I do not have a big budget for a saddle. Actually I don’t have a saddle budget at all, so when I went out shopping I knew I was going to have to pinch my pennies. Luckily my mom gave me her old saddle to sell and that started my saddle fund!
The first saddle I purchased, back when Billy was just a two year old, was a Wintec Wide Dressage Saddle. I thought it would be the perfect fit because it has the adjustable gullets, allowing you to change out the gullet as your horse grows and changes. The problem? When Billy was two the widest gullet was the one that fit. Also, because Billy started out with such a dip in his back, the saddle bridged terribly. The more I padded to help with the bridging the taller and more unstable the saddle became!
I had been sitting on Billy bareback and in the bareback pad and he took to it like a fish to water. (He has a very small bubble and loves to invade my space, so having me on his back was the perfect solution! I can’t get any closer to him than that!) When I sat on him with the saddle on he was stamping his feet, swishing his tail, his ears were back and he humped his back up, giving a little crow hop.
I decided that he didn’t like that saddle and it was time to go shopping. Now some will say that I am spoiling him because I listened to this feedback and didn’t make him adjust to the saddle. I say, why fight it? If he doesn’t like it then neither do i! I’m not the one that has to cart me around the mountains. His comfort is my top priority. If he is comfortable then I will be too.
So off I went to do some research and find the perfect starter saddle for Billy and I. This took me many months because many of the treeless saddles that I truly loved are way out of my price range.
The Freeform Ultimate Trail saddle is my dream saddle. It’s on my wish list for when I win the lottery…
The Freeform Ultimate Trail Saddle: $1979.00
EXCITING NEWS! A great new saddle for trail and endurance!! Woohoo! After many years of riding I wanted to design a comfy saddle for my older body. I worked for a few years on prototypes of different seat styles. Finally I’ve come up with what I think is the perfect seat! A wonderful gel seat that fits a woman’s pelvic bones. It’s wide in the seat, narrow in the twist and high in the cantle with soft gel poleys. The seat will keep you in the saddle for many hours of riding. I’m in love with the comfort and security of it.
I like the Barefoot treeless saddles as well, though they are not on the top of my list.
“The Barefoot Barrydale VSD Treeless Saddle: $995.00
The new Barefoot V-belting allows the girthing to self-adjust and distributes the pressure of the girth over the entire saddle. The position of the v-belting also positions the saddle directly over the horse’s center of gravity, the perfect position for the horse to support the rider’s weight.
Each Barefoot Barrydale incorporates Barefoot’s VPS (vertebrae protection system). The Barefoot VPS system’s components are totally flexible and therefore the saddle adjusts immediately to the movements of the horse. The Barefoot VPS system is not bulky and allows for a very close contact and connection between horse and rider.
** I have a friend that got the Barefoot Tahoe and did NOT like it. She said it was very uncomfortable as there was something under the seat that was hurting her as she rode. She rode in it only a few times and then had HORRIBLE customer service when she tried to return it. They pulled a few unethical moves, however Emily was able to return it in the end. After hearing her story I would be very hesitant to purchase a saddle from Barefoot.
The Startrekk saddles are very interesting to me! I like the look of the Iberian saddle. I feel this would be an excellent trail saddle.
The Startrekk Iberian Portuguese Treeless Saddle: $1875.00
The Startrekk Espaniola is an Iberian/Portuguese style treeless saddle modeled after those used in classical riding. It has moveable panels secured with Velcro and a changeable pommel configuration. The seat is built up to provide a twist for the rider. The Espaniola works well for wide, short-backed horses such as Paso Finos, Peruvian Pasos, Icelandics and other gaited horses.
I ended up finding Rocky Creek Hill Treeless Saddles located in Canada. They are able to keep the prices of their saddles down because the don’t have a middle man. They get them straight from the manufacturer and don’t have a retail store, so can keep the overhead costs to a minimum. This is something I appreciate. not only that, they are always available and the customer service is wonderful! Also they look very much like the Barefoot brand of treeless, but cost much less.
My favorite saddle of theirs is:
The Diva: $499.00 (this includes leathers & irons and 2 sets of velcro spine clearance pads!)
The flaps lift up like a traditional saddle and are padded, and smooth (not stitched). Built in knee blocks.
I bought this cute little treeless saddle (pictured below) this past spring. It was one of the sale saddles and though it wasn’t the exact saddle I wanted I figured it was a great place to start!
The Rocky Trail Blazer: *ON SALE for $399 + shipping
All purpose/ Trail treeless saddle with designer stitching. A join-up of western styling meets all-purpose everyday flexibility. All in a compact, lightweight, treeless saddle. Flaps are one-piece padded and stitched, with NO knee blocks.
** note the leathers and stirrups pictured here are ones i already owned. they did not come with this saddle.
I actually really love this saddle. It feels like sitting on a cloud, doesn’t weigh much (maybe 4 or 5 pounds?) and the most important part… Billy LOVES it!
Over the course of a few months I have figured out a few very important things about fitting this saddle to both Billy and myself… but that is information for another post. Stay tuned!