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Best trail or western saddle IF you like close contact feel?

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  • Best trail or western saddle IF you like close contact feel?

    Spinoff from the other thread which got me thinking...I'll be trailering out more now and riding more. I currently trail ride in my regular flatwork/lesson saddle which is a Stubben Camelot close contact. I bought it after deciding to stop using my Wintec Pro Dressage (wasn't doing dressage, wanted more forward flaps - long femur, and that saddle "jammed" me into a position my trainer didn't like...) I, who used to always feel I needed more "security" am much more secure in a close contact?! Who would have thought. I also communicate much better with my horse through seat, etc.

    I have thought of getting either a Western or treeless saddle for trail. Of course overwhelmed by choices. I have "heard" treeless gives you much less security but I think I might like it based on the above. And I think my horse would really like it.

    Any recommendation? Horsey is a bit hard to fit so I would probably trailer him places to try on saddles (does anyone do that???) or demo a few.

  • #2
    If you like close contact look for a reining or cowhorse saddle. If you like riding bareback, a cutting saddle will give you very close feel, but since they are a flat seat, you pretty much have the cantle behind you and the swells in front of you, but no support in the seat itself. Reining and cowhorse saddles have a better pocket for your rear and tend to be more comfortable for long trail rides.

    The best bang for your buck is going to be a well cared for used saddle. There are a lot of good makers-- Bob's Custom, Jim Taylor (I ride a cowhorse model for hours in the mountains), Advantage, Broken Horn, Champion, Chavez, RooHide, etc. Good saddles at a bit of a lower price point include Reinsman and Martin. A lot of people also like Crates, at the lower price point. Be careful of fit with Circle Y saddles built in the 1990s.

    I don't know where you are located, but a lot of brick and mortar tack stores, especially ones that carry used tack, will let you haul your horse in to try on saddles. They range from being able to tie up in a parking lot to on-farm tack stores that have an indoor arena.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      What about a Bob Marshall? They look pretty close contact to me. They are treeless and come in western style. Sounds like just what you are looking for.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tpup View Post
        I have thought of getting either a Western or treeless saddle for trail. Of course overwhelmed by choices. I have "heard" treeless gives you much less security but I think I might like it based on the above. And I think my horse would really like it.
        I've found that how secure I feel in a treeless saddle really depends on how well the saddle fits me. I started out with one that didn't fit me just right, and I didn't feel very secure all the time. Sometimes I felt like I was fighting for my seat., but I have felt the same way in some treed saddles, too. I got a new treeless a while ago, and it fits me much better, so I feel much more balanced and secure than I did in my old one. There is also a quite a variety in terms of how structured different treeless saddles are - if you demo enough you might find the right balance between structure and contact. In my case, the more structured saddle (a Freeform) worked better than the less structured saddle (a Barefoot) and I can still feel the horse through the saddle pretty well too.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KonaPony View Post
          I've found that how secure I feel in a treeless saddle really depends on how well the saddle fits me. I started out with one that didn't fit me just right, and I didn't feel very secure all the time. Sometimes I felt like I was fighting for my seat., but I have felt the same way in some treed saddles, too. I got a new treeless a while ago, and it fits me much better, so I feel much more balanced and secure than I did in my old one. There is also a quite a variety in terms of how structured different treeless saddles are - if you demo enough you might find the right balance between structure and contact. In my case, the more structured saddle (a Freeform) worked better than the less structured saddle (a Barefoot) and I can still feel the horse through the saddle pretty well too.
          Ditto this. I've got a Black Forest Shasta treeless and it's one of the most comfortable and secure saddles I've ever been in. But I've tried another Black Forest model and it didn't feel as right.

          If I had to choose a western treed saddle, I'd get a Lady Wade. Spendy but so comfy: http://www.brightonsaddlery.com/Wade...9-3010/Product

          Comment


          • #6
            How about a Cordura and Leather Saddle?, skirts are Cordura, so they are generally Smaller and highly flexible allowing close contact. Jockies, cantle and pommel are leather for added strength.
            They are light and strong, great for Trails or also many Endurance Models are available.

            .

            Comment


            • #7
              If you like close contact and feel more secure (makes perfect sense), you would love a Treeless. The Black Forest Western model is light and reasonbly priced and its so incredibly comfortable, very secure and very close contact. See here http://gallopinggrape.com/blackfores...sstirrups.aspx
              Kim
              The Galloping Grape
              Warrenton, VA
              http://www.GallopingGrape.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Best trail saddle?

                Tpup: Of course this is just my humble opinion, but I swear by the Bob Marshall Sports Saddle. It is treeless and the most comfortable saddle I've ever used. The biggest plus, however, is that I can feel every movement, every breath, my horse takes. AND, I can use it on a variety of horses. I have 7 of the little darlin's. (It is a very bad addiction and I'm broke.)

                I bought my Bob Marshall five years ago. For the first two I wanted to sleep with the dang thing. It took 3 months for it to be made and I paid half up front and the other half when it was about to be shipped. Stripped bare, it weighs appx. 13 lbs. The pad I purchased is a Skito. They make one just for the Bob Marshall. I am just now contemplating buying the Skito a new cover. It doesn't really need one, but I want one. Horse person logic.

                Now, if I "needed" a second, lower priced treeless saddle (and I'm still trying to figure an excuse for this) I would probably buy the Barefoot. All the endurance people I ride with who own Barefoots can't say enough about them.

                Good luck with your search.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a Sensation Hybrid treeless saddle and love, love, love it! It is, hands down, THE most secure feeling saddle I have ever ridden. Just yesterday I went on a 3 hour ride in the Oconee National Forest in central Georgia where, much to my surprise there are some STEEP hills! Not one single time did I feel insecure or unstable. This saddle is suprising stable on my horse too, although I prefer to use a mounting block I can and have mounted from the ground, and it is the most comfortable saddle ever. I have never had such close contact with my horse. I use a soft neoprene girth and a skito pad with the firmest inserts they make with the fleece under the saddle only and wool felt on the flaps. This set up gives me even better contact. This is a relatively new design for skito but I love it. I demoed and purchased mine from Melissa at www.freedomtreeless.com . See the saddles here: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/saddles.htm. See MY saddle here (2nd picture down) : http://www.freedomtreeless.com/Gallery.html

                  Edited to add: Sensation makes a western model that is really nice too!
                  Last edited by PRS; Apr. 12, 2010, 04:54 PM.
                  "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


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PRS View Post
                    http://www.freedomtreeless.com/Gallery.html

                    Edited to add: Sensation makes a western model that is really nice too!
                    I'm madly in love with my Sensation western. It's a great saddle. You can see pictures of me and my Haffie demoing the one from Melissa on the link that PRS posted.

                    I went on a 2 hour 6 mile trail ride yesterday that included some pretty steep hills. Saddle was comfy and snug. And as an added plus, it was really cold and windy so I got some extra warmth and heat coming from my horse.
                    "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I love my cashel western saddle. It is very secure and also close contact. It is made by Martin Saddlery which is a great sadle maker. http://www.cashelcompany.com/saddles...DL=TrailSaddle
                      I have ridden mine on every kind of trail, worked cows, taken lessons and schooled my horses at home and have never had a problem. The leather is excellent and barely has any scratches on it even though it has been on rough trails. It is close contact and I have no problem getting my horse round and listening to my seat and legs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dreamswept View Post
                        I'm madly in love with my Sensation western. It's a great saddle. You can see pictures of me and my Haffie demoing the one from Melissa on the link that PRS posted.

                        I went on a 2 hour 6 mile trail ride yesterday that included some pretty steep hills. Saddle was comfy and snug. And as an added plus, it was really cold and windy so I got some extra warmth and heat coming from my horse.
                        LOL! Gotta love that built in bum warmer....
                        "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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