I've owned several that are comfy in my life, I always curse the day I bought it after a long trail ride. My knees start to just kill.

                          The "comfy" seat will feel like a boulder by the end of the day. Your horse's movements will feel jarring to you and it will probably feel that way to him too.

                          Right now, I have a saddle I LOVE and am going to get back into trail riding. I am going to buy a trail saddle before I even start...lessons learned 2 years ago. If you want a jumping saddle, also, you really will need 2 saddles. Just as one pair of shoes doesn't work equally for running track, playing baseball, and doing gymnastics, so it is with saddles...


                          • #14
                            I have to play devils advocate here

                            I rode my first thousand endurance miles in my <gasp> Barnsby Milton-Pro jumping saddle. Guess what? My horses lived! They were never back sore and never hated me. I used an Equipedic pad and never had any problems.

                            I grew up riding hunters so that was what was comfortable for me. My knees and ankles stayed in tact as well. Regular irons and leathers. I did get bruises on my calf from the buckles from the short girth but they never bothered me that badly. I eventually purchased an Arabian Saddle Company Rubicon and then a Black Country Equinox but only because my Barnsby was too narrow for a new horse and I wanted more dee rings.

                            We have *all* seen backsore horses at rides... proper fit and PROPER RIDING are imperative to preventing back-soreness over long distances. I have seen numerous horses with very sore backs at multidays regardless of what saddle the person is riding in.

                            As long as the saddles fits, you ride centered and balanced, and you/horsie are comfortable, I would say stick with what you like! Good luck!


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks Eddies mom!
                              I have some health problems with my down there area so anything to wide or unstable cannot do. The only saddles I have found that I can ride in are close contacts, even though if it were my choice I would definitely choose an endurance saddle if my body would allow. I actually know a ton of people who complete 100's in cross country and dressage saddles, I just was curious about the weight distribution and if it is totally unheard of.
                              I ride with a very straight leg, so I'm looking for something without a forward flap. My knees do start to hurt if I jack my stirrups up to jumping length, so I ride with a dressage length cage stirrup.
                              I have a ton of experience with saddle fit, and for my needs I'm thinking the wider the better, and I'll just throw extra fluff under neath. I guess with my light weight and balance most of the horses I've competed have not had any trouble with their backs.
                              I will definitely be looking into the throw good's, they look like a nice combination between a cc and an endurance
                              Thanks again everyone!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by smilesthepony View Post
                                anything to wide or unstable cannot do.
                                I will definitely be looking into the throw good's, they look like a nice combination between a cc and an endurance
                                Thanks again everyone!
                                I prefer a fairly narrow twist as well, and I'm very comfortable in the Thorowgood.

                                You don't say where you're located, but Annette at Hastilow (http://www.hastilowusa.com/) will let you take one out on trial, and she'll also come out and do a saddle fitting and change out the gullet for you if necessary. She's in central PA.
                                RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks bighorse,
                                  That looks perfect for what I'm looking for. I'll set up a meeting with her and talk about my special needs and hopefully she can have some ideas on how to help, but I am definitely interested in her endurance English saddle. I live in Philly, so hopefully I can set up an appointment and go meet her.
                                  Do you think any tackshops in the nearby area would have one I could just sit in to get a feel for it before driving the 4 hours?

                                  Thanks again!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                                    A question from the uninformed... Is a treeless saddle kind of like a leather bareback pad? That's what it looks like to me. Just curious.
                                    That is a common misconception from the uninformed or misinformed and it might have even been true 10 or 20 years ago. I would stay away from the cheap no-names or Hilasons being sold on E-bay but my Sensation is certainly not just a leather bareback pad. It is well designed and well thought out to provide comfort and support for the rider while distributing the weight of the rider for the horse. This is a very "real" saddle.
                                    "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."


                                    • #19
                                      First of all, welcome to the addicting sport of Endurance! I'm a "cross-over" myself and have gotten hooked... to the point where I gladly spent a weekend camping in the snow so I can do a scenic 50 (like last Saturday... yikes, all my water froze...)

                                      You're starting out with a specific idea of saddle you prefer and that narrows down your search, so that's good. But if you are at all serious about putting these kind of conditioning and competition miles on your horse, you will need to spend the money for a good saddle and like goesthedistance points out, the right saddle may not work for any of the other disciplines you do.

                                      Doing 50 miles or more will strain your body much more than you may realize and every little thing that's not right with your saddle will bring out your weaknesses, whether it's your knees, ankles, problems with chafing, etc. Sounds like you have already experienced that with some saddles. So do lots more research, narrow it down even further and then try all the saddles on your short list - don't just sit in them at the store. You need to do at least 20-25 miles on your trial run (with lots of trotting especially), otherwise you might not get a good "reading." If a company doesn't let you demo a saddle, move on! And research your options for saddle pads as well.

                                      I actually know a ton of people who complete 100's in cross country and dressage saddles, I just was curious about the weight distribution and if it is totally unheard of.
                                      Just pointing out the contradiction here: You say you know tons of people who ride Endurance in "non-traditional" saddles yet you ask in the next sentence whether it's totally unheard of? Well, obviously not. Some people prefer them for one reason or another but I wouldn't say it's a "ton of people" at all, at least not what I see here in region West. As I said above, you ride enough miles and you figure out what works for your body and what doesn't. I personally would never be able to ride more than 10-15 miles in my dressage saddle. I've tried and it hurt Yet my endurance saddle (Frank Baines Enduro) gives me no issues whatsoever and my horse seems to like it as well. It's heavier than a lot of other endurance saddles but has great weight distribution and puts my legs just where I like them, underneath me, for easy posting and less stress on my knees and ankles. However, even with this good setup and frequent riding, I still get sore and stiff after a competition. This is a pretty extreme sport we're doing so I would never expect to feel perfectly wonderful after a competition. If that's your expectation, you'll never find the right saddle. There will be pain

                                      So in any case, good luck with the search for a perfect saddle! And have fun on the trail!


                                      • #20
                                        No one I know of in the area has the endurance model in stock. Even though Dover is a stockist for Thorowgood, they don't carry the endurance model, and they won't special order it for you unless you pay for it in advance, and it's not returnable. Yay Dover

                                        That being said, however, if you just want to see a Thorowgood model in person, Heritage or the Dover store in Hockessin may have the regular AP one in stock. The endurance saddle feels different from the AP to sit in -- the flap is shaped a little differently, and the seat is a little shallower and more padded -- but you can at least see the quality of the materials and construction.
                                        RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.