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Thinking about buying a Barefoot Treeless- opinions and reviews needed please

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  • #21
    yes- I used a treeless saddle briefly- my horse was happier because the previous treed saddle was not fitting him.

    Personally I found the treeless saddle with practically no twist to be very uncomfortable for me. The saddle has to be comfortable for both horse and rider.

    It did inspire me to find a better fitting treed saddle which -hurray -fit us both

    The point being if your horse goes better in a treeless- it may just mean your other saddle did not fit.

    Comment


    • #22
      Treeless can be a good solution, BUT you need to have a good fitter help you out. Too many people have the misconception that treeless saddles are a "one size fits all" solution, and that just ain't so. As Calamber pointed out, some will put pressure directly on the spinous process, and that's not good. I've seen horses whose backs were trashed by ill-fitting treeless saddles, same as I've seen backs trashed by ill-fitting treed saddles. If you want a treeless, I'd strongly recommend talking with Abby at www.saddlingsolutions.com.

      For the wide horses, hoop trees are often a good option; they offer more breadth across the pommel arch and "sit down" on the broad horses, rather than perching up on top. Black Country's Equinox or Celeste are both available on the hoop tree, and Lovatt and Ricketts has just come out with a monoflap trail saddle on their hoop tree. It's similar to the Equinox in fit and feel, but less expensive. You can find out more about it by contacting Nancy Okun at The Owl and the Rose Distance Tack at nancybokun@gmail.com.
      Kitt Hazelton
      Saddle Fitter
      www.pantherrunsaddlery.com
      www.saddlefitter.blogspot.com

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by Calamber View Post
        Treeless saddles put your weight directly, unless you pad it excessively, directly on the spine and are a waste of good money, unless you like paying your vet. It is the reason why there are trees, they lay on the muscle layers along the spine. Work on the ground, put the horse on a diet, but if you are interested in saving your horses' back, don't ride in a treeless. It's is a scam for susceptible people who do not understand anatomy very well.
        Wow insulting much?? I can assure you that I have a very good understanding of anatomy and that my horses' backs are much happier with a correctly padded treeless saddle.
        And please explain how riders like Karen Chaton made it to a the honored Decade Team riding in a Bob Marshall? Or how John Crandrell won Tevis in 2010 in a Freeform on Heraldic? Oh and the 2007, 2004, and 2009 Tevis winners were in a Freeform. And the 2009 AERC 100 Mile National Championship was in a Freeform and the 2011 was in a Sensation. But I guess all these people are clueless right and have no idea what they are doing?
        I'm good at being uncomfortable so I can't stop changing all the time -Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
        If I were your appendages, I'd hold open your eyes so you would see- Incubus

        Comment


        • #24
          I am poking my head back into the world of treeless saddles. I had three barefoots at one point, the Cheyenne, the London, and their western saddle (can't think of the name). On my large shouldered mare they simply did not work. Every single one of them got pushed back by her shoulders, even with use of a breast collar and no slip pad and girth. It was not a lot of fun for either of us. I also felt like I was sitting on a pillow and had no feel for her. I ended up going back to a treed saddle. However, now I am riding two very wide draft crosses and am trying to find a saddle that will fit them both without going custom. I have read really good things about the Sensation and am trying to do some research on the HM.
          Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
          The Blog

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          • #25
            It depends a lot on the saddle, the pad and what kind of riding you do. I wouldn't say they are all bad just like all treed saddles are not good.

            Certainly, treeless saddles work very well for many endurance riders who are logging a lot of miles in them. So they can be very effective and it's worth looking to see what those riders are using. Some treeless saddles have more internal structure, some have gullets and some of the pads are very good.

            However, they are not a "one size fits all" deal and they are not all created equal. Many people don't know how to evaluate the fit of a treeless saddle and some horses just don't do well in them.

            I mostly ride in a treed saddle (I'm not sure how a treeless saddle could do a really good job of dissipating a rider's weight when landing from a jump) but I like the Freeform and use it when riding a horse that doesn't work with any of my saddles or when I'm hacking (more comfy than bareback). I do use a skito pad under it.

            I had the worst luck with the Heather Moffett Pheonix. That model has a gullet so you should not need to use a pad but it made my horse's back sore pretty quickly. I'm not a big fan of the early Ansur saddles because there was no spinal clearance (I think the newer models do have them). I wasn't a fan of the Barefoot because of the lack of twist and the set of the stirrup bars. I liked my Torsion on one horse, but not on the horse I have now.

            That said, I've seen so many people riding in treed saddles that don't fit! It drives me nuts to see horses with saddles with no clearance over their withers or where the saddle is perched on their backs like a party hat. The bottom line is you need to make an educated choice about the type of saddle that works for you and your horse.


            Originally posted by Calamber View Post
            Treeless saddles put your weight directly, unless you pad it excessively, directly on the spine and are a waste of good money, unless you like paying your vet. It is the reason why there are trees, they lay on the muscle layers along the spine. Work on the ground, put the horse on a diet, but if you are interested in saving your horses' back, don't ride in a treeless. It's is a scam for susceptible people who do not understand anatomy very well.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by Bogie View Post
              That said, I've seen so many people riding in treed saddles that don't fit! It drives me nuts to see horses with saddles with no clearance over their withers or where the saddle is perched on their backs like a party hat.
              That drives me crazy too. My treeless saddle is awesome but, by itself without the padding system, it would be awful for me and my horse.
              I'm good at being uncomfortable so I can't stop changing all the time -Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
              If I were your appendages, I'd hold open your eyes so you would see- Incubus

              Comment


              • #27
                Barefoot Barrydale

                Does anyone have any experience and/or review of the Barefoot Barrydale? I have not been able to find one review on this saddle. It looks like a very comfortable saddle. I am looking to purchase a treeless saddle so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

                Comment


                • #28
                  I rode in a BF London for 4 years, then switched to a Cheyenne. Before the London I rode in a Heather Moffett. Love them all, especially the Barefoots. Though fit for horse and rider is usually easier than a treed, making sure your saddle is stable can take more time-especially if you have a roly-poly horse!
                  Take a little e-journey over to the yahoo treeless forum. You will find a few people there who deal in these saddles, and can talk you through what you need-even demo one if you want.

                  For the person who said "treeless puts pressure directly on spine" or something like that, that is old news. The current saddles and pads thoroughly protect the spine.

                  Going treeless is the best thing I ever did for my horse. His back is flat and muscled as can be at 23 years old, and the atrophy around his neck and shoulders from ill-fitting treed saddles of owners past has finally filled in-consequently, his gaits have changed, he has changed, and I we are both happy campers.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I don't do endurance rides, but the spokeswoman for the treeless saddle I use does do distance rides in competition.

                    The EZ-Fit treeless saddle is remarkably stable, has a twist (though it is still wide on a wiiiide horse), and is made so that it never touches the spine or withers. Eli, the guy who makes them, uses a non-slip lining that works, I know because I got a foot caught during dismounting and I was literally hanging off one side of the saddle while my riding teacher got my foot out of the stirrup. The saddle did not move an inch (of course the horse was bracing himself, that helped too!) This saddle is also very adjustable for both horse and rider, and Eli makes a non-slip pad that can use foam inserts to fine tune the fit to the horse's back.

                    If I was not so much into riding hunt seat I could well see switching to the EZ-Fit saddle for all my riding. This saddle is good for most horses, the ones it does not work for are knife-edged high TB type withers,

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Barefoot Tahoe post hip replacement. No twist is definitely proving an issue for me.

                      My 2 cents. I am almost 4 months post THR. I had to start on a bareback pad as I couldn't get my leg over the really tall cantle of my Tahoe. The pad was relatively comfortable other than not having stirrups so I couldn't ride more than 10 mins. The Tahoe is NOT working out for me and I think I will have to sell it. Yes it is not broken in yet, probably only about 10 hours on it but my legs are SO wide apart. They won't drape back and down and if I try to sit back further my tailbone hurts. Due to the thickness of the flaps I can't get near my horse's sides. I am miserable. I did ride for many years in a Stubben which evidently had a narrow twist so I couldn't have gone further from one end of the spectrum to the other, BUT, hip issues and the Barefoot Tahoe don't appear to mix. I am trying to decide whether to cut my losses and sell this saddle before it really breaks in or keep going in the hope that it will get better. Sadly, everything I have read points toward me selling the Barefoot and selling my soul in order to buy a Freeform. (My horse cost less).

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Someone, I can't remember just who, has a pad that fits on top of the saddle and effectively adds a "twist" to the seat. I have been searching online but am not finding it.

                        I can ask my friends to see if they can remember the name of it.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          It's probably this. Not easy to find and not cheap. This use one is $53.........plus shipping from UK if this gal would even ship to USA.

                          http://www.ebay.com/itm/Heather-Moff...3D161464681219

                          Just not sure I want to spend money after money and have it still too wide in the knees. The saddle flaps are thick and then the knee part is extra fat. I'm not sure what to do at this point.
                          I ordered the Sensation twist bolster as that was the cheapest route to take first. We'll see what that does.


                          Thanks!
                          -Lyn

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I think you would be wise to travel over to the yahoo treeless site. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...sssaddles/info
                            There was a post just today about one of the twist bolsters.
                            There are so many innovative designs coming out in treeless.
                            I still love the BF saddles, as they have worked very well on my
                            high-wither/short backed arab. Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
                              I am poking my head back into the world of treeless saddles. I had three barefoots at one point, the Cheyenne, the London, and their western saddle (can't think of the name). On my large shouldered mare they simply did not work. Every single one of them got pushed back by her shoulders, even with use of a breast collar and no slip pad and girth. It was not a lot of fun for either of us. I also felt like I was sitting on a pillow and had no feel for her. I ended up going back to a treed saddle. However, now I am riding two very wide draft crosses and am trying to find a saddle that will fit them both without going custom. I have read really good things about the Sensation and am trying to do some research on the HM.
                              Have you thought about a saddle with an adjustable gullet? I have a Bates Mounted Police saddle (a slightly-modified Kimberley) and by changing the gullets I have used it on a TB, a QH, and a draft cross. Between the adjustable gullet and the air-filled panels, it seems to shape it pretty nicely to almost any horse.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                You can easily improve the twist of any treeless saddle by making your own "twist" seat pad from a Cashel Tush Cushion seat saver. There are numerous models of these pads. I prefer using a type that just covers the seat and not the cantle of the saddle. The thick foam of the cushion will lift you higher above your horses back which allows your legs to hang downward at a more comfortable angle. You may have to remove the existing ties and stitch them back onto the pad in a different location so that the pad can be attached to your saddle seat. Even using some shoe/boot strings tacked on by hand works well. You may want to open the back edge seam and pull the foam out to trim it a bit. You want the foam to be wide under your seat bones then taper to a more narrow shape where your thighs hang.

                                I had an existing suede seat cover for my Sport Saddle which was tied securely to my saddle. I took some firm foam from an old Cashel pad, trimmed it to a shape similar to an old-fashioned bicycle seat. I simply slid the foam under my saddle seat cover and it stays put. It makes a world of difference in my hip comfort.

                                Chicamuxen

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Without reading all the posts, just a general comment on treelsss saddles in general.
                                  First, most of the new and better `treeless saddles`are not truly treeless, but a hybrid, as they feature some form of bridging
                                  The horse`s spine was never meant to bare weight directly, esp in a concentrates area. The first true treeless saddles soon proved this fact, and special pads were sold that tried to compensate for this design flaw, but did not do so completely
                                  Hense the so called `treeless saddles that feature bridging, or in other words, far as I`m concerned, just a different type of tree

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Its kind of sad that people who love horses and love to ride won't read research about these issues. I have just about given up on COTH because of all the opinions based on personal experience rather than science.
                                    The poster who wrote about horse anatomy and the need for a tree is absolutely correct. Several vet schools have done the research/testing on riding bareback or on a treeless saddle the results are there for your reading and hopefully education.
                                    Save a horse use a tree!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      I took a saddle fitting clinic with a vet once who said that something like 95% of all the necropsy's she had witnessed the horses had the tops of their shoulder blades worn down by ill fitting treed saddles.

                                      This also factors into the way some horses backs will drop. There is nothing behind the shoulders to hold it up. Amongst other issues of course.

                                      I think blanket statements of any kind point to the possibility of a biased and slanted research.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Some links would have been helpful to go along with this....
                                        Originally posted by walkers View Post
                                        Its kind of sad that people who love horses and love to ride won't read research about these issues. I have just about given up on COTH because of all the opinions based on personal experience rather than science.
                                        The poster who wrote about horse anatomy and the need for a tree is absolutely correct. Several vet schools have done the research/testing on riding bareback or on a treeless saddle the results are there for your reading and hopefully education.
                                        Save a horse use a tree!

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I currently own both treed and treeless saddles. They both need to be fit properly (and may require proper padding). I've certainly seen more ill fitting treed saddles out there. Saddles that sit on the horse's spine or perch like a party hat on their back. I've seen horses that are so back sore that they flinch if you even try to touch their back.

                                          Lots of people, including many endurance riders, use treeless saddles quite successfully. They pass vet checks during the rides, too.

                                          Riders need to learn how to evaluate saddle fit, understand what they need for their discipline (jumping in a treeless saddle can be tricky because of the weight that the rider puts in the stirrups), and listen to their horse.
                                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                          Comment

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