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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Treeless Wonders

Over the past few years, we have seen a growing trend in saddles; the treeless wonder. Now, I am not knocking this idea, I ride with what is basically a treeless. I love it. I like to feel the horse. However, with this new technology, has come a huge number of synthetic and leather models in alarming colors. Thanks to your fellow readers, I have a large variety to share with you today.

First we have this little green and tan number. It reminds me of the Army with it's olive drab and khaki color scheme. The black fenders really don't go well though and I think should have been green as well. I also question the quality here.

Here we have a popular Bob Marshall type treeless Western style in leather. It looks very well made, but the color scheme is hideous.

This is a small child's treeless saddle. I like the brown, but could do without the pink. Although it is not nearly as offensive as most I have seen. For a child on a pony it might actually be kinda cute.

Here we have another Bob Marshall-type travesty. Who on earth thought that those colors match? Blech.

Gah! Mauve? Icky, icky, icky. And why put leather on the outside of the stirrups? It doesn't help this saddle's looks at all. It also doesn't look like the best quality, something just throws me off here.

Now, I admit I LIKE this saddle. Keep in mind that not only are black and red my favorite colors, but they are also the colors of the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann in the SCA. It looks quite comfy and reasonably well made too.

Now, this one is kind of growing on me. I don't really like teal that much, but in this saddle it kind of works. It looks well made and secure, as well as very comfy.


  1. The bottom two - the red and black is the designer Freeform series and the black and teal is a custom Sensation hybrid. Both are VERY well made, very popular saddles that are common on the trail. I know many endurance riders that are using these saddles (although generally the more sedate black or brown versions) and these both stand up very well to the rigors of long distance riding. I've been coveting an all black Sensation hybrid myself for some time now...

  2. I WANT the red and black one. But $1500 is a bit more than I am willing to pay for a treeless. I think I'll just stick to my Natural Ride.

  3. I really like the black & red one; love the colors & it looks like a good saddle. I like the black & teal one also.
    Bob Marshall makes a decent saddle but it looks like they need a better color person--those are just ugly.
    The child's pink & brown would be much beloved by a little girl, I think, & likely just too cute on the right color pony.

  4. GAG-----The first one looks like they took all their scraps and made a saddle out of them! The chocolate and pink saddle is WAY CUTE for a little girl and her pony. The red/black is one if tolerable, but I wouldn't pay $1500 for it. If I paid $1500 for a saddle, it would be in "classic" colors so that it doesn't go out of style.

    The Bob Marshall travesty is truly AWFUL!

  5. That first one is actually all black and tan. The photo makes it appear green.

  6. Treeless saddles can be great. But they can also be your horse's worst nightmare. Saddle trees were invented for a reason, weight distribution. The tree is meant to distribute the riders weight over a larger area and cause less stress on the horses back.

    Most endurance riders are not plus size so I can see some of them may like a treeless saddle. They are also great for a hard to fit horse or for a fat little pony.

    now for those of you who aren't "fluffy" they are probably just fine. But there are a great number of riders who have absolutely no business using a treeless saddle of any kind. I count myself as one of those. I would not do that to my horses. I am a fair rider, I have good balance and a good seat. But the world considers me plus sized. I need the tree in the saddle to more evenly distribute my weight. None of my horses have ever suffered from lameness or sore backs caused by saddle fit or use. The same can not be said for a friend who is the same size and uses a Bob Marshall. We do the same sort of riding, trails, jousting and training. But she swears the occasional lameness experienced by her horse is NOT the cause of the treeless saddle.

  7. Ladypr, those are really good points.

    Also, would people just assume that treeless = one size fits all ?

    I wouldn't.

    I do NOT like red/black as a color combo, though that saddle looks well made.

    Teal is tricky... it's hard to make teal look like anything other than a 1991 wedding.

  8. What compels these saddlers to use these colours and colour combinations? I have never tried a treeless saddle and I think Ladypr has a very valid point about the reason for a tree in a saddle.

  9. Saddle #1: here we have the mustard and pickles, now all we need is the ketchup. Hey, it's a ball park saddle! When did they start allowing horses in the dugout?

    I confess I like the red and black also...

  10. I like the black and red one (though not those colors- I think it would make your horse look goth) and I actually like the mauve one- it looks decently made to me.

    That teal thing makes me want to barf. I don't care what brand it is, it looks like cheap vinyl and it's all wrinkled and bunched together.

    My first saddle, that I bought when I was leasing, was one of these cheapy treeless things. I rode my little arabian in it for about 8 months, and a few lesson horses as well. I am not fat, but I'm not tiny either (5'9" and avg to maybe slightly above avg weight). The main problem I see with these saddles is if you're a shitty rider. I was taught not to balance in my stirrups and to have a decent seat, and in my opinion, as long as your horse is capable of carrying your weight and you have a decent seat, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to use a treeless saddle for light to moderate riding. No different than riding bareback, except your horse has some more padding.

  11. have to say, i *love* the chocolate/pastel combination that's in style right now. doesn't matter what pastel - but chocolate goes with it. except for maybe yellow.

    i'd be all over the pink/chocolate for my daughter. even moreso if it were lavender instead of pink.

  12. Ladypr, I totally agree with you. I knew a woman who had a Bob Marshall treeless, and she is about a size 10. We discovered that becuse her mare has a l ong back, she was getting pain at certain points in her back because my friend's weight wasn't distributed evenly. She's gone to a used Circle Y gaited horse saddle and is having no problems whatsoever.

    However, I absolutely have no problem with treeless saddles, especially if you have multiple horses that are shaped similar. It just makes it easy to fit everyone.

    My husband wnats one of the Freeform saddles for his horse, but just plain brown for him, thanks. Never mind that when I ride his horse I use sage green and purple accessories (reins, halter, saddle pad, boots, etc.)....

    And for the record, I LOVE the Baskin Robbins pink and brown saddle for kids. Reminds me of when I had to work there and had to wear a pink shirt and brown shorts. It was fun working there because our manager was never around. The saddle is just adorable!

    For the Tennessee Walking HorseWhen the Painted Horse ComesThe Murder of the English Language

  13. actually, the blue and red go together quite well in my opinion. That color blue and either a red or magenta is one of my favorite color combos.