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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:13 am 
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Location: Australia
Has anyone tried or seen the new Ansur Excel dressage type treeless saddle? I'm considering buying one but it a bit of a risk as I would have to import it to Australia from America sight unseen.

I test rode in the older Ansur Carlton but I didn't like the way it was designed to have no wither clearance. The Excel is different.

Also I found that the treeless saddle means that one has to be has to be way more responsible for one's own balance. Has anyone used an Ansur saddle for really long rides?

The reason I want to have one is that Gandalf (that's him with me on the beach) has a really high wither and is impossible to fit with a normal saddle. His wither makes it impossible to ride him bareback except for short periods. I even tried him with a Parelli barebackpad today which was obviously designed for fat, no withered quarterhorses (like my boy Maluka).

Any info would be welcome.
Cheers Andi

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:26 pm 
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Hey Andi:

I can be partially helpful...

:-)

Some musings about Ansurs, for what it's worth:

...I don't know the Excel, but I have a Classic that I've had for three plus years...

The Classic comes off the withers enough on the horses I've ridden it with -- not a huge amount of clearance, but it's there, and you can adjust the shoulder shims to make sure it's riding a bit higher (the Carleton looks extra flat to me from the pix, though I haven't seen one live). Looks like the Excel is higher in the pommel than the Classic -- looks a bit more like a traditional treed saddle. The Classic has worked really well for us, and Stardust is fairly high withered. (But the Excel might be better if Gandalf is a super high withered guy....)

Beyond that, I've done a number of 4 hour plus trail rides in my classic (on other people's horses, of varying shapes and sizes, including a round Morgan cross who's fairly low withered and a narrow, high withered Paint) and been completely comfortable.

It took me a little while to build balance in the saddle, but I actually now bring it with me whenever possible when riding other horses either in the arena or out on trails, as I'm at a point now where riding in a regular treed saddle feels like riding on a box and feels really uncomfortable and less secure, because I have less of a feel of how the horse is moving underneath me.

Hope this was a little helpful, at least, and not just blathering away on my part!

All the best,
Leigh


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:51 pm 
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Location: Australia
Thanks Leigh
It is helpful to read of others experiences. I think I'll go ahead and buy it (insert emoticon for trepidation and excitement!)

Andi

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:34 am 
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Yay!

I look forward to hearing if you like it -- the Excel looks really beautiful.

Hope it works!!!

:-)
Leigh


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Keep us posted on your experiences with it, if you can! I'd love to hear more about this saddle and how you feel about it in practice. I don't have any experience with Ansur saddles in real life, but I have been following their website for a few years now (and hate the new lay-out, can't find anything back anymore :roll: 8) ) and I would love to hear more about how they are in practice! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:19 am 
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Well I've ordered it! (just when the Aussie dollar is the lowest it's been for 6 months :( )
It should be another month before I get it. I'll let you know how Gandalf and I like it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:31 pm
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Location: maryland
I have owned and ridden in the Carlton and the Classic for years , have to check out the new design since my complain about Carlton was the hard pommel.
I use a saddleright leather pad under the Carlton and a Skito custom pad under the Classic and it works fine.

I have not ridden in a treed saddle for 5 years, sat in one in a horsse expo and did not like how confined I felt. THe beauty of the Treeless is that you can communicate to your horse with your seat so nicely


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:06 pm 
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Well the Ansur has finally arrived (after 3 weeks in customs). I have only ridden in it twice. It fits Marley and Max really well but not Gandalf (the super high withered guy). I have shoulder shims but the pommel only just clears the top of the wither. I think I'll need some other kind of front padding.

The good things are:
Max really trots bigger. Normally I can sit to his trot very comfortably, but with this saddle, it is not so easy. This is good because I think it means his shoulders are free-er.
Lateral movements are clearer to signal with my seat.
I can really feel the horses back muscles move. This is good for me but I worry that that then means they can feel my seat bones more - maybe not so good for them!

The things I'm not sure of:
It initially feels hard (not soft) to sit on. But that may be an issue with my seat bones. My husband doesn't have that problem because men tuck their bums under a bit more (because they have to for comfort). Realistically, I think I'm too old to retrain my seat (just turned 60). Maybe I need a "seatbone saver" for my sake as well as the horse's. Has anyone tried one? http://www.enlightenedequitation.com/public/products_seatsaver.html
The cantle is really high which means you can't move your bum back in the seat easily (for jumping for example).
Otherwise it looks great and I'm sure I'll soon get used to it. I hope the horses approve.
I'll post some pics soon.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:30 pm 
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andi wrote:
It initially feels hard (not soft) to sit on. But that may be an issue with my seat bones. My husband doesn't have that problem because men tuck their bums under a bit more (because they have to for comfort).


:lol: This is just so funny to read, men really are different, aren't they? :wink: :lol:

And thanks for posting on your experiences! I really was looking forward to your report on the Ansur, simply because I don't know any Ansur owners and I do think that their saddles are quite interesting. And yes, pics are most welcome too! :D


Quote:
The cantle is really high which means you can't move your bum back in the seat easily (for jumping for example).


Does it really 'lock' you in when you sit on it, or can you still shift your seat? And how does it feel to have the stirrups further back than usual?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:31 pm
Posts: 58
Location: maryland
you should be able to move your seat , if not, size is too small? I only have the dressage model though but I like the fact I can move around in the saddle . But every saddle feels just different and it takes time to get used to the new feel
I also like the close communication with the horse.

I have found that padding is very important with the Ansur saddles and they have a good fitting guide on their website


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:43 am 
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Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Hi Andi,
Not sure if this would be useful for you and Gandalf,
but it's worked for Rosie the Razorblade while we try to figure out what kind of saddle will actually fit her.. actually it works so well and is so comfortable that I never bothered to get a real saddle for her after this..

Image

It's a Christ's Lamsfelle bareback pad, made in Germany. Super comfortable for rider and horse, really nice deep seat position for classical riding.
It's got a layer of merino wool facing down in a half pad shape, then the "saddle" shaped quilted cotton, then another layer of merino sheepskin facing up. It has a great shape for a high withered horse, and a foam cantle and pommel insert.
I bought a cheap foam back protector like this
http://www.valleycountry.com.au/catalog ... _protector
and inserted it between the layers to provide a bit more protection for us both, and some weight distribution.

In this photo Ella's using it with two Haf Saddlepads
http://www.actionridertack.com/catalog/ ... acf0008cee
which also have excellent clearance.. even higher wither shape than appears in the pictures... But actually one is sufficient.

It has attachments for stirrups - sometimes we use them sometimes we don't. Because of it's shape, I find that it's much more stable than a usual saddle pad and have no worries about using it with safety stirrups..although, of course you couldn't use it to mount. Rosie has a bit of thing about girths, so the girth is only ever softly cinched.
The one good thing about that high wither!



This set up is really comfortable, even on Rosie's razorblade spine.
I like to let my students ride in it sometimes too because it automatically sits them in a really good position.. which I haven't really found in other "saddles" that have been touted as doing that.

Happy days!
Sue

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,
But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:42 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:31 pm
Posts: 58
Location: maryland
This is interesting, I bought this same saddle/bareback pad here in the USA last winter but I have not used it because I like to post to the trot and use stirups , and the stirups started rubbing the edge of this fabric. I did use the stirups for mounting though. I always mount from a block and hold onto to the saddle on the opposite side , even with my Ansurs. I love this in the winter, it so soft and warm!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:09 am 
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Location: Australia
Hi all
I have been riding in my treeless Ansur for a couple of weeks now and while it is a beautifully made saddle, it certainly isn't the miracle I was hoping for. It is too low in the pommel to clear either Gandalf's or Max's wither even with the shims in place. I have had to use a front riser pad to get some clearance. Admittedly, it isn't the Ansur pad - just a normal one (the same as you recommended windhorsesue :D ). I'll get some feedback from Ansur once I've taken some pix. They are very keen to help.

The other thing that really worries me is that, having insufficent channel clearance, it puts pressure on the length of horses spine under the seat (this is with the front riser pad on). I can tell that because after riding for about an hour, when I take off the saddle, there is an even sweat pattern everywhere except the spine which is dry and even rubbed on Max. I guess the advantage of a well fitting tree from the horse's point of view is that it keeps your weight off their spine.

The last time I rode Max with the Ansur, he was VERY spooky, forward and when he shied, I fell off - not recommended at my age!. I know I wouldn't have fallen off with my Aussie stock saddle or my English Spa saddle. He shied to the left and I would have stayed on but the saddle slipped around to the left and he then shied to the right at this scary thing hanging off his side so I was a goner!

I'm thinking it slipped partly because it is treeless and partly because I was using a new Cair girth http://www.stirrups.co.nz/site/product.php?productid=821. They are quite thick (full of air) under the horse and I reckon would slip around more. Maybe I didn't have it tight enough, but I hate tightening it too much!

I hope this doesn't sound too much like I criticising the saddle. Maybe, once I get the padding and the saddle cloths right, it will be perfect. But I am disappointed that I have adjust something that is brand new and very expensive. It also teaches me (again) about my tendency to expect miracles.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:50 am 
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andi wrote:
Hi all
I have been riding in my treeless Ansur for a couple of weeks now and while it is a beautifully made saddle, it certainly isn't the miracle I was hoping for. It is too low in the pommel to clear either Gandalf's or Max's wither even with the shims in place. I have had to use a front riser pad to get some clearance. Admittedly, it isn't the Ansur pad - just a normal one (the same as you recommended windhorsesue :D ). I'll get some feedback from Ansur once I've taken some pix. They are very keen to help.

The other thing that really worries me is that, having insufficent channel clearance, it puts pressure on the length of horses spine under the seat (this is with the front riser pad on). I can tell that because after riding for about an hour, when I take off the saddle, there is an even sweat pattern everywhere except the spine which is dry and even rubbed on Max. I guess the advantage of a well fitting tree from the horse's point of view is that it keeps your weight off their spine.

The last time I rode Max with the Ansur, he was VERY spooky, forward and when he shied, I fell off - not recommended at my age!. I know I wouldn't have fallen off with my Aussie stock saddle or my English Spa saddle. He shied to the left and I would have stayed on but the saddle slipped around to the left and he then shied to the right at this scary thing hanging off his side so I was a goner!

I'm thinking it slipped partly because it is treeless and partly because I was using a new Cair girth http://www.stirrups.co.nz/site/product.php?productid=821. They are quite thick (full of air) under the horse and I reckon would slip around more. Maybe I didn't have it tight enough, but I hate tightening it too much!

I hope this doesn't sound too much like I criticising the saddle. Maybe, once I get the padding and the saddle cloths right, it will be perfect. But I am disappointed that I have adjust something that is brand new and very expensive. It also teaches me (again) about my tendency to expect miracles.


People that really care about their product welcome realistic evaluation, especially if things can be pinpointed by such careful and complete descriptions of what is happening as you provided.

I wish, myself, that treeless, and for that matter, treed, saddles were built from molds of the individual horse's back, and using video of the horse, bare, in motion from side, top, and rear.

And that the material that replaces the hard tree be found that is both forgiving to the horse's back while protecting it well, and yet with sufficient body to not collapse under the rider's weight, or during energetic maneuvers.

Something tells me it's out there, but the technical aspects of working with it may have not come as far as the saddlery yet.

I can't see where your evaluation of the product would be taken as too critical since it it is neither excessive nor just blind ranting.

Ansur are neighbors of mine, and I of course want them to do well by folks. And I believe they will in this instance. (Out here anyone within a hundred miles is a neighbor).

Keep us posted on your and their progress.

Donald

PS I came near to being unseated a few months back in similar circumstances with a treed saddle. It had to be padded up in the front for the throat to clear the horse's withers.

In saddling I somehow managed to flip one side shim backward.

When I mounted he jiggled around a bit and I didn't hear his message, but as we left the shelter I was using for a mounting block, he most decidedly let me know.

A couple of bounds sideways, and the old expert rider :wink: :wink: was grabbing leather like any tenderfoot.

I had the rare good sense (or sufficient terror) to get off and check the gear, and found my goof.

Apologized profusely to Dakota (of course slipping him treats to ease my conscience) and fixed it and had a nice training ride that day.

I'm so sorry you fell, Andi, and hope you are okay now. We just don't bounce like once we could.

Donald

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So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:35 am 
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Hey Andi --

Sorry to hear that your Ansur doesn't feel like a magic solution -- mine sure has!

(Not that that means it is/will be for everyone else, but I'm definitely a fan.) :-)

A few stray thoughts/wonderings that may be helpful (or not, as the case may be!) :wink::

I'm wondering if the rubbing that you're seeing on Max maybe is connected to the saddle being too loose????

(I've had my Ansur Classic for four plus years w/no evidence of rubbing using just a fairly thick traditional dressage pad. I've ridden through some big spooks, and it never has slipped on me. I use a Pro Choice neoprene girth and get it pretty tight before I get on -- still has a bit of play in it, and I can get a finger underneath it. Even pretty tight, it has a lot more leeway than a leather girth. I've also noticed that the neoprene girth takes a slower, more gradual tightening than a traditional girth. I have occasionally even mounted from the ground with it, and while it can slip a little bit, it hasn't slipped any more than a treed saddle. As I've gotten used to riding in it, I think that it's helped me to move with Stardust as he shifts his weight -- I actually feel more secure in it than I ever did in a rigid treed saddle because I can react to how his back is moving more quickly and haven't gotten 'left behind' in the way that I have in a rigid saddle -- but for me, it did take some adjusting!)

I also have found that I place my Ansur as far back as I can and still line up with the girth channel -- Stardust has high withers, and even in my Classic, if it's back far enough (with just the padding on the saddle, and no extra shims), I don't run into problems with it over his withers. (Even though it's closer to them than a traditional saddle.) I actually have realized how many years I'd ridden on saddles placed too far forward -- I use the shoulder blade as my visual guide now -- want to keep clear of that so the saddle doesn't impinge on its movement.

And if you're worried about spinal clearance, maybe a Skito pad might be helpful???? :scratch:

Hope you sort it out to your satisfaction! And I'm so sorry he dumped you! Hope the ground was reasonably soft...

All the best,
Leigh

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