Dartmoor

Beautiful saddle, the leather is buttery soft and hard wearing and every inch of it shouts quality.

The pommel blocks can be interchanged with different sizes, and the company makes made to measure pommel blocks.

The saddle lacks twist which could be a problem for riders with hip problems or wide horses. (Option would be the heather moffett hip saver)

The saddle has built in panels underneath which give spine clearance, although a suitable saddle pad is still recommended.

The Exmoor model has knee rolls with Velcro blocks that can be moved to suit the rider.

The stirrup leathers are attached to bars and not rings, which aids safety.

The girth straps on these saddles are slightly shorter than on other treeless model, which means a longer girth may be needed.

Exmoor

Comment from: Angela [Visitor]

Completely agree with the above post, the Treefree Exmoor I have is fantastic. I backed my Haflinger in it and my 17 hand hunter loves it just as much. Cantering in it takes a bit of practice but it is soon acquired, and the saddle is extremely well made. Not only that but the treefree website do not unlike a lot of treeless saddle manufacturers claim that it is the answer to every problem and suitable for every discipline so they have a lot more cred with me for being honest! The saddle is made in England, and tho not common secondhand, I managed to buy mine secondhand with all the pad and everything for £400. Much better to do that than get a cheap treeless new I would say. Do make sure you use the specific treefree numnah with it, it is designed for the saddle, dont skimp on that.

Dartmoor

I have just bought a black 16″ Dartmoor Treefree Saddle, it has a 20″ base which is ideal for short backs. It has the E bar stirrup fitting and a lovely suede seat and cantle photos to follow. This saddle is made by Master Saddlers at Viking Saddlery. It has a clear spinal gullet and 3 optional pommel inserts. They are available in 16″, 17″ and 18″ with 15″ and 18″ being on special order. It fitted the pony well with his Haf pad underneath, no shims at this time. He is a wide low withered native, who is sort of plump at this time of year. We rode for about an hour mainly in walk and trot with a bit of canter.

Dartmoor

Dartmoor
Dartmoor

I’ve owned one of these for a long time and it’s done me really well, fitted different horses fine and we’ve covered quite a few miles together.

I think after about five years the foam has started to flatten a little and there seemed to be slightly uneven pressure under my legs where it used to be quite level. I suspect this is likely to be a general problem with the materials used in treeless saddle design in the longer term. Certainly the leatherwork is still great although one of the stirrup hangers got a bit bent in a “stirrup caught on the gate” accident a while back and sending it back to the maker ( £90 quid in postage for a £15 fix ) didn’t correct the problem as I would have hoped.

It feels pretty wide on my cylindrical cob, but it’s reasonably stable as well, which very few saddles are on his back. I like that it offers spine relief and that the webbing the stirrups are connected to don’t cross the spine so that potential pressure point is avoided.

We used a port lewis pad with it once and that showed a reasonably even spread of weight with a slight pressure difference under the stirrup hanging.

Dartmoor

Having struggled to find a treed saddle to fit a rather wide and low withered pony I decided to look into treeless. After lots of research I settled on the Dartmoor Treefree and managed to purchase one second hand. This is my first experience of treeless saddles and overall I’m quite pleased.

The quality is very good and I like the fact the stirrup attachments are bars and not the rings seen on many other makes. The numnah the saddle initially came with did allow the saddle to slip forward somewhat. Having a gorgeous but previously too thick to use Lemieux pro sorb pad lying around I put it to good use and it seems to fit the bill nicely.

To ride in the saddle is stable and also fine to mount from the ground. The horse goes well in it although I have to say I have not noticed any real difference in her way of going. The stirrup bars are quite far back which has taken abit of getting used to and I personally do not feel confident enough to jump in it.

Overall I feel it’s well made and kind and comfortable for the horse. I do feel it is more suited to hacking than other disciplines so while it shall continue to be used the hunt goes on for a well fitting treed saddle. 

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