Solutions V Treefree Exmoor?

hayinamanger

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Hi, I have given up trying to find treed saddles for 2 of my horses, it's nearly bankrupted me. So looking for opinions/experiences on these 2 saddles please. 14 hand cob, very short back, croup high and a 15 hand Dales x with a flat back and absolutely no wither. I am 5'7". TIA
 

Pearlsasinger

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After 4 saddles in 5 years for my big-shouldered Draft horse, who had a huge barrel but still had withers, I went for a Solution. I had tried a couple of treeless saddles which belong to my friend and knew that the mare responded well to them, in general. I found that the Customer Service from was good and the mare and I both felt comfortable in the Solution saddle. I haven't tried the Treefree.

ETA, we backed the cob in the same saddle and she seems to like it but hasn't had anything else to compare it to.
 
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Rowreach

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After 4 saddles in 5 years for my big-shouldered Draft horse, who had a huge barrel but still had withers, I went for a Solution. I had tried a couple of treeless saddles which belong to my friend and knew that the mare responded well to them, in general. I found that the Customer Service from was good and the mare and I both felt comfortable in the Solution saddle. I haven't tried the Treefree.

ETA, we backed the cob in the same saddle and she seems to like it but hasn't had anything else to compare it to.
I didn't know you were a Solutions user PAS, must have missed that!

OP I've used Solution saddles for the past 12 years, on absolutely everything that's come through the yard, and done all my backing in them too. Wouldn't go back to a treed saddle myself.
 
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
I don't have any experience of the "Solution" saddle, but I DO have experience of the TreeFree saddles, both the Exmoor and the new "Tor" saddle which they've brought out.

I had a lovely little Exmoor TreeFree Saddle, which I'd tried first, and then managed to find one on e-bay. Loved it! Used it on a 12.2 Exmoor pony and my 15.1 trad (wide) cob. You can get different sized gullets for this saddle, which is useful if swapping around with horses. My 15.1 trad is short-backed and this saddle suited him fine. I sold it - to finance the "Tor" saddle which is the TreeFree version of a GP saddle (wish I'd kept the Exmoor now, such a nice versatile little saddle). The Tor is fantastic, it has a nice narrow twist with it and it is the ONLY saddle that I can ride a wide cob in, and still feel comfy after say 2hrs in the saddle!

I use the TreeFree Tor saddle on my youngster, who is a wide short backed low-withered coblet of 13.2'ish, who I know would be impossible to fit in a standard/treed saddle. It suits her fine and I haven't had any issues with it. She has the Wide gullet in.

I have ridden - or rather tried to, on both my cobs - in a Barefoot Cherokee, and it just put me way too wide, just didn't work, in fact it was painful for my hips, which is why I've changed to TreeFree.

I have to say that I have received absolutely First Class service from the TreeFree people, Johan and Andrea. They came out and fitted my youngster as I was worried about getting a good fit for her, and that reassured me a great deal. Luckily I'm in Devon and they are about 40 mins drive for me. But IME their customer service is excellent.

You can get the Exmoor saddle (the later ones anyway) with stirrup bars in the "Forward" position which will help those riders, like me, with dicky hips, to be more comfortable, so if buying one second-hand this is something to ask about. You can also get them with a forward girth-groove. But they rarely, if ever, come up second hand, neither do the Tor saddles. Which says it all really. When they DO come up, people often ignore them as they don't realise just how good these saddles are! OR you get the opposite problem, with people like me who DO know and who will snap them up, particularly the 16" size......... :)

The stirrup bar is a conventional one, so you don't need to worry about "closed" stirrup bars (something I particularly dislike about the Barefoot).

I can't praise TreeFree enough; theirs is the ONLY saddle I've found which I can actually ride in for any length of time without being in pain and/or discomfort. I have had two independent experts i.e. equine physio's and soft-tissue massage, who have both said that my old cob's back is in excellent condition from wearing this saddle!

Oh, just to say, if going for a TreeFree, bear in mind that for some reason their saddles do come up big; so if you buy an 18" it will be HUGE, it really will! The 17" will fit most horses & riders, but may be a bit small for anything under say 14.2, particularly if short-backed. You'd really need a 16" for a pony.

Do also bear in mind that you can trial these saddles for a week: cost me (from memory) about fifty quid when I tried it, you really need to try before you buy with ANY treeless saddle TBH as they're all so different.

(PS: edited - please note that I have not jumped in any of these saddles. Just don't "do" jumping, period. Not a good idea with dodgy knees unfortunately :( )
 
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FFAQ

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I don't have experience of either saddle, but I do hire a side saddle that Johan made and based on the quality of workmanship and high standard of fitting expertise I would certainly try a tree free if I was looking for an astride saddle! The only thing is that Johan strikes me as incredibly forgetful- he appeared at our first appointment without the saddle and forgot the second appointment completely! If you do go for tree free just remind him that you have an appointment the day before!
 
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I don't have experience of either saddle, but I do hire a side saddle that Johan made and based on the quality of workmanship and high standard of fitting expertise I would certainly try a tree free if I was looking for an astride saddle! The only thing is that Johan strikes me as incredibly forgetful- he appeared at our first appointment without the saddle and forgot the second appointment completely! If you do go for tree free just remind him that you have an appointment the day before!
ohhh bless!! I do know that he's a Fireman as well as doing the "day job".......... so possibly this is why he "forgot"..........
 

hayinamanger

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Thanks MiJods, I like the look of the Exmoor and Tor (never seen a secondhand Tor) But people do love the Solutions too, am slightly put off by the shimming and pads etc. My biggest concern is the long girth straps on both these makes and whether they would be user friendly for an old granny :)
 

Kat

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No experience of the treefree but I have been a solution user for about 5 years. I love the saddles they are really comfortable and stable as well as looking traditional. There are various different styles and you can pick up the older models cheaply second hand.

I have competed and hunted in mine with no issues and my horse's back is in great shape
 
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Since contributing to this post earlier, I have tried out/ridden in a 16" (smaller size) Exmoor TreeFree saddle!

Deffo came up VERY small: I'd hoped it would be fine for my little pony/youngster: which it was, but NOT OK for me. Way too small, and I thought at 5ft3 and 9 stone - and short legs! - that I was reasonably "small". My knees came up too far on the knee-pads and it really wasn't do-able at all.

A pity :(

You'd need to be a VERY small adult to fit this smaller size 16" saddle TBH. Think it would be perfect for a child rather than an adult?? I have ridden in their 17" Exmoor which is the next size up, which was perfect!

Hope this helps.
 
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