Are Treeless Saddles Good For Horses? (Pros & Cons Compared)

A saddle is a crucial element for effortless horse riding. These saddles are available in different shapes, styles, and sizes. Whichever saddle you choose they have one common thing whether the saddle you get will be a tree or treeless saddle.

Most of you already know tree saddles are safe, and comfortable for both horse and horse riders. but the doubts are about treeless saddles.

In this article I’ll answer the main question: are treeless saddles bad for horses, their pros and cons, should you opt for treeless saddles, and if there’s any good treeless saddle then which will be best, and more. So without any further ado let’s answer the main question first; are treeless saddles bad for horses.

Treeless saddles might be immoral for some horses. While for others, might not. It all depends on the fitting. The treeless saddle is good-to-go and allows a horse to move naturally; when fitted accurately. However, the saddle causes muscle soreness and spine injuries when not worn properly.

What are treeless saddles?

The absence of a tree in a horse saddle is named a treeless saddle. A tree is an essential element of any saddle. It is an inner element that defines the shape and provides strength to the saddle. Plastic and wood are the common materials used in a tree.

The treeless saddles come in a wide range of sizes to coordinate with the shape of the horses’ backs. Treeless saddles are lighter in weight than the treed saddle, allowing the rider to sit comfortably.

The selection of treeless saddles as per taste. Some riders opt for the treeless saddle as it is lightweight, hence easy to lift. Another reason is for horses with extra-wide backs. These horses have uncomfortable pressure points and feel pain with traditional treed saddles.

Nevertheless, if the treeless saddle is not fitted accurately, it can cause pain either to the rider or the horse.

Are treeless saddles bad for horses?

The performance rate of the treeless saddles highly depends on the fitting and way of use. When keeping things perfect, treeless saddles do not hurt the horse or the rider. Yet, when not used properly, damages can be severe.

Here are some of the benefits you will earn on opting for treeless saddles for your horse.

1. Fit most of the horses

That is the reason why horse riders are in favor of treeless saddles. Traditional saddles do not fit every horse most of the time. Riders had to get a customized one (which is pretty costly). No matter how wide the horseback is, treeless saddles, on the other hand, fit almost all horses.

2. Unrestricted horse movement

Another best part about the treeless saddles is the unbothered movement. The absence of the tree allows horses to move naturally with no barriers in the way. The rider and the horse can remain close to each other, sharing clues to communicate.

3. Lightweight design

A horse not only bears the weight of the rider while riding; also the saddle he is wearing. The lightweight design of the treeless saddles delivers comfort to the horse and develops a breathable connection with his skin.

4. Proper weight distribution

During riding, proper weight distribution is as necessary as the selection of the right saddle. Treeless saddles distribute the rider’s weight evenly, making the rider and the horse experience the ultimate comfort.

5. Perfect for horses with conformation issues

Some horses have conformation issues (back with uncomfortable pressure points). Traditional saddles in this scenario trigger the pain. Contrary to it, treeless saddles make sure the horse is in a comfortable position, despite the pressure points.

Pros and cons of treeless saddles

Below are the few benefits and drawbacks of a treeless saddle:


  • The treeless saddle allows horses freedom to move naturally
  • Riders opt for this for multi-use as it fits all (one-true-size-solution)
  • The absence of the tree results in a lightweight design- It helps horses feel relaxed
  • The treeless saddles move along with the horse for natural movement
  • For riders having thin thighs, a treeless saddle is the best option
  • Treeless saddles allow riders to sit closer to the horse for better communication
  • For horses with conformation issues, nothing can be idyllic than treeless saddles


  • The long term use can put constant pressure and result in spine injuries
  • Treeless saddles don’t fit hard-to-fit horses as the ultimate size solution
  • In a few cases, some horses feel uncomfortable when wearing treeless saddles
  • Free movement sometimes results in slipping
  • Heavy riders will find it problematic to spread legs because of the thick things and adjust to sit comfortably
  • The improper fitting can cause serious spine injuries

Should you opt for a treeless saddle?

The fact about treeless saddles is either horse riders hate them or love them; there is nothing in between. Besides considering your horse’s comfort, you also need to think about your riding experience.

A treeless saddle is not for you if you are a heavy rider. You will encounter difficulty spreading your legs and finding a comfortable position on the horse while riding. If not, the treeless saddle is good-to-go.

Following are some reasons why you should opt for treeless saddles.

  • The main reason to opt for a treeless saddle is the unbothered movement. The absence of a tree lets the rider sit effortlessly, and the horse moves smoothly.
  • Consider your horse’s condition. If he has a conformational issue, it is better to ride only with treeless saddles.
  • For beginners, treeless saddles help better contact and communication with the horse.
  • A treeless saddle can solve your size issue without worrying about the size and investing your money in custom saddles.

Treeless or treed Saddle– Which one is better?

While researching saddles for horses, you will find this question almost everywhere; treeless saddle vs. tree saddle; which one is better?

Despite the debate, the majority of the riders can not distinguish between treeless and tree saddle. Both look almost the same by appearance- Even when riding, it is hard to detect if you are not told so.

The selection of the saddle (treeless or treed) is as per the user’s perspective. Some riders find themselves comfortable with tree saddles. While some encounter uncomfortable positions with tree saddles.

To sum up, treeless saddles are recommended for slim riders as it will be easier for them to spread legs and sit comfortably in the desired position. Contrary to it, heavy riders can not find themselves comfortable with treeless saddles. For them, a treed saddle is idyllic.

Nevertheless, if you are considering your horse conditions, it depends on the following factors;

  • For irregular horseback, go with the treed saddle, as the treeless saddle will slip eventually.
  • For horses with backpressure issues, treeless saddles are picture-perfect.

Treeless saddles for heavy riders

Since you know whether treeless saddles are bad for horses or not, let us check some of the best available options.

  1. Acerugs New Western English Horse Premium TREELESS Saddle
  2. Cashel G2 Soft Treeless Saddle
  3. Wonder Wish Micro Fiber FREE MAX Treeless Saddle
  4. Manaal Enterprises Western Premium Leather TREELESS Saddle
  5. HILASON Western Classic Treeless Trail Barrel Leather Saddle


There is nothing wrong with trying the new invention, the treeless saddle. About the argument over are treeless saddles bad for horses that will keep going. In simple words, it majorly depends on perspectives.

Whatever saddle you select for your horse (treeless or tree), make sure to consider your horse’s condition.


1. Are treeless saddles good for endurance?

Lightweight treeless saddles offer transcendent horse-friendly endurance. The robust material with open pores delivers a breathable experience to the horse.

2. Do treeless saddles hurt horses?

A treeless saddle can hurt horses if the fitting is not proper. The improper fitting disturbs the weight distribution and causes spine injuries.

3. Why do you need extra padding for treeless saddles?

For complete protection to the spine area, secure fitting, cooling, and stability, you need extra padding for treeless saddles than the treed saddles.

4. Do treeless saddles slip?

The lightweight design of the treeless saddles results in slipping. The best way to deal with this issue is by tightening the girth for secure fitting.

5. Are treeless saddles suitable for high-withered horses?

The treeless saddle with adequate padding works pretty well for high-withered horses. The paddings protect the backbone from improper pressure.