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Ee GADS. Am I actually considering a treeless saddle?

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  • Ee GADS. Am I actually considering a treeless saddle?

    nothing I've tried with a tree fits my 6 YO TWH. He's impossible.

    Bought a Rocking R on a steele gaited horse tree...but didn't realize how much I was riding like a roach to get off my girlie whirlies LOL...somehow I just really realized it last night. That has to stop...I thought I was just being lazy and slouchy- but I can't sit up, it's not possible. The saddle seat is 'cushy' and it's cushin' what don't want none of that. And ...it's too wide and wants to walk down his back...

    My wintec with two different gullets is an instant disaster...slides back to his waist in no time flat.

    When he lifts his back- it's like a board from shoulder to hip: not much shape.

    This saddle looks OK...but immediately walks down his back in a lap or two

    this is the bighorn:not great pics, obviously...it's huge on him...and this is the weekend we bought him and he was a Very Forward Idiot. I think you could have ridden him in a brace and he'd have been this eager

    A different Rocking R hard seat: works "OK" but wants to walk back off his withers, and bridge

    nekked horse on level ground:


    maggie says HELP CHIPPY!!

    I have a chance to try a Skito pad and Barefoot Cheyenne on him. Thoughts?

  • #2
    Have you tried any of these saddles with a non slip pad and/or a breastcollar? MyTW is very very narrow, my racking horse is very very wide, saddles manage to roll on the former because its darn near impossible to girth him tight enough. They roll on Sadie because she is barrel shaped and has lowish withers and huge huge shoulders. Breastcollars have been lifesavers for me with these guys.

    Sadie's new Abetta special trail saddle fits her considerably less bad and she is gaiting better. I have rigged it centerfire, with the tie knot on the flank ring so i can re-tighten from the saddle, and to pull the back of the saddle down and keep it from traveling around. Some of the gaiting does seem to make saddle immobility important and impossible to achieve, been there, done that.

    I know and affirm that Brenda Imus is the AntiChrist but I like some of her thoughts on keeping the saddle still, and stole her rigging option off her website for free. Dont tell anyone.


    • Original Poster

      Honestly, I refuse to let a breast collar keep it in place- it's THAT bad- it's not SORTA not fitting...it's gone and half way down his back in 2-3 laps around a small arena. tacky pads aren't going to keep it in place either. and the centerfire rigging makes zero difference I wish it were that simple


      • #4
        Originally posted by jeano View Post
        I know and affirm that Brenda Imus is the AntiChrist


        • #5
          I don't have a specific saddle option for you, but I wnated to comment on your horse.

          First of all your horse is very handsome. Is he Pusher bred by chance? Bit of a long shot, but dark with all that chrome..... Secondly, in the two pics of the day you bought him, he seems to be gaiting quite nicely, while in the two later pics, he's pacing. Or at least doing a stepping pace.

          Have you had opportunity to work with a gaited trainer? There are plenty who are do not believe in the big lick show horse, and could probably be a huge help as far as helping your guy to gait a little more consistently, WITHOUT special shoes or other nastiness. Mine competed hunters, reining, driving, competitive trail, and everything in between!


          • #6
            The first saddle, the endurance type. It looks like it is too far forward, yet the cinch and girth appear to be in the right location.

            If that saddle is "full-rigged" (the girth comes STRAIGHT down from where the horn would be) - then that's THAT saddles problem. Even if it's 7/8ths rigged. It means you can't place the saddle back enough due to the girth. A 3/4 rigged will allow more of the saddle to be in front of the girth.
            A center-fire rigged might also be a benefit to keep the saddle in place.

            I can't tell from the photos about the Big Horn..

            The Rocking R actually doesn't look to bad for the horse, although I can't really see how it fits from that view .. need a 3/4 front view. BUT...
            You could probably use a longer seat on that particular saddle.
            You may see that some gaited horse saddles are sold 15.5, 16.5, etc.
            That's to give more LENGTH to the seat to achieve better placement of the rider's thigh. Gaited you don't ride with heel under knee, under hip, under shoulder - it's more a sit on your bottom fit with feet farther to the front than western pleasure - hence the need for a longer seat with a gaited saddle /horse than a western equitation / trail saddle.

            But again, it appears that all the saddles need to be set back a tiny bit. Western / Endurance western are set farther back than say a cut-back or even an English saddle. Practice placing it on the horse with no pad. rock it gently side to side (just a little) until it seems to slide back behind the shoulder. Then see if you can slide your flat hand behind the front flap of the saddle. (You want to be able to do that) and you need to have 3 or even 4 fingers, vertically (sideways?) between the wither/ back and the upper inside of the gullet. When there is a saddle pad and a rider, this will decrease to 1 or 2 fingers.

            One more possibility is an australian saddle with wool panels, rather than the fleece of a western saddle. The undersides are shaped like an English saddle - but instead of leather on the bottom, it's wool.

            But again, I would simply try placing the saddle farther back ensuring that you have the hand and finger clearance as described.


            • #7
              If you go to the yahoo treeless forum, in "files" there is a ton of info about dozens of kinds of treeless, with reviews pro and con. A great source for those considering treeless!


              • Original Poster

                let's see:

                He is Pusher bred, yep, got that look

                Gaiting: he was a forward, upset, freaky fool when we bought him (those good gaiting pics). it's taken a ton of time to get him to relax....now we're getting somewhere again on his gait. There's no one in the area I can use for lessons, lord knows, I've tried. I am using my Larry Whitesell DVDs and he's doing better over time. But I had to get his brain back in his head first- I have every reason to think he's a flunked BL horse - those pics in the pretty grass - he was crazy. now he's happy. we'll get that gait back, LOL

                the endurance type saddle is almost center fire rigged.

                gabz:it really won't matter where I put the saddle...they all literally are halfway to his tail in just a few laps of the pen.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jeano View Post

                  I know and affirm that Brenda Imus is the AntiChrist


                  As far as treeless saddles go, I like the good ones. I recommend the Barefoot saddles, personally. I love my London. They do have some western models now, I think.

                  Be aware that if you get a treeless, they ARE different. you can't rely on your stirrups for balance as much. IMO my treeless saddle has really improved my riding a lot. Is that your horse in the "nekkid" pictures? heh. The notorious short TWH back!! I feel your pain.
                  I have to use a breast collar if I am going on trails because my horse causes saddles to slide, he has NO ribcage. lol. I used it on a Trakhener mare though and didn't have a breast collar on and had no sliding on the trails. So that all depends on the horse.


                  • #10
                    Ee GADS. Am I actually considering a treeless saddle?
                    Come to the dark side.......

                    I love my Freeform.

                    Check out the treelesssaddles yahoo group. Scads of info, pics, test drives etc. All that a girl could want.


                    • #11
                      Most of the treeless dealers offer demos so you can try without buying, although you will pay for shipping. I ride in a Barefoot treeless saddle on my Paso Fino. The difference in his gait after I switched to treeless was amazing. No slipping problems, except once going up a very steep trail with a loose girth and no breastcollar. Nothing is more frustrating than the saddle search!

                      I also have friends with Walkers and they really like the Tucker saddles.

                      Demo all you can and hopefully you will find the one that works.


                      • #12
                        Definitely demo a saddle first, or else buy a cheapie that you don't mind dropping a couple hundred bucks on and losing if you don't like it.

                        Treeless is not for everybody. It takes a LOT of muscle control to ride treeless. It's much more like bareback, but with stirrups. You'll hurt in muscles you didn't even know you had.

                        I ended up in physical therapy for a couple of months after switching to treeless. All these years I've been using all the wrong "parts" to ride, and those flaws blow up in your face when you don't have a tree to stabilize you. I ended up having one hip that rotates and slips out of joint, and a torn muscle plus a lot of soft tissue inflammation and strains from switching to treeless.

                        I found out REAL QUICK that all these years I'd been gripping with my calves to stay on the horse, and guess what, that doesn't work when you don't have a tree. The PTist said I have calves like schwarzenagger and the core strength of an earthworm. It's been 6 months now of reconditioning myself and retraining my muscle memory and brain to LET GO with the vice grip legs, and learn to melt down onto and around the horse. I've considered myself to be fairly physically fit and I'm very active - trimming, hauling hay, pulling weeds, you name it. But it didn't matter. LOL

                        I have always been the one to ride the unbroken horses, and problem horses and it developed very defensive riding posture. Switching to treeless made all those faults so glaringly obvious that after the first ride in a treeless, I was on pain medication.

                        Of course not everybody rides like that, but I said all that only to say that treeless is not as forgiving as treed riding. It's easy on a big ole western saddle to plant your ass and jam your legs out in front and giddyap along, but in a treeless you have to be much more aware of core strength and balance.

                        But - I think it is totally worth it. It is making me a better rider than I was before. It brought all the faults to light and forced me to fix them. And now I am developing more strength and it's really paying off. My horse is less spooky and when she does spook, I am able to stick with her a lot better.

                        This I guess is the same concept of making lesson students lunge without stirrups, or bareback.

                        Of course since your horse is a walker, it will be easier because you don't have to post. The posting is what I found the most difficult to "learn over" in the treeless because on the "sit" beat, there is no tree with a twist to center your butt on the horse's spine. If you have a crooked hip, or are collapsed on one side, you'll roll the saddle on the sit phase. I felt like I was constantly fighting against a long stirrup and a short stirrup, and keeping the saddle centered. Since I'm getting stronger and more balanced, this problem has all but gone away now.


                        • Original Poster

                          I appreciate you sharing those details, A2. I don't ride with my calves as you described/defensive posture- I do have a weak side that I'm sure would be improved by riding as you described: you can't cheat. This little horse fits my body ok- not broad at all, I can definitely sit down on and around him easy enough. Hmmm.

                          I have access to a Cheyenne SL (so it's soft smooth leather, not nubuck) ,$650 for the saddle, skito pad, and "lady godiva" merino wool cover, stirrups, girth. The saddle has only been ridden in maybe 15 times? It's in perfect condition, with only wear where the leathers have rubbed. ...price wise is that a good deal?

                          If I like it, I can take it in partial trade toward my Tucker.

                          Does that sound like a good deal, pricewise?


                          • #14
                            Sure katarine, you're welcome. I do think that most people have an easier time than me though. I have some serious muscle weakness and imbalance issues that should have been fixed years ago but I didn't do it. A dressage trainer pointed this out to me some years ago and noticed how strong my left side is, but the right side is weak. I want to suck up my right leg while wrapping the left deep around the horse's body. I tend to collapse to the right. Well, I got by with this in a treed saddle but when I didn't have that tree anymore I was in trouble. Overall its good though because it's finally given me the push to fix the problems.

                            And that darned arab is so sensitive I've noticed we're going down the trail in a shoulder in. I look down and take note that my body is crooked in the saddle. If I weight one side more than the other, she does a shoulder in or a leg yield. I've never owned or ridden a horse this responsive. She's been a great guage for me to recognize my problems. When she gets crooked, or starts going laterally, I know it's my fault.

                            And this magnified 10,000% with the treeless. I noticed it a little bit in the Abetta from time to time but holy crap without a tree between us.... It's like the difference in talking on a crackly cell phone deep in the woods, versus a face to face in a quiet office.

                            That pacakge you mentioned sounds like a GREAT deal! The skito alone is worth at least $150.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by katarine View Post
                              I appreciate you sharing those details, A2. I don't ride with my calves as you described/defensive posture- I do have a weak side that I'm sure would be improved by riding as you described: you can't cheat. This little horse fits my body ok- not broad at all, I can definitely sit down on and around him easy enough. Hmmm.

                              I have access to a Cheyenne SL (so it's soft smooth leather, not nubuck) ,$650 for the saddle, skito pad, and "lady godiva" merino wool cover, stirrups, girth. The saddle has only been ridden in maybe 15 times? It's in perfect condition, with only wear where the leathers have rubbed. ...price wise is that a good deal?

                              If I like it, I can take it in partial trade toward my Tucker.

                              Does that sound like a good deal, pricewise?
                              Goodness is that EVER a good deal! Why not try it?


                              • #16
                                "The posting is what I found the most difficult to "learn over" in the treeless because on the "sit" beat, there is no tree with a twist to center your butt on the horse's spine. If you have a crooked hip, or are collapsed on one side, you'll roll the saddle on the sit phase. I felt like I was constantly fighting against a long stirrup and a short stirrup, and keeping the saddle centered."

                                Serious light bulbs going off here. A2. We should talk sometime....All along I thought it was my horse, and not me....


                                • #17
                                  DJ - ok send me an email!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                    let's see:

                                    the endurance type saddle is almost center fire rigged.
                                    I'm not sure what you mean by "almost" CFR?

                                    This is what CF rigged is. And this person describes how to adjust it.

                                    If you look at this image, you'll see the 7/8... move that back towards the rear of the saddle a little for a 3/4 rigged. Move it towards the front for a "full" rigged - which some people use when thinking of a double rigged.

                                    Regardless. my friend loves her Bob Marshall sport saddle - but she also warned me that sometimes the front-back movement of a gaited horse will cause the tree-less to pinch a horse.

                                    Good Luck. I hope you find something suitable.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Gabz I'd call it 3/4 rigged then, wish I had a pic. But- regardless, it flat doesn't work on him.

                                      I partly fear the treeless "oh **** ' factor of horse heading S, me heading W, because me and the saddle weren't really 'with' the horse. I don't piddle dee dee riding- we GO sometimes, and choose to ride some places others are skeered of, and maybe rightly so ...I don't want to wonder if a saddle will save my bacon or not, to quote a friend. I don't want to hold back to accommodate a saddle's shortcomings. I've also heard of a BM folding up on an extreme downhill jaunt...that's not acceptable


                                      • #20
                                        Maybe you could try one of the treeless that have more structure like a Freeform? I can't remember the others right now. They are more rigid, with more structure, and panels.

                                        One thing I learned, is that if you rely on the saddle to keep one cheek on either side of the spine, you're in big doo doo on a treeless.

                                        When I'm cantering down the trail, in the lead, on the Arab, you bet your boots I have a handfull of mane along with my reins. That horse is so freakin fast and reactive that she steps out from under me before I even knew something was coming. It's gotten a zillion times better, but I still grab some mane just in case. Of course she dumped me this same way in a treed saddle but she's round and with a treeless, the saddle will just roll all the way to the side if you weight one stirrup too much. Just like a bareback pad.

                                        I briefly looked at your pics last night but can't open them from work. Your horse is more narrow with nice withers, right? If so, you'll probably have a lot more stability than I do on my three mares - fattie, super fat, and fattalicious.