Why was the treed saddle developed in the first place?

We would like to have a series of blog posts to answer some of the questions about Freeform Saddles that we hear when exhibiting at shows across the country. But before we even begin, it’s important to answer the most important question of all:

Why was the treed saddle developed in the first place?

It is believed that horses have been ridden from as early as 4000 BC. In 800 BC, a saddle pad with a strap to hold it onto the horse was developed and the first saddle with a tree was introduced 400 years later. It wasn’t until 302 A.D. that the first set of stirrups was added to the saddle.

Reconstructed Roman Saddle

It is thought that the first treed saddles were developed in order to utilize horses for war. After all, the Romans were a proud band of warriors and needed to stay on their horses with their armor, shields and weaponry. During the middle ages, saddles became even more structured as knights who had some difficulty balancing themselves on land, found it even more difficult on a horse. A treed saddle gave these armored giants the stability they needed.

English Saddle (Stubben Tristan)

Over time, armor became lighter and the English Calvary was instrumental in developing a lighter saddle more in alignment with the treed saddles that are on the market today. Treed saddles were certainly the standard with the military being the front-runner of innovation because of their needs on the battlefield.

As our civilization grew and the military abandoned their steeds for metal giants and technology, innovation for saddles was left to the public. Riders no longer looked at horses as tools to be used in battle, but as partners in their adventures whether it was in the show ring, endurance riding, competitive rides or the everyday pleasure ride. This rider began to become more concerned about what a treed saddle was doing to the horse rather than what a treed saddle was doing for the human. As a result, research began on how to develop saddles that were good for both the rider and the horse. Some riders couldn’t wait for the research and a movement of bareback riders began.

There is still much debate as to whether it is better to use a treed saddle over a treeless saddle. You will find that we are biased. At Action Rider Tack, we’ve been riding horses for years and once we discovered treeless saddles, we haven’t turned back. Currently, we ride in and sell both the Barefoot Saddles and Freeform Saddles and continue to research and test treeless saddles to ensure that we are carrying brands that we can stand behind and deliver to you.

Freeform Classic Treeless Saddle

We hope you will join us in looking at some of the questions that we hear at shows and enjoy the journey with us, as we bring some clarity to you in our answers.

Be One With Your Horse™

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