Sunday, August 12, 2012

Treeless Eye Opener

Today was a great day and I will break it down into a couple posts.

I am going to start with the end of the day, riding Comrade. When Mom and I arrived at Peggy's barn, she surprised us by saying she bought a treeless saddle. Comrade is super sensitive about saddle fit and wears the second widest gullet put out by Wintec. Whenever the fit is wrong, bad things happen like bucking.
So when she asked if I wanted to try out the treeless, I was willing. The saddle looks really funny, sorry no picture of the saddle alone, and really cushy. It uses a short girth since it is a mono flap. Comrade's dressage girth is a bit too big, but we made it work.
I was really taken back when I sat in the super cushy seat and felt odd. Starting out I went with my dressage length stirrups, but I soon realized I needed to shorten them. Comrade was not sure about the noises the saddle emitted when we picked up a trot and I was not sure how to ride. Mom and Peggy kept saying he looked good. I had Mom take a picture so I could see how I looked since I felt so weird.
After shortening my stirrups, I went back to work. Both of us figured out how to work with the saddle and soon Comrade felt awesome. He was so light in his front end while pushing from his hind end. I was able to get him to open and extend his trot noticeably. He had great canter departs with no negative connotations. The change was amazing. Never before has Comrade come through the shoulder as well as he did tonight.
I even had Mom get on so I could watch. So wonderful to see a happy pony as she asked tougher questions. I told Peggy that even though the saddle looks funny, if it gave those results I would ride in it at any show. And I almost forgot, Comrade even stretched down at the walk on his own. I was talking to Peggy when Mom drew my attention to him chewing and stretching. Those of you who have read my previous posts know that this is normally a rarity.
Overall I was impressed with the treeless saddle for what it achieved if not how it looks. Peggy and I will ride in it again tomorrow. He will need a breast collar and maybe even a crupper to stabilize the saddle long term.
Anyone else have any experience with treeless saddles?

Here is a short video of part of my ride.


  1. I have ridden in a treeless before, one that looks a lot like the one in your picture. To me it just feels like a big puffy bareback pad--it has so much padding that when I ride drafts in it, I feel like I'm doing the splits. I don't like to use stirrups on it because I'm afraid that it will create too much pressure concentrated in one spot--not sure if it actually does, but I still don't use stirrups just in case. And it doesn't hurt to work my legs!

    1. Comrade's owner equated it to riding bareback too, but I felt more like it was an Australian saddle since there was so much between the horse and my leg. His owner is looking at a dressage type that should be interesting to try. I, too feel very stretched in this saddle, weird since I ride in such wide saddles normally.