Barefoot Treeless, Merlyn

The new model for Barefoot is the Merlyn. This is a dressage model with extra short flaps for the cob, smaller horse or the short legged rider.

Very smart design in a soft leather, soft knee rolls, lower cantle and deep seat.

Narrow seat- twist that allows more contact for the rider. Adjustable S curve stirrup plate to allow the precise positioning of the leathers for the rider. This is an open attachment, similar to the E bar design not used on Barefoot, but an S shape. This might mean you do not require a safety stirrup as with the closed rings, but I am awaiting confirmation on this point.



Kavalkade Memory Foam Anatomical Dressage Girth

I bought this to try as I have had great products from Kavalkade before.

This dressage girth is available from 20″ up to 34″, available black. Small d ring at the front to clip any training aids onto to. Plus a small removable strap if you haven’t got the clip attachment.

The memory foam aspect is great as it really moulds to the shape of your horse. Non slip but soft and flexible.

Elasticated at both ends and as a rule I personally don’t like this set up on a treeless saddle. I much prefer the central elastic if I am going to opt for it.

Well thought out keeper positioning. There is also a pocket to place the ends into.

I did try this girth partially over the winter. In order to do a full review I actually need a smaller size. But, what I did note was how well made the product is. On that basis I do want to source a smaller one.

Icelandic Type Safety Stirrups

I got sent these to try from a company, much appreciated, I like to have the opportunity to test items. They are the double bent leg with the top rotated 90 degrees.

I liked the stirrups, they do hang very still and are easy to pick up when I lost one intentionally. They are a nice weight, some on the market I have found very weighty.

I wasn’t able to continue the trial as I have issues with one of my feet. It kept losing the stirrup and slipping round. No reflection on the item.

From what I did see and use I liked them. Just be aware when you run up the stirrups the slots do press into your saddle. There are little stirrup covers on the market now, maybe for this type.

Please note these are left and right specific as are the single bent legs.

Copyright Treeless Tried and Tested


Showmaster Bareback Pad

I came across this by chance and I wonder how similar it is to the Christ Lamfelle pad. Does anyone have one?

It’s described as a Sheepskin leisure saddle using real Sheepskin, it can be adjusted using pad inserts and comes with stirrup options. It has dressage length billets, knee rolls and D rings.

I will say it again for any newcomer, please don’t use the stirrups. I know you may see people riding in pads like these, but I am not convinced they would still be on board if my mare spun. I wouldn’t take this xc or sj, why because it’s going to slip.

Copyright Showmaster Sheepskin Saddle Leisure


Sensation Formal Dressage

I have been trialing my new saddle, the dressage formal model by Sensation.

It’s the 17″ and it’s very nice and compact looking while giving  me ample seat room. The seat is very soft and very comfortable. The girth billets are the slightly shorter dressage length, I swapped my girths around to find one that fitted.

As it has a hard use setting I found if I wasn’t using that, then the extra strap just pops into the girth. I would therefore use a girth with adequate keepers or a girth as in the photo with its own pocket.

I wasn’t overly keen on the high pommel but after half a dozen rides I dont even notice it. It came with a Barefoot Physio pad and adding two inserts meant that I am very slightly higher and therefore the pommel isn’t as huge looking.

I decided I liked it, my horse liked it, but I wanted my riding instructor to run her eyes over it. I wanted to see if it complimented my position, or made it worse. She gave it a tweak here and there and off we went. It gives me much more feel than any of the other models ridden in to date. My Freeform has a restricted seat by comparison.

I have yet to hack out which I plan to. It’s been used for No Stirrup November. My sitting trot has improved by a change of saddle and tweaked position.

The photo shows a soaked horse and pretty much a soaked saddle. I had been trying to keep it dry but the weather is what arrives that morning.

© Treeless Tried and Tested 




Can I Compete In A Treeless Saddle?

I get asked this from time to time. The simple answer is yes you can but just be aware of a couple of things.

If you opt for a class where the judge may ride, do not be offended if they decline. In the showing world, tradition is for a treed saddle, if showing if your chosen sport you might like to get one. 🙂

You may be marked down for being in a treeless in the show ring in a less than traditional looking model. Some judges just do not like them. If you want something traditional looking go for a Solution.

BD rules state that you can use a treeless saddle providing it is of a standard design, ie not western looking. If you want something traditional looking go for the Freeform, Barefoot or Sensation Dressage models.

We have had success in the Freeform Classic though. 🙂

2015 championship
              2015 championship

Horse and Pony Bareback Pad – Baretek



It looks like a saddle, and is saddle shaped in that it has a cut back head and contoured shape that follows the shoulder. You could sort of say WH style? The cantle is useful for going uphill but having it almost supports your bottom anyway. The knee rolls were the first thing that appeared to be useful for the downhill, as well as keeping my leg a bit more classical placed. (Much the annoyance of said legs!) They are used to going more forwards and were having bit of discussion with the knee rolls, that are not moveable.

It’s suede so very secure and lovely and comfortable, you almost think your on a saddle, but there is no option for stirrups. There is also no steady handle on the front that you get with other pads. Although i don’t use this it’s odd to hack out knowing there is not one.

You could put a numnah underneath for cleaniness or to add a bit more spinal relief. i rode in the pad for about two hours, but for schooling you may only want it for maybe an hour. I hacked out, please check your insurance before you do this.

Bareback Horse and Pony Pad – L’Apogee

It is often mentioned, why use a pad, it’s not true bareback riding. No, if you want to pick hairs it’s not. But it is not any different from being unshod and using boots, your horse IS still unshod is it not 🙂

People use to

  • Keep yourself clean
  • To gain confidence and balance in the first instance
  • Because the horse isn’t that comfortable without
  • Because you want to add some saddle bags and water bottles
  • Because you haven’t yet got a saddle fitted
  • For some grip (though they are not all non slip)
  • Because you just want to
  • Because you wish to compete, yes I did say compete.  Here is the link Interdressage they have a few classes each month.

If you can think of more let me know. 😉


I’ve been lucky enough to own this pad and it was completely luxurious. The knee rolls were personally not much use to me since i’ve not ridden with any for a few years now, but it did from a psychological point of view give the impression of security. The shaped seat with a feel of a cantle was also very nice to sit in and definitely worth the money.

L' Apogee
L’ Apogee

My model came with a handle, crupper ring, breastplate ring, side rein rings and a closed stirrup ring (which i did not use as i’ve always had concerns over the pressure points.