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[RC] Treeless Saddles - was Saddles, Pads and weird horses - sherman

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I have some questions about these subjects too. I've always wondered what difference does it make if a good fit is attained by a custom pad or a restuffed saddle? I understand that if a tree is too small that no amount of padding is going to fix that, but in some cases, like a dippy back, or hollow behind the withers, isn't proper padding/shimming going to do the same as restuffing the saddle?
 
 I have been looking into treeless saddles too. A couple years ago a heavyweight rider told me he rode for a few seasons in a Sensation and that he knew of others who had success with them as well. In reading the different features of the treeless saddles, the Sensation looks like it would be the one I'd consider. They have a good spine channel, and a narrow twist than other treeless. They use a multi-point attachment system which is supposed to distribute weight over the entire pad. Unfortunately, there are no local distributors to try them, but they do have a demo program which costs about $100 (r/t shipping) for a week trial which IMO is not long enough to make a $12-1500 decision. If I did love it and want to buy it, they custom build it form endurance, extra heavy duty stitching from the inside out, and rings where you want them, so it's important they know how you're going to use the saddle.  I think I'd like the Sensation Hybrid, but I don't know if that'll ever happen.
 
I recently found a saddle pad study online too. One of the findings was that memory foam does not distribute weight well. The pad that got a big thumbs up was the SMX Air Ride. It's important to know that the test was not done over 50 mile rides, but was not just a pleasure ride either. They worked the horses hard and tested pressure and air flow and I think heat build-up, maybe moisture retention, too. I have friends with $200 custom pads, Supracore pads, and still the horses sometimes have problems, more than my horses do with a nice Woolback and Thinline on top for good measure. I think I may try one of the SMX HD pads though, it comes in a round barrel so should fit my endurance saddles. I don't like that they have fleece, probably synthetic, I'd much prefer wool. 
 
I'll look up the study again and send the link in case anyone else is interested. BTW, my horse is lame, my shoulder is sore, I have time to read (:>)
 
Kathy