Torsion Treeless Saddle

Icelandic / Soft

Icelandic
Icelandic

Photo shows incorrect pad, this was just to keep the saddle clean, not to use.

Icelandic
Icelandic

This saddle is known under various names depending on what part of the world you are in, hence why it’s in the title.

First impressions well made, good quality. Generous seat area with overall length of base being a 22″. This is a medium size, equates to a size 2, or those people who would need a 17/17.5″ treed.

It is ideal for adults on short backed ponies and cobs, although this particular model has the 22″ base, due to the design the cantle and skirt is so soft it isn’t going to cause any pressure to your mount. In fact it looked small on a 14hh cob!This saddle has a nice shape with soft flaps allowing maximum leg contact for the rider. This is particularly of great benefit if you have a wider horse or pony, it enabled me to get my round on the horse due to the close contact slim flaps.

It is made of Nappa leather, the extra soft end of the seat enhances softness and suppleness in your horse. There is no risk of a hard cantle pressing down at the end of the seat as the padding is designed to be soft for the horse and soft for the rider. You can squeeze the cantle and the end skirt with D ring is also very soft. I didn’t actually notice I had no actual cantle.

While suitable for all horse types, the soft nature of this treeless is particularly suited for horses with short backs, sway backs, high croups and dippy backs. It is also ideally designed for the gaited horse such as the Icelandic and I would feel it was a good choice for the cob type action to.

It has two closed rings for a choice of stirrup position. You can use the double ended t bar or if you prefer you could use slim dressage leathers with a reverse buckle. In the photo that’s just bog standard leathers to test the saddle out. I didn’t notice the buckle but personally slimmer leathers just add to your comfort-also I would opt for black!

Second ride-moved the seat a tiny fraction forwards, that was actually better for me than yesterday. Felt more with the horse. The pommel has its uses being fairly high in that the reins sit nicely behind it if you don’t want to hold them, or if you want to get off for any reason they do stay behind it.

Its used by the Riding For The Disabled and this particular saddle was gifted to the Conquest Centre

Torsion
Torsion
Close contact
Close contact

Torsion GP

Ridden at all paces including a 10 mile hack, beach ride and jumping up to 2ft3 stirrups fitted reverse.

This saddle has the closed ring, which is a personal choice whether you like it or not, i always use safety stirrups so this is not an issue for me. The length of the girth straps are realistic and not excess like some makes on the market, also covered and not just webbing.
Excellent quality soft italian leather, good overall finish. However this saddle i didn’t find as comfortable as some I’ve had. Due to the size of the pommel i would say it fits up to a med/wide horse, it was too narrow for xwide across the front, there are no options to put another pommel insert in, this is disappointing.

Overall good saddle just not for us.

BE and BD approved models, double-check with your judge for a show with a ride judge, they may decline.

Torsion with Skito pad

Torsion
Torsion

Solution Treeless Saddle (Smart , Energist)

Solution Smart GP

I contacted solution via their website and got in contact with a local fitter. The saddle itself is identical to the original smart gp, but with thinner and shorter panels, making it ideal for wide, flat backed horses, and those who are bum high. I have the Size 4 and at 5’8 it provides the benefit of helping the rider feel less perched.

The saddle came with a dorsal supplement pad (DSP) – a fancy half pad, which is non slip on the saddle side, with Velcro along the underside attaching itself to a numnah (either the eskadron classic range, or anything which already has Velcro attached -p.s. I’m not advertising eskadron, it’s the only one I’ve found so far which the Velcro already sticks to without needing further alterations) and a nuumed hi wither numnah with Velcro on. They do say that it doesn’t have to be one of their numnahs however, all you need is a hi wither, thin numnah/saddle cloth and a roll of Velcro, approx 3″ wide!
On the saddle, I have a large knee roll, and a thigh block, I ride a 4yo with limited riding experience and a high risk of tripping. I’m also used to a barnsby omega gp on my older horse, so I like a decent knee roll to stick my knee in at the first sign of trouble.

To say I was sceptical would be a large underestimation. All treed saddles had slipped forwards onto her shoulders, and inhibited movement, and I’ve never been a member of the ‘barefoot and treeless’ brigade. I’ve always been fairly traditional, so the solution appealed to me as it looks treed but very lightweight. The leather is soft and good quality, and in general the saddle is very comfy to ride in.

Since owning the saddle, I have hacked over varied terrain in walk, trot and canter, been to a dressage competition and most recently show jumping. The saddle doesn’t move a millimetre no matter what my horse does underneath me, allowing her to move freely underneath me. It took a few rides to fully get used to how much the rider can feel the horse moving underneath you, and vice versa. Having only ridden in treed saddles before, I found I was half halting but receiving a halt from my mare. She was suddenly much more responsive.

Price wise, if buying brand new they’re an expensive outlay, but the company do offer 10% the total purchase if you buy outright, or they offer a 0% payment plan! which gives you a free saddle cloth, DSP, and knee blocks. Buying a saddle that has the potential to last you from backing of the horse, and for life the cost will work out very cost effective over the years. The saddles are FEI approved, so fully legal for all levels of competition. I haven’t yet jumped over 50cm ish, but am planning our first ODE later this year so we shall see how it goes then!

Solution Smart Jump

Solution Smart
Solution Smart

Today I tacked up as per instructions, I had spoken to the company and I can if I want to have a fitter out to tweak when she covers my area.
It says amongst other things “put on far forwards” I have to say that’s alien and I was convinced it would be over her shoulder and that’s going to be as far as we get! But, as it says to have your straps vertically straight, that’s what we did.
You only need a thin cotton pad, so we used the extra-large Shires one.

I lunged in walk, trot and canter and my bum was twitching to get on. My first shock was that the seat is in fact fairly hard. But I believe its due to it needing to mould and my bum expecting it to be a Freeform softish seat! Once my stirrups were shortened, we started to “settle”
In the jumping position it’s really comfortable, you have space to adjust your seat and we popped a couple of jumps.

It rides as a treed saddle, if you prefer the more bareback feel I have been told to look for the Freestyle and Energist models. This model is in my opinion as heavy as a treed would be. I love the w girthing and there is no crupper ring. It has two rings for their own make of x over breastplate.

Its a lovely well made saddle, but I decided not to keep this model and look for a gp instead. I had a lesson and it fitted the horse lovely but wasn’t totally suiting me. I think perhaps the non panel type could be better or the gp.
It really is as flexible as they say, my horse has an upright shoulder, low wither and is very broad.

Air Jacket Fitting

Air Jacket Announcement-from Solution

It has come to our attention that clients are attaching straps for air-jackets, panniers and grab straps onto the stirrup hangers of their Solution saddles. Please be aware that attaching anything other than stirrup leathers or webbers to the stirrup hangers can compromise the function, as well as cause damage to the saddle.

Misuse of the saddles in this way renders the warranty void

We suggest that any clients wishing to attach such items to their saddle do so by way of clips to the D-rings. The D-rings alone are not guaranteed under such high forces as an exploding air-bag and we therefore recommend attaching via a plastic clip which will give in the event of an emergency.

Similarly, please remember that the girthing assembly is also not designed for any purpose other than attaching the girth. Please do not attach breastgirth straps etc. to the girth straps themselves. All Solution GP and Jump saddles come with knee D-rings as standard. If your saddle does not have knee D-rings, these can be fitted retrospectively in our workshop.

Thank you to both riders above for demonstrating correct use of the SMART X-over breastgirth and attachment of air-jackets.

Reproduced from the newsletter.

Startrekk Treeless Saddle

Startrekk Dressage

Very nice saddle, very traditional English looking and rides very similar to a treed saddle, lots of twist so great for people with bad hips.

The pommel chambers can be replaced with different widths to suit individual horses. It gives plenty of wither clearance so perfect for high withered horses, the Velcro panels underneath allow for a tailored fit to suit individual horses. This saddle is better for the slightly narrower horses as the pommel chambers do not come out as wide as the Western models. The newer version of this saddle has flocked panels and not the Velcro panels, which gives it a more traditional appearance.

Used on a 16.3hh TB ex racer, a 16hh ID x TB and a 12hh Welsh Mountain pony.

Startrekk
Startrekk

Startrekk Western

Very well made saddle with nice German leather, wears very well, scratches quite easily on pommel and fenders and takes a long time to break in, but buttery soft when it has broken in.

Pommel chamber can be replaced with different widths to suit individual horses, the pommel chambers are quite flexible on fit between sizes (I.e. size 2 will fit a wide range of different horses, size 3 if quite a lot wider). Velcro panels under the saddle allow the saddle to be tailored to suit the individual.

Stirrup rings mounted on leather under the seat of the saddle with a choice of 2 stirrup settings.

Used at all paces including short endurance rides (10-12 miles).

Size 2 pommel chamber used on 16.3hh TB ex racer, 14.3hh Welsh x Arab and 15.1hh HW Cob, Size 3 pommel chamber used on 14hh Welsh Cob.

Startrekk
Startrekk

Sensation Treeless Saddle

Sensation Harmony Element

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Review to follow.

Sensation Westlish

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Erin with a Tb

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Sensation Hybrid

Lovely saddle, very well made and the leather is very soft and flexible and doesn’t take much breaking in, at the same time it is hard wearing and doesn’t mark easily.

Used at all paces and small jumps, including short endurance rides (10-12
miles) and a 2 day 26 mile ride.

Has 3 stirrup positions, freeswing, hard use and endurance. The stirrup position on freeswing and hard use can be moved due to stirrup ring being on moveable Velcro plate. Endurance is fastened to the bottom of the stirrup flap which eliminates stirrup pressure points on the horses back.

Used on 12hh Welsh Section A, 14hh Welsh Cob, 14.3hh Welsh x Arab and 15.1hh HW Cob.

Sensation Dressage Trail

Dressage trail with upgraded formal dressage pommel and cantle giving a deeper seat and upgraded g4 seat giving a neater look.

I ordered this but unfortunately I just didn’t get in with it,I found the formal pommel and cantle just a little too deep for me and in hindsight should have had the normal dressage trail pommel and cantle but it was a lesson learned. The colours are butterscotch deertan seat,knee,thigh roll and beading with dark coffee bean flap leather. 2 removable rigging billets and a 17″ seat. The formal dressage pommel because of its higher stance offers a little more wither clearance but again this had been used from low wide wither to medium narrow withers with just the change of pads. For flat work this worked well to give a really deep seat and the flap is similar to a working hunter style cut and offers good shoulder room. Same 19″ weight bearing panels and works well in short backs.

Dressage trail with 1″ shortened flap and standard dressage trail pommel and cantle.

Offers a semi deep seat with a working hunter style flap,not completely straight but only slightly forward cut. This fit my mare very well and was the first saddle we had had that really worked,both treed and treeless. The flexibility of this saddle really worked well in allowing the saddle to mould to my mares shape,medium but very wide wither,sharp rise to the group,downhill and very short backed, huge movement from behind and through her back which always caused saddles to fly forward then blocking her shoulder,nightmare to fit! In the picture I am using the endurance set up stirrup attachment which offers the most effective weight distribution. It does however mean you lose some of the swing in your stirrups,for me this is not a problem,it helps stabilize my left leg since a knee injury but does take a little bit of getting used to. I jumped around 2’6″ in this saddle and it works well for flat work too. I am using a Skito pad with 3/4″ inserts and a 1/2″ wither shim for this particular horse but the Skito is a great pad for all types of horses and saddles and offers a very large selection of inserts and shims.

Sensation Sonoran

This is my favourite model of all the sensations. This is a 15.5″ seat measured like a western. It has a tall western swell with a tall western cantle,2 removable rigging billets and g3 rigging for the stirrup attachment. It is set up in the endurance setting in the photo,this offers the most weight distribution after the hard use set-up and is my preferred stirrup attachment as I hate leathers under my legs and it also helps stabalise my legs. Good for me since an old injury. It does limit your leg movement a bit but does not fix it in one position.

I had the flap shortened 1.5″ on this one and at 5’4″ with a 28″ inseam this is perfect for me. The sonoran has the formal dressage flap which is very straight cut and I am effortlessly riding in a very relaxed correct position with no back,knee or ankle pain. The swell and cantle offer security but do not pin me in or restrict posting the trot. Though not great for jumping anything but small logs etc out on the trail. All the horses I’ve used this on have been very comfortable in it and the wither clearance is great in the ones I ride. I have not used it on shark fin withers but believe it would work with the correct choice of pad. From 13.2hh no withered xxxxw up to 17hh med wide medium withered with only a change in pad. The colours in this are butterscotch deertan seat,knee,thigh roll and binding on black cherry flap leather which was a one off hide nickers saddlery had available,I love this combination! This for me is a perfect trail saddle for comfort and ease of a relaxed but correct position and remains my favourite model.

The only limitations for the Sensation range is that they are not recommended for horses with a high wither. Riders should be under 14 stone.

Randols Treeless Saddle

This is what I would describe as very close to the Barefoot, it looks very much like the barefoot Cheyenne in style. It has small closed rings as oppose to the Barefoot large rings.
The base on the reviewed saddle is 20″, this would be equivalent to the size one, but the actual seat area is a bit smaller.
Nicely made in nubuck leather with a slightly higher fibreglass pommel, probably on the lines of the Torsion pommel, it gives a secure feel. You could change this if you wanted though it has a zip, whether the bf pommel sits in would be up to someone else to find out.
There is not much spinal clearance with this model, you do need to make sure you have an adequate treeless pad. For want of a better word it is on the non structured floppy side.
Designed for endurance by US riders, it is equally as good out and about hacking.

 

Libra Trec / Adjustable Treeless Saddle

Libra Trec – The Original non panel

HOOF APPROVED, tried tested and keeping:D
Photo of 17″ black libra trec treeless saddle with Equitex Torsion pad. Ridden at all paces including 12 mile hack, beach ride and jumping up to 2.9 (Note this saddle is described for small jumping, it was my choice to test it further)

This is a lightweight saddle, ideal as an entry into the treeless world, light enough for child to carry and disabled person. Ideal for youngsters and wipe clean synthetic suede makes it ideal for wet weather. One of the reasons i bought it!
Small low pommel, ideal for all shapes and especially those of us with wide and extra wide, my chap is xwide. It comes with crupper ring.

Excellent value for money.

Libra Trec
Libra Trec

Very comfortable and I’ve tried more expensive makes and go back to this one everytime.
I tend to use this saddle with the Wintec chaffless girth or Roamer. I always use safety stirrups even though this model has an e bar.

It is designed for longer rides or happy hacking, i have jumped but i ride western so my weight is mainly in the saddle not stirrup. I’ve since bought some treeless leathers that buckle at the stirrup as when i shorten a few holes i did feel the buckle.

Comes in synthetic or a nubuck for riders over 11 stone. The pad gives the spinal clearance, but i opted for the equitex as it gave me a bit more clearance. It’s about what fits you and your horse and not a reflection on the Libra pads. My friend has one of these pads and has enough clearance.

NB

Since this review was written Libra has ceased the Trail and introduced the Explorer.

Price range under £200, don’t be put off by how reasonable it is, it’s comfortable and my pony loves it!

Libra Adjustable 

Reviews wanted 🙂

The Libra Adjustable is two saddles in one. It is also good for hacking and schooling and has built in pressure relief pads. The girthing is english billet taking a dressage / treeless length.
This model has an adjustable Flexisoft pommel and cantle to allow the alteration of the seat size. The 19″ base model can be adjusted from 13″ to 16″, this permits different children or a small adult to use easily. The 21″ model can be adjusted from 15″ to 18″.

The great feature about this model is you can remove the pommel, cantle and stirrup to convert into a bareback pad. This is ideal for natural horsemanship and those wanting a more close feel.

Libra Trail

Not Produced but included as comes up for sale secondhand.

hi ya my name is diane. l have two ponies one is 11-3 and 14-2 lrish cob. My 11-3 joe l let kids take to pony games and club he is a real joker. My cob is black,white called strider he is great and can do near anything but one draw back is out of the blue he will buck and they are handstand ones ha.
Have had some bad falls took long time to get to ride him again other than walk trot. Got a stock saddle and doing well but nipped his withers abit. Then done alot of reading on treeless in end got libra trek wow what a saddle l feel safe like sitting on a soft chair he goes great in it and l stay on.
Worth every penny well made lovely leather very nice people to deal with. l’ve hacked gone across rivers up steep trails jumped and only had it just over a week. lts brill never change from treeless.

The History  Of Libra

I came across this photo from back in 2008, its the original style Libra Trec. They were introduced around 2006. This was when they were tan and black and from memory 23″ long.

My friend still has an older type. They do pop up for sale.

Libra Original 2008
Libra Original 2008

Then came the plain black and plain brown which was the newer shorter length base of 21″ for a 17″. This was without the zipped pommel. They added a zip at some point but removed it again after people were removing the insert.

They went on to produce these with a spinal clearance underside and twin ring stirrup hanger.

The trail was suede and came in a burgundy and maybe another colour. These were discontinued. Does anyone have one?🙂 Not sure why they ceased production.

The original Hackabout was just a synthetic leather with movable underside panels. This was ceased but reintroduced as the Hackabout II with a non slip seat in suede.

You can still find the older models either. For those of you that are non UK, this saddle can be found under different names I believe. I have to say I prefer the previous non panel model.

Below is the old style Hack About II, not made anymore like this but again can be found on eBay.

Hackabout
Hackabout

Libra Trec

I have just recently got one of these saddles from ebay, I have never ridden in a treeless saddle before and have found this a great saddle so far. It is used on my thoroughbred who does have a high wither.
I bought an equitex high wither pad to go with it and its perfect.
I recommend them as a first treeless saddle to buy if you need to keep to a budget especially if you can get them second hand as i did.

Libra Hackabout 

Libra Hackabout, ceased production.

Very similar to the Trec but with a different underside – no sheepskin but spinal clearance padding instead, knee rolls and is made of a synthetic leather so much sturdier and more durable than the trec. And do you know what – we love it!

Hackabout
Hackabout

Ive had to get used to a very slightly different position (to accommodate my thighs ) Im very happy with it and have lots of incentive to get down to its 11 stone weight limit. I still have the added protection of the Haf pad as this is what was recommended for ‘heavier’ riders. Unless things drastically change, if and when the hackabout is knackered (and Im not well known for looking after stuff) I will be replacing it with the same again

Libra
Libra

This photo was sent to me from a Pininterest user. 🙂

If you have a heavy type these fit well. I know of someone using on a Highland and a Shire.

Hilason Western Treeless Saddle

Hilason saddles are designed to fit almost every type of horse! All the saddles I’ve had i’ve bought from them, they all fit my Arabian Mare perfectly. The leather is just perfect! The quality is outstanding and I love the feeling of it when I’m riding it. I’ve ridden it so many times and it also seems like my horse loves it. Everything is just perfectly in place and i was really happy by the quality that it was made. I’ve tried other companies as well but honestly i really like Hilason the best. The leather is really comfortable and very durable.

As for their prices, its unbeatable. I was surprised how such good of a saddle didn’t have sky-high prices.

I really like Hilason and now I don’t buy anything else.

Ghost Treeless Saddle

I have a 13hh New Forest pony, with a fairly flat, short back, and virtually no withers. This has made it very difficult to find a saddle that fits her, and I have had problems with every treedsaddle

Ghost
Ghost

I’ve tried. Having thought about it for several years, I finally decided to give treeless a go after a nasty fall out hacking, when my pony shied at some cows and spun round, causing my saddle to slip sideways and dump me on the ground at speed.

After a great deal of research and review reading, I decided to trial a Ghost standard. I feel that I’ve found the solution to my fitting problems. Virtually every aspect of the Ghost is adjustable, including seat size, panel position, stirrup position and girth position. You can even buy different seats, without needing a whole new saddle, if you fancy a change of colour or style. Use of the right pads (I am using the Ghost pad with Thinline pad) means the saddle doesn’t slip, and I have even popped a couple of small jumps in it with no problems. It is an extremely comfortable saddle, much more so than any of my treed ones have been, and I felt I could have ridden all day on a recent hack. We have walked, trotted, cantered, galloped with no problems, and it’s so nice to feel secure at speed!

My pony is moving much more freely, and is no longer tense and hollow during transitions. She no longer objects to being saddled either, so it seems to have her stamp of approval. Because it is so adjustable, I have also tried the Ghost on my 15.3 hh youngster. She is only lightly backed so we haven’t given it a thorough testing together, but she seemed very happy in it too. She has a good set of withers, and we had no problems with wither clearance at all.

Overall, I feel the Ghost is excellent value for money – highly adjustable, suitable for use on a range of horses, and very comfortable for the rider. I have to add that customer service from ghostsaddles.co.uk is second to none, very patient and friendly. Thank you to them for helping to solve my saddling problems!

Freemax Western Treeless Saddle

It looks like a treed western saddle. But amazingly it also rides just like one! It has a solid swell/horn, but is interchangeable and they have 5 different widths. It comes in 3 different seat lengths and they will also be doing a childs’ version.

My horse went really well in it. Normally he finds it difficult to maintain a slow jog, but in this saddle no problem. His canter was wonderful in that his back felt so unrestricted.

The saddle is quite firm, so would be no good for a sway backed horse. They are designing one for sway backed horses later in the year. I rode with the Port Lewis Impression Pad. Without a saddle pad under the saddle was a little too low at the front. So I rode with the Mattes Rio Pecos western correctional pad. I put 3 shims in each front pocket to balance the saddle. The Port Lewis showed a little extra pressure still at the front. So I kept the 3 shims in each front pocket and added 1 in each middle pocket, and I added 3 full length shims (I had the pad designed so you can add full length shims in the pad if the horse has a prominent spine (as mine does)) and the impression was almost even. It was a little bit thinner at the front, but hardly different to the rest of the PLIP. So was happy with that. My horse is so very difficult to fit. Nearly everything slips back on him – he a saddle fitters nightmare!

The Mattes pad is really expensive though (retails around £350 for the one I was using which is a modified version of the standard Rio Pecos). So tried a cheaper Pro Correction pad which costs £185. (This has removable shims but not as flexible as the Mattes as you can only put thicker one shim per pocket (Mattes you can put up to 6 thin shims) The results of the cheaper pad were almost as good as the Mattes pad.

So all in all, horse happy, PLIP happy and rider VERY happy to ride in a treeless western saddle that FEELS like a treed western saddle.

New Prolite Girths

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Prolite horse

Get the edge with the new Prolite innovative Girths. 

Manufactured under license from Fairfax Saddles Ltd, the design of girth is scientifically proven to dramatically increase the horse’s freedom of movement whilst reducing peak pressure by a minimum of 25%.

Girth edit

The high tech fabric used is four times more abrasion resistant than leather, wicks away moisture helping to keep your horse dry, has thermo-regulation properties to help your horse stay cool, is breathable, antibacterial and hypoallergenic.

The benefits of use during flatwork include:

  • Increases front leg extension
  • Greatly reduces pressure
  • Increases hock flexion

The benefits of use during jumping include:

  • Improves neatness over the fence
  • Greatly reduces pressure
  • Increases power on take off

Performance edit

The girth comes in either short or long making it suitable for a range of saddles. Also available in both standard fit and narrow gauge option  which is suitable for horses measuring less than 20cm between the front legs.

After…

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