Treeless saddles?

So I like to ride my pony bareback a lot, but with a bareback pad to add a bit of extra cushion. I’m on the hunt for a new bareback pad, when I stumbled across the idea of getting a treeless saddle to double as normal saddle and a thick bareback pad. This is the kind I plan on buying if I were to buy one:http://www.amazon.com/Stunni-Quality-Synthetic-Treeless-stirrup/dp/B009K66VGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461383578&sr=8-1&keywords=stunni+treeless+saddle

(Except not suede, I know they sell them but I couldn’t find it on short notice)

I’ve used one before on two of my previous horses and they all seemed to do fine with it, but me being more advanced in dressage than I was back then, and also a lot more careful (I research everything, thoroughly!), I have a lot of questions and concerns.

I’m well aware that most saddle fitters consider treeless saddles to be glorified bareback pads, and I pretty much agree. The saddle fitter I talked to said they’re fine for trail riding and some light work, but not dressage, which is what I do (in addition to trail riding, which I do once or twice a week). But I do heavy dressage work bareback or with a bareback pad and I don’t see the problem? My seat is light and I don’t bounce around, so I don’t see why I couldn’t do that with a treeless saddle as well. I would want to use the saddle as a mega-cushy bareback pad on some occasions, but I’d also like to use stirrups with it. I believe adding the stirrups to this particular saddle doesn’t cause any uneven pressure points, but it doesn’t have an wither clearance like a normal, treed saddle would. Then again, neither does a bareback pad…

Ugh, I guess my questions is, why is riding with a bareback pad any different from riding with a treeless saddle, apart from using stirrups (I know most bareback pads can’t have stirrups because they add pressure on the spine, but this saddle seems like it doesn’t do that). Why couldn’t I do serious dressage work in it, apart from the fact I can’t compete in one?

Sorry, my thoughts are a mess, and I’m just really confused. All replies are much appreciated!

I do “serious” dressage is my treeless saddle and have done so for nearly 8 years. I also compete in mine and it is definitely legal. I use a Sensation Formal Dressage treeless saddle and it is very much not just a bareback pad with stirrups. That said, there are many treeless saddles that I would say are glorified bareback pads. I can’t speak to the treeless saddle in the link you posted but design is very important for proper weight distribution, especially if you are going to add stirrups. The Sensation saddles are being used by top endurance competitors so they are designed for “serious” riding. Good treeless saddles provide support for the horse and rider. Mine is very comfortable and supportive for me (and most people who have sat in my saddle) and my horse (who gets excellent comments regarding her back health from her bodyworker).

Most people don’t notice my saddle is any different from a treed dressage saddle until I get off - when I am mounted, no one can tell the difference.

Most saddle fitters have a vested interested in you not riding in a treeless saddle so they are not impartial when offering an opinion on the topic.

And I’m definitely not against all treed saddles - my jumping saddle is treed because I couldn’t find one a treeless saddle that provided enough support for me when jumping more than cross rails. However, I love my treeless dressage saddle because it is comfortable and I don’t have to worry about getting a fitter out every time my young horse grows or adds/loses muscles.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=leheath;8632504]I do “serious” dressage is my treeless saddle and have done so for nearly 8 years. I also compete in mine and it is definitely legal. I use a Sensation Formal Dressage treeless saddle and it is very much not just a bareback pad with stirrups. That said, there are many treeless saddles that I would say are glorified bareback pads. I can’t speak to the treeless saddle in the link you posted but design is very important for proper weight distribution, especially if you are going to add stirrups. The Sensation saddles are being used by top endurance competitors so they are designed for “serious” riding. Good treeless saddles provide support for the horse and rider. Mine is very comfortable and supportive for me (and most people who have sat in my saddle) and my horse (who gets excellent comments regarding her back health from her bodyworker).

Most people don’t notice my saddle is any different from a treed dressage saddle until I get off - when I am mounted, no one can tell the difference.

Most saddle fitters have a vested interested in you not riding in a treeless saddle so they are not impartial when offering an opinion on the topic.

And I’m definitely not against all treed saddles - my jumping saddle is treed because I couldn’t find one a treeless saddle that provided enough support for me when jumping more than cross rails. However, I love my treeless dressage saddle because it is comfortable and I don’t have to worry about getting a fitter out every time my young horse grows or adds/loses muscles.

Hope this helps! :)[/QUOTE]

Thank you, this did help me make up my mind! The sensation is out of my price range at the moment, so I’m going to go for the stunni. If it doesn’t work out, at least it didn’t cost much. I have a treed saddle at the moment, and I was on the hunt for a bareback pad anyway, so I can always use it as that as well.

Good luck with the Stunni and let us know how it turns out!

I’ve owned this saddle and other treeless saddles. My horse is still treeless and we do lots of things including endurance. All treeless.

It’s not a great saddle but it’s a decent starter saddle.

I have a Ghost dressage saddle and an Ansur Konklusion jump saddle. Feel free to PM questions.

I’ve ridden in a ton of treeless saddles trying to fit my picky princess haflinger.

Ghost: disliked
Barefoot: HATED and couldn’t get my leg to fall in any normal/logical position.

I bought an Ansur Excel and was stunned with how well balanced and like a treed saddle it was. They are very expensive but really truly worth every penny. I currently have a new horse who does well in a treed saddle, but if I had another hard to fit horse I would only buy an Ansur Excel.

I love treeless saddles, but they do come with their own sets of fitting issues depending on the shape of your horse’s back. I tried to fit my high withered TBs and it was a pain with some brands/models.

The Ansurs are very well made. The UK Solution Saddles are similar. I trial rode in the Ansur and owned two Solution SMART Saddles for a short period of time. The older Solution dressage model was too bulky for my taste. The newer SMART jumping model was very nice but my mare wasn’t a huge fan of it so I sold it.

I tried the Ghost and was not a fan at all. The saddle felt very bulky on my small mare and it did no favors to her downhill build.

I would definitely go for another Ansur if they weren’t so expensive new. Maybe try scooping one up used? There is a beautiful brown dressage model for sale on eBay that I’ve been eyeballing.

Heather Moffett’s Vogue is the best treeless saddle, IMO.