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Opinions needed on treeless for larger rider

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  • Opinions needed on treeless for larger rider

    A friend has asked to try my BMSS on her mare because I've done nothing but rant & rave about the wonders this saddle has done for my mare & myself, we're both so much happier, wish I would've made this change years ago. Anyway my friend is maybe 300 lbs if not more. I think her horse may benefit from a saddle that distributes the weight more than the saddle she's currently using, but I'm new to treeless and wondered if anyone can tell me if larger riders would have problems with a treeless saddle. I know I will need to take along the thicker pad when she tries it & her mare may not be a candidate for my type of saddle since she has higher withers. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by mysaygrace; Nov. 19, 2009, 11:26 AM.

  • #2
    The only one I am aware of that can handle a larger person (because my friend is larger than I) is the Barefoot London Dressage.

    She had to have a treeless for her American Cream mare who is the widest of wide bodies I have ever seen with absolutely no withers. The Barefoot London is perfect for both her and the mare, with the right pad
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mysaygrace View Post
      her mare may not be a candidate for my type of saddle since she has higher withers.
      I think you're right for several reasons.

      1. My understanding is that a lot of the treeless saddles are usually not recommended for riders weighing over 200 pounds, and then only with very special padding.

      2. The Bob Marshall saddles, unlike some of the other treeless saddles such as the newer Barefoots and FreeForms, have no panels whatsoever to help with weight distribution.

      3. I don't think a Bob Marshall is well designed to accommodate a horse with high withers. The topline of these saddles is basically flat with no upward curvature for the withers.

      You might want to check with the Yahoo group "treelesssaddles".

      Comment


      • #4
        No.

        Need a treed saddle. If treeless, all the weight will be concentrated in one spot only on the horses back. One must have good balance in a treeless due to the saddle which isn't totally stable from left to right. Some folks have issues with that (at any weight), and some don't.

        With pads and saddles, it is the princess and the pea. IOW a pad will not fix a saddle that doesn't fit a horse.

        Good Luck!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you everyone for your thoughts & opinions, this is sort of what I was thinking about BMSS treeless & my friend & her horse. I'd love to help her somehow find a saddle that make them both happy. I just posted this on the yahoo group for treeless as well. Thanks again!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            The bob marshall can be ordered peaked for the higher withered horse.I have a normal one(not peaked) and it fits my boy beautifully and he has medium withers.Padding is crucial though.I use a thinline and a skito.

            Comment


            • #7
              One must have good balance in a treeless due to the saddle which isn't totally stable from left to right

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mysaygrace View Post
                A friend has asked to try my BMSS on her mare because I've done nothing but rant & rave about the wonders this saddle has done for my mare & myself, we're both so much happier, wish I would've made this change years ago. Anyway my friend is maybe 300 lbs if not more. I think her horse may benefit from a saddle that distributes the weight more than the saddle she's currently using, but I'm new to treeless and wondered if anyone can tell me if larger riders would have problems with a treeless saddle. I know I will need to take along the thicker pad when she tries it & her mare may not be a candidate for my type of saddle since she has higher withers. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
                Give Barbara a call at this place

                http://aretesaddlery.com/tack/index.php

                She is a larger Rider, has a BMSS and handles the Specials Pads required for Treeless Saddles.

                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  I did a lot of homework before getting a Bob Marshall for my husband, who is 280+. Barbara at Arete is a good resource, as is the Yahoo group.

                  Bottom line is, I felt comfortable with the saddle for a heavier rider, and more importantly, a year and a half later, the horse is clearly comfortable with it. And this is with a fairly novice rider, who doesn't always balance his weight well.

                  With treeless saddles, you have to look at the saddle and pad as a system. We went with the skito pad with 1" foam panels. The pad is really what distributes the weight, much more so than the saddle. I also use a thinline pad on top of the skito.

                  As someone else mentioned, the Bob Marshalls do have the option of a peaked pommel for high withered horses.

                  I do want to put in my little plug for these saddles - my husband says his is like riding on a couch, and he feels very secure in it. He has the basic trail model with the suede seat. The only option I added was full fenders. We do use a breastplate and rear cinch, and have not had any issues with lateral stability.

                  I liked his saddle so much, I ended up buying the endurance model for myself. I routinely ride in mine without the breastplate or rear cinch, and have never had an issue with side-to-side slipping. As a matter of fact, it's so stable, it's the saddle I used to start my three year-old.

                  Best of luck to your friend!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Part of it depends on how long her rides are.

                    Have her look into a flexible panel saddle.

                    http://www.american-flex.com/system%20discription.htm

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Don't forget the horse!

                      I would never recommend a treeless saddle to a heavyweight rider. In fact, I know quite a few people who don't recommend it for any weight at all... How long are your friend's rides and does she trot or canter at all?

                      Picking a saddle is not just about the rider's comfort! Without a tree, your (heavy) weight sits directly on the spine of the horse - forget about the pads, they won't make much of a difference...

                      Not to be insensitive towards your friend, but if she wants to ride at 300 pounds, she owes it to her horse to find the best-fitting and most weight-distributing saddle there is!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        old-fashioned thinking. Treeless saddles don't put any weight on the spine and distribute the weight far better than treeded saddles-most treed saddles "concentrate" the weight onto the shoulders. Treed saddles were invented for the comfort and stability of the unskilled rider; not the horse.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wendy View Post
                          old-fashioned thinking. Treeless saddles don't put any weight on the spine and distribute the weight far better than treeded saddles-most treed saddles "concentrate" the weight onto the shoulders. Treed saddles were invented for the comfort and stability of the unskilled rider; not the horse.
                          The Laws of Physics say not so. A soft material will not distribute weight as well as a stiff material.

                          The treed saddle was developed because the treeless saddles of the age were inadequate to the rides' needs. I commend to you Dr. Deb Bennett's book Conquers: The Roots Of New World Horsemanship to fill in some serious gaps in your knowledge.

                          G.
                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Laws of Physics say not so. A soft material will not distribute weight as well as a stiff material.
                            have you examined any of the many treeless saddles available today? they aren't just floppy super-stuffed bareback pads; they have structure. Pressure-sensor studies are available.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You really need to do your homework with treeless saddles because there are certainly brands that do a better job of protecting a horse's spine than others.

                              I ride in a Freeform with a Skito pad underneath quite a bit of the time. I'm not a lightweight rider and my horse has had no issues. However, I am very stable & balanced, and don't put much weight in my stirrups.

                              I doubt that it would be wise for a heavier rider who is not balanced & fit to use a treeless saddle even with a good padding system.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by wendy View Post
                                have you examined any of the many treeless saddles available today? they aren't just floppy super-stuffed bareback pads; they have structure. Pressure-sensor studies are available.
                                The day leather is stiffer than wook I'll take a looksee. Until that time I'll remember why my couch is covered in leather, not plywood.

                                G.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The circle Y bob marshalls are made with the peaked pommel and it is the ONLY saddle that I have found to fit my high withered horse.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I don't know the answer to the original question, but I do know that my treeless saddle doesn't touch my horse's spine.

                                    When I unsaddle him after a ride, I can see this from the sweat pattern. He is dry straight down his spine, sweaty everywhere else. Also, I can put a cord under the saddle, down his spine, while I'm sitting in the saddle, and pull it through with no resistance.

                                    I can also vouch that riding in a treeless saddle does not require particularly good balance. I certainly don't have particularly good balance. Mine is not prone to sliding sideways. I can't say it never would under any circumstance (because I haven't encountered every circumstance); but I can mount and dismount without my treeless sliding sideways. And it didn't budge when I once had to use an emergency one-rein stop.

                                    I would have your friend contact Rebecca at Rebecca Saddles and ask her if her saddles are tested for large riders.
                                    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My horse is also dry down the spine after rides, so I know she is protected. I ride in a Bandos with a Haf pad with laminated inserts. My saddle is stable side to side, without any issues of slipping. My horse is very obviously happier in a treeless saddle; she is so expressive, I could easily tell when she wasn't happy with a saddle, even when the "professionals" would say it fit her fine. I think a lot of people have heard complaints about treeless saddles from people who tried a $99 knock-off on ebay, and they take that as gospel.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        A dry spine is just a dry spine.

                                        Is it dry because nothing is touching it? Or is it dry because pressure is so heavy that sweating is not possible?

                                        Again, one of the jobs of the rigid tree is the effective distribution of weight. No treeless saddle I've ever seen, sat it, or examined has ever met this criteria.

                                        G.
                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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