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

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

    Hey everybody,

    I have a horse who is currently and most regrettably very fat (she was recently diagnosed as Insulin Resistant and Hypothyroid) with abnormal pockets of fat on her shoulders, and her back is currently very wide. She was in fantastic shape and was in training for her first 25 mile LD a couple of years ago when I became very sick with my own medical problems that have kept me out of the saddle for the past year and a half. Unfortunately, while I was getting better she was on a downhill slide of her own.

    She has lost a lot of weight through dietary changes, supplements, and handwalking the past few months and the vet says I can start riding her again for short periods of time to start getting her back into shape.

    Problem is that I need a saddle for her. I don't want to just ride her in my bareback pad as I feel this would be really uncomfortable for her back at this point since she is already so overweight. I have a Specialized Saddle, but this mare is too wide and the tree is a medium. I am thinking about buying either a used Barefoot Tahoe (Cherokee in Canada), Atlanta, Cheyenne, or Barrydale and would love to hear reviews and opinions on how well they fit and comfort for both horse and rider, esp. at longer distances, since we ultimately hope to start training again at some point once we can get her health issues resolved. Generally speaking, I like saddles with a narrow twist and a deep, secure seat. I am 5'2 and 110 lbs. I used to ride bareback frequently as I really like to feel my horse, and my balance is always better bareback than in a saddle, so something that gives me that bareback feel would also be good. Definitely need something that is going to work as she changes body condition...

    Thanks for your feedback!

  • #2
    If you like a narrow twist you may have a hard time with a Barefoot saddle as those have no "twist" at all and can make you feel very spread through the hips.

    Most treeless saddles have this issue. you can fix it somewhat by using a Heather Moffett Hipsaver pad. They are pricey ($125) but they seem to work and they were made specifically for Barefoot saddles.

    I've ridden in a number of treeless saddles -- Barefoot, Torsion, Phoenix and Freeform. Of all of them, I personally find the Freeform to be the most comfortable because the seat is more like a treed saddle. I find it to be a very useful saddle and am using it now on a friend's horse as the horse is too wide for any of my treed saddles.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I've looked at the Freeforms before, I was actually considering one (the EnduroX) before I purchased my Specialized.

      I definitely would NOT like the Barefoot if they make you feel very spread between the hips as I shattered my right hip/pelvis in a car accident a long time ago and now have pretty bad arthritis at the ripe old age of 39.

      Hmmmmmm, maybe I'll demo a Freeform...

      Do you have any experience with the Sensation Hybrid? I read in a similar thread that they have more of a twist too.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have the Barefoot Cheyanne, and the Sensation Trail, and the Sensation Dressage. The Barefoot has zero twist, but is an outrageously comfortable saddle for distances. The Sensation has a classic English twist for the Trail and the Dressage, and is brilliantly comfortable and very "springy". Haven't tried the Hybrid, but assume it still has a tight twist for a treeless. The company is also happy to make custom seats for the saddle according to what you want.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, that is very helpful...

          Comment


          • #6
            I used to have a Barefoot Cheyenne, and now I have a Freeform Enduro. The Cheyenne was fine except that I eventually couldn't take the lack of twist combined with the bulk of the flaps under my leg, that was a knee killer. If you're going for a Barefoot and think lack of twist could be a problem, I'd suggest checking out a model without those thick flaps (like the Atlanta). Losing the flaps reduces the spread-out-wide feeling some.

            At any rate, I sold it and bought the Freeform, and am much happier. Much less bulk under my leg (no flaps! and I use the Wave fenders instead of the regular Enduro fenders, so that's even less) and more structure to the saddle. My instructor told me I am a lot more straight in the Freeform than I was in the Barefoot. I certainly feel more balanced and sure of my seat than I ever did in the Barefoot.

            A Barefoot saddle is more flexible, so may be easier to fit to the horse if there's anything complicated about fit going on besides fatness. The Freeform is still flexible but wants to hold onto its shape more, and it has also done a little better job of distributing weight for me.

            Comment


            • #7
              I sent you a PM- there is a better alternative out there now- finally!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Daisydoo View Post
                I sent you a PM- there is a better alternative out there now- finally!
                Okay, spill. Maybe the rest of us want to know too!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry tinah! I sugested the Flexee to her.
                  I have tried so many treeless saddles, of only one fit my boy- the Barefoot.
                  I have been riding in it for over a year and I just can't get used to the bulk under your seat and under your leg. I have been using the Flexee for a few weeks and it is by far the best treeless saddle I have ever sat in! They are now available here in the US and I can't see using any other treeless saddle after trying this one. It's synthetic and it's affordable. I love this saddle!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I tried a barefoot saddle once, and sent it back. It was very uncomfortable to sit in, slipped badly during mounting, and just seemed very bulky underneath you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a used Barefoot Cheyenne that's pretty nice. I like it almost as well as my Bandos.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks so much for your replies! You are all helping me to narrow things down immensely. So great to be able to pick everyone's brains like this...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Daisydoo View Post
                          Sorry tinah! I sugested the Flexee to her.
                          I have tried so many treeless saddles, of only one fit my boy- the Barefoot.
                          I have been riding in it for over a year and I just can't get used to the bulk under your seat and under your leg. I have been using the Flexee for a few weeks and it is by far the best treeless saddle I have ever sat in! They are now available here in the US and I can't see using any other treeless saddle after trying this one. It's synthetic and it's affordable. I love this saddle!
                          So, this isn't the partial tree like the Pheonix? That saddle is the only saddle I've ever had that made my horse's back sore.
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here's another company I've been checking out:

                            http://rockycreekhill.com/Treeless_Saddles.php

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bogie- The Flexee is totally different from the Phoenix (I tried the Phoenix Vogue and it wouldn't clear my guys withers). The Flexee has a leather tree and it looks very traditional. It gives good spinal clearance as well. I think the issue some have had with the Phoenix (correct me if I'm wrong Bogie) is right where the stirrups would put pressure on the spine. I don't think that would be an issue with the Flexee. I love this saddle

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                who knew a saddle could be 'barefoot'. what next....

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Crockpot View Post
                                  who knew a saddle could be 'barefoot'. what next....
                                  It's just a brand name, and not a new one.

                                  The treeless yahoo group is the best place to get information.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Daisydoo View Post
                                    Bogie- The Flexee is totally different from the Phoenix (I tried the Phoenix Vogue and it wouldn't clear my guys withers). The Flexee has a leather tree and it looks very traditional. It gives good spinal clearance as well. I think the issue some have had with the Phoenix (correct me if I'm wrong Bogie) is right where the stirrups would put pressure on the spine. I don't think that would be an issue with the Flexee. I love this saddle
                                    I'll look into it then. The Pheonix (and I had the jumping version) put pressure on his loins where the half tree is located. It's a shame because for a rider it was a comfortable saddle.
                                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Another vote for Freeform. I have a Classic and 2 FreeWests. Love my freeforms and I ride endurance. I had a Sensation Hybrid before the Freeform. The pommel on the hybrid caused bruising on my thighs when posting. Otherwise, I love my Sensation.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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