Rebecca Treeless Saddles or the Softrider

Order Information

It's official - I'm thrilled with my new saddle. And so is Sabrina. And so is
my instructor.

For those who haven't been following the saga, I just got a custom-made saddle
from Rebecca Underwood:, after many years
of saddle-related frustration with my propane-tank mare. When I finally ordered
the saddle from her, Rebecca looked back in her records and found that the first
time I'd contacted her with questions about her saddles was in 1999!

I took it to my lesson today, and we tweaked and fussed with it, and got it
adjusted just so, and it works great. My instructor agreed that it's very well
made, and said several times something to the effect of "I've never seen
anything like this!" She also thought it really suits the look of Sabrina - it
just "looks right" on her.

The instructor offered to lunge her in it first, but Sabrina just isn't bothered
by tack, generally. She was pretty much dozing while we fussed with it. (She
didn't mind a harness, when I tried that a while back, either.) So I just got
on (from the trailer fender, just in case).

We were curious about the placement of the stirrups. It looks overall kinda
"Western", but is a McClellan kind of design, so the stirrups hang exactly where
they oughta. (Yay!) Very easy to post in - it doesn't try to throw you back at
all when you rise.

Of course, I kept losing my stirrups, because I'm not used to having them, and
because I tend to tuck my feet kinda up and back when squeezing (OK, so my knees
don't bend inward...). We finally raised them a couple of holes (too short,
really, but hey...) and I was able to keep them and my feet in the same
vicinity. They are adjusted, by the way, with Blevins Buckles, which are a
really nice touch.

(BTW, that caused me to remember way back when, when losing a stirrup at the
trot was a problem. Now I don't really care, aside from the fact that it's
flopping around.)

The seat is pretty tight (front to back), but very comfy, and easy to post in.
The cantle and pommel are stuffed cordura, and the seat is suede. So you pretty
much stick to it like glue. I knew right away that there would be no way to
fall off with this thing, and that if I could get the *saddle* to stay put on
the *horse* we could do barrel rolls for all I'd care, and I could stay on.

Sabrina seems very happy to not have to worry about me teetering around up
there, and now she can have some fun and really move out. She even tried a few
quick changes of direction, and some teleporting sideways, and it wasn't any
problem at all.

I was (are you sitting down?) even able to mount off a phone-pole-sized log
without any assistance.

We weren't really figuring on having much of a lesson - more just getting the
saddle figured out, and seeing how it worked. But we ended up doing quite a lot
of trotting (to Sabrina's delight), and did really well. My instructor is very
happy with how much better I can ride, and how much better Sabrina can move, now
that we have a saddle. ("She looks like a completely different horse.") I
definitely am able to make quicker "no, not that way, keep going this way"
corrections when I'm not struggling just to stay on.

We stopped a little early, because I am still concerned about asking Sabrina to
do too much, and possibly reinjuring an old knee lameness. But Sabrina didn't
want to stop, even though she was sweaty, and breathing hard. While we were
supposed to be "cooling out" we did a good bit of trotting that she initiated
(and one stretch of that sideways-trotting thing that we don't know how to do
yet). She really seemed to be having fun. It probably helped some that the
weather was cooperating, and it was getting cool and breezy. There was no sign
of unhappiness, no fussing, no tail-swishing, nothing'. She was reaching for
the bit, relaxed, and pretty full of herself.

Afterward I wiped off the (neoprene?) breastcollar and cinch, and put in on the
saddle rack in there trailer (which is the best place to store it). Sweat
patterns appeared even, no rubbed spots...

I'm sold. If you need a really nice treeless saddle, order one from Rebecca.

My *first* impression of riding in it wasn't quite as positive as today's
experience. I took it for a quick spin around the backyard yesterday afternoon,
just to see how it worked before taking it to my lesson. Note to self: Do not
attempt to ride in an unfamiliar type of saddle when you are a) alone, b)
wearing shorts, c) tired and cranky, d) the weather is cooling down after a hot
day, and e) you're having back spasms that make it impossible to even reach down
to pet a cat. Duh. So I tried the saddle anyway (wearing a helmet, at
least...). Got on from the usual retaining wall, no problem. Tried the
stirrups - way too short (I hadn't even thought to check them). Meanwhile,
Sabrina's thinking this is great, and is trotting around with me. I get off
balance, the saddle (loosely cinched, apparently) slips, and I discover that
it's very difficult to vault off a Velcro-like saddle with a cantle/pommel,
especially when your back is killing you (I can do it now). And clearly I could
not use the stirrups to dismount. It finally slipped too far and I kinda
stepped/vaulted off, heading downhill on a little bank. The words "searing
pain" leaped to mind. But, stubborn, pig-headed soul that I am, I walked her
back to the retaining wall, adjusted the stirrups (still way too short),
tightened the girth (still not tight enough), and got back on. Walked around a
little, seemed more secure - but still jumpy about dealing with so much
*saddle*, and stirrups, when I'm used to nothing at all. Tried out the
breastcollar by letting Sabrina charge up a hill, and that worked great. Then I
got the saddle sideways again and couldn't seem to get it fixed. Then I
couldn't figure out how to get down. I sure wasn't going to jump again, and
still couldn't use a stirrup... So I talked Sabrina into getting close enough to
the retaining wall to let me step off onto it. Took about 3 approaches. She's
usually better about that, but was in that "getting worked up to go out on a
ride" mindset, and I was asking her to stand still. If my back didn't hurt so
bad I would've been cracking up. So that was dumb, and I knew it, and knew
it wasn't a fair test of the saddle, and tried to forget all about it and take
an honest crack at it today, fresh. And that worked out just great.

It's just now sinking in that we could participate in some group rides coming
up - y'know, those ones that say "saddles and bridles required". Woohooo!!!

Thank you Rebecca, and everyone who recommended you!

Linda Eskin

I would like to add that I rode one horse 100 miles a month from May
through October last year in this saddle. Those rides range from 3 - 30
miles each. On one of the longer ones early on, there were two dry spots
under where my seat bones would be and my horse's back was sore for the
first time. I added a 1/2" wool pad under the saddle and never had any more
It may have been a fluke because when I tested the saddle, without any
additional pad, with the Port Lewis Impression Pad, it showed a perfectly
even pressure distribution with no thinning in the area of the seatbones. It
was the best pressure impression of any saddle I tested, all the others
being treed saddles.
I am still riding the same horse with the Softride saddle exclusively. I
love it!

--- wrote:

>> Dear Terry,
>> I just read your testimonial regarding the Underwood
>> treeless saddle, and
>> would like to ask a question of you since you are a
>> riding instructor. First of
>> all, from your testimonial, it is clear that you may
>> not think that saddle is
>> as good as some custom built one, but since I can't
>> afford a custom saddle,
>> I've got to try something else.
>> Here is my situation:
>> My horse -
>> is a 5 year old quarter horse/mustang, 14.1, about
>> 800 pounds, with a rather
>> short, broad, flat back and very little wither. I've
>> had seven different
>> saddles on him, and so far, the one that fits him
>> best has a flex tree. But even
>> this saddle has to be cinched very tightly and still
>> has more roll than is
>> comfortable.
>> Me -
>> I am a beginning rider, 61 years old, 5'4" and weigh
>> about 148 pounds.
>> My question to you: Given the combination of my
>> horse and me, do you think an
>> Underwood treeless would work? I have read that
>> treeless saddles might not be
>> a wise choice for a beginner, and wonder what you
>> think as a riding
>> instructor.
>> Thanks, Chuck Tarinelli

Re: Treeless saddle
Terry Ann Frick <>
Thu, 30 Dec 2004 07:20:51 -0800 (PST)

Dear Chuck,

The reason they say treeless saddles may not work for
a beginner is because there is no tree to stabilize
the saddle on the horse's back. Beginning riders are
still finding their balance on the horse and may list
to one side or the other. With a tree in the saddle,
a properly cinched saddle will not slip with the
rider. The rider may fall off, but it won't be
because the saddle slipped. Bareback pads are
notorious for slipping with the rider because they
lack the stability of a tree, and human logic, being
what it is, has tended to extend this same "flaw" to
ALL treeless saddles.

Perhaps there is a treeless saddle out there with a
propensity to slip just as a bareback pad can, but
Rebecca's saddle "ain't it". I have had mine on
mutton-withered horses, horses with no withers, a
horse built like a draft horse, and horses with the
typical Quarter Horse build, and it has consistently
stayed in place. All-in-all, Rebecca's saddle is well
constructed for staying balanced on the horse, and in
that regard I can't tell any difference between it and
a saddle with a tree.

Additionally, in terms of helping the rider's
stability in the saddle, I have never found a saddle
better built for this purpose, and that includes my
custom made saddles. Rebecca's saddle is so well
balanced for the rider that I use it for jumping
INSTEAD of the saddle I had custom made for this
purpose. In my opinion, a well balanced saddle is the
best thing for a beginning rider and, also in my
opinion, there are so few off-the-rack saddles in tack
stores and catalogs that are truly well balanced for
the rider that I have a hard time finding one.

With regard to your horse's conformation, his short
back will likely prevent you from ever finding an
off-the-rack western saddle that will fit him. The
trees are generally too long for a short-backed horse,
and end up poking the horse in the flank and/or
putting you on top of his kidneys. About the only
type of off-the-rack saddle that might work for a
short-backed horse is an English saddle because the
trees are typically shorter. The way you've described
your horse, he sounds mutton withered to me (flat and
sort of roly-poly at the withers), and mutton withers
are hard to fit in any off-the-rack saddle. The
off-the-rack western saddles tend to have Quarter
Horses in mind, and the English saddles tend to have
thoroughbreds in mind, both of which have withers.
Given the above and the conformation concerns for your
horse, it is no surprise to me that you have tried
seven saddles and still not found one to fit him.

Additionally, subsequent to my letter to Rebecca, time
has passed. My horse who preferred his custom-made
English saddle, and who is mutton withered, has gotten
older and more developed, and tends to carry more
weight, such that his custom-made saddle no longer
fits him. I had two options: Send the custom-made
saddle back to the maker and have it remodeled to fit
the horse's new shape, or see how he felt about
Rebecca's saddle given his new body style. I had
already paid $150 to have his saddle remodeled once
before as his body changed, and now facing this for a
second time I wondered how many more times I might
have to do the same thing. So we tried Rebecca's
saddle on him again, and now he loves it. So, this is
another advantage of Rebecca's saddle - no fit issues
as horses' bodies change over time. As your horse is
only 5, and half-mustang (who tend to mature later),
likely your horse's body will go through some changes
in the next few years such that any saddle with a tree
that fits him now might not fit him so well 5 years
down the road.

So, all-in-all, I believe the Underwood would be a
good choice for you, and that a treeless saddle is
likely the only choice for your horse.

There is one educational item with regard to Rebecca's
saddles. Because they have no tree and because of the
Y-rigging, it is possible for you to cinch the saddle
such that the pommel tips to the right and the cantle
to the left. The first few times you saddle the
horse, you need to stand behind the horse and look at
how the saddle tracks to make sure that the center of
the saddle runs front to back in a perfectly straight
line with the line of the horse's spine, and that the
pommel and cantle are evenly lined up with one
another. After the first few times of doing this
you'll have marks on the billets such that you just
know where the saddle needs to be cinched. But, if
you put this saddle on another horse, you'll have to
go through the same process all over again.

I'm sorry this got so long, but as an instructor one
of my primary goals is to give others enough
information that, rather than just taking my advice,
they become independent thinkers who can make well
educated decisions for themselves. This requires me
to give you the whys and wherefores as I understand
them so that you can pick my logic apart for anything
that runs contrary to your understanding or for any
gaps in my logic. I encourage my students to question
those things with me so that we can discuss them, and
encourage you to do the same.

Wishing you all the best in your horse endeavors.



>Hi Rebecca,

>Just tried the saddle out. What a cool saddle!!!! Loved it! Didn't have a

>problem figuring out the girth or anything else. Very comfortable.

>I have shown this saddle to a few people and they seem to like the concept,

>could you send me some flyers and info? I also gave your email address to one

>person and they want info also, her name is Christine Towers.

>Thanks again,


>Poster: "Franks, D. A. (Deborah)" <dfranks1@FORD.COM>

>Subject: Treeless saddle by Rebecca Underwood



>Well last year I purchased a saddle from Rebecca.


>It arrived in Nov. and I did not get a lot of riding time

>in on it. Now the past couple of weeks

>I have gotten to use it a lot more.


>I absolutely LOVE this saddle!


>I have always ridden bareback, but my main

>number 1 riding horse seams way to sensitive to my

>movements and HATES me mounting bareback.

>He has always preferred the saddle, but my western

>...well no way does it even begin to fit him.

>English is OK, but not quite right. I looked for

>a western for 2.5 years before deciding on the

>treeless saddle. I am very happy with my choice.


>Now this saddle felt right at home for me ( first for a saddle).

>Usually, when I get in a saddle I have a lost feeling

>it seams totally alien to me. My friend, who always

>uses a saddle, tried it and said it was the strangest

>thing she has ever ridden in, she was not at all

>sure of herself in it, but she wanted to take it for

>a longer ride one of these days because it was so


>Plus I need your address (snail mail) several mounted patrol

>people are interested in the saddles.




> Hi Rebecca,

> I decided I just have to have another one of you saddles, even though the lead time, from what Shea told me is quite a few months - you all are REAL busy, for sure. She also told me you have increased your prices, so let me know what the total will be on this order. I'll send a $200.00 deposit right away to get things started. Perhaps you can coordinate finishing Shea's and my saddle and we will take a drive up to pick them up! Lola


> Wow! I just had to reply to tell you how much I LOVE this saddle!! I

> expected it to be a good, serviceable and versatile saddle as far as fitting

> my horse is concerned, but it is even better than I expected!! I'm just

> thrilled with it. The construction is stellar and I just can't believe that

> you can make such an amazing saddle and include the accessories for such a

> very reasonable price. It even looks great just sitting on my saddle tree.

> What a handsome saddle. I'm very happy with it and I'm glad that I took the

> time to search the net and ended up finding out about this. You should do

> Horse Expos and shows. Of course, I have no idea how you'd fill all the

> orders considering that they are hand made- I guess I'm should just be happy

> that I found this.

> Thanks again,

> Betsy


> Yes, feel free to use me as an endorsement! I belong to the Friesians egroup

> and I go to the Horse Forum BB. I have also visited the Ultimate Dressage

> BB. I find them all the be very user friendly and they all have people who

> are serious horse people and really know what they are talking about. I'm

> more than willing to tell them about my saddle and the info that goes with

> it. Do you have a webpage, or is your info still on the page that I saw it on

> at first? That info was a little outdated with regards to price. You really

> should have a webpage! I bet you;d get a lot of interest. I'm more than

> happy to talk about my new purchase. No problem :0)

> Betsy


>The saddle arrived, I tried it on each horse and it fits both of them! They

>seem to be very happy with the fit and the light weight. I went riding with

>two friends, one also tried the saddle, they each want one! Also thanks so

>much for the surprise gift!




>For those of you toying with the idea of buying a treeless saddle, here's

>a story for you:


>I've had ridden in a dressage for about three years, and was perfectly

>satisfied with it. But I started having trouble with my horse, and after

>long debate, about a year ago, I bought a treeless saddle made by Rebecca

>Underwood ( I can't say the treeless saddle solved

>my problems, but it was comfortable and felt secure. It's a McClellen

>style, and is more substantial than my dressage saddle, so I kept riding

>in it.


>Today I was going to try something I thought I needed a traditional saddle

>for. So for the first time in about a year, I put on my dressage saddle

>and climbed aboard. Youch! What a difference! I was shocked! I never

>once thought my dressage saddle was uncomfortable, but after a year in the

>Underwood, I can't ride in it anymore. I felt too high and detached from

>the horse. I could really feel the tree. It hurt my butt and pubic bone.

> It was squeaky and slippery. I felt naked without the secure pommel,

>cantle, and grab strap. And that was just at a walk! I didn't even try

>to trot in it! I can't imagine taking a lesson in it or trail riding in

>it (which I used to do!).


>I went straight back to the barn and changed to the Underwood. Anyway, I

>thought you guys would like to know.





>Here's another one I wrote awhile back to the Andalusian list.






><<I'd like some opinions about whatever Iberian saddles ya'all might be



>Mine's not an Iberian saddle, but it's working for me, and I don't mind

>plugging it. It's a treeless, synthetic McClellen type saddle. It has a

>cantle and a pommel, so you're held in like in a western or an Iberian

>saddle. But the seat is flat, like you're riding bareback, but well

>padded and comfortable. The saddle doesn't have a horn, but has a grab

>strap where the horn would be, so you can hang on, or post, or jump in

>this saddle. It's quite comfortable; it's very lightweight. It's also

>one of the least expensive treeless saddles available.


>My horse is at the trainer right now, and you know how trainers generally

>want you to buy a saddle just like theirs or at least they tell you that

>the saddle is part of the problem? I was shocked that the trainer

>actually complimented this saddle, said it was well made, fit well, and

>that my horse likes it. I suspect it pained him to admit it because he

>didn't like anything else I owned or anything I was doing.


>If you're interested, it's made by Rebecca Underwood. I don't think she

>has a webpage, but you can reach her at either (541) 826-9668 or





><<Such a pretty saddle! It doesn't look like it is really heavy either!>>


>It weighs no more than my dressage saddle, though it's bigger. It's

>almost like getting a western saddle at the weight of an English saddle!


>Mine is all black. It's very non-traditional, but I think it looks spiffy

>on my bay Andalusian! My Spanish trainer thought it looked kind of like a

>Spanish saddle (a huge compliment), and my PNH trainer said my horse liked

>it (which I think pained him to admit because he told me not to buy a

>treeless saddle).


>Gincy, maybe you're right about my changing the way I sit. I have no

>other explanation for why my once-fine Dressage saddle felt so terrible to

>me. I hope the treeless saddle feels as good to the horse as it does to

>me. And, btw, I am working up to riding bareback, like Parelli

>recommends. I'm hoping to try that pretty soon.





><<Incidentally, never having seen a treeless saddle close up, I would like


>know if this problem is addressed. That is, is there some sort of frame in

>the front which gives the saddle lateral stability? Or what?>>


>I hope Rebecca, who actually makes treeless saddles, will answer this

>question, but I'll tell you what I've observed on mine: The treeless

>saddle is not shapeless like those $25 bareback pads you're talking about.

> If you set it flat on the ground, it's not flat, but tunnel-shaped. In

>time, this tunnel molds to the horse's back. But it does set up off the

>horse's spine. While sitting on the saddle, I can put my hand under the

>pommel between the wither and the saddle. But the saddle is quite thick

>and sturdy, and the pad that comes with it is also thick and sturdy.

>That's going to disperse some of your weight. On the Underwood, the pad

>is Velcro'd to the saddle, so it can't slip. It also comes with a

>breastplate, so it can't slip back. I think a crupper would be a nice

>addition. I don't know if that's available. Is it, Rebecca?


>And to the person who said a treeless saddle might be better than an

>ill-fitting tree'd saddle -- my tree'd saddle was not ill-fitting. I had

>it restuffed by Mike Corcoran (who is well known for fitting saddles), and

>then double checked by a second saddle fitter who said it fit perfectly. I

>was having trouble with my horse, and wanted to be sure I could rule out

>saddle fit. That's why I went the extra mile here. Cindy


> dfranks1@FORD.COM

>Beaver Creek Farm wrote:


>I have a treeless saddle from EL's own Rebecca Underwood.

>To me if feels like bareback with something to grip onto if needed.


>I can mount with the stirrup. The saddle also has padded ridges where

>a horn and cantle would be so you feel a bit like you are in a saddle.


>I have not seen a Bob Marshall treeless.




>>> Hi all !

>>> Can anyone tell me what the treeless saddles feel like for the rider ? =

>>> I've been looking over the Bob Marshall saddles, and they look, well, =

>>> weird. They don't appear to have a 'seat', which I understand is because =

>>> they don't have a tree, but does that make one feel as though they are =

>>> riding a saddle blanket with optional "bumps" (horn, cantle, etc.) ?

>>> Do they (or any treeless saddle) feel 'secure' ? Or do you constantly =

>>> feel as though they are going to slip 'round the horse ?




>Mine stays in place very well - on 3 very differently built horses.




>>> I'm just not an english saddle lover.

>>> So, my idea is to sell the generic and the Wintec english, and buy =

>>> myself a new saddle. Which is why I have treeless saddle questions.

>>> So, folks, what do treeless saddles feel like to ride in ?




>To me, a bareback rider, it is much more comfortable then a

>"normal" saddle. It does not force my legs into an uncomfortable

>position (like many cheaper saddles do) and the biggest thing I noticed

>right off is no knee pain. My knees have always hurt when I used

>any saddle - usually in the first 10 minutes - with the treeless I have

>I do not have that problem at all. It seams to allow my legs to hang

>down is a position further back the many saddles allow.




>>> Are there any major benefits or drawbacks for either the rider or the =

>>> horse ? Anyone have strong feelings, one way or the other ?

>>> Let me know !




>I really like mine. I got it as an interim solution until I found that

>1, true -Ahhh saddle. I love leather and wanted a real nice leather


>saddle. 3 1/2 years after I bought the treeless I finally found it but

>I still like the treeless on 2 of my 3 horses better. I feel more secure


>that then the western.






>I have had an Underwood saddle for 2 years now. I just love it. I have

>horses of many shapes and can ride any of them with this saddle because it

>conforms to their back as it warms up with their body heat. Plus it is very

>light weight and easy to use and clean. I ride pretty ruff terrain on it and

>have no problems. The cowboys out here in West Texas make fun of it and my

>Peruvian Paso. But I am not bow legged and sore backed like them and their



>Irlynda Smith

>Abilene, Texas



>Rebecca, I received the most beautiful saddle. Wow, what great work you

>do and what a wonderful design. I''m going out to a ranch for a 3 day

>ride, will let you know how everything went and hopefully will have more

>orders for you. Thank you, I'm very happy. Nicki



>Well Rebecca - I've tried your saddle in every riding test I could and can't

>fault it one bit! I am ready to order now. Could you send me swatches of

>the colors? Do I need to tell you the color this minute or just get on the

>list? Does that darkest brown cordura look good with the brown leather?

>I have been riding in Nicki Sanders and the seat is perfect which is a 15 I

>believe. I like the stirrups that are covered (or hooded) in the front.

>I will send my down payment today to the address on your website. I tried to

>call you but your answer machine just keeps repeating your message. Here are

>my particulars:


>Darcy Murphy

>588 Puente Drive

>Santa Barbara, Ca 93110


>Phone (805) 967-2343




>> do you want the aussie style or the mccullen style




> the McCullen style. If I sell my Ortho-flex tonight (at our local riding clubs Tack & Tog Sale) I want to buy an Aussie style for my husband also. I road in the Ortho-flex yesterday and it killed me! Not to mention my poor horse. & that's the saddle that's suppose to fit all horses.................what a crock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

> Darcy


> Hi Rebecca!

> I have the swatches and will share with Victoria. I saw her last night at the Tack & Tog Sale.

> I want dark brown cordura and dark brown leather.

> Will the trim be brown? will the leather hooded stirrups be brown. What about the leather handle? Can that be brown? In other words will the only black thing on the saddle be the felt pad?

> So I am 3 closer to getting mine? Hooooooraah! Good work Gang!

> Looks like you all are going to be pretty popular in the Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez area! Hope you are prepared :))

> Darcy

> dfranks1@FORD.COM

>T have a treeless saddle I purchased from Rebecca Underwood

>who is on this list. I bought it 4? years ago and am VERY happy

>with it. It is extremely light weight, easy to keep clean.

>I have 3 very differently built horses and the saddle works

>for each of them well. I can mount using the stirrup with

>out the saddle turning.


>BIRDSONG wrote:





>>> Anybody out there had experience with a treeless saddle? My friend who was a

>>> buckaroo on a ranch here in Oregon, and used one, riding sometimes as long

>>> as 12 hours a day. (Amazing to me to imagine this, in a "not for fun"

>>> situation even throughout the winter months... )




>I have gone 8 hours in mine on 1 horse with no problems.





>>> She says that of course you can't rope off them but, they fit any horse and

>>> are extremely comfortable to horse and rider.




>Yes, same experience I have had with mine.





>>> I'm interested because I'm tired of hefting up my, over 40 pound,

>>> traditional saddle and these treeless saddles weigh about half as much.


>>> I think she had hers made for around $1200, half what I just paid for my

>>> custom traditional saddle.




>Well, check out Rebecca's, they are synthetic and cost a bit less then

>the leather and from my experience they are very well made and hold up

>great. Mine still looks new after I clean it.





>>> She has kindly offered to loan me hers to try. And I can't wait to get my

>>> hands on this saddle!



>>> I don't weigh much and River has a decent set of withers. (Do withers come

>>> in sets? :o)




>One thing I really liked about this saddle, it worked very well on a

>table backed arab

>who has no withers that you can see.


>Also, I usually ride bareback and every saddle I have had hurt my knees

>after a bit - that does not happen with this treeless one.





>Are you serious? I am totally stoked! Thank you and your "gang" SOOOOOOOOOO

>much! I will have to do something special for you besides brag like there is

>no tomorrow. Actually Rebecca, the saddle sells itself. I will let people

>ride in my saddle at both rides so they can experience it like I did with

>Nicki's saddle.

>Again, my butt thanks you but my horses back thanks you even more! You guys

>are the best!





>Dear Rebecca,


>Following is the letter. If you would be so kind, it

>would be great to know if I'd win the bet regarding

>your background investigating saddle structure!


>Still loving the saddle. Had a new student, whose

>saddle does not fit her horse, ride in it Friday. She

>was thrilled with it's feel for her and her horse, and

>she is considering what she wants to do.






>&#65279;April 18, 2002


>Underwood Saddles

>6560 Downing Road

>Central Point, OR 97502


>Dear Rebecca,


>Received the saddle, have ridden it several times, and

>LOVE it. Based on the saddle&#8217;s performance, I would

>bet you have done the following:


> 1. Achieved a degree of expertise about horses

>and riding sufficient to comprehend the physical

>dynamics of the horse and rider during that process.

> 2. Studied the impact on the rider and horse of

>various types of saddle construction.

> 3. Put a lot of thought and effort into

>designing a saddle that allows/promotes a

>well-balanced body position of the rider, and that

>fits the horse well.


>I rode a Sport Saddle demo model, and while it

>incorporates the Y girth rigging, yours is a much

>better design (very like the old McClellan saddles),

>as the Underwood saddle rigging prevents the saddle

>from popping up in the back, and the Sport Saddle does

>not. The Underwood saddle treeless system seems

>sturdier and more durable than that of the Sport

>Saddle; hopefully the construction of the Underwood

>also provides better disbursement of the rider&#8217;s

>weight. I am greatly impressed with the


>placement, as it promotes the rider&#8217;s balance position

>by allowing the rider&#8217;s legs to fall directly down

>from the rider&#8217;s seat bones, which is sadly prohibited

>by the current design/construction of many types of

>saddles. Finally, I am very pleased with the

>pommel/leg roll construction on the model I purchased,

>as it provides great support without interference.


>One of my horses also loves the saddle, and seems to

>prefer it over the one I had custom built for the two

>of us. I believe this has something to do with where

>he and I connect through my seat, i.e. that given this

>horse&#8217;s build, the Underwood saddle puts me in the

>place that is most comfortable for him. He also loves

>the freedom he feels in his motion with the Underwood

>Saddle. My other horse is okay with the Underwood

>saddle, but prefers his &#8220;comfortable old shoe&#8221; that

>was custom built for us. It feels that given his

>conformation, his custom built saddle accommodates his

>preferred placement of my body and also provides

>support for his motion like a well-fitting shoe.


>While my horses are lucky to have options, many horses

>are not so fortunate. As a riding instructor who

>works with the students&#8217; own horses, I encounter many

>horses whose saddles do not fit. I have struggled

>through the saddle fit process with these horses&#8217;

>owners, both in terms of fit for the horse and rider,

>and in terms of what the owners can afford. This

>motivated me to investigate treeless saddles. I am a

>firm believer that not everything works best for every

>horse (and my own horses seem to confirm that even

>with your saddle), but I also believe that an

>affordable, well-built treeless saddle is the best

>option for many horses and their riders, both in terms

>of fit in a standard-built saddle and because of the

>owners&#8217; financial situations. On behalf of my

>students and their horses who require this help in the

>future, I am grateful for and will recommend Underwood

>Saddles. Toward this end and because I lost your

>e-mail/web site addresses, please e-mail both to me at



>Thank you!


>Terry Ann Frick

>RR 1, Box 165E

>Everton, MO 65646


> dfranks1@FORD.COM

>Hello Yaffa, I purchased a treeless saddle from Rebecca - I believe she

>is still

>on the list.


>I just LOVE this saddle. I *THINK* I have had it for a little over 4


>and after a hosing it looks brand new!


>Any thing you would like to know about it just ask.


>My uses of it are trail riding and mounted patrol work.


>Where is your friend located? Any where near SE Michigan?




>yaffa chudnow wrote:



>Hi Rebecca,

>Hope this finds you and your gang well. I wanted to let you know about

>my experiences with the saddle.


>The saddle arrived on time I'm happy to say! I am very pleased with the

>workmanship overall of the saddle and the color combo looks great on my

>bay mare. The saddle came with the hooded stirrups which are super

>nice, although I didn't order it with those stirrups I'll keep them for

>winter/brushy country riding. (I have a pair of EZ rider type stirrups

>on it now that work great). Thanks for the cantle pack too, that's a

>nice little extra.


>Only yesterday I was finally able to go out on a training ride (about 10

>miles) and put it to the test. I have not been able to ride very much in

>the saddle this summer because I am having reoccurant bouts with heat

>exauhastion and I have had to take things slow (even for a Texas summer,

>the temps have not been too bad). Up until yesterday I had only ridden

>in the saddle just a handful of times, and nothing more than a hour at

>a time. The saddle fit seemed to be just right for my mare (no dry spots

>on the shoulders) and her back had even warmth all along the backbone

>(no spot more hot than the next). I was getting used to the seat of the

>saddle too, it's a big change from my dressage saddle, as the softride

>doesn't have a twist, it's more like a bareback pad feel. I think the

>fenders have even more swing than my dressage leathers so I had to get

>use to that too.


>But I knew that I would have to really do a long ride out over country

>to see if the saddle was really going to work for me & my mare.

>Yesterday I got that chance and went riding with some friends at a

>property near here that has endurance rides in the spring (6-O Ranch,

>ride name is Meanwhile Back at the Ranch). I've ridden several times at

>the property, including an LD ride in April so I knew those trails. We

>went at a moderate pace, lots of winding wooded trails up and down

>through creekbeds, some flat fields and up and down some of the cap rock

>trails. Mostly trotting, a little galloping, some walking too.


>After all of that, about 3 hours later, I was really quite pleased with

>the saddles preformance. I was very comfortable and I think my mare was

>so surprised that nothing was digging into her back, she really clipped

>along at a great fast trot in the last hour of so. The saddle did very

>little if any slipping, and we went down some fairly steep enbankments

>such that if the saddle was going to go ontop of her neck it would have

>happened. When I took the saddle off, her back looked great! Even sweat

>patterns, no hot spots, no girth rubs or breast collar rubs. What a

>relief! The seat size is just right for me, and the pommel and cantle

>were in the right position for me for some of those climbs and drops,

>but yet on the flat didn't interfer with any riding. So, I have to say

>that the softride passed the test for fit and comfort for my mare and



>Several of my friends did admire the saddle, even the lady who owns the

>ranch (she's an endurance rider) said she had not seen a saddle like

>this at any of her rides. I am going to send her your website addy , she

>said that she was interested in finding out more info on it.


>So overall, the saddle is a keeper. I am pleased with how it fits my

>horse and how comfortable I am in it. Please feel free to refer anyone

>in the Texas/Oklahoma area to me as a reference. If any problems come

>up I will let you know. Thanks again!


>Take care,


>Connie Owens


>Hi Rebecca

>Wanted to let you know I just received my reconditioned saddle and was

>so surprised it looks this great, when you said it was warranted you

>were not kidding. I am thrilled. I go from horse to horse with it and

>never a sore back or grouchy attitude from pain. I have had at least 20

>saddles threw the years but never one so comfy or safe. When I first

>ordered it years ago I was very worried due to my weight that it would

>slip when I tried to mount or slip if a bad spook or fast turn happened

>but it never has.

>My sister and good friend have each got one now also. My friend wasn't

>a believer till she test rode a Paso fino who was in and out of gait

>when riding in a tucker saddle and my sister convinced her to try him

>again but in my saddle this time, and she could not believe the

>difference in the geldings immediate smooth gait. She didn't buy the

>horse but the next day ordered one of your saddles. What was a kick was

>the owner of the horse also wanted the info on where to order one from.

>Needless to say I love this saddle and my horses will be sooooo happy it

>is back.

>Thanks again for what you did, to bad all companies aren't like yours.




>Hi Rebecca,


> I received the treeless saddle from you last April and I do love it! My

>horses do too! My horses were both getting cinchy and cranky when I would

>cinch them up. I had a dressage saddle and a western saddle and both seem

>to be bothering them. One horse has mutton withers and wide back and the

>other has more prominent withers with a thinner back. Both of these horses

>are mountain horses and gait. They both moved like they were being pinched

>or restricted. With this treeless saddle they move freely through the

>shoulders, and also seem to move out easier on the trail.


> I enjoy the saddle too. My butt no longer gets numb like it used to. I

>am starting to do miles again without the discomfort that I myself was

>dealing with for years. Can you imagine what my horses were going through?


> Thank you for the opportunity to purchase this reasonably priced saddle

>with out paying an arm and a leg for it!!

> But the clinician

>raved about the way the saddle is rigged, with the McClellan style billets.

>She says all the treeless saddles that she has seen always move around too

>much on the horses back. How is the rider truly stablelized in a saddle

>like that? But she sure approved of yours!



>Laurie Hills



>i notice that on some of the lists you say you use a different treeless

>> saddle but you don't mention the name of the saddle.


>> is this because the saddle isn't working for you and you just don't want

>> to tell me?




>It's working fine!!! I've talked to the people who asked privately. You

>should just jump in when they ask and mention your saddle.


>I've been using it mostly on the mule but also on the others when I don't

>want to fuss with a heavy saddle.


>Last week, I rode with a friend who just bought a used bob marshal. She was

>interested to see my saddle, said she'd seen them on the net but hadn't seen

>one in person. It was the first time I'd ridden with her, didn't get a

>chance to sell your saddle first


>I'll mention yours by name next time.




>Angela posted this about the Rebecca Treeless:


>Several people have emailed me regarding the references I made to riding a

>treeless saddle. Seems there are some folks dabbling in treeless and have

>been afraid to post much about it for fear of getting blasted. Some even

>thought I would be one of the ones doing the blasting.......imagine



>Anyway, I thought I would go ahead and come completely out of the closet and

>give a review of the treeless saddle I have been riding.


>And let me preface this with a couple of things - I in no way wish to start

>a tree vs treeless debate, and I wish to state that this is the only

>treeless I've ever ridden so I can't make comparisons between treeless

>brands or models based on personal experience. I only know how this

>particular one has worked for me and my horse.

>First, let me say that when I got Gator nearing 3 yrs ago, I knew nothing

>about saddle fit. I had no idea I had been riding my horses will ill-fitting

>saddles for 25 years. I can admit that because I know I'm far from the only

>one. I feel guilty enough about it though to wish there was a support group

>for people like me - Hello, my name is Angela and I am an ignorant horse

>owner - "HELLO Angela!".


>Anyway, Gator is the most sensitive animal I've ever dealt with - highly

>reactive. I was initially riding him in a saddle with a full QH bar. He is a

>little 14 - 14.2 short backed horse that is not flat, or even wide, backed.

>When I got him he had so many issues and was so overreactive to everything,

>hard paced or ran balls-to-the-walls everywhere we went that it was hard to

>identify single variables that could be causing his problems. I started with

>the bit because the 5" bit was obviously too big for his mouth (things had

>to be pretty darn obvious to me back then) but whether or not the saddle fit

>correctly never even entered my mind until one day, probably 3 or 4 weeks

>after I got him, when I was saddling him he looked at me as I was lifting

>the saddle and swung into me pinning me against the fence so I couldn't

>move! He didn't swing fast or hard, he didn't hurt me or anything like

>that - it clearly wasn't malicious, it was the first time I was aware of

>something he was trying to communicate to me. It just prevented me from

>liftng the saddle.


>Bear in mind that I had joined this list by then and there were rumblings

>about saddle fit and so, becoming a better steward, I had our local saddle

>maker come out and check my saddle for fit - or so I thought. She checked it

>over and said it fit fine, couldn't get a better fit unless I had one custom



>It was just a couple of days later that the pinning incident happened. So, I

>thought, hmmmm......I think he's trying to tell me he doesn't like this



>So, I bought an Ortho-Flex. Which he responded better to. Problem with that

>was that it left dry spots where the panels attach to the tree. After a

>while, he started acting like he was being "goosed" from behind. I started

>to think it was because of pressure from the attachment points. Keep in mind

>that Ortho-Flex saddles don't do that on all horses - I even used that

>saddle on a horse I was demo-ing and it left a beautiful even sweat pattern

>and the horse's owner said the horse acted like she liked the saddle. So,

>I'm not saying that it would be a problem for every horse, but it seemed to

>be for mine.


>So, the saddle search was on again..............and many demo saddles and

>bare tree fittings became apparent that I

>had a number of fitting problems with this horse. He is small and short

>backed, he has a straight back with almost no "rock", he has little wither

>and is beefy behind the wither. Also, unlike my trotters, his back moves a

>LOT. When my trotters are walking or trotting, their backs are not moving

>much. Not the case with Gator. He has that undulating back from the

>overstride and lots of shoulder movement. It makes his short little back

>move all over the place - side to side, up and down, back and forth, all at

>once to varying degrees.

>So, sort of as a last resort, I decided to try a treeless.


>I looked into a few different ones and decided to try Rebecca Underwood's

>Softride saddle.


>At first I wasn't sure about it because it felt bulky to me. It started

>breaking in quickly however and became very comfortable for me and very

>secure without being restrictive. The thing that bothered me the most

>initially was it didn't seem to fit Gator correctly. They are made to have a

>certain amount of rock to them and that part of the saddle is "formed"

>somehow so that it holds it's shape - partly to provide an air channel so

>the riders weight is not directly on the spine. Because Gator has almost no

>rock to his back, it stuck up high in the back. Functionally it wasn't a

>problem, it just looked funky and would look even funkier with a crupper.

>Also, I was concerned that the air channel wasn't adequate for him and that

>there could be some weight on his spine.


>Rebecca was VERY good to work with and committed herself to making me

>happy....I just love that in someone I'm doing business with!

> So, she

>made me an entirely new pad where she sewed the extra tree shaped piece to

>the new pad and it worked great!

>Since I have had this saddle (nearly a year now I think) I have tried

>several other treed saddles and have come back to this one again and again.

>Gator loves this saddle and will not tolerate any other - I recently tried a

>Peruvian saddle that he was not resistant to. That has been the only



>Gator relaxes in this saddle better than any other. While I don't know

>*everything* about detecting sore backs, based on what I do know, he has

>never had one from riding this saddle. In all fairness, I haven't ridden any

>long or tough trails with it yet. Last summer I rode the Ortho-flex in the

>mountains because I thought it would be better for him to have a tree, even

>if it didn't fit perfectly. I have however ridden many many miles in it,

>they have just been miles along the ditchbanks, fields, and in arenas. I

>usually ride 4-7 miles at a time, and sometimes 12, when I'm riding from

>home. Today we did about 12-14 around a prairie reservoir with lots of

>rolling hills. He did great. I intend to do all the trails in it this

>summer. If he shows any sign of a sore back, I will do something different,

>but at this point, I'm doubting that he will.


>So, more about the saddle itself..............


>The seat is suede with ridges that accomodate the seat bones nicely! As I

>said, it felt clunky at first, but broke in quickly. Now it doesn't feel

>bulky at all, fits like a glove. I have the Aussie style which has the

>"split" pommel - two separate kind of thigh rolls instead of a one piece

>pommel. The pommel and cantle are stuffed tightly with something - I don't

>know what but it is very secure while being light. I think the saddle weighs

>about 15-18 lbs - something like that, including everything. Pretty much the

>rest of the saddle is cordura. It comes with a wool blend pad attached to

>it by big strong strips of velcro. So, the pad can be removed for washing.


>The rigging is nice in that it is an english style girth with a strap coming

>from under the front and one from the back. So, it is very stable without

>the need for a back cinch.

>The fenders are cordura and I was concerned that they wouldn't "train".

>While the stirrups really don't train, there is no resistance whatsoever. My

>knees and ankles never hurt at all and that has always been a chronic

>problem for me. I have the tapaderos (I didn't actually order these as I had

>never used them, but when the saddle arrived, these were what they came with

>and I have since fallen in love with them) and even if Gator goes squirrely

>and I lose a stirrup, I never have difficulty getting it back.

>Someone asked me about how the stirrups are hung with the straps kind of

>being not quite as far behind the withers as what would seem ideal and I can

>only say that it doesn't seem to be a problem for me. I suppose it could if

>a person were standing in the stirrups a lot, but as I am not, it just

>doesn't seem to be an issue. It appears that if a person were standing in

>the stirrups, the weight would be over the bottom of the withers instead of

>behind it.


>There is a lot of latitude in the positioning that the seat allows. It is

>easy to be in an upright balanced position while having freedom to rearrange

>yourself if need be.

>Another potential criticism I've heard is the breaststrap and girth strap

>are not leather, they are naugahyde (sp?). Neither has presented a problem

>of any kind - they both function the way they should and have not rubbed or

>sored. I suppose if it were important, a person could change those out for

>something else. One thing I really like about this saddle is that it forms

>to the horse's back so I don't have to have it cinched any more than just

>barely snug because it doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't try to roll at all

>upon mounting. And the girth strap is nice and wide and has the roller


>Most importantly, I have an even sweat pattern and there is no appreciable

>weight on his spine.


>You can choose your colors and I chose purple and black. They also come with

>a matching cantle bag that is also good quality.

>The saddles are well made with good materials. I think the design is great

>and the workmanship excellent. And Rebecca is great to work with. I highly

>recommend her and her saddles!


>Her website is


>So, there you have it. I would be happy to answer any questions based on my







>>> Many of us recall Ray Miller forever discussing the "hot spots" his

>>> saddlesorespotting equipment (it detected heat, I believe = pressure)






>>> on treeless saddles - that the saddles did not distribute weight evenly






>>> put severe pressure on a select few spots. I believe everything you have

>>> said below, at least regarding Gator, but how do we address or fit the Ray

>>> Miller evidence into the picture?


>>> Karen




>Well, I have a couple of thoughts about that. First, I really can't address

>that very well because I don't have the equipment to see if indicates

>pressure areas on this horse with this saddle with this rider - and I do

>think all of those things factor in and probably more. Perhaps the Port

>Lewis pad might be an indicator? I don't know.

>Secondly, I have video-ed and measured, and my butt and thighs are covering

>the area that is the strongest part of his back. My weight is distributed

>throughout the area around the top of my thighs and down about 7-8 inches

>from there. The hot spots would likely be where my seat bones are. The

>pressure from this area is largely dispersed through the dense felt pad and

>semi-rigid seat. The seat is not soft or floppy like a bareback pad. It is

>not rigid enough to cause poking or pinching for the horse or rider, but it

>is rigid enough to disperse some of the weight.

>Thirdly, there was a lot of controversy about that pressure mapping system.

>Not having worked with it personally, I'm not sure I place as much stock in

>it as Ray did. There probably is a reason that it ended up being a money

>losing venture. I mean no disrespect by that because Ray is a person I think

>highly of in many ways, I'm just not sure there is really evidence that the

>pressure mapping system was all that accurate.

>I definitely think that some treeless saddles "work" better than others. I

>think the Softride works better to distribute some of the weight than the

>softer floppier saddles. I also think that in my case, the horse is carrying

>the weight over the strongest part of his back, in a slightly different

>configuration than a tree would distribute it. But I do think it is

>distributed very close to the same 1 - 1.5 psi over the strongest part of

>the back. And some of the floppier saddles are ridden with Skito or similar

>pads that disperse pressure from the seat bones.

>I have ridden saddles that leave very pronounced dry spots - THOSE are hot

>spots. I don't have anything like that with this.






>Okay, Angela, I'll take the first run at you, lol. In the event that others

>may be lurking and not comfortable asking, especially after some of the past



>Many of us recall Ray Miller forever discussing the "hot spots" his

>saddlesorespotting equipment (it detected heat, I believe = pressure) found

>on treeless saddles - that the saddles did not distribute weight evenly and

>put severe pressure on a select few spots. I believe everything you have

>said below, at least regarding Gator, but how do we address or fit the Ray

>Miller evidence into the picture?




>Most importantly, I have an even sweat pattern and there is no appreciable

>weight on his spine.

>You can choose your colors and I chose purple and black. They also come with

>a matching cantle bag that is also good quality.

>The saddles are well made with good materials. I think the design is great

>and the workmanship excellent. And Rebecca is great to work with. I highly

>recommend her and her saddles!

>Her website is


>So, there you have it. I would be happy to answer any questions based on my





> emszeliga@JUNO.COM

>In the Northeast, treeless saddles are quite commonly used by endurance

>and competitive trail riders. The Bob Marshall sport saddle seems to be

>the most common brand, but I have seen others. I was skeptical, but when

>you see them working for horses and riders that have ridden hundreds or

>thousands of miles in competition, not to mention the training miles, it

>is hard to say that they aren't suitable. From what I've learned, when

>people don't like the saddle it tends to be because the *rider* doesn't

>adjust to it, not because it has caused problems for the horse. Because

>there is no tree, you can't control the twist of the saddle. If you have

>a wide backed horse, you have a wide seat. If you have a horse with a

>narrow barrel, you have a narrow seat. With luck, the shape of the horse

>fits the shape of the rider, if not, there really isn't a way to make it



>Liz in Massachusetts



> <<The orhte thing to consider with the "partial tree" saddles is that the

> pommel and cantle act a lot like C-clamps when the girth is

> tightened.>>


> Right. The one I recommended has no partial tree. It is horse-shaped

> underneath and rider-shaped on top. It's not like riding in a bareback

> pad. It's the Rebecca Underwood Treeless saddle at


> Cindy


> Treeless saddles are a good option for some horses and riders, my mare and I

> are one. I have a Sofride treeless saddle (same as Cindy on this list) that

> I got last year and since then have put in over 100 miles of endurance

> rides, at least that much in conditioning rides and hours and hours of PNH

> playtime. In all that time, my mare has rarely had a sore back, in fact she

> gets A's on her back at the vet checks during the endurance rides. (and I am

> a heavyweight rider).


> You do have to be much more balanced in your seat to ride in a treeless

> saddle, much like you learn balance when riding bareback. And my mare has

> one of those flat table top backs that treed saddles just aren[t flat enough

> to be comfortable (hard learned lesson for me). This saddle has worked out

> wonderfully for me and my mare and it was very affordable.


> There are some types of backs where a treeless saddle is not suitable and

> that is on horses whose spine raises above the flat of the back, in other

> words, the muscle along the back falls away from the spine, leaving the

> spine raised and there is no muscle covering the spine. Yes, treeless

> saddles are probably not suitable for these backs and need the support of a

> raised treed saddle so there is nothing directly pressing on the spine.


> I did hours and hours of research on this subject when the treed saddles I

> had became apparent that they were not going to be comfortable for my horse

> and I went on the great saddle hunt. I'm happy with my set up now, and most

> importantly, so is my mare.


> Connie

> Ft. Worth, Texas (YEA it's going to RAIN!)



> ----- Original Message -----

> From: "lylacansfield" <>

> To: <>

> Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 3:22 AM

> Subject: [Parellinaturally] Re: Treeless Saddles



> > I've also been warned about the possibility of a treeless saddle

> > pressing on the spine. It's been recommended to me that you can

> > relieve the spine area by using either the new Parelli air pad or the

> > Balance padding system underneath (depending on the size of your

> > purse!). Both of these padding systems have channels along the spine.

> >

> > L


> I second Cindy's message. I have one of these marvelous treeless saddles and after using it for a year, I tried to put a Circle Y Flex saddle on my horse and he threatened to bite me. He does not mind the treeless! It's very comfortable for me and very secure, no roll at all! I have a flat backed, no withered gelding. The saddle has a floating cinch, which does keep it secure. Well worth it to me! And about half the cost of the BM sport saddles. Also my horse has never gotten a sore back.


> I also use it on my high withered mare with absolutely no soreness, and with my Chiroprator Vet's blessing!


> Is anyone aware that Carol Coppinger uses treeless saddles on her horses?? Doesn't that say something?


> Laurie




> Message: 8

> Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 17:44:33 -0500

> From: "Cindy B Giovanetti" <>

> Subject: Re: Re: Treeless Saddles


> <<The orthr thing to consider with the "partial tree" saddles is that the

> pommel and cantle act a lot like C-clamps when the girth is

> tightened.>>


> Right. The one I recommended has no partial tree. It is horse-shaped

> underneath and rider-shaped on top. It's not like riding in a bareback

> pad. It's the Rebecca Underwood Treeless saddle at


> Cindy



>I tried the breast collar after riding him and It does indeed fit. I must

>have been putting the saddle on too far back.


>My horse used to jerk his head up unexpectedly when we rode in the old

>Wintek saddle. He doesn't do that with the new Rebecca saddle. Thanks,

>it's great. I'm riding better too.


>Thanks for the follow-up,



well, that is it for now!! :o))

rebecca and the gang

now a turtle rescuer

Underwood Saddles
6560 Downing Road
Central Point, OR 97502

Dear Rebecca,

Received the saddle, have ridden it several times, and
LOVE it. Based on the saddles performance, I would
bet you have done the following:

1. Achieved a degree of expertise about horses
and riding sufficient to comprehend the physical
dynamics of the horse and rider during that process.
2. Studied the impact on the rider and horse of
various types of saddle construction.
3. Put a lot of thought and effort into
designing a saddle that allows/promotes a
well-balanced body position of the rider, and that
fits the horse well.

I rode a Sport Saddle demo model, and while it
incorporates the Y girth rigging, yours is a much
better design (very like the old McClellan saddles),
as the Underwood saddle rigging prevents the saddle
from popping up in the back, and the Sport Saddle does
not. The Underwood saddle treeless system seems
sturdier and more durable than that of the Sport
Saddle; hopefully the construction of the Underwood
also provides better disbursement of the riders
weight. I am greatly impressed with the
placement, as it promotes the riders balance position
by allowing the riders legs to fall directly down
from the riders seat bones, which is sadly prohibited
by the current design/construction of many types of
saddles. Finally, I am very pleased with the
pommel/leg roll construction on the model I purchased,
as it provides great support without interference.

One of my horses also loves the saddle, and seems to
prefer it over the one I had custom built for the two
of us. I believe this has something to do with where
he and I connect through my seat, i.e. that given this
horses build, the Underwood saddle puts me in the
place that is most comfortable for him. He also loves
the freedom he feels in his motion with the Underwood
Saddle. My other horse is okay with the Underwood
saddle, but prefers his comfortable old shoe that
was custom built for us. It feels that given his
conformation, his custom built saddle accommodates his
preferred placement of my body and also provides
support for his motion like a well-fitting shoe.

While my horses are lucky to have options, many horses
are not so fortunate. As a riding instructor who
works with the students own horses, I encounter many
horses whose saddles do not fit. I have struggled
through the saddle fit process with these horses
owners, both in terms of fit for the horse and rider,
and in terms of what the owners can afford. This
motivated me to investigate treeless saddles. I am a
firm believer that not everything works best for every
horse (and my own horses seem to confirm that even
with your saddle), but I also believe that an
affordable, well-built treeless saddle is the best
option for many horses and their riders, both in terms
of fit in a standard-built saddle and because of the
owners financial situations. On behalf of my
students and their horses who require this help in the
future, I am grateful for and will recommend Underwood
Saddles. Toward this end and because I lost your
e-mail/web site addresses, please e-mail both to me at

Thank you!

Terry Ann Frick
RR 1, Box 165E
Everton, MO 65646
Phone: 417-637-5867

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