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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
Treeless saddles will come with one or the other of these.
A stirrup plate allows the position of the leathers to be altered to the riders preference. The Freeform has a movable closed ring stirrup plate allowing you to alter position of the leathers or change to an e bar.
However some treeless have fixed non removable closed ring or rings which only allow you to move between front and back. Torsion and Libra being an example.
The Dartmoor range is e bar, Barefoot Closed ring, so if this is preference of yours, its worth checking.
The Sensation has the e bar stirrup plate, it is this plate that allows those with removable closed ring plates to swap. After using both, I haven’t had any concerns with either set up. 🙂
It’s always recommended that when using a closed ring you either use a safety stirrup or the Swiss Clips Barnes buckles are still about, they just ceased trading, no reflection on the product, tested it, it works 😉