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Barefoot treeless saddles?

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  • Barefoot treeless saddles?


    I was on another forum and someone was talking about the Barefoot Saddles.

    I was looking at the Cheyenne style. Sounds like they are comfortable for horse and rider.

    Any opinions of these?
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    I have the London dressage.
    Pros: Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable; fits my wide backed/no-withers Arab and my flat backed/even-less-withers MFT very well; does not feel like a glorified saddle pad but actually has substance.
    Cons: No tree, so no twist so feels a bit like I'm straddling a couch, especially on the Arab; tends to slam my legs quite a bit in front of me so I need to check position all the time; if you dismount at any time on the trail you better have something to step on handy (picnic tables are great - or a tree stump) because the saddle will roll if you mount from the ground; Forget about doing any real dressage in it, due to the leg position issue.
    I do like the saddle but I'm not sure if I'd buy another.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by mzpeepers View Post
      I have the London dressage.
      Pros: Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable; fits my wide backed/no-withers Arab and my flat backed/even-less-withers MFT very well; does not feel like a glorified saddle pad but actually has substance.
      This is the reason I'm leaning toward this saddle. My POA is mutton withered and stocky, so I need something that won't roll under saddle.

      I had a BM that I loved, but sold it for this reason.
      MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


      • #4
        I don't have a barefoot treeless saddle but I belong to a list where a lot of people do have them and love them but the major complaint is no twist. I have a Sensation Hybrid treeless saddle. I need more of twist and the Sensation has it. They are very comfortable and stable saddles. If you want to know more join the treeless saddles group on Yahoo! groups. There are a lot knowledgeable people who frequent this group....many of them distributors of various brands of saddles. Virtually all of the distributors on this group have a good reputation and will not sell you a saddle if they feel it won't work for you or your horse.
        "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."


        • Original Poster

          Thank you for the link!

          I looked at the Sensations and unfortunately they were out of my price range.
          MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
            Thank you for the link!

            I looked at the Sensations and unfortunately they were out of my price range.
            Yeah, mine too! I have to sell all my treed saddles to pay for it but it is soooo worth it.
            "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."


            • #7
              I have a Cheyenne that I like well enough to keep, but not as much as my treed saddles. I do prefer a twist and I just like the feel of a treed saddle more. I really dont have any trouble with the saddle shifting, or difficulty mounting or any isssues like that though.
              The times I really like the Cheyenne is just for shortish walking trail rides, because it is like sitting in a comfy couch and you dont have to worry about your position or comfort over the long haul. For longer rides or disciplined riding like dressage or jumping, I definitely prefer treed. I have done some 25s in it but again, not as comfortable for me in those conditions.


              • #8
                I used to have a Cheyenne. I got it because I needed a treeless saddle for my youngster, and couldn't afford anything more expensive. It was very comfortable for short rides, but the thick flaps plus lack of twist torqued my knee, so that I couldn't ride more than two hours or so without considerable pain. I also felt like I was constantly struggling with my position - I always felt unbalanced. That improved with time, but I never felt 100% secure and sure of my seat. I suspect the stirrups just weren't in the right place for me, and the seat was just a little too big (size 2 was too big, size 1 was much too small, alas). Shortly before I sold it I started taking lessons, and my instructor noticed that I rode crookedly. Once I got my new saddle (a Freeform), that stopped, and I also felt much more balanced.

                It was great to have when I needed it, but I'm glad I don't need it anymore.


                • #9
                  The barefoot wasn't for me, but you can trial one through action rider tack, if ya don't like it you aren't out much! I ride a big wide horse and while he was happy enough in it, but I felt like I couldn't get my leg on him, and that I was straddling an oversized barrel. Might have worked for trails and such, but not for doing even light ring work. Just didn't seem balanced for that.

                  They also have the freeform, which I didn't try, but they looked like they had more "structure"

                  Good luck!


                  • #10
                    I have a Cheyenne. Loved it from the second I sat in it. Bought one immediately, and it has become my #1 endurance saddle.

                    Arrange to have a demo sent to you so you can try it out first.


                    • #11
                      I bought a Barefoot Cheyenne DryTex last year for my Haflinger gelding. He's similar to your mare, stocky, no-withered (and very flat-backed to boot.) At the time, he actually looked like he might have had some withers due to muscle atrophy, but after I got him working again, man, did he ever turn into the Pony Without the Withers. I definitely found that having a really short endurance girth (the one that looks like a roper) and a breastcollar helped keep the saddle from rolling around too much, but after a while, I just felt the lack of twist was too much, and I couldn't get my leg on my pony that well.

                      Ended up selling it and putting that money towards buying me a nice in-stock Sensation western. That was oh so much more and pricey, but I like the adjustable stirrups on that one, and it seems to fit the pony better.
                      "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan


                      • #12
                        I've tried quite a few types of treeless saddles and currently own a Sensaton English Trail, Bob Marshall Sport Saddle and a Freeform Liberty.

                        The Sensation is the most comfortable for the rider and works well for low withered horses AND short backed horses. Worth shopping around for a used one. it has more twist than the Barefoots.

                        The BMSS also has more twist and is the most stable treeless that I have ridden. It is a bit longer than the Sensation and not as comfy but best weight distribution for hard riding. Used ones are for sale at lower prices.

                        Freeform, well, I'm not sold on the model I got, still giving it a try.

                        I bought a Barefoot London which has the commonly ultra flat seat that many of this style of treeless saddles have. Wasn't impressed, sold it, just too flat and rolly.

                        Another saddle that has a reasonable cost is Black Forest.
                        they also have those really flat seats but they have some nice features.

                        Bonnie S.


                        • #13
                          Take a look at the Black Forest. They are excellent quality, better leather than the Barefoot and less money. Its a great product and very comfy to ride. Black Forest offers more options, like english girth or western, Synthetic or leather (although the synthetic leather looks just like real leather and sooo soft.
                          The Galloping Grape
                          Warrenton, VA


                          • #14
                            I have on of the Barefoot London dressage saddles, I love it! It works quite well on my older, just turned 29, gelding who is starting to lose some of the muscling along his back. He is comfortable and happy in it and it is enough saddle to keep my fiance who is a solid beginner out of trouble both on the trail and in the arena. I have not had any problem with it putting me in the wrong position to do dressage. The only reason I don't ride it is that I had to get the big size for him, so I swim in it. But I definitely don't mind hoping up in it any time I get the chance. I would definitely suggest test riding one to see what you and your horse think of it.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
                              Thank you for the link!

                              I looked at the Sensations and unfortunately they were out of my price range.
                              Look again at the SHE (Sensation Harmony Element). I ordered one with leather seat and flap upgrades with shipping from Canada for $810. To me that is a very good price for a very nice saddle.

                              If you contact Melissa at FreedomTreeless.com she will put you on the demo list and will send you one for a week to demo for only the cost of shipping. I fell in love with the SHE the second it came out of the box. I haven't gotten it yet- (still waiting for it to arrive) but I can't wait to go for a ride in it!

                              I was all for getting a Barefoot, but after getting to sit in one at Equine Affaire last fall, I changed my mind. I thought the London was very bulky, heavy and was too large for my small 14h mare.
                              The Sensation fits my 16h gelding and my 14h mare like a glove.

                              FYI- I heard that the Black Forest saddles are actually made by someone who used to work for Barefoot, so they are essentially the same, just a bit cheaper and comes in synthetic.

                              Keep in mind you will also have to invest in a Skito pad or similar unless you are very lightweight, then I think you can get away with using a nice Mattes or Thinline pad as long as it has an open spine.
                              For those of you who used a treeless and had slippage- did you use a breastplate at all?


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks Halt,
                                I have the BF on order already, but if it doesn't fit, I'll certainly keep the Sensation on my *next* list.

                                With the conversion, the price isn't too expensive.

                                I already have a Skito pad, so hopefully the saddle arrives soon.

                                Although, we've had monsoon rains here for a few days, so I can't even imagine what the trails will look like.
                                MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                                • #17
                                  Be sure you ride with a breast-collar, and/or a crupper - because the Barefoot saddles do tend to roll. Mounting with a rock or a block is good idea with these saddles. Be sure you have a good pad beneath it, like an equipedic pad or a skito pad - because there is not much between your butt-bones and your ponys spine - you need to protect your horse from you and you from your horse, imho. I do own the Cheyanne Barefoot, and although I like it for short rides, it is not a favorite for any real distance riding. Again, just imho...
                                  ‎"Luck favors the prepared, darling." ~~ Edna Mode


                                  • #18
                                    I have the Barefoot Tahoe. I have never had any issues with it slipping or rolling, and I can mount from the ground when necessary.

                                    Like others said I feel like I have to fight to stay in a balanced seat. I don't like the lack of a twist. I really don't like having a knot (stirrup leather) under my thigh. I put a sheepskin cover on the saddle and it fixed the lump.

                                    I got a size one and it is too big for me, so I am not yet sold on treeless.


                                    • #19
                                      I have a Barefoot Cheyenne and I hated it for about the first month. After it got good and wet when we got rained on everything changed and it got a nice broken in feel and I love it! I have been riding in the Barefoot for 2.5 years. I use the Grandeur Physio pad and I have never had a problem with spine clearance or rubs. I ride a variety of horses and the barefoot fits them all....from a Dutch Warmblood to an AQHA to an Arab. I have also had good luck with the Skito pads. I ride with a breastplate. It adds a bit of security but I can mount from the ground when I have to and if the girth is tight enough the saddle won't roll. I use English leathers with low buckles and the leather sleeve that goes over the buckles....if I ride with the buckles up high I get black and blues on my thighs.

                                      My kid rides in the size 0 Barefoot drytex. She is 10 and it is a bit big for her. The lack of twist puts her leg back a bit farther than I would like but she really has no trouble. The drytex don't seem to break in as easily because the are synthetic. She also rides with a Grandeur pad.

                                      We both use the Bob Marshall sheepskin full saddle cover on our saddles and we are riding 50 mile events. No sore backs and I am a HW rider.


                                      • #20
                                        I have a barefoot Cheyenne, and I love it. It's beyond comfortable, and my mare seems to like it [she lets me know when she is hurting from a saddle].

                                        I do use a breast collar and a crupper, but I can mount without too much difficulties. I normally have issues when I forget to check her girth before mounting [she likes to puff herself up], and then the saddle will roll. You do learn to mount quickly with treeless saddles, however. You actually should be able to mount a horse without your girth being fastened, if you mount "correctly".

                                        Either way, I love it. I use a dixie midnight pad and a tolkat woolback with mine, mainly because my skito pads were from my other horse and she needed a built up pad whereas this mare does NOT need the extra panels up front.

                                        Here is my setup:


                                        I do not find that it puts me in too bad of a position, and I feel very very secure in this saddle.
                                        (¯`·._¤ Jess!·._¤ ´¯)