The Top Brands of Treeless Saddles

Written by rachel aenne
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The Top Brands of Treeless Saddles
Traditional saddles have a rigid tree, which may cause pressure points. (horse chorus line image by Ronnortx from

Treeless saddles conform to the shape of your horse's back. Some treeless saddles look like bareback pads, while others look like traditional English, Western, dressage or endurance saddles. Treeless saddles are available for every equestrian discipline. They can be made from felt, Cordura nylon and leather. Special saddle pads, which help distribute the rider's weight away from the horse's spine, are made for treeless saddles. Some pads also help keep the saddle from slipping.

Barefoot Saddles

Barefoot Saddles are designed to follow the horse's topline. They adjust to the horse's back without putting pressure on the vertebrae or withers, accommodating changes to the back caused by training, age or weight change. The shoulder is able to move freely under a Barefoot Saddle. These saddles are designed to position the rider between the withers and the 15th vertebra, which helps the horse carry the rider's weight. The seat is comfortable and cushioned, and the horse's movements are transmitted through the saddle in a soft, elastic way that is easy on the rider's back. Barefoot Saddles have the Vertebrae Protection System, consisting of materials combined to distribute and absorb pressure while allowing the saddle to adjust to the horse's movements. The VPS eliminates pressure points and creates a spinal channel, avoiding pressure on the spine and whithers. The VPS makes Barefoot Saddles one of the only treeless saddles with no rider weight limit. Barefoot Saddles have been available since 2004, and customers may "demo" saddles, returning them within one week if not satisfied for a refund of the purchase price less a demo fee and the initial shipping cost.

Bob Marshall Sports Saddle

Designed by Bob Marshall, the Sports Saddle is made to be comfortable, balanced, well-fitting and affordable. The Sports Saddle allows the horse freedom of movement. The balance and closeness of the horse and rider make it easier for the rider to give effective cues, which results in the horse responding to cues more quickly. As of 2010, Marshall has more than 25 years of experience with horse training and saddle making, and the Sports Saddle is the result of decades of working with top horse trainers and saddle makers in the United States. Marshall builds traditional treed saddles and custom saddle trees as well as the treeless Sports Saddle. The Sports Saddle is designed to conform to different shoulder widths and wither heights when cinched down, making it a saddle that will fit almost every horse. The Sports Saddle can be used for training, starting young horses, western pleasure, reining, barrel racing, dressage, endurance and trail riding. Saddles can be custom built.

FreeForm Saddles

Manufactured in Italy, the FreeForm is designed for endurance, trail riding and dressage. The look and style of a conventional saddle are combined with the lightness and flexibility of other treeless saddles to create the FreeForm. The flexibility of the FreeForm allows freedom of movement and minimises interference with the horse's natural gaits. The rider is also better able to feel the horse's movements through the saddle. The FreeForm features a detachable seat, interchangeable with seats of different sizes. The stirrup attachment is adjustable, allowing for different stirrup positions. Made from soft Italian calfskin leather and lined with pure wool, the FreeForm saddle weighs a total of 3.52 Kilogram. The FreeForm Saddle is also available in water-resistant ultrasuede. FreeForm Saddles offers a demo with a demo fee that is refundable upon purchase.

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