Treeless and Flex-Tree saddles

I have about 30 tabs open and have been reading for days, but unfortunately most of the links are too old and the company is either out of business (especially the really great ones) or the link is not found, so I thought I’d start a new thread to get recommendations on brands that are doing a more spine supportive saddle. I’d rather not have it look too Western. COMFORT for both horse and RIDER is what I’m looking for.

What do endurance riders ride in?

Some brands that keep getting good comments:

Bob Marshall

and I’m sure there are dozens more.

My horse is a draft-cross (and so am I - LOL)


And now THIS:
A VERY minimalist approach!

What do you mean by “spine supportive” saddles? Depending on the type of treeless you are looking at, some have no spine clearance at all and that is why you need to use a special pad with them.

Personally, I don’t find treeless to be comfortable for me for long, as my hips don’t like the lack of twist. Whether the horse finds them comfortable depends on the horse - but they are NOT the magic bullet to make all horses happy.

I have a Torsion treeless which I am currently riding my young horse in as he develops (and cannot wait to get him in to a treed saddle for the sake of my body). I have ridden lots of miles in Bob Marshall Sports Saddles on other people’s horses but hate them. I wouldn’t waste my money on a Hilason as that brand is not known for quality.

If the company of the saddles you are looking at are now out of business, that sounds like they were not actually great at all…

Why would anyone want super close contact on a trail ride? Why would you want to mimic bareback or ride in a bareback pad? I can see using this surcingle bareback pad as an aid for devoping your seat, sort of.

But what you want in a long distance saddle, at least slow long distance, is overall stability for horse and rider. So ethung that isn’t going to shift and is going to distribute the riders weight. If you are posting or doing two point you don’t want all the force on the surcingle. And honestly it’s not a bad thing on a long ride to have some leather between you and the horse so the cues are muted if you need to shuffle in the seat, drop your stirrups or mess with your saddle bags etc.

I think a treed saddle that fits well can be comfortable for both horse and rider. I do long trail rides on steep terrain in my dressage saddle. It needs to be stable.

I don’t know much about fitting draft horses. But if you cant find a treed saddle to fit I expect the tree less saddles will be unstable. Personally I would rather ride in my well fitted wool flocked dressage saddle with a cotton baby pad than in a tree less saddle that required a very thick felt pad to create a spine gullet for the horse.