Enter Ghost

When I was about six, my grandfather read Hamlet to me as a bedtime story. It might have been a strange choice, but the story really caught my attention, especially the stage direct, “Enter Ghost.”

Fast forward to this week. As I wrote yesterday, Zelda has gotten a bit zaftig over the winter and her saddle doesn’t fit. Until I can get a larger gullet for my Wintec, and a larger girth, I decided to go with my treeless option.

This was the saddle I was riding in when Zelda fell. It had nothing to do the accident, but I’ve avoided it since. Last year I almost sold it. Glad I didn’t as it came in useful.

Ghost Panel underside
With the ghost saddle the panels are the weight bearing surface. There is no weight on the cantle and the front of the saddle is designed to allow upward and backward movement of the scapula.

As you can see, the Ghost Quevis is a minimalistic saddle. There’s really not much too it. Most of what makes it interesting is what you can’t see. Ghost saddles are built with a gullet so the saddle doesn’t press against your horse’s spine. The panels provide the weight distributing properties.

I’ve had other treeless saddles but none of them had a built in gullet. Unless you are a very lightweight rider, a special pad is an essential¬† piece of equipment because they create the gullet. Even with this saddle I chose to buy Ghost saddle pad which gives additional protection.

Zelda in her ghost
I think Zelda looks pretty spiffy in red. This photo isn’t from yesterday (I wish we had grass now!) but it fits her just as well now as it did back then. Treeless saddles are great for horses that have low withers and a broad back.

When I bought the saddle I was looking for a something with a bit more security than a bareback pad, but with a very close contact feel. I find the Ghost to be pretty secure (certainly my treed saddle has been slipping). There are stirrup attachments for it; I ride very long and use the stirrups for posting, not for balance. Note: Since the Ghost has a ring attachment for the leathers, it’s very important to use safety stirrups.

One of the things that Zelda really likes about the saddle is that it’s very light. Sometimes she gets crabby when I put her regular saddle on, but she never minds this one.

I first wrote about treeless saddles in 2008. To read more about the other saddles I’ve owned and tried take a look at this post: Are Treeless Saddles for You?

Have you tried treeless? What did you think?


8 thoughts on “Enter Ghost

  1. I’ve never ridden in a treeless saddle. I’d never even heard of a ‘Ghost’. But I like the concept. You are correct, the width of the gullet is most important. You want a wide, wide gullet so that there’s no pressure on the spine. Sometimes that’s hard to find for a horse that’s not a warmblood. I searched for a LONG time to find a saddle that would fit my mutton withered, pear chested, short backed leased Arabian. Pear chested meaning his front ribcage was wide and narrowed quickly towards the loins.

    I finally found an Albion that fit him but it needed a lot of careful flocking to get it right. Not many saddles have a truly WIDE gullet. Most “wides’ are not WIDE wide but are ‘medium wide’ meaning they’re not suitable for a horse like the Arab was. You have to look for what they call a “warmblood wide”.Right now, Raven, my Hanoverian, is in a Hulsebos. The company is in the Netherlands, I think, and once a year sends a fitter out to cover the country, fitting saddles.

    I must say that if you find a GOOD saddle that fits the horse, (and you take good care of it), you’ll get your money back. I bought my Albion, used, for $900. When I terminated the lease on the Arab, the fitter took it around trying to sell it. It took about 6 weeks. even before the fitter contacted me to tell me she’d sold it, I got a phone call from the buyer who thanked me a dozen times for the saddle, as it was the first one she’d found that actually fit her Aladdinn bred Arabian! I sold it for $1300, my fitter took her commission and I still made a few bucks. And I know it went to a good home.

    1. I don’t think Treeless saddles are the absolute solution because unless they are padded correctly, they can also cause a sore back. However, having one in the tackroom for those times when you don’t have a saddle that fits can be very convenient. At least that’s my excuse. I agree that a good quality saddle holds its value. I typically buy used and have, a few times, made some serious money reselling. Unfortunately, after eBay changed its policies to vastly favor buyers, it became less feasible to sell. I’m selling off my “collection” slowly but surely.

  2. It only took me two goes with eBay to quit them. Holy cow, it was a huge commission for them (what, 10%?) PLUS another 3% going to Pay Pal, they want you to give free shipping…and so you have to cut your own profit to nothing just to get rid of what you’re selling. Nope, I’ll go back to old fashioned way of selling stuff. Good luck!

  3. Mostly I’m selling off saddles to people I already know. The trick is to restrain from buying new ones. Most people have trouble finding saddles. Not me. They seek me out.

  4. I bought an EZ-Fit treeless saddle. It also has a gullet, it is a super velcro saddle, I could position the panels wider if I needed to, I could put the girth, stirrup hangers and cantle where I needed them to be, I could adjust, adjust and adjust some more.

    Due to my balance problems (MS) after around a year I resigned myself to the fact that I NEED a saddle tree. In the treeless I would list off to the side even though I used a “waffle” non-slip pad. Amazingly NONE of the horses I ride were particularly worried about this, so I know that the EZ-Fit was comfortable to their backs.

    I gave it to one of the ladies that lets me ride her horses. She LOVES it, so far she has been able to fit every horse she’s tried it on (horses with vastly different backs,) she finds it super comfortable, the horses move freely, much more freely than in normally treed saddles, and the riders feel secure.

    Of course most people have better side-to-side balance than I do.

    1. Thank you for chiming in about them. I’ve heard good things about EZ fit saddles but have never had the chance to try one. I’m hoping some exercise will get Zelda back into fighting shape as I do need a more conventional saddle for foxhunting, but I will keep the EZ Fit in mind, too.

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