Monday 17 July 2017

Treeless? What the What???

One of the reasons I decided to buy Cisco was that most of my stuff seemed to fit him. My last horse was a 78" blanket, Phantom is about the same, and despite him being shorter, Cisco can wear a 78" as well. This meant less $$$ needed to be spent on a new horse. Bonus!

Well, things fit him two years ago when he was scrawny. Even last summer my beloved Crosby Centennial saddle looked pretty good on him. But this past winter he finally decided to mature (in body only, definitely not in brain). He bulked up. A lot. Especially in his shoulders. So this spring, the saddle was a no-go. So was my Pessoa with an extra wide gullet in it. And my hoop-treed L&R Ellipse dressage saddle for Phantom. Because he's not just wide, but his shoulder extends back pretty far, as do his withers.

Pretty sure my mom won't want her face on the internet.

When an old friend who is now a saddle fitter came to the barn to look at someone's saddle, I introduced her to Cisco. Her first words as she looked at him from the side - "OMG - that back is going to be hard to fit". I cried on the inside a little. I hate saddle shopping. Not only has it been hard to fit my horses, but I have a super short thigh, so I am probably harder to fit. And I'm in an area that doesn't have a lot of tack shops so trying different saddles can get expensive.

And some curve to his back

But surprisingly, she had a solution for me - a treeless saddle. Really. She said that with horses with these shoulders people put a saddle on them that's too narrow, and the horse gets tight and short and goes like a sewing machine. She often recommends these saddles as rehab, and the changes in the horse's way of going can be amazing.

Back to seek the opinions and options on the interweb. The saddle fitter had recommended two brands - Barefoot, and Sensation. I had only seen one treeless saddle in person, an Ansur that was owned by a fellow boarder, so this was a whole new world for me.

My first impression? They're ugly. They look nothing like a traditional english saddle. Now I tend to like new designs, especially if they are ergonomic. But I was having a hard time getting used to the look of these. The least offensive were the Sensation saddles as they at least had a normal shaped flap.

But I kept reading about them, and going back and forth between all the brands, and reading people's opinions and experience with them. And a funny thing happened. They didn't look so ugly. In fact, they started to look kind of cool. Especially those Sensations. And then I found one for sale, sort of in my area (only a 4 hour drive away!). And I could take it on trial. So I drove down on a beautiful long weekend and picked up the saddle.

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