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Barefoot Sierra or Atlanta for Haflinger?

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  • Barefoot Sierra or Atlanta for Haflinger?

    Mitch and I are coming up on our first year treeless! Yay! He's a stout little Haflinger, and had some major muscle atrophy from his treed saddle. I'm not going to say that the treed saddle was bad, because it was improperly fitted which is what led to the muscle atrophy whereas if it was a custom fit treed, it probably wouldn't have been as bad. However, he moves so much better in a treeless saddle, his back looks absolutely fabulous and he's got such a great little canter that I totally missed before when he wore a treed saddle. Clearly, a treeless saddle suits him the best.

    That said, I bought a Barefoot Cheyenne DryTex last year, it's got the VPS and I like it a lot. In a way, I'm satisfied, but in a way I'm not. I just am starting to feel that the flap of the Cheyenne is too long and I can't really get my leg all the way around him, and my knee points outward. I think what might be better is to get one of the western-style Barefoots with the shorter flap/skirt. I like both the Atlanta and Sierra, and just have to basically decide between the two.

    Any thoughts on this?
    "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

  • #2
    I don't know but I'll be watching the thread with interest as this post has me wondering if a saddle like this would be good for my guy.
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by analise View Post
      I don't know but I'll be watching the thread with interest as this post has me wondering if a saddle like this would be good for my guy.
      Having ridden in the Barefoot Cheyenne -- I like it a lot. It's a great saddle for the pony because of his conformation and build. He's short-backed, but wide as a house, and has no withers at all. The soft pommel insert works really good with him. I just feel after a year of riding in it that the flap is too long and I need less under my leg, hence why I'm looking at the western styles instead.

      If money's no object for you, I also really like the Sensation saddles, but I've alas, got a budget and have to go with the Barefoots.

      It might work for your horse, hard to say. What's he built like?
      "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

      Comment


      • #4
        They are the same saddle, except one has a horn.

        I have the Sierra, and LOVE it. It is a really, really nice saddle. I do some endurance and put a LOT of hours in the saddle. I have never hit my time limit in that saddle. I could ride all day, and be totally comfy.

        Good luck!
        Riding is NOT meant as an inside sport, GET out of that arena!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Money is definitely an object. $1,000 would be the absolute hard limit on a saddle (and I'd have to save for a while before I'd feel comfortable dropping that much at one time). My current saddle is a Duett Companion Trail model I bought used for around $700 so that gives some idea of what he's built like.

          He's half-draft (drafty-shaped but with spots), with low withers and a wide back. The Duett is a 36cm tree.

          Obligatory picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notthat...7622211464220/
          The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
          Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

          Comment


          • #6
            I love the Barefoots and I definitely prefer the western models without the leg flap. It makes all the difference!!
            Kim
            The Galloping Grape
            Warrenton, VA
            http://www.GallopingGrape.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I actually had to give up my Barefoot Cheyenne because the thick flap under my leg was torquing my knee in unfortunate ways. I couldn't ride for more than an hour or so without experiencing intense pain. I sold it and bought another treeless saddle (a Freeform Enduro) which had just a little more twist and didn't have those fat flaps under my legs and it has made a world of difference. No pain, and it's a lot easier to get my leg on my horse. If the lack of twist in the seat of the Barefoot isn't a problem, then either of the saddles you were interested in should help you out quite a bit.

              That said, when in doubt, get a demo first. It saves a lot of trouble and money...

              Comment


              • #8
                Tell Mitch that Honey the Haflinger much prefers the Atlanta over the other models with a flap. After reading your blog we tried the Tahoe and I just couldn't get past all that flap under my leg. Decided on an Atlanta and rode in it all this year. LOVE the contact! I started with the endurance stirrup leathers, but then went to english leathers with sheepskin covers - that way I can ride without tall boots or half chaps if it's really hot. BTW Mitch looks really pretty in turquoise!
                Last edited by Golden Pony; Dec. 31, 2009, 09:44 AM. Reason: spelling

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  They are the same saddle, except one has a horn.

                  I have the Sierra, and LOVE it. It is a really, really nice saddle. I do some endurance and put a LOT of hours in the saddle. I have never hit my time limit in that saddle. I could ride all day, and be totally comfy.
                  I just have to decide between a horn or not, hehe. I generally prefer the hornless endurance models, but might want to use the saddle for the rodeo trail classes in the summer and I'm not sure if they require a western saddle. I did ask on the treeless Yahoo group, and someone said the soft pommel insert could be used on the Sierra, it'd just have a hole where the horn goes. Might be something to consider.

                  Glad to hear you like it. I absolutely love treeless for my horse -- he's clearly shown a lot of improvement since we got the Barefoot, went from not cantering and stiff to very very nice canter and very smooth. I just don't think that flap is working for me.

                  Money is definitely an object. $1,000 would be the absolute hard limit on a saddle (and I'd have to save for a while before I'd feel comfortable dropping that much at one time). My current saddle is a Duett Companion Trail model I bought used for around $700 so that gives some idea of what he's built like.

                  He's half-draft (drafty-shaped but with spots), with low withers and a wide back. The Duett is a 36cm tree.

                  Obligatory picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notthat...7622211464220/
                  Wow! He's cute! Too much white for my tastes (brr, the thought of mud all over makes me shiver ) but I like him. How big is he?

                  Since you mentioned money's an object, definitely demo a saddle first, see if you like it. But Barefoot seems like a pretty good saddle for a middle-of-the-range affordable cost. I like how they make different models for varying costs. Of course their cheapest model, which is the one I have now, isn't really working for me, so it's time to look at the others.

                  I love the Barefoots and I definitely prefer the western models without the leg flap. It makes all the difference!!
                  I love the Barefoots too. Glad to hear you like the models without the leg flap, I'm guessing it cuts down a lot of the bulk?

                  I actually had to give up my Barefoot Cheyenne because the thick flap under my leg was torquing my knee in unfortunate ways. I couldn't ride for more than an hour or so without experiencing intense pain. I sold it and bought another treeless saddle (a Freeform Enduro) which had just a little more twist and didn't have those fat flaps under my legs and it has made a world of difference. No pain, and it's a lot easier to get my leg on my horse. If the lack of twist in the seat of the Barefoot isn't a problem, then either of the saddles you were interested in should help you out quite a bit.
                  Yeah! That's it! The saddle's making my knee torque out after a couple of hours of riding. It doesn't hurt me, but I feel like I'm sitting all wrong and really feel out of contact. It's only when I started riding bareback because of the weather (short days, pony has a muddy tummy, can't bathe because it's just a smidge too cold) that I realized "Hey, my leg comes closer to his side now than when I ride with the saddle" and figured that the flap is the problem.

                  Tell Mitch that Honey the Haflinger much prefers the Atlanta over the other models with a flap. After reading your blog we tried the Tahoe and I just couldn't get past all that flap under my leg. Decided on an Atlanta and rode in it all this year. LOVE the contact! I started with the endurance stirrup leathers, but then went to english leathers with sheepskin covers - that way I can ride without tall boots or half chaps if it's really hot. BTW Mitch looks really pretty in turquoise!
                  Wow! My blog experience helped you pick your saddle? That's awesome. My work here is done!

                  I'll tell Mitch what Honey says. Glad to hear you've got great leg contact. I like the english leathers myself, with the stirrup covers. And thank you! Mitch does look smashing in turquoise. It goes so well with his color (but what color doesn't a Haffie look good in?) and he makes quite a stir on the trails. I meet people at horsey events and they go "Hey, you're the one with the turquoise tack."

                  I'm definitely considering the Atlanta. Especially since I can use my soft pommel insert for Mr No-Withers! and my Heather Moffett seat saver that's made for the Barefoots. That's got memory foam and gives me something of a twist. I could just take it off the other saddle and put it on the new one.
                  "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow! He's cute! Too much white for my tastes (brr, the thought of mud all over makes me shiver ) but I like him. How big is he?

                    Since you mentioned money's an object, definitely demo a saddle first, see if you like it. But Barefoot seems like a pretty good saddle for a middle-of-the-range affordable cost. I like how they make different models for varying costs. Of course their cheapest model, which is the one I have now, isn't really working for me, so it's time to look at the others.
                    Hahaha, he has too much white for my tastes. I was specifically looking at solid horses when I was shopping, but other than the color, he was too good of a deal to pass up. I love him despite the color. And yes, the mud is horrendous. He loves to roll and I think he's trying to look like all the bay horses he's pastured with. His legs are perma-stained brownish until it gets warm enough I can bathe him. I'm SO glad it's cold enough he's blanketed now so at least when grooming I only really have to deal with the legs and bottom of his belly!

                    Uh, anyway, he's about 16.3 (here's a pic of me on him not long after I got him, that is NOT my saddle, but a borrowed one. I had to realize that 17/17.5" saddles are too small for my big butt. *sigh* http://www.flickr.com/photos/notthat...7622211464220/ and here's another one a couple months ago, the whitest he's ever been. I think we make a pretty picture, but I kind of cringe about where my hands are: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notthat...7622211464220/ ).

                    Hah, the problem with demo'ing a saddle is I don't know anybody who has one and there aren't any Barefoot dealers nearby! A friend of mine has a Freeform Bandos I've ridden him in so I know he goes okay in a treeless and that I felt okay in it, but Freeforms are definitely more than I'm ready to spend.

                    I do really like the look of the Atlanta.
                    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by analise View Post
                      Hah, the problem with demo'ing a saddle is I don't know anybody who has one and there aren't any Barefoot dealers nearby!
                      Actually there are several online dealers who offer demos for a fee, and they will ship them to you. When I first decided to try treeless, I got a Barefoot Cheyenne demo from Lori's Tack. It included the fittings and the Skito pad so it could be used right away. I got to try it out for a week before sending it on to the next person waiting to try it, and it was definitely worth it.
                      I believe that Action Rider Tack and Saddling Solutions also offer Barefoot demos. Action Rider's demo is a little different from Lori's, basically you pay a little extra and you have the option of returning it without any penalty if it doesn't work out. I got my Freeform as a demo from them and they were SUPER helpful.

                      Lori's Tack: http://loristack.com/
                      Action Rider Tack: http://actionridertack.com/
                      Saddling Solutions: http://www.saddlingsolutions.com/BF.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks!

                        I also noticed on the Barefoot site that you can try the saddle for a week without penalty (except you still pay shipping, of course. )
                        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Uh, anyway, he's about 16.3 (here's a pic of me on him not long after I got him, that is NOT my saddle, but a borrowed one.
                          Oh, he's a BIG guy. I thought he was just a cute little vertically challenged fellow.

                          It's funny really how we want certain things in horses and look for it, but then something comes along and well, the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say. I remember I used to say my next horse would be larger than 16 hands as my late TB was 15.3. And then he coliced, we had to put him down and I started leasing a little 15-ish hand mare because I really needed to ride (the old guy would have wanted me to) and then when the time cam to buy, along comes a Haflinger that's all of 14.1 and I would never have considered him ever (because he was the first I'd ever seen in the flesh, muchless ridden) ... but the opportunity came a'knocking and now I'd never give him up!

                          I do believe I spoke with someone at Action Rider Tack once about their demo program, and they basically get you set up with a saddle package or whatever you need to demo it. If you like it, great, you keep it and they charge you for it. If you don't, you send it back and they charge you $49 or something like that, for the demo fee.

                          I got my saddle from Brita. She was very helpful and full of awesome. I talked to her a while back about the Sierra/Atlanta too.
                          "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow, didn't know anyone else had torque pain (hips being twisted out). I had to stop riding in my Bandos because of pain. I'm now sitting here, in pain, unable to walk or bend over, and not able to ride today because my austrialian saddle has a wide, flat seat and twists my hips out. It's been slowly getting worse (I've had the saddle for about six months) and I didn't really associate it with the saddle. But I did a three hour ride yesterday and I noticed I had hip pain when I got off. I also have an old tailbone injury and any western style saddle that sits me "on my pockets" puts pressure on my tailbone. I had thought about the Freeform endurance, but it doesn't look very secure. Oh, and english style saddles have too-narrow twist, I'm sway-backed and my pelvis leans forward and smashes into the twist.

                            No idea what to buy. Suggestions?

                            Erin





                            Originally posted by KonaPony View Post
                            I actually had to give up my Barefoot Cheyenne because the thick flap under my leg was torquing my knee in unfortunate ways. I couldn't ride for more than an hour or so without experiencing intense pain. I sold it and bought another treeless saddle (a Freeform Enduro) which had just a little more twist and didn't have those fat flaps under my legs and it has made a world of difference. No pain, and it's a lot easier to get my leg on my horse. If the lack of twist in the seat of the Barefoot isn't a problem, then either of the saddles you were interested in should help you out quite a bit.

                            That said, when in doubt, get a demo first. It saves a lot of trouble and money...
                            In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I actually find my Freeform Enduro to be very secure - more than I expected it would be when I ordered it as a demo. 360 spin-and-bolts were the bane of my existence with my old Barefoot. I actually stand a fighting chance in the Freeform. ;-) But I find that I am in a much better position/ride much better in general in the Freeform, too, which definitely adds to the feeling of security. I haven't had any pain on long rides with that saddle, just enough twist to keep my hips happy and no thick flaps to kill my knee.

                              Otherwise I suppose you could look into a StarTrekk Western or Endurance. No flaps on either of those. I haven't ridden in a StarTrekk, but they have more structure and more twist than most treeless saddles. There is also a western-style version of the Sensation saddle that looks pretty secure and comfy. They are also supposed to have a decent twist for a treeless saddle. Getting demos is a good way to find a saddle that works without going broke.

                              Originally posted by Malda View Post
                              Wow, didn't know anyone else had torque pain (hips being twisted out). I had to stop riding in my Bandos because of pain. I'm now sitting here, in pain, unable to walk or bend over, and not able to ride today because my austrialian saddle has a wide, flat seat and twists my hips out. It's been slowly getting worse (I've had the saddle for about six months) and I didn't really associate it with the saddle. But I did a three hour ride yesterday and I noticed I had hip pain when I got off. I also have an old tailbone injury and any western style saddle that sits me "on my pockets" puts pressure on my tailbone. I had thought about the Freeform endurance, but it doesn't look very secure. Oh, and english style saddles have too-narrow twist, I'm sway-backed and my pelvis leans forward and smashes into the twist.

                              No idea what to buy. Suggestions?

                              Erin

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Thanks for your response. Which seat are you using for the freeform? Is it the one with the poleys? I'm also considering this http://www.kates.net/433?ParentID=542 without the horn. The nice thing about aussies is that they never cause me knee or ankle pain. I've tried the wintec endurance and the wintec 2000 ap (no D-rings), but english style saddles have always cause me knee pain. I rarely ride for less than two hours. My horse is easier to fit than I am.


                                Originally posted by KonaPony View Post
                                I actually find my Freeform Enduro to be very secure - more than I expected it would be when I ordered it as a demo. 360 spin-and-bolts were the bane of my existence with my old Barefoot. I actually stand a fighting chance in the Freeform. ;-) But I find that I am in a much better position/ride much better in general in the Freeform, too, which definitely adds to the feeling of security. I haven't had any pain on long rides with that saddle, just enough twist to keep my hips happy and no thick flaps to kill my knee.

                                Otherwise I suppose you could look into a StarTrekk Western or Endurance. No flaps on either of those. I haven't ridden in a StarTrekk, but they have more structure and more twist than most treeless saddles. There is also a western-style version of the Sensation saddle that looks pretty secure and comfy. They are also supposed to have a decent twist for a treeless saddle. Getting demos is a good way to find a saddle that works without going broke.
                                In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yeah, I'm using the Enduro seat, the one with the poleys. Some people feel that using the Classic X seat helps reduce bulk/increases the feeling of twist because it doesn't have the extra leather on the sides of the seat. The other thing that has helped reduce the torque on my knee is using the Wave fenders (which are only 2" wide or so, at their widest point) instead of the big western style fenders.

                                  I used to ride in an Australian saddle when I was in high school. I loved that thing. Sadly, my old pony and I both got too fat for it.

                                  Originally posted by Malda View Post
                                  Thanks for your response. Which seat are you using for the freeform? Is it the one with the poleys? I'm also considering this http://www.kates.net/433?ParentID=542 without the horn. The nice thing about aussies is that they never cause me knee or ankle pain. I've tried the wintec endurance and the wintec 2000 ap (no D-rings), but english style saddles have always cause me knee pain. I rarely ride for less than two hours. My horse is easier to fit than I am.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Malda View Post
                                    Wow, didn't know anyone else had torque pain (hips being twisted out). I had to stop riding in my Bandos because of pain. I'm now sitting here, in pain, unable to walk or bend over, and not able to ride today because my austrialian saddle has a wide, flat seat and twists my hips out. It's been slowly getting worse (I've had the saddle for about six months) and I didn't really associate it with the saddle. But I did a three hour ride yesterday and I noticed I had hip pain when I got off. I also have an old tailbone injury and any western style saddle that sits me "on my pockets" puts pressure on my tailbone. I had thought about the Freeform endurance, but it doesn't look very secure. Oh, and english style saddles have too-narrow twist, I'm sway-backed and my pelvis leans forward and smashes into the twist.

                                    No idea what to buy. Suggestions?

                                    Erin
                                    I've always ridden in treed western saddles and was leary of giving up the "security" of the saddle horn. But I now have a Sensation Hybrid and LOVE it. I also have severe hip pain sometimes and can't ride for more than an hour or so in my Bandos. The Sensation Hybrid is PERFECT for me, it has the perfect amount of twist but should you need more there are bolsters that can be added under the seat. Everything on this saddle is soft and squishy but it is secure and stable on the horse. I can and have mounted from the ground with no problems. I demoed and purchased mine from Melissa at http://www.freedomtreeless.com/saddles.htm. She was very helpful and should you wish to demo a saddle from her you only pay for shipping. I know the Sensations are a little pricier than the barefoots but they are so comfortable and I can literally ride for hours without any hip or knee pain whatsoever. When I first demoed the hybrid it was love at first sit. It is suprisingly secure and gives very a close contact feel. I've never felt so close to my horse, not ever. The most fun thing about ordering a Sensation saddle is the choices of leather colors and types. Your saddle can be as unique as you are. You can order your saddle built to YOUR specifications. Shorter flap, longer seat, mix and match the different models (english trail flap on a hybrid for example), choice of foam for your seats, adding or deleting D rings, english or western rigging, the choices are endless. Honestly for what it is it is a very good value for the money.
                                    "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."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I bookmarked that sight. The G3 Hybrid looks like what I might need. Now all I have to do is come up with the money. I'll probably put my Bandos up on ebay, it just isn't working for me.

                                      Did a four hour trail ride this morning. I shorted my stirrups and it made a huge difference (longer stirrups stretch out the thighs). I was fine when I got back to the barn (and so was my horse). Still, I'd like to try another treeless.


                                      Originally posted by PRS View Post
                                      I've always ridden in treed western saddles and was leary of giving up the "security" of the saddle horn. But I now have a Sensation Hybrid and LOVE it. I also have severe hip pain sometimes and can't ride for more than an hour or so in my Bandos. The Sensation Hybrid is PERFECT for me, it has the perfect amount of twist but should you need more there are bolsters that can be added under the seat. Everything on this saddle is soft and squishy but it is secure and stable on the horse. I can and have mounted from the ground with no problems. I demoed and purchased mine from Melissa at http://www.freedomtreeless.com/saddles.htm. She was very helpful and should you wish to demo a saddle from her you only pay for shipping. I know the Sensations are a little pricier than the barefoots but they are so comfortable and I can literally ride for hours without any hip or knee pain whatsoever. When I first demoed the hybrid it was love at first sit. It is suprisingly secure and gives very a close contact feel. I've never felt so close to my horse, not ever. The most fun thing about ordering a Sensation saddle is the choices of leather colors and types. Your saddle can be as unique as you are. You can order your saddle built to YOUR specifications. Shorter flap, longer seat, mix and match the different models (english trail flap on a hybrid for example), choice of foam for your seats, adding or deleting D rings, english or western rigging, the choices are endless. Honestly for what it is it is a very good value for the money.
                                      In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

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                                      • #20
                                        I also highly recommend anyone who is exploring treeless saddles to join the treeless saddle group on yahoo groups. There is a ton of experience and wisdom out there. The dealers and manufacturers are there for you to coorespond with and ask questions. Dana from Nickers (Sensation Saddles designer) is a member as well and frequently weighs in on discussions. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/treelesssaddles/
                                        "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."

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