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input on Ortho-Flex & Barefoot saddles, pls

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  • input on Ortho-Flex & Barefoot saddles, pls

    I'm seeking a new saddle for my 16.3 hand pleasure horse TB
    which will be easy on my "total knee replacement" done in Dec 2009.

    In short, I seeking a saddle that is soft, secure and equipped with soft knee rolls (and maybe thigh rolls too for extra security).

    I'm looking at the "Ortho-Flex" English saddles (ie: the Stitchdown model or the Suzanne Sheppard model) as well as the "Barefoot" English saddles (ie: the Lexington model). The Ortho-Flex are "treed" saddles while the Barefoot are "treeless".

    I'd so appreciate any input from anyone who has experienced these saddles.

    Thank you.


  • #2
    Take a look at the Black Forest Saddles. They have a model with the knee blocks and thigh block, nice deep seat and sooo comfortable!
    The Galloping Grape
    Warrenton, VA


    • #3
      I have a Sensation Hybrid Treeless saddle that is hands the down the most comfortable saddle ever. I used to have some knee pain in my old treed saddle but it is no longer an issue. The Sensation models are all very comfy..the Hybrid has nice thigh rolls & knee rolls built into the flap and larger knee blocks velcroed to the underside of the flap. This set up makes for a very secure ride. The saddle is very customizable and Nicker's Saddlery...the maker is very easy to work with. While most saddle manufactures stick to two colors for their saddles the Sensations have many colors and textures to offer...and you get to choose! see the options page: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/options.html You can change the flap length to suit you and if you need a bigger seat they can change that too. You can mix and match too...if you like this feature from that model and that feature from this model they will make it for you since each saddle is custom made for YOU when you place your order. Might take a little longer to get it (6-8 weeks) but well worth the wait. And for all that they are reasonably priced. You would expect to pay lots more for a custom saddle. I demoed and ordered mine from Melissa at www.FreedomTreeless.com Melissa is very easy to work with and knows her stuff. She competes in competive trail and came in first place in her region on a sensation English trail model. See my saddle here: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/Gallery.html
      See all the saddle models here: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/saddles.htm
      "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."


      • #4
        I have an Orthoflex Endurance Cutback with the Stitchdown seat, and a Barefoot Cheyenne with the VPS panels. I much prefer the Barefoot to the Orthoflex.

        The Orthoflex leaves me feeling "perched" on top of the horse -- way too high off his back, with little "feel" for how the horse is moving. The seat itself is uncomfortable, and being heavy, it's hard for me to put on the horse. The horse I got it for was more comfortable with this saddle than some of the others I had used, but still had some issues, especially going downhill. I got this saddle back in the late 90's, so it has the system 2 panels. I believe the new Orthoflexes come with a system 6 panel, which appears to be much more supple than what is on my saddle.

        I like the Barefoot because it's light, comfortable for me (I ended up removing the seat and replacing it with fleece), and comfortable for the horse. With the Foxtrotter that I'm now riding, I've had issues finding the right pad to use with this saddle. If your horse has any kind of prominent spine at all, I would highly suggest you contact Tom or Colleen at Skito and have them custom make a pad for you based on pictures that you would need to provide of your horse.

        The Orthoflex is an expensive saddle. The Barefoot is much cheaper and there are many dealers who will give you a trial period.

        And as always, this has been my experience with my horses. What works or doesn't work for me isn't necessarily going to give you the same results.


        • #5
          If you're considering a Barefoot, you might want to check on the Black Forest saddles. Very similar. And I believe less expensive.
          I have the synthetic Echo and it looks exactly like leather. You'd never know the difference. Super comfortable.


          I bought mine from this site. Great customer service too.
          MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

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


          • #6
            I haven't had a knee replacement (just reconstruction) and the biggest help I've found is to use stirrup turners or use off-set stirrups/irons.

            For western fenders, you can use turners like this:

            Or Sycamore Creek sells off-set western stirrups: http://www.sycamorecreeksaddles.com/accessories.html

            For English, you can get the fancy jointed ones or go with Icelandic stirrups: http://www.tolttack.com/category-s/5.htm

            I've got a Black Forest Shasta and it's the most secure, comfortable saddle I've ever had.

            Hillview Farms has their own take on the Ortho-Flex saddles. They are SUPER nice people to work with, and they make the saddles themselves.



            • #7
              I just bought a new Barefoot, Cheyenne style. My mare, a clyde cross, goes so much better in it. She is happy which makes me happy, and as a plus it is super comfy for me. I dealt directly with Brita at Barefoot.