Welcome to our series on the Freeform Saddle!
In today’s post we will focus on the following question:
How does a treeless saddle differ from a treed saddle?
For a history on why Treed Saddles were created in the first place, you can read this post –
However, for a highlight on the differences let’s look at Treed Saddles vs. Treeless Saddles:
Treed Saddle: Has a wooden or fiberglass tree
Treeless Saddle: Does not have a tree
Okay, that’s pretty simple and I’m sure you’re looking for more than that, so let’s change the questions to these:
- If we’ve had Treed Saddles for almost 2,000 years, then doesn’t it stand to reason that they are good saddles?
- If Treed Saddles are harming horses in any way, wouldn’t the saddles been changed before now?
Now, those are more interesting questions! And with the chance of sounding flip and callous, let me point out a few historical misgivings to (hopefully) place some doubt in your mind about the validity of those questions.
- Cave paintings have been found to be at least 35,000 years old (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/733747.stm) and the first civilized society is said to have been formed almost 12,000 years ago out of Mesopotamia. Yet, human beings believed that the world was flat until almost 2,000 years ago when Aristotle began his proofs that the Earth was indeed a sphere.
- In the 18th century, Cocaine was promoted as a miracle cure and was highly promoted as such through the late 19th century. It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that is was discovered that cocaine induced habitual usage and caused serious side effects. It wasn’t until the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (http://wings.buffalo.edu/aru/preprohibition.htm) that cocaine was taken out of products and general circulation.
- In China for over 1,000 years, young girls had their feet bound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_binding) leaving them with lifelong disabilities. –
Yeah, humans have a history of making mistakes. In some cases, the misunderstandings have lead to serious and painful consequences. And, as you have just read, sometimes, it takes us a number of years (sometimes, thousands of years) to change and get it right.
So let’s look at a couple of reasons that people are choosing Treeless Saddles over Treed Saddles:
- Even if a horse is fitted properly for a treed saddle, a horse moves when you ride. As a horse moves beneath a treed saddle, even with the correct fit, the structure causes pressure points which can result in soreness, muscle damage and in extreme cases can cause nerve damage. A treeless saddle is less capable of causing soreness and damage.
- Because a treed saddle lifts the rider off of the back of the horse, there is less communication between the rider and the horse. A treeless saddle, on the other hand, has a much lower center of gravity giving the rider the sense of riding bareback with the security of a saddle and placing the rider in greater contact and communication with their equestrian friend.
Of course, any of the above may inspire more questions or concerns. We hope to address all of them in the following weeks. However, please feel free to voice your opinion and concerns here!
Be One With Your Horse™