Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: A saddle with a tree can only fit the horse well if the horse stays in one position without movement. As soon as a horse moves, his back changes and a saddle with a tree cannot adjust to the change. Even so called flexible treed saddles cannot do it properly. We looked at many treeless saddles and decided to try a Barefoot Arizona, and have NEVER been happier with any saddle we have ever owned! We have since sold all our other treed saddles (Western & Australian) and now only have Barefoot Arizona saddles. Barefoot saddles are considered treeless, but in fact they do have a tree in a way; it is just soft rather than rigid; protects the horse and yet has total flexibility. We bought them using the internet directly from the U.S. importer, Barefoot Saddle USA, www.barefootsaddle.com for $800 each plus $30 shipping.
Likes: The Barefoot saddle is, indeed, wonderful for the horse, but there is another side to the equation which Horseman need to think about. That is, your own bottom side! I spend 7 to 10 hours a day in the saddle, usually in rough country in the mountains of Montana. My Barefoot Arizona is the only saddle I have ever had in all my years of riding that gives me superb comfort day after day, keeping me smiling and in a good mood from sunup to sundown. It also surprised me in that it is one of the most secure saddles for the rider that I have ever used. I guess I should mention that my horse loves it too!
Dislikes: Due to the severity of the high mountain riding that we do, our equipment gets pushed to the limits. Overall, the Arizona is holding up very well, but it should have a couple of improvements. The breast collar D's are not usable except for maybe show ring light duty where they would never get strained. We use mountain breast collars and always hook them to the rigging D's. But then, we have always done that with all our saddles. A more minor problem are the D's for attaching saddle bags. Saddle bags, even fairly heavily loaded one like ours usually are, don't put an extreme amount of strain on the attachment D's like a breast collar does, but they still should be made more durable than they are. We do need to use these saddle bag D's and I expect in another year or so I will have to replace them with D's that are more durable which have metal sleeves.
Quality: So far they are holding up very well under extreme conditions. Overall, they are very well made with excellent materials. Ours have about 1,000 mountain miles on them so far, and except for the saddle bag D wear, are as good as the day we received them.
Summary: I am very pleased with this saddle. With a couple of improvements this saddle would easily rate a 5 from me. Now I will only give it a 4.75 even though most other users probably wouldn't even be affected by those couple of shortcomings I have mentioned. Every horse should be used with a soft tree saddle. They have no pain and can perform to their fullest no matter what the task is. And the security and comfort for the rider can't be beat either. Being affordable is great too!
Author: Jerry Yetter
Usefulness Rating: 4.70492 out of 5.
61 reader(s) voted.
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