musing about treeless saddles... those who have/love them...

kerilli

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 April 2002
Messages
27,417
Location
Lovely Northamptonshire again!
Visit site
please can someone explain the bit that i just can't get my head around. the tree was originally invented, back heaven-knows-when, because some bright spark had thought up stirrups. the moment you have the rider's weight as downforce on something narrow suspended from the saddle on both sides, as opposed to just sitting on bareback with the weight spread across the whole seat and thighs, you need something solid to hold that force off the spine. the webbing holding the stirrups on, or that the stirrup bars are fixed to, must have a huge amount of pressure per square inch, even if it's more than a few inches wide.
so, how do treeless saddles get around this, and not cause a sore area across the spine wherever the stirrup attachments are situated? genuinely wondering, that's all. thankyou.
 

Partoow

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 January 2007
Messages
1,157
Visit site
Quite simply they dont.Regardless of what they say. As you and i know even a badly fitting saddle cloth , not pulled up of the withers can cause pressure sores on the withers.
i have had a couple of clients that had one of these things and, surprise, surprise they had nappy horses, both of them! There was a sensitive area at the withers and at the back. Largely because the leather at the back and front is stitched into a sort of 'roll' this caused point pressure. Their method of 'flocking' is fine if you were not dealing with a dynamic system, ie. one that does'nt moves but it does. As for the stirrup bars this is exactly why WOW did the pressure testing at this point in jumping saddles where even more weight is carried at this one point.
The Treeless people will tell you they use padding but i remember 'The princess and the pea' story from my chidhood and added to that my two degrees in engineering then the treeless saddle is a non starter.
I bet you'll get some interesting replies!!
tongue.gif
wink.gif
 

kerilli

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 April 2002
Messages
27,417
Location
Lovely Northamptonshire again!
Visit site
thank you, i just couldn't get my head around it, glad to know i was suspicious along the right lines.
regarding "the princess and the pea", a lot of saddles have horrible finishes inside, and any unchamfered edges, tacks, etc can cause sore points once you have a rider's weight on top, however much padding is underneath. the first time i saw one of my original saddles stripped down i was shocked speechlees...
frown.gif

the cost of the saddle has nothing to do with it, it is down to the attention to detail of the particular saddler on that day...
frown.gif
 

suestowford

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 July 2005
Messages
1,849
Location
At home
Visit site
Some of the saddles have the stirrups attached to webbing that spreads across the saddle. Some don't.
Some of the saddles are designed for jumping in. Some aren't.
Some are definitely better than others. I have used one for a while now and have not got a nappy horse, maybe the saddle I have is better suited to me, my horse, and what we do than the ones sold to Partoow's clients. Certainly I don't spend a lot of time with all my weight in the stirrups, maybe I would be having problems if I did. However, I'm not going to ride along standing up just to test it out!
 

Little_Mare

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 February 2007
Messages
659
Visit site
Total Saddle Solutions address this on their web page

It is pointed out that the only part of the tree strong enough to support the stirrup bars is the front arch which causes loading either side of the withers. So no, the pressure will not be over the spine but on the muscles (trapezius muscle?) either side of the wither (I'm no expert, just paraphrasing!). TSS "place the stirrup attachment across the broadest part of the back to further disperse pressure, instead of localising it" (near end of page, under Saddle Design).

I have a treeless but am not anti-tree - it was just the best option for my pony.
 

Tinypony

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 December 2006
Messages
5,211
Visit site
Which treeless saddles are you talking about Partoow? The pressure problems you are describing sound like the types that have a solid block at the pommel and cantle. I've seen this with Torsion, but mostly with the cheaper versions of this style. I think the newer designs of treeless saddles are a lot better.
My feeling is that if you want a good treeless saddle that won't harm your horse you need to be prepared to spend some serious money. For example I've heard of very few problems with Heather Moffet's saddles, and she herself rides in them all the time.
I guess I've know of so many problems with treed saddles that I don't see treeless as any worse, if you get the right one, and it's fitted correctly. I have two, the Sensation and the Freeform (from Goldfinch that one, not the cheap EBay one). Under both of these saddles I have pads that use special foam that distributes pressure. I can put the foam pad on my hand on the ground and let someone stand on it - and only feel the weight, no discomfort. Using these pads I get a good even wear pattern under the saddles after work, and have seen no signs of pressure under the stirrup bars or straps. (Neither of these saddles have solid parts, so pressure under the pommel and cantle area is much less likely to be an issue).
If you're interested in treeless I'd say hire a Port Lewis pad and trial some saddles when you have it.
grin.gif
Many will hire them out cheaply for you to try, and I know that Better Saddles will visit to help you to fit and try them out.
 

DiablosGold

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 August 2007
Messages
2,888
Location
Brighton
Visit site
This is my saddle:

http://www.bettersaddles.com/acatalog/Mondial.html

It is treeless but designed to be used like a normal saddle.
It is fantastic, wouldn't swap it for any other. It moulds to the shape of their back so one saddle can be used for most horses.

There is a gullet and weight is kept off the spine, not sure how. I don't have to use any special pads and everyone is very surprised when I say it's treeless because it looks so conventional.

I don't lump this saddle in with the torsions, freeforms etc - I'm not normally an advocate of the whole 'treeless' school I think they can put too much pressure on their backs.

My horse has a bit of a weird shaped back and gets sore in any other saddle.
 

Tinypony

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 December 2006
Messages
5,211
Visit site
A Torsion and a Freeform are very different saddles in construction though aren't they? Those solid blocks in the Torsion can be a complete liability for sure.
The Modial uses memory foam in the seat, as does Heather Moffet in her Fhoenix. Memory foam is pretty expensive, which explains the price of these saddles - the Mondial is £1900!! I think if the saddle has memory foam in the construction then you've really sussed the weight distribution thing, which is why I had it put into the pad for my Sensation, and brought some of my own to put in the pad of the Freeform.
smile.gif
 

debradley

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 April 2007
Messages
559
Location
Worcestershire
Visit site
Hi I have a Heather Moffett and also a Saddle Co treed saddle. I use the treed saddle when I am doing more intensive work. But you can't beat the treeless saddle for the long hacks and days out. Both of us just find it so comfortable. The way the Heather Moffett is designed means that the dispersment of pressure from the stirrups is spread more evenly over the saddle and neither of my horses suffer from pressure soreness when I use it. I don't use it on Honey as much as she had KS and when you warm the treeless up you do sink very deeply down onto their backs; but she finds it fine for hacks.
 

Tinypony

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 December 2006
Messages
5,211
Visit site
I don't understand how anyone can make sweeping generalisations about these saddles when there are such a variety out there. Bossanova - which treeless saddles have you ridden in? I researched it pretty thorougly before I bought, and even then I've only ridden in about 6 different ones.
I will stick my neck out on one thing, as a rider I say that some of them are extremely comfy. My Sensation is just great. As for how the horse feels, all I can do is what I'd do with any saddle, keep an eye on their back and their attitude, both of which are good at the moment.
grin.gif
 

Partoow

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 January 2007
Messages
1,157
Visit site
Sorry you can tell me til you're bliue in the face about pad this and pad that. I dont have cheap anything so my opinions about theses saddles have been gathered over many years. I have seen and listened to the 'talk' given by the saddler for Heather MOffat' saddles. but when ever you 'add padding ' you will cause an increase in pressure somewhere. To place extra pressure on the muscles does not convince me any further that these saddles have any value. as for the value for the rider then ... mmmm well i wont go there.
The tree of a saddle is not evil and when developed to fit correctly the it saves most horses. Why do no top riders use these saddles??
Nearly as good as the balance saddles!!
 

Tinypony

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 December 2006
Messages
5,211
Visit site
Oh well Partoow, thanks for asking my question about which treeless saddles you were talking about - I just politely wondered which you had first-hand experience of with your clients.
confused.gif
[ QUOTE ]
Why do no top riders use these saddles??


[/ QUOTE ] Some would consider Heather Moffet to be a top rider wouldn't they?
Flocking is padding in my book by the way, whatever you ride on you've got padding somewhere, even if it's just your arse.
grin.gif
 
Top