Monday, August 31, 2015

New Saddle

Got a new addition to my modest tack arsenal! Yes indeed, I now own another saddle and so far, so good.

When I first heard about treeless saddles at the PA Horse World Expo two years ago it was nothing more than a fleeting "hmm interesting" moment. When I finally got to ride in one at Muckleratz about a month ago though, it quickly went from interesting to must HAVE. If doing 25 miles for the first time in an unfamiliar saddle with an unfamiliar horse resulted in zero soreness post-ride (for both horse and rider) then I don't know what else proves that treeless works pretty darn well when everything is tweaked just right. Quest and I have had no issues with w/t/c bareback and I did say that I'd invest in a nicer saddle for us when we started endurance, I decided to give treeless a try.

I did my research, talked to some distance riding folks, and came up with a list of brands and models to shop for. After a few days of searching, I managed to find a used Black Forest Shasta that fit my specifications at a very good price and contacted the seller who turned out to be an avid endurance rider back in the day.

After a week and a half of waiting very impatiently, the saddle finally arrived. I was as happy as a kid on Christmas day. When I took the saddle out of the box, I was immediately struck by how light it was. I could easily heft it in one hand though it was made of nubuck leather. The leather was worn but not abused; seat and panels were supple and soft. It has a ton of sturdy D-rings that will definitely come in handy.

And of course I had to do a quick test ride at the first opportunity. T and I had plans early the next morning so I was not properly dressed for riding, oops. T let me try out a couple of her dressage girths to figure out sizing (Quest is a 20-22"). The saddle came with western fenders which I'm probably not going to use so I went sans stirrups and used a regular AP pad underneath since the Skito pad is still en route.

Used the fence to hop on and...omg comfort. Riding on a cloud comfort. The seat size was just right for me and Quest moved out very nicely with happy ears the whole time.

Tracking up nicely at the walk.
....please excuse the lack of proper footwear.
We didn't ride for long but the few short minutes was enough to satiate my curiosity and dispel the pesky buyer's remorse worries that I had just wasted my time and money. Real test will be when we start training in it extensively of course but for now, I'm happy with the saddle. So very happy. The price was just right for what I got, pleased with the quality, it fits me well, and more importantly it seems to fit Quest well so far too. Next is to find a new home for the western fenders and get some stirrup leathers. Time to shop for all the things.


  1. My first big ride in a treeless saddle did not go so well in the sore department, but I bought one anyway! Haha. I loved it then and I love it now. Highly recommend a padded skito pad to pair with any treeless saddle!

    1. Yes I have a Skito pad on the way, very excited to start doing longer rides when it finally arrives!

  2. oh neat! i read up a bit about treeless vs treed saddled after i saw your post and it looks like a split opinion but a lot of endurance riders go with treeless. but then at the end, a properly fitted saddle is all that matters so you are right on that. hooray!!

    1. I agree, and there always seems to be split opinion when it comes to anything to do with horses haha I figure there is no harm in giving treeless a try and seeing how it goes for us; worse comes to worse, I can just sell it and work with the saddle that I have now until something better comes along.