Treeless saddles for horses: pros, cons and things to consider

“Hello! I’m not sure if you’ve already addressed this at some time or another but I recently stumbled upon treeless saddles. They appeal to me mostly because I’m cheap… haha. I have three saddles and none of them fit either of my horses… would treeless be a good way to go?”- J. Rose

I don’t have any experience with treeless saddles…but not for lack of interest. I just haven’t gotten around to trying one yet. I did call my friend, Trish, at Stagecoach West to get her thoughts as she has ridden in them and her store carries them.

Have you used a treeless saddle? Did you like it or not?

Have you used a treeless saddle? Did you like it or not?

Here are things to consider:

  • How long will the saddle hold up? At some point the saddle may be resold or traded in…will it hold its value?
  • There are several types of treeless: some look like a dressed up bareback pad, others look so much like a saddle it is hard to tell it doesn’t have a tree. There are even ’flex-tree’ saddles .
  • In true treeless saddles are no bars in the saddle but the saddle still has a pommel and a cantle (front and back) which adds stability.


  • they are the ultimate lightweight saddle
  • They tend to fit well on wider, round barreled horses


  • some people question if it distributes the weight well enough
  • some people question stability of saddle-does it roll?

Some people love them, some people hate them. Trish reports that most people buying them in the store use them for barrel racing and trail riding. They are often recommended for horses that are hard to fit with a traditional saddle or traditional tree.

So…have you used one? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Anything in between? I would love to learn more. Please leave a comment below so we all can learn. Feel free to use brand names also.

P.S.-When I designed my saddle (with a tree) I chose to work with Stagecoach West because they have awesome customer service. They care about the saddle fitting your horse and are willing to stand behind what they sell. Even if you haven’t bought from them you can still call in (Phone – 1-800-648-1121) and they will gladly talk to you about saddles and saddle fit.


  1. Jo on May 16, 2024 at 6:20 am

    I have a treeless that looks like an English saddle – exceptionally comfortable and my Appaloosa works well under it. You do need to have a good seat to ride in it, but if you have that, you’re good. I also have a western saddle – recently acquired – and after having used the treeless, I can feel how stable the western is for me and how I stick like glue to it. If you want to ensure ultimate comfort for your horse and you – a treeless is great, but it may not be ideal for endurance….

  2. Jan on August 23, 2021 at 7:57 am

    I love reading all of these posts regarding treeless saddles. I’m contemplating one for my Haflinger and Paso Fino. Oddly, from what I’m seeing, it sounds as if one saddle would work for both of these vastly differently shaped guys? I’m most concerned about properly distributing weight and keeping weight off the spine. Does it take a more advanced rider to use one of these saddles?

  3. Jill on June 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    We have an Arab cross 14.1h mare. We currently use a wintec 16.5″ saddle. Problem is, she keeps getting bumps on her spine after 20 minutes riding. Had saddle fitted, no difference. Tried a cair and a flock saddle, no difference. What next? Thus, basically not ridden in a saddle lately! Thinking of treeless. Any ideas? Not sure how to add picture. 🙁
    Cheers all!

    • Courtney on April 2, 2024 at 1:34 pm

      Bumps on the spine could indicate uneven balance by the rider.

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  6. Becky on September 23, 2014 at 9:24 am

    We ride in the Ansur treeless. We don’t use anything else anymore. I got fed up paying the saddle fitter hundreds of dollars over time restuffing our saddles. When she was not able to get it right (and thought the treed saddle fit) and I showed her how much better the horse moved and reacted in the Ansur, and she agreed, I was done with treed saddles. We show Arabians and have both the older non gulleted version of Ansur and a newer dressage saddle that does have the gullet. Have never had a vet (been to universities) tell us our horses were back sore from saddle fit. They are lighter to handle and you CAN feel the horse through them better. The ones without the gullet you can really feel the horse: the gulleted one not so much. The gulleted one looks more traditional and looks better for showing and has the feel of a twist so you have no clue you are in a treeless (support like a treed saddle ) but my horse sure knows! There is a HUGE misconception out there regarding treeless saddles and I can talk till I’m blue in the face but some people won’t even TRY them! I am not a distributor but I’d highly recommend checking out the Ansur site and seeing how gorgeous these saddles are!

  7. Wendy Russ on September 22, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Kudos for all the Bob Marshall sport saddle supporters I’m seeing here. I posted earlier as a 20 year user of this saddle and still loving it! Please Chek out the sports cincha
    which prevents the saddle from slipping Here’s the
    link for anyone who’s considering a great investment for yourself and horse.

  8. stardavis on September 22, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I have a Cashel G2. I use a wintec English cinch with it and bought a very inexpensive NON-Slip rubber pad with vent holes, then put a light weight blanket over the top. This saddle has free swinging stirrups and is super comfortable for me and my horse. I bought it for long trail rides and that’s just what we do. SUPER PLEASED with it! The saddle is affordable too!

  9. betsybfreeman on September 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I have ridden and barrel raced in Bob Marshall saddles since the early 90s and love them. I’ve had them on horses of all shapes and sizes and never had any horses with a sore back.

  10. Kelly on September 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I bought a treeless Bob Marshall trail saddle after trying many different saddles on my short-backed, huge shoulder mare. Yes, it was better than an ill-fitting tree saddle. I rode in it for a little over a year. It was comfy for me as well. However, I ultimately got rid of it. I used the proper skito pad yet my mare ended up with a sore back when I did 2 hour rides. The cinch has to be extra tight, and I don’t like making cinches that tight! You also have to have incredible balance, which I don’t always have when a deer jumps out of the bushes. You also cannot mount from the ground. My main problem was the cinch though, that really bothered me that it was way too tight and the saddle still rolled. Oh and skito pads are incredibly expensive and in my opinion not worth it. Buy the inserts then buy a better quality pad to put them into. My mare now has a saddle with a tree that fits her, my cinch doesn’t have to be extra tight, her back is not sore, and I don’t have to stop the saddle from rolling on those days when she spooks 🙂

    • F. Hollis on March 26, 2017 at 12:30 am

      If the saddle was rolling, that means it didn’t fit the horse. Depending on what BM saddle you got, it still has a pommel and is either wide, extra wide or “regular” which may be narrow. Also, the Skito pads are memory foam so they will tend to compress after a short time, meaning, you must redo the cinch. I didn’t like them for this reason and sold my Skito to get a 5 star wool pad which didn’t have that issue. It was also easier to clean.

      Then there’s the question of what size cinch you used. If the cinch is too long, you will get rolling. It’s better to use a cinch that’s a little shorter so you get better grip and don’t need to tighten it as much.
      I have a BM saddle…the endurance which is a wide pommel so it tends to fit a lot more horses. I use a 24″ cinch for most horses (but the real fat ones).

      Can you mount up from the ground? Yes. But again the above issues need to be addressed and you must watch how you are mounting up. If you grab the saddle only then you may cause it to roll. It’s best to grab mane and then throw your weight over the horse’s back asap, then lower yourself gently into the saddle. This ensures that there’s no rolling (if you have the right pad/cinch combo too)

      I’m writing this because I think if you may have addressed the issues I mentioned, you may have found that the saddle would have worked.

      One other point is…because it is a treeless saddle, it’s VERY important to ride the horse in a way that promotes the horse to lift the back. If you ride the horse so that her back is hollow, the the saddle will sink into the spine and yes, you can have a sore horse because there’s no tree to support it. It turns into a glorified bareback pad.

      With a proper position…the horse stepping under herself, she’s lifting her back, supporting the rider/saddle, there’s no soreness.

      It’s a bummer you gave up on the BM, because it’s really a great saddle. 🙂

      • Jane on May 14, 2017 at 7:44 am

        What do you mean riding with “the back hollow”? Is that sitting too far forward?

        • Kat on August 31, 2020 at 2:41 pm

          With the horse’s head way up and their hindend disengaged. A lower or curled neck helps lift the back and engage the hindend.

  11. Dee Zane on September 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

    We ride Black Forest Treeless on all our horses now. I bought the first one for the mustang – he was impossible to fit a treed saddle on! (and I could write PAGES on that particular nightmare.) I liked that saddle so much — and my horse visibly loved it too — that we bought them for everyone else.

    They fit all my horses. They are super light, so even my smaller kids can saddle their own mounts. I bought synthetic for the kids, because they were even lighter than leather, and as it turns out, keeping synthetic clean is super easy too. They have held up great, show very little wear, and were very inexpensive to purchase new, especially the synthetic.

    I had an AWESOME dealer come out to my home and show me how to properly saddle and ride a treeless saddle. They have limits. In the winter the gel gets stiff with cold, but warms up after you’ve ridden a bit, making it pretty important that you check your girth again. If they aren’t put on properly, they can turn. There are probably some activities that they aren’t good for, and rider weight can be a factor also.

    So, I’m a mom who mostly trail rides with her kids, and treeless is PERFECT for us. We can go MILES, ride all day long, and neither the horses nor the riders are sore. I encourage everyone to try treeless, but I also strongly suggest you find a dealer who can come to your home and explain the whole concept to you. Probably just buying one off the internet and hoping to get it right will be a bit frustrating.

  12. annette stark on September 21, 2014 at 6:44 am

    I am a dealer and bought a treeless saddle at a dealer auction. Curiosity got the best of me and i had to try it. It was a sample model .looks alot like the one in your picture. Looks like a regular saddle. It was a15 in. ….I’m more of a 16-17in person. I absolutely love this saddle. I would love to have one in my size. I trail ride and feel very secure on this saddle and it does not roll around like regular saddles do on a ride.

  13. Deb Jones on September 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I use a treeless Australian light weight saddle that has no horn …it just has a padded roll handle in the front; only weighs 10 pounds and also I use a fleece pad… it’s so comfortable for my horse and myself …very easy to put on with a nylon padded cinch, since I have arthritis in my hands. He’s an Arabian 15h & 17 years old — super easy to saddle and go (trail is our style)…

    • Nikki B on September 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      Deb, what brand is your Australian saddle?

  14. Sheryl on September 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I trail ride in an Ansur classic on my Icelandic mares. I am so comfortable and they are too! I have heard all the dire warnings about the treeless saddles being bad for your horses backs but my mares both round up under the saddle and stride out freer in the treeless than in an treed saddle. That being said, you need to get a pad like a Skeeto that provides some gullet clearance, also I have found that a girth with no elastic is important too.
    Just like any saddle you need to pay attention and make adjustments when needed.

  15. Heather on September 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I loved my Bob Marshall Saddle…it was the most comfy ever and I used it on a hard to fit horse. I then got a different horse who was very round and the saddle slid if I mounted from the ground. That wasn’t a big deal though…but my arthritis has gotten bad and I found that I need the support a dressage saddle gives, so I sold my Bob Marshall. But it was great as it fit any horse.

  16. Kathy Duda on September 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I too have a Bob Marshall sport saddle. Mine is all suede. I got it for a very round backed, round barreled horse that I was starting. I have a wonderful flex treed saddle. This comes close to fitting her but still not right. The Bob Marshall fits her fine. When we encounter a spook or bolt (remember she is young) I just stick to the saddle. That said, dismounting is a horrible time. This saddle goes right along with me even if I kick out of my stirrups. The suede is that sticky. I rode it on several broke horses to get use to it before I started it on the youngster. I found the pad means 100% more than on a treed saddle. I had a Saddle Right pad made for it. It’s done wonderful things for my horses backs even with a treed saddle. Great channel fro the spine. No pressure there! Wonderful people to order from. Designed by a Chiropractor and they stand behind their pad. I also have one for a treed dressage saddle. I am not affiliated with either company. I’m just a very satisfied horse owner and a 59 year old breaking a colt.

  17. Kelly on September 20, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I have two treeless saddles and LOVE them! They are the most comfortable saddles have ever rode in. The rider can feel every little movement your horse makes, even feel them breath. I have a big paint gelding who was impossible to fit, huge shoulders. Wide backed and no he isn’t fat! He is all muscle. I just ride him in the treeless saddle and have now for four years. He has never been sore or not wanted to be tacked up etc. We ride in clinic’s and trails. So hours in the saddle at a time. The key is to have the right saddle pad to help spread the weight properly. I bought our saddles used and like i said have had them for four years and they are holding up just fine. I always use a breast collar with them. Plus they form to your horse so after about 5-10 mins of being tacked up you have to tighten the saddle. After that you are good to go!

  18. JoAnn on September 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

    At the therapeutic riding barn I work for, we have 3 treeless saddles. We came to use them in our program from our lead instructor who used them in her competitive trail riding (Bob Marshall brand), and they are great because we can use them on every horse, even our round (and I mean ROUND) haflingers. They are interesting to ride in, and some people hate it. Some people love them. I like to use them with our riders because you really get the feel of the horse underneath you, like riding bareback, but with some stability and support. That feeling is another benefit for our program, but may not necessarily be what you are looking for. Beware that I have come across horses who don’t like them either, too. Obviously, if it’s possible for you to try one out before you buy it, do it!

  19. marsha tipton on September 20, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I owned a Bob Marshall treeless saddle western saddle and used it on a very round haflinger. That was a hard fit and it still shifted. It was nice and light and seemed well built but I was riding right on the horse’s spine and worried he’d end up sway backed. In the end I sold the saddle and went back to a treed saddle. It just wasn’t for me.

  20. Gail on September 20, 2014 at 6:23 am

    I apprenticed to a trainer who loved treeless saddles. She was able to swap her dressage saddle from horse to horse with only making some small adjustments so the saddle would fit over the withers properly. The most important thing with treeless saddles is to make sure they have a channel underneath so that they are not putting pressure on the spine of your horse and your weight is being distributed correctly. The treeless saddles that are flat underneath and don’t have a channel for your horses spine can cause damage because it’s not distributing the weight and the pressure properly.

  21. Claire Femal on September 20, 2014 at 2:42 am

    I love Treeless saddles! I ride mules and donkies as well as horses and all sizes of equines from small ponies to 18 hand drafts. A treeless is wonderful because it fits all of those different animals and they are the most comfortable saddles ever. I have never felt like they were unstable and I have never had an equine not like them. When I get my own saddle it will definitely be a treeless, but one with silver that I could also show in. They will fit any horse you will ever have, which is so nice.

  22. Loma on September 20, 2014 at 1:31 am

    My treeless saddle does not have a name brand that I can find. It is shaped like an endurance saddle with a solid cantle and pommel and takes a dressage girth. It is mostly leather with some nylon and I purchased it for only $20 at a local tack sale (the seller did not know how much it was worth). The first time I placed it on my horse he strode out like he has never done before, so I knew he felt better in it. He is not particularly hard to fit, he is a medium tree, but he has a bit of a low back with some arthritis which can cause some issues. This horse hates when I ride him bareback, so riding bareback is not the same as riding treeless, as he behaves so differently. I know a few people who think it is more like riding bareback, but the horse’s back is much better protected (as long as the saddle/pad combo you are using allows for proper spinal clearance) then it would be bareback. I especially love it because it takes seconds to put on and take off, and I can move it from one horse to another (we have five horses this saddle fits narrow to mutton withers) when I’m exercising them all, so it is great. I’ve had mine a year and it is a nicer quality saddle, so I believe it should hold up for awhile longer. It is definitely not a super expensive one, but it does it’s job well and my horses appreciate it. I would recommend them for exercising your horses- walk, trot, canter, and probably trail riding, but my particular saddle doesn’t have very strong dee rings, so I wouldn’t easily be able to attach bags, so I use my western saddle for trails. It is extremely comfortable- I said it was the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in until I got my Stubben Dressage saddle, and now that one is more comfy due to the close contact, but compared to a billy cook barrel saddle, my treeless beats it by leaps and bounds for comfort. I don’t have any problems with the saddle rolling, but I do use a neoprene material girth which helps.

  23. Stephanie Isenberg on September 20, 2014 at 1:17 am

    I trailride in a Bob Marshall and it’s great. Have ridden for hours without myself or my horse getting sore. Worth the price!

  24. Dana on September 19, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    I have a narrow high withered horse and treeless does not fit him. I believe weight distribution is better with the tree. I also have a pad that holds the weight on his shoulders and hips, lets the back round up into it. You get on all fours and see which is best…. A board that holds weight on your shoulders and hips, or all the weight on your mid back? Try it and it’s an easy choice….

  25. Ramona Orton on September 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I bought an EZ Fit Treeless saddle last year. For the most part, I love it. But most importantly my horses LOVE it. It completely changed the way my hard to fit, round withered, short back, close to the ground horse moves. Finally, she is beginning to relax and round up. I’ve tried numerous saddles over the years. All made for white hairs or bad temperament or both. She’s happy now and it’s super comfy for me too. Oh yeah, it stays put; even when mounting from the ground.

    • Ramona Orton on September 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      I did switch out the nylon Latinos for real leather Latinos.

      • Ramona Orton on October 24, 2014 at 11:55 pm

        Latigos…darn autocorrect

  26. Salli Mayfield on September 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I love my Bob Marshall treeless saddle, and so does my very-hard-to-fit mare. We rode her in countless saddles–all of which caused her pain and left dry spots. She no longer exhibits any signs of pain, and the white hairs she was growing due to poor fit with other saddles have disappeared. I bought this saddle for the horse…but was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was for the rider as well. They are expensive, but they are well-built, quality saddles.

  27. Barbara on September 19, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I have a Black Forest for my Xwide-in-the-gullet mustang. It is very comfortable, but I haven’t ridden it enough yet to really judge it, and after I read more thought maybe I shouldn’t use it at all. However, I figure better a saddle that will allow him to move freely than one that pinches or inhibits his movement. I know some endurance riders use them . . . would love to see some of these links, Nicole, as I am still really on the fence.

    • Dee Zane on September 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Barbara – I went Black Forest Treeless on my mustang also. Trying to fit a treed saddle to him was a nightmare! The very first time a treeless was put on him, he visibly relaxed, dropped his head, lots of licking and chewing. . .
      We’ve done MILES of trail since, never any issues at all!

      I figure I can find articles on the internet bashing anything, but if HE’S comfortable and I’M comfortable, that’s all that really matters 😉

  28. Niki Wilde on September 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I have loved bothe the Bob Marshall treeless (Western) ad Ansur treeless (Dressage) saddles I ride in. I ride a variety of horses and it fit them all without pain. I have spent extended hours in them and have a horse with a beautiful back and no muscle wastage.

  29. Cindy Robinson on September 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I have been riding with a treeless saddle for about 13 years now, I love it and will never own a saddle with a tree. The comfort and fit is amazing, I feel my horse’s movement more and not to mention it is lightweight. My horse moves more freely and doesn’t seem to be stiff or sore.

  30. Ronald Jackson on September 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Most of my personal saddles were either Ranch saddles which you can do almost anything from or roping saddles both require a tree, my old Hereford ranch saddle fits almost any Quarter horse and is very comfortable to ride it is only about 60 years old now and still has a lot of life left.

  31. Becky Cutcher on September 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I’ve been using a Bob Marshall treeless saddle for many years. It fits me and every horse I’ve ever used it on. It is by far the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever ridden in. It’s held up very well and could easily be repaired if needed. I’ve never used any other type of treeless saddle. I’m over 60 and also ride on a bareback pad most of the time.

  32. Julie Miller on September 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I have the exact saddle pictured, and it is one of the best I have ever owned , especially for hard to fit horses. Have tried 4 other treeless, even more expensive and hated them. No support. (Just my opinion!) Eventually causes problems. Now selling it to switch the the barrel racer from the trail saddle. Hopefully I will be as happy with that model….

  33. Wendy Russ on September 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I’ve been riding treeless for 20ish years now. The brand I have is the Sports Saddle also known as the original Bob Marshall treeless saddle. I have ridden the circle Y before and it is not nearly as comfortable. I use a ridged formed cinch which I purchased with the saddle to prevent slipping and both saddle and cinch are still in good shape with moderate trail riding. I LOVE IT! I have a bad back and I can ride this saddle with no jarring or back strain. I can feel my horses movement and they can feel my cues. I also like it for winter riding as the saddle warms up with the horses body heat. I’ve never noticed it being too hot in warm weather though. Another good plus is if a horse suddenly jumps or spooks you sink right into the saddle instead of catapulting out! You can find cheaper brands, but I’ve found my Sports Saddle to be worth every dime I paid. It’s hard to find anyone who’ll part with one as used and when you do, they are holding their value.
    The only downfall is you don’t want to pony a pulling horse from the horn or put the pressure on it like you would a traditional saddle but light dallying is fine.

  34. Carly on September 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I have never used a treeless, but we do have a Hilason flex-tree saddle. It is the only saddle that fits our round, flat backed mare ( and believe me, I’ve tried many different style and brands of saddles on her, but nothing ever fit right). The flex tree fits nice, and she seems to move a lot better in it. Bonus, it’s very comfortable for the rider and the leather is nice quality.

    • Suzanne on September 23, 2015 at 8:58 am

      The only people I ever saw that gave hilason saddles a good review were the people selling them. They are made in India with crappy leather and crooked trees. Look nice in photos, but never met anyone who liked them. If you have a good one, you must have bought the only good one they ever made .

      • Nancy on November 10, 2015 at 10:23 pm

        My daughter has a hilason and LOVES it. I can tell a difference in her horse also… He moves better. She has been using the same saddle for 3 years and hasn’t had a problem.

      • Judy on January 5, 2016 at 2:27 pm

        FYI I’ve had a Hilason gaited saddle for 3 years and absolutely LOVE it! The leather is nice, and it fits my horse perfectly…..and, I don’t sell them. My trainer even said it was the most comfortable saddle she’d ever ridden in. I’m looking at buying a second one. Don’t know who you’ve talked to, but it’s unfortunate that you’re passing bad information.

  35. Amanda on September 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I have a hard to fit filly that is still growing and I have tried 3 different treeless saddles. I was not a fan of the style that looks like a regular saddle as it still relies a bit in fit and tended to not lay flat and rise up towards the back and cause wither pressure, the other two were designed the typical way, very comfortable but I could not find a way to prevent rubbing and chaffing on the withers.

    I have also had some chiropractic issues in the withers, spine and neck likely due to the pressures and trying to avoid the pain.

    She’s a young quarter horse with a very wide back and narrow shoulders right now and low withers. I gave up and went English for now because I feel it’s way better to keep her from getting sores and spine pressure. When she’s done growing I will re evaluate a proper western saddle for her.

  36. Connie on September 19, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I have purchased a few for a therapeutic riding center. The center serves both adults and children and uses a variety of different shaped and sized horses. Being a non profit made the flexibility of one saddle fitting many horses a good choice, The ones purchased were about $1000 each and made by Barefoot. I got endurance and dressage models. The one drawback is that the riders fatigued quicker while riding them over 45 minutes or so, as I do not think they are as supportive as saddles with trees. However none of the horses appeared to get sore from them.

  37. Liz on September 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    My husband and I had custom Reining saddles made for us after hubby researched all the alternatives we got flexy trees. Close contact and the chiro loves them. Our trainer rode in them and likes them too.

    • rbmelzer on September 21, 2014 at 8:15 am

      What company did you use to make your flexy tree reining saddles? Thanks!

  38. Deborah Littlefield on September 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Have had several different saddles over the years but my Bob Marshall treeless is by far the best I have ever owned. I always go for this saddle for barrel racing or just trail riding. I have 2 very different built horses and fits them both

  39. Teresa on September 19, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I bought a nice expensive treeless saddle for my mare who has back problems and gets sore with regular saddles. It does roll a bit, and I have to be careful getting on and off, but it is super light weight and she does really well with it. Easy to carry for me, a small woman. I would recommend them if you have a reason you need to have less weight and no tree!

    • Joyce on September 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      I got a tacky pad to go under my treeless saddle, it really helps to stabilize it.

  40. Nicole on September 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I was considering purchasing a treeless saddle last year. However, after doing much online research, I discovered they are recommended for casual use only because of damage it can cause to a horses’s back. I am not sure if I’m permitted to post links to credible peer-reviewed articles; however make sure you listen to the experts.

    • Stacy on September 20, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Yes, please provide the links!

  41. Liesbeth on September 19, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I used a treeless Saddle for 2 years on my young mare. She’s a mix between a Standardbred, Appaloosa and a Pinto horse. My horse is now 5 years old.
    She was always outgroing here Saddle very fast so I decided to buy a treeless westernsaddle for here. We used a Barefoot Virginia, custom made. These type of saddles have a fork in front that you can replace by a different size. And offcourse a nice cantle. But don’t give a deep seet. The saddle have special vps pannels on both sides of the saddle to gives it spine freedom. But you stil need a speciale pad under the Saddle.
    I always used a 1″ felt pad, and that was fine. The saddle was very comfortable. I loved it.
    With this saddle the weight is distributes very well.
    Only you have a very wide seat in it. And after some time it gave me problems in my hips and back.
    So after using it for 2 years i had to decide to buy a tree Saddle, i needed more stability for my back also.

    Greetings from Belgium.

  42. Patsy Davis (@Luvs2ridefar) on September 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I ride a Bob Marshall treeless western saddle on my Quarter/Arab gelding. I find it to be very comfortable for me and him. I believe it is important to use a saddle pad that keeps the saddle off the horses spine; one with a channel over the spine and areas of increased padding to either side where the tree of a regular saddle would be. The weight of the rider should not push the saddle down onto the horses spine. I have no problem with the saddle shifting or being unstable. It’s my favorite saddle.

    • Carolyn on April 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      What type/brand saddle pad do you recommend for a sports saddle?

  43. Lindsay on September 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Hey Stacy!
    I just did a report over horse cloning, and I was wondering if you had ever thought of cloning Roxy?

  44. Chelsea on September 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I’ve had a treeless saddle before and it was the best saddle I’ve ever owned! That said, I’ve tried a few brands and the only one I’d go with is Bob Marshall. Everything else is cheap and doesn’t fit right (horse and rider). But my Bob Marshall… man I could ride in that all day! Most comfortable saddle I’ve sat in, and my horse loved it as well. He was always locked up in the shoulders, even when the saddles fit perfectly… But as soon as he was in a treeless, man he could move! Plus, it’s a lot easier for them to recognize your seat aids when there isn’t a block of wood between the two of you! I found that after a while, my cues became quieter and I could almost guide him on my seat alone during trail rides and other lower demand rides. To top it off, I had the saddle for two years. Bought it custom made for $1800 (top of the line style and design), sold it for $1500. So I’d say they hold their value!

    Overall, I’d highly recommend it. Only negative thing I’d say about them is that you have to order about an inch larger, cause they run small (I’d that’s even really a negative thing)
    Anyway, I sold the horses to pay for grad school, but when I get back into the game, I’m going to order another Bob Marshall

    • Nicole on September 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      PS: experts as in vets, chiropractors, massage therapists and medical researchers and NOT your local tack shop since they are in it to make a sale!

    • Kathi on September 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      I agree with everything you said! My Bob Marshall is the best thing going. You can feel every move your horse makes. Light weight so I could lift it myself. I’d never go back to a traditional saddle again. I also love that I no longer have any knee pressure. I love it, and my horses love it. Worth every penny, so buy the best. I’ve tried other tree-less saddles made by other companies. Doesn’t even come close to the Marshall, even though they looked almost the same.

      • Tricia Nelson on July 25, 2016 at 7:34 pm

        Love the Bob Marshal, its light weight and my horse is very comfortable, she would not take her right lead until I tried a treeless. The Bob Marshal is the best in my opinion, although the Just Be Natural is also very nice.. I tried many high end western saddles and only ended up causing her more pain and my pocket book as well. I use a nice mohair rope cinch. Be mindful that you can over tighten the cinch more easily than a traditional saddle.
        Mine does not slip although I do ride with a breast collar and mount from blocks, trees, stumps or what ever else I can get on, this seems to help her as well, she is always happy to let me get on that way opposed to from the ground.

    • Carolyn on April 12, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      May I ask what type of girth did you use with your Bob Marshall?

    • Carolyn on April 12, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Could I ask what type of girth did/do you use with your sports saddle?

  45. Patricia woodruff on September 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I have used the treeless saddle when my sister and I go out on the trails..they are so very light when you saddle up and light on the horse..I would recommend that type of saddle…Not sure if I am permitted to give out the name of the company that made the saddles my sister and I have.

    • Stacy on September 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Yes, please use names, people love to know what is working.

  46. darlaflack1 on September 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    My Azteca mare is Very impossible to fit a conventional saddle with. A treeless is the only option I have (can’t afford a custom made). She is very very broad on either side of the wither (she is on a diet, but that won’t help much). My Kieffer slips and slides, as does my western Wintec and most saddles are just way too narrow.

  47. lana munger on September 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I bought an american flex, It never fit any of my horses right. I spent $900.00 and had the panels replaced by ortho flex and it still did not fit my horses. I had a saddle maker turn it into a regular saddle so i can now use it after about $4,000 later

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