Saddle Up Huston

Hand Crafted Soft Saddles

We can measure the static position of the horse’s back...
treeless saddle fit
...the problem is—-the horse moves.
— Bill Huston

While in motion, 
the spine of a horse flexes and twists. 
The back contracts and expands, muscles bulge out.

Bill Huston treeless saddle fit

Skeletal movement is called flexing. Muscular contractions are called eruptions.

The top line of a horse -- where the spinal process is -- can move in any direction, contracting, expanding, and twisting.

A traditional saddle tree puts two wooden boards on the back of a horse, clamped into place with a leverage system called a cinch.

The wooden boards lack the capacity to adapt to the fluid movement of the horse. They also impede muscles that bulge out during various stages of a horse's stride, which can result in chronic pain or compromised performance.

"Comfort equals calmness in a horse," said Bill.

Soft saddles are made to adapt to the movement of the horse.

“I made a saddle that moves,” said Bill.

The placement of saddle rigging is very important for the comfort of the horse. Rigging that is too far forward drives the pressure point of the saddle and the rider's weight into the withers. A cinch rigged too far forward also tightens down on muscles behind the foreleg causing pain and impeding movement.

"Muscular groups unimpeded perform comfortably. These groups include the trapezoid, deltoids and the sensitive tissue surrounding the armpit," said Bill.

Bill likes to say there is a razor thin line---or a pathway--that angles forward from the deep back to the ascending pectoral. Following this route allows a soft saddle to comfortably snuggle a horse from top to bottom.

Saddle rigging also impacts the rider. Stirrup placement on the saddle is vital for proper posture and the ability of the rider to respond to explosive changes of direction. Riders need to be athletically set up for good balance.

one of Emily Sharratt's hardworking soft saddles

one of Emily Sharratt's hardworking soft saddles

soft saddle custom details 1
soft saddle custom details 2
I have happily owned Bills (Western and English) saddles for over 8 years and use them every day. I use them for all my personal riding and for training all horses. I love the fit for me and I don’t have to worry about fit through the various sizes and shapes of horses I ride. There is no tree impinging movement or causing ill-fit. Also, the bonus of not having a tree means I can feel every movement of the horse. This can be very beneficial on a green horse that is thinking about blowing; feeling that initial tension gives me the ability to shut them down before they start. I really appreciate being able to confidently work every horse knowing the treeless saddle I am in will never hurt them.
— Emily Sharratt, Equine Chiropractor

I love Bills soft saddles; they are like a comfy leather recliner. I can ride all day and never hurt or feel sore after, no matter what I do.
— Chris Nantz

Lyle absolutely loves his treeless saddle that you made for him. He says that it is very comfortable and he can ride in it all day. Lyle’s horse, May, likes the saddle as well. She has never been sore and moves quite freely. Her back was difficult to fit with a traditional saddle.
— Donna Ulrich

Detail soft saddle verse