Manufacturer: Sydney Saddleworks
Model: Treeless saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle on Ebay from Frontier Equestrian for $270 which included shipping.
Likes: I wanted to try a treeless saddle, but did not want to pay $50 plus shipping to trial a saddle or spend $950+ for a saddle I might not even like. Although I could not find any reviews about this saddle, it looked very similar to Barefoot or Freeform saddles so I purchased it. I had never before experienced having the closeness of riding bareback while actually having a secure seat. I could feel my horse breathe. At first it was frightening to gallop because I had never felt how powerful her muscles were as they moved beneath me, but once I realized I was not going to be thrown off it was exhilarating.
Dislikes: The saddle comes fitted with a narrow fiberglass tree which I had to remove since my horse has no withers and requires a wide tree. The pommel has a zippered pouch which I stuffed with newspaper after I removed the fiberglass. Although now it does not have a firm support at the front of the saddle, the pommel is still much higher and more supportive than riding in an English saddle. My horse also has a very forward girth groove so the billets were too far back for my horse. I customized the saddle by adding Western back billets on either side where the stirrup rings are so I can use a cinch with Western buckles instead of an English girth.
Quality: The saddle is extremely soft and comfortable, the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden in. It is made out of suede which makes it very hard to slide out of position. The bottom is thick fleece and it is very thick and cushioned. It is well constructed and seems tough and durable. The color is a dark black which seems more attractive to me than the pictures I've seen of the Barefoot saddles. It came with good quality stirrups and leathers and I purchased a set of Western fenders as well so I can change them back and forth if I want.
Summary: I took this saddle on 7 mile trail ride to test it out. It was a frosty morning and my horse bucked and spun a couple of times at the beginning of the ride. We galloped up 4 or 5 hills, including one so steep I was nearly lying flat on my horse. I jumped several low logs and did many quick turns. I was every bit as secure in this saddle as in my Western saddle, but had a more comfortable ride. When my horse turned I was turning with her because I could feel her body move at the beginning of the bend. I recommend using a breast collar and cinching tight enough that the saddle does only a small sideways turn when you mount. I rode several times in an arena to figure out how tight I needed the cinch before heading out on the trail. I recommend this saddle as a great alternative to the expensive treeless saddles for those on a budget.
Usefulness Rating: 3.2 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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