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Black Forest treeless saddle...

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  • Black Forest treeless saddle...

    http://gallopinggrape.com/blackfores...synthetic.aspx

    I received my Black Forest treeless last week and finally got a chance to ride in it yesterday..

    Very comfortable and stable. And no slipping or rolling. I was concerned as my mare is a bit mutton withered, but we did a nice trail ride and the saddle stayed put!

    Thanks Galloping Grape!!
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
    http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

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

  • #2
    Congratualtions!!!

    That is wonderful that all is going well, and what you hoped for!

    Bye the way, very nice looking saddle!


    Edit: I am looking for a saddle, and I would love to know the pros and cons/ likes and dislikes you have found for this saddle so far. =]
    <3 Kaiti <3

    Comment


    • #3
      I have the leather version of this saddle and I love it.

      The only negative that I've found is that because the billets attach to the flap and are pretty far down, you need a very short girth if you've got a small horse. (I had to find a 16" girth for my Paso.)

      Also, I've tried some of their saddles that have the fleece lining and I didn't like them as you felt too raised up. Much prefer the suede lining.

      Comment


      • #4
        I knew you'd love it! And you bought the "synthetic" version... can you really tell its not leather? It is soooo soft and supple, I actually prefer it over the "real" leather! Congrats!

        Kim
        Kim
        The Galloping Grape
        Warrenton, VA
        http://www.GallopingGrape.com

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by endurancegirl_15 View Post
          Congratualtions!!!

          That is wonderful that all is going well, and what you hoped for!

          Bye the way, very nice looking saddle!


          Edit: I am looking for a saddle, and I would love to know the pros and cons/ likes and dislikes you have found for this saddle so far. =]
          Endurancegirl,
          So far I really like it, but I only went out for about an hour. Still very comfy and stable.

          I only trail ride and don't do Endurance Riding, so I can't say how it would be for Endurance, if that is what you're looking for.
          MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
          http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

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

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by GallopingGrape View Post
            I knew you'd love it! And you bought the "synthetic" version... can you really tell its not leather? It is soooo soft and supple, I actually prefer it over the "real" leather! Congrats!

            Kim
            It is very soft and cushy... And no, you really can't tell that it is synthetic because of the suede seat. Nice and grippy....
            MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
            http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

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

            Comment


            • #7
              Got an update H2? I'd like to hear how a longer ride went.
              Facta non verba

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by lawndart View Post
                Got an update H2? I'd like to hear how a longer ride went.
                - So far it is by far the most comfortable trail saddle I've ridden in.
                I'm no longer sore (except for my fall today, that is an entire other post)

                I was having soreness issues with other saddles when I rode around 1/2 hour or so. Numbness in feet, thighs aching.... I've gone up to 1 1/2 hours and NO soreness at all.
                MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
                http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Huntertwo,

                  How is it for trotting? And cantering? Pm me with your review please! I am considering this saddle very seriously. =D
                  <3 Kaiti <3

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lawndart View Post
                    Got an update H2? I'd like to hear how a longer ride went.
                    Last summer I went on some marathon trail rides with my Black Forest Shasta and Grandeur Vario pad, often 4-6 hours in total.

                    No numb butt, sore knees or stiff back. Granted I was on a Paso Fino, but the saddle definitely helped.

                    I haven't done a ton of posting with my other horse, but I don't think it would be a problem.

                    This is what the Black Forest folks have to say about endurance riding

                    We have many customers who ride long distance endurance. They consistently receive “A’s” at the veterinary checkpoints. For long distance, we recommend our Grandeur Vario saddle pad, which provides an extra layer of protection. We also advise that riders who ride in the 2-point fashion do give their horses a break by alternately sitting the trot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      endurancegirl_15 - Just as Huntertwo said, it's a whole different matter when you are riding more than a couple of hours, walking on a nice trail with good footing...
                      If you are serious about endurance and want to tackle some tougher terrain at faster speeds, please reconsider your choice of a treeless saddle... I know there are many (endurance) riders out there who may not agree with me, but I believe that unless you are a lightweight rider with excellent balance and equitation, a treeless saddle may end up hurting your horse even though you feel very comfortable...
                      Distribution of weight is always important but never more so than on a 50+ mile ride over many many hours, uphill, downhill, rocky footing, deep footing, lots of continuous trotting, etc. You get the point.
                      Every flaw in saddle fit, poor construction as well as material of saddle pad against your horse's skin will be compounded as you accrue the miles and it is our responsibility as competitors to keep the other athlete on our team healthy and fit. Obviously your comfort is important as well on these long distance rides so you might have to try a lot of saddles before it works for both you and your horse. Familiarize yourself with saddles and how they are set up - gullet, rock, flare, angles, etc., before making a decision. Don't just jump on the "treeless saddle wagon" because they might be comfortable for you, or they're less expensive, or your horse is "hard to fit" (very few horses are truly hard to fit...) Do your research and do what's best for your horse.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Treeless saddles have come a LONG way technologically in the last 10 or 15 years. There are materials today that weren't available even 20 years ago. That being said...treeless saddles of today should not be compared to the earlier models that might have failed to provide good protection for the horse. Granted real heavy weight riders should be very careful which model they choose and the padding that goes under it. The horses shape is important in choosing which model of saddle too. A horse with a prominant spine or an "A" frame build probably would do better in a more structured saddle rather than a Bob Marshall, older Barefoot or Black Forest. BUT there are a lot of people competeing in endurance and competitive trail on 50 and even 100 mile rides that score very high in horse condition. These sports are the only ones I know of where the horses condition at the end of the ride is as important (if not more so) than the performance. I have a friend who has competed in her Sensation English trail saddle and has consistently scored very high. In fact she was first in her Region last year. Care should always be taken in getting the best fit for the horse FIRST and then worrying about rider comfort but it CAN and IS be done sucessfully. I, personally love my Sensation Hybrid. I am a size 12 and weigh between 165 and 175 and have not had any soreness issues or back problems from either of my horses. I take care to make sure the pad provides enough support and spinal relief and am always conciencious of my horses comfort. If anyone wants to learn more and talk to other people who are sucessfully using treeless saddles i highly recommend joining the treeless saddles group on yahoo! groups. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/treelesssaddles/ There is a ton of experience and wisdom to be had on this fairly active group. The bottom line is that no saddle is going to work for every horse and some few horses will just do better with a well fitted treed saddle but I am firm believer in going for the least amount hardware possible and I believe that treeless saddles have a valid place in many disciplines and are not "just a fad" or "bandwagon".
                        "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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lieselotte View Post
                          endurancegirl_15 - Just as Huntertwo said, it's a whole different matter when you are riding more than a couple of hours, walking on a nice trail with good footing...
                          If you are serious about endurance and want to tackle some tougher terrain at faster speeds, please reconsider your choice of a treeless saddle...
                          Are you serious? Do you realize how many endurance riders compete treeless? Even heavyweight riders!


                          I know there are many (endurance) riders out there who may not agree with me, but I believe that unless you are a lightweight rider with excellent balance and equitation, a treeless saddle may end up hurting your horse even though you feel very comfortable...
                          Well yeah but so can a treed saddle. Bad riding is bad riding, no matter what kind of saddle you're in. I've seen horses pulled from competition for having sore backs - in treed saddles. My opinion is that treed saddles are FAR less forgiving than treeless. There are so many factors to consider in the saddle tree and if all factors aren't right for that horse, soreness can easily result.

                          A horse's back muscles and conformation changes continuously. They might get a little fatter with the spring grass, and leaner in the harsh winter snow. They develop more muscle toward the end of the riding season, and have less in the beginning. And even during a single ride, a horse's back can change. It is my opinion that the chance of a treed saddle fitting the same horse throughout the entire year is less than the chance a treeless will fit throughout the year.

                          Distribution of weight is always important but never more so than on a 50+ mile ride over many many hours, uphill, downhill, rocky footing, deep footing, lots of continuous trotting, etc. You get the point.
                          Agreed! And how many treed saddles distribute pressure absolutely evenly and perfect through all the riding you described? I'd bet not any more than treeless saddles do. Treed saddles tend to produce more pressure under the bars, or tree points. Treeless tends to produce more pressure under the rider's butt bones and the stirrup hangers.

                          Treed or treeless doesn't really matter - what matters is using a pad and saddle combination that is right for that horse at that moment in time.

                          Every flaw in saddle fit, poor construction as well as material of saddle pad against your horse's skin will be compounded as you accrue the miles and it is our responsibility as competitors to keep the other athlete on our team healthy and fit.
                          And this doesn't apply to riders in treed saddles?

                          Obviously your comfort is important as well on these long distance rides so you might have to try a lot of saddles before it works for both you and your horse. Familiarize yourself with saddles and how they are set up - gullet, rock, flare, angles, etc., before making a decision. Don't just jump on the "treeless saddle wagon" because they might be comfortable for you, or they're less expensive, or your horse is "hard to fit" (very few horses are truly hard to fit...) Do your research and do what's best for your horse.
                          It is MUCH easier to find a treeless saddle to fit a horse's back than a treed! Much much easier.

                          I disagree that people choose treeless for their OWN comfort over that of the horse. My experience, and the experience of a few of my riding buddies is that - the first few rides in a treeless can be quite uncomfortable. Your body is so accustomed to absolute rigidity and stability regardless of what the horse's muscles and spine is doing under the saddle - the surface YOU feel and sit on is always the same.

                          But with a treeless, if the horse spooks and flexes their spine and back muscles in a curve, you feel that RIGHT underneath your seat. It takes more muscle control to ride treeless. My first few months treeless resulted in pain for me. I had to get used to it and develop the correct muscles over time. My horse was moving out bigger and better than ever and I wasn't used to that much movement.

                          As a previous poster said, treeless technology has come a long way. You have to buy a good name brand that is well tested and approved for long distance riding, obviously. The manufacturers are using high density, pressure dispersing foam on the under side of the saddles. Stirrup hangers aren't just sewn onto the base anymore, but they're attached to a webbing that spreads out with a large attachment point to disperse weight much better. Couple this with a high density, thick pressure dispersing pad and riding is pure heaven for the horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lieselotte View Post
                            Don't just jump on the "treeless saddle wagon" because they might be comfortable for you, or they're less expensive, or your horse is "hard to fit" (very few horses are truly hard to fit...) Do your research and do what's best for your horse.
                            This is what I've found, too. I'm not anti-treeless. But I've seen too many people take the treeless route because they're not familiar enough with saddle fit to figure out how to find a treed saddle to fit their horses. And if they do any kind of extensive riding, their horses end up with sore backs.

                            Saddles have trees for a reason -- to support and stabilize the rider's weight on the horse's back, which, as we all know, was not designed to carry anything. A treeless saddle simply can't do that the way a properly fitting treed saddle can.

                            Some horses certainly can be a puzzle to fit with a saddle. I looked for 6 months and tried 25 saddles before I finally found one that worked for one of mine. It was worth the effort, not only because I now have saddle that I can do just about anything in -- including 3-6 hour trail rides, dressage shows and breed shows. But I also learned a ton about saddle fit in the process.
                            __________________________
                            "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                            the best day in ten years,
                            you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not anti-treeless either. I know enough fellow endurance riders who use them, some successfully, others not so much. But yes, I completely agree, that is true for people with treed saddles as well simply because they haven't educated themselves enough.

                              It comes down to doing your research and knowing how saddles are made and fit to a horse's back and learning all you can before spending loads of money and possibly hurting your horse with impatience or sometimes pure ignorance.

                              The saddlefitter I use told me the best informed clients are dressage riders, closely followed by hunter/jumpers and a few eventers she deals with. And then quite a bit of a knowledge gap with the non-competitive casual rider. My training partner and I are the only endurance riders she deals with even though there are plenty of us in the area. That's unfortunate.

                              In no other equestrian discipline (aside from vaulting, obviously) do competitors use treeless saddles and that always gave me pause. As does the fact that so few endurance riders use professionals to help them with such issues as picking the right saddle. My only intention was to point out to endurancegirl_15 how important it is to do your homework. I remember from a recent post of hers that she is just starting out so this is a good time to learn all you can before jumping in. A critical look at treeless saddles is as important as learning about fitting treed saddles.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I don't believe that treed saddles were initially developed for the comfort of the horse. I think it was for rider stability while working horseback. They didn't want to fall off in the middle of battle while carrying a big sword, they wanted to be able to chase things at a fast pace without falling off, they wanted to chase and rope cows and horses, along with any number of other tasks. I think that weight distribution was a side effect, not the main point. I think the main function was rider stability and being able to secure bigger loads on the horse's back.

                                Tons of horses in history have been ridden long distances bareback. I just can't believe that the wood carved saddle tree that went with the rider from horse to horse, not custom fitted to each individual horse, was intended to save the HORSE. It was a benefit for the rider: pony express, cavalry, ranch, saddle horses, in later years the Native Americans' horses, they were used interchangably but the saddle wasn't.

                                I ride in a treeless saddle now, a BMSS, but I'm by no means switching the rest of our riding string into treeless and the packhorses are definitely out of luck. I went to treeless with my riding horse trying to solve issues he had going on; we probably went through 7/8 saddles in seven years. He still has some issues but I do think he was more comfortable in the treeless than any other saddle I've had him in. He rounded up under me, had more energy on the long rides, traveled up/down mountains better, never got mincy or backsore. We logged more miles in that saddle than any other we've had and he performed better in it than ever before. This saddle goes with him but when I move on to another riding horse I'll look first at treed saddles but not rule out the right treeless.
                                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Lieselotte View Post


                                  The saddlefitter I use told me the best informed clients are dressage riders, closely followed by hunter/jumpers and a few eventers she deals with. And then quite a bit of a knowledge gap with the non-competitive casual rider. My training partner and I are the only endurance riders she deals with even though there are plenty of us in the area. That's unfortunate.
                                  Well, I guess I would take that information a different way. Dressage riders do not have veterinarians inspecting their horse's backs for soreness, hair loss, or galling, before, during, and after their performance tests. If the horse's movement is a bit lacking, and it is reflected in the scores - that could be the result of anything from saddle fit, to the rider's equitation and ability to apply aids correctly. There are no vet checks throughout a dressage show, so you don't have that professional input on how your horse's back is doing, EVERY time you compete.

                                  My black bay mare was born with 2 evenly spaced rows of white spots down either side of her spine (rabicano gene), and endurance vets always spend ample time on her back. They've asked me about the spots also. If my treeless saddle were making her sore, I'm pretty sure they'd find it. She gets "A"s on her back muscles. If a saddle is making a horse sore in the back, chances are reasonably high that an endurance vet WILL find it.

                                  And dressage riders aren't working their horses under tack for many hours at a time. They aren't going up and down hills, across rivers, over rocks, galloping, and posting for miles and miles. A distance rider is going to know pretty quick if a saddle isn't working for a horse. After 40 minutes in an "iffy" saddle, a horse might just begin to get sore or tired, but if you're riding for 6 hours in that same saddle, my experience is that you're going to start noticing problems after the first couple of hours.

                                  Saddle fitters are an important and worthwhile tool for anyone, regardless of discipline. But, distance riders spend so much time in the tack that they get a pretty good feel for how the horse is moving, is the movement deteriorating, how's the horse's attitude, is the back experinencing soreness at the mid and post-ride vet checks?

                                  Small amounts of a bad thing are usually tolerable, but large amounts of the same bad thing become more apparent.
                                  In no other equestrian discipline (aside from vaulting, obviously) do competitors use treeless saddles and that always gave me pause.
                                  No other discipline spends so many hours and miles in the saddle either.

                                  As does the fact that so few endurance riders use professionals to help them with such issues as picking the right saddle.
                                  How do you know this? The endurance people that I know personally, seem to have invested a great deal of time and consideration into every aspect of their horse's career, including tack. I used to condition with a lady who switched all her horses to treeless after years of chiropractic work on her horses and trying to get treed saddles to fit. She was one of my early influences into the treeless endeavor.

                                  Do you read ridecamp? How many countless threads are there regarding tack, and saddles? I don't see many cheapie saddles at endurance rides, but mostly the higher end name brand endurance saddles, and a good many of them treeless. If you're going to pay $2,500 for a Kanavy Spirit saddle, chances are pretty good that you're going to make sure it fits your horse first. What good is a $2,500 endurance saddle if your horse comes up backsore 30 miles into your ride?

                                  Horses don't generally hold up for the long haul if their tack, hooves, diet, and conditioning aren't up to par.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Treeless saddles work great for some people.

                                    For other people, they do not.

                                    Okay, argument over, I win.
                                    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                                      Treeless saddles work great for some people.

                                      For other people, they do not.

                                      Okay, argument over, I win.


                                      I think the argument has more to do with people believing that treeless saddles cannot and do not "disperse weight and pressure" like a tree. People always say this, but I have seen no proof or evidence that this is true.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post


                                        I think the argument has more to do with people believing that treeless saddles cannot and do not "disperse weight and pressure" like a tree. People always say this, but I have seen no proof or evidence that this is true.
                                        Maybe they've seen the crappy or really old treeless saddles? I've never seen a good one in use myself, only the crappy ones and a REALLY REALLY old Ansur. Both basically squished under the rider's weight, it was obvious neither were doing much distributing of weight at all. But that's basically true of all crappy/broken down saddles, none of them will work as intended.
                                        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                        Comment

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