Treeless saddle pads are available in a range of designs, sizes and materials to suit the rider’s preferences. Treeless saddles are becoming increasingly popular due to the comfort they offer for both horse and rider. Used by endurance riders for around 20 years, they are now gaining popularity with other equestrian disciplines and general riding in the UK and Europe. Many varieties of treeless saddle pads are easily found and bought on eBay.
What is a Treeless Saddle Pad?
Traditionally, saddles have an inbuilt “tree” which allows clearance of the horse’s spine. This design avoids direct pressure on the back of the horse which can cause discomfort for horse and rider alike, and can damage the back of the horse.
By comparison, treeless saddles do not have a tree but instead have a flat underside, and require thick pads or panels of various materials to cushion the spine of the horse. A well fitted treeless saddle and pad should not put any direct pressure on the spine of the horse. Treeless saddle pads are designed to raise the saddle on either side of the withers and spine to provide a pressure-free are above the spine of the horse. The pads give a great deal of flexibility, and enable one saddle to fit a wide range of different shaped horses and ponies.
Benefits of a Treeless Saddle Pad
Treeless saddle pads are increasingly popular due to a range of benefits:
- They allow for a full and wide range of movement for the horse.
- They fit a wide range of horses.
- They adapt well to horses with high withers, uneven shoulders and wide backs.
- Over time they mould to the shape of the horse’s back over time and become more comfortable the more the saddle is used and worn.
- They allow for close contact with the horse to enable to rider to feel the movement of the animal for an easier ride.
- They are designed for optimum comfort for both horse and rider.
- They allow one saddle to fit many horses and ponies.
Choice of Materials
Treeless saddle pads come in a range of material choices.
Tacky pads tend to be made from PVC, closed cell coated polyester. They are non slip, easy to clean and are mildew and sweat resistant.
Merino wool saddle pads are made from the soft natural fibres of merino wool which allows moisture to wick away from the horse. Merino is comfortable, luxurious and soft, but may require more washing care than synthetic pads.
Woven wool saddle pads give the benefits of wool such as comfort and moisture wicking, with the benefit of durability for endurance racing.
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber material which is water resistant, durable and protective. Neoprene is not as soft and comfortable as wool.
Varieties of Treeless Saddle Pads and Brands
Many brands manufacture equestrian accessories and treeless saddle pads, so it is advisable to research some of the key brands along with customer reviews of their products when making a selection. Reader reviews and forums in which riders discuss the benefits or disadvantages of various makes and models will help to make an informed choice. There are many different treeless saddle pads available and will depend on the saddle, budget and personal preferences.
Treeless saddle pads are available with and without pockets for shims:
- Shims are wedges of material that can be added to pockets of a treeless saddle pad to help adjust fit.
- Since the back of a horse can change both seasonally and during a long and arduous ride, shim pockets allow for different sized materials to pad out the fit between horse, rider and saddle as needed to maintain the optimum spinal clearance and fit.
Treeless saddle pads are available as full or half pads, and specific designs may also be available for dressage events and shows. Treeless saddle pads may be lined with either synthetic fleece or rubber such as neoprene, or natural fibres such as Merino lambskin or woven sheep’s wool. There are benefits, pros and cons for each choice and it depend on personal requirements.
Treeless saddle pads made from different materials will have differing fabric care needs. Woven wool and merino wool products may need to be washed at low temperatures using specific detergents and need to be dried thoroughly before use. SInce wool can “felt” and shrink if washed incorrectly, to ensure proper care of a woollen pad it is essential to pay attention to any care instructions provided. Wool is an enduring and comfortable natural fibre, and can be a very good investment if looked after well; the downside is that due care can be time consuming and needs to be considered when making a choice for a saddle pad. Synthetic and rubber based treeless saddle pads will be have much faster drying times and less specific fabric care as a pay-off for natural fibres, comfort and luxury. The pros and cons of each must be weighed up when making a choice and considering which pad to purchase.
Fitting a Treeless Saddle Pad
To ensure the correct fit and comfort of a treeless saddle pad, measure the exact measurement of the treeless saddle from front to back on the underside of the saddle. The correctly sized pad should be at least 2 inches longer than the saddle; if the pad is the same size or smaller, the edges of the pad will rub into the back of the horse causing damage and removing hair.
It may not always be possible to measure a product before buying it, so make sure to check measurements of a pad as described, and check that the measurements haven’t altered over time due to washing care as this may alter the fit of the pad against the horse and saddle.
What to Look For in a Treeless Saddle Pad
Since a treeless saddle pad is a critical part of the saddling system for riding with a treeless saddle, it should be selected very carefully.
A pad for a treeless saddle should always have a flat, non-bulky seam along the spine to enable spinal clearance for the horse and to minimise bulk in this area for comfort. The pad should also have adequate contour to prevent it from being pulled down across the withers. When buying from eBay ask the seller for any information on the pad and for any futher details or measurements required.
New or Second Hand
Depending on budget, eBay offers a wide variety of sellers and treeless saddle pads available for purchase. There is a vast range of both brand new and pre-used treeless saddle pads, and many are in excellent condition allowing for a real opportunity to snap up a bargain.
When Buying a Used Treeless Saddle Pad:
- Check the photos of the item carefully.
- Feel free to ask the seller questions if further information or clarification is needed.
- Check for any areas of damaged fabric or stitching, or if the saddle pad has become misshapen since this might affect the fit of the pad under the saddle.
A seller may choose to sell a treeless saddle pad for for a number of reasons, and it is often possible to bid on items that are in very good condition but are used and available at a reduced cost from a new product.
How to Buy a Treeless Saddle Pad on eBay
eBay has a huge range of sellers offering thousands of equestrian products such as treeless saddle pads which makes it easy and simple to shop for a required item whilst benefitting from the flexible payment options available by buying on eBay.
- To search for treeless saddle pads, type in specific search terms into the search box provided on every page.
- Type in specific searches such as “treeless saddle pad”, “full treeless saddle pad”, or a particular brand name required, and available listings that match the criteria will appear.
- Check reviews of sellers and their activity when considering a bid, and check reviews of the product where possible by other horse owners to get a balanced viewpoint of a particular product.
When searching through listings, carefully review all the data. Make sure the item matches the product required. Look over the photographs a couple times, and feel free to ask the Seller a question. When ready to buy, either place a Bid, Buy it Now, or put down a Best Offer. Buying with PayPal will ensure the transaction will go smoothly. eBay users are protected by the Buyer Protection Program.
Treeless saddle pads are a particular type of saddle pad designed for use with treeless saddles. Treeless saddle pads may be either full or half shaped, and come in a range of fabric combinations and variations. They must be the correct size for a particular saddle, and may come with pockets allowing for shims, extra padding to help the fit even further.
A range of new and second hand treeless saddle pads are available on eBay and can be searched for and browsed easily using specific search terms.