PSSM

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Trekker Luxus Treeless Saddles – PSSM Horse Sore Back, Painful Muscles

Treeless saddles for horse sore muscles behind saddle - Trekker saddle, Trekker Luxus

Originally posted 2/11/18, posted here with updates

Treeless saddles for horse sore muscles behind saddle - Trekker saddle, Trekker Luxus
Treeless saddles for horse sore muscles behind saddle – Trekker Luxus saddle with Back On Track back pad.
  • The Trekker Luxus treeless saddle works with almost any saddle pad, in 2018 was using with a Hilason Gel Western treeless saddle pad, with a Back On Track liner velcroed to the bottom of the pad. [Update 2019-2020 using a Weatherbeeta merino lined English pad (not a treeless saddle pad) that works beautifully with this treeless saddle, as does my Back On Track back pad.]
  • This Trekker saddle is extremely comfortable, with a good twist and removable knee blocks.
  • The Trekker Luxus is very secure, and seats me in a good position even with shorter stirrups.
  • The Trekker Luxus fit is adjustable with both a pommel adjustment and (re)movable panels.
  • The Trekker Luxus has solid construction and doesn’t slip; I can mount from the ground when necessary, but typically try to avoid it if I can to save Jax’s back.

PSSM horse sore back behind saddle (lumbar area): I adore this saddle – I found it on eBay for a steal at a little over $600 shipped (used but very good condition).  I bought it in February of 2017, and we’ve finally started using it on a regular basis these last few months (late 2017-early 2018).  I wasn’t able to use it often during the first year of Jax’s rehab from his muscle disorder – he was just too sensitive in his back and shoulders. 

He now seems very comfortable in it and moves out great.  It’s extremely short length means I can place it behind his shoulders and the saddle doesn’t sit me passed his last rib on his extremely short back (in fact, because of the short span of saddle in front of me, I sit in the exact same position as I do bareback).  I measured the length of this saddle and it is 19″ in length!  Perfect for my boy.  

Trialing My New Trekker Saddle for My PSSM Horse Sore Back Behind Saddle (Lumbar Area)

I tried using this saddle with a felt pad, and it was bouncy at the trot and canter.   Some of that was him and his jack-hammer trot when he doesn’t feel good (as most treeless saddles are bouncy when he’s like this), but I immediately noticed a difference with the gel pad which seems to work better with these thick panels.  [Update Feb. 2023 – the Edix Courville works beautifully with the my Trekker saddle.]

The saddle is comfortable for me as well.  It has a nice soft, flat seat, a good twist, the panels are thin leather so it’s close-contact, and the knee blocks are velcro so they can be moved around or completely removed.  The adjustable pommel is phenomenal, and the area behind Jax’s shoulders that tends to get bulgy isn’t squeezed by this saddle. 

It’s also really secure, doesn’t slip, and has a tall cantle for that massive canter that can easily unseat me when he spooks! (Which thankfully, is rare with PSSM management).  I have mounted from the ground while on the trails a time or two, but I usually use a mounting block or climb on a rock when available so that I won’t pull on his back (also, he’s very tall at 16.1h, and with my shorter stirrups, I’m just not that limber lol).  

Overall, this saddle is exactly what we needed.  I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it.  Since I do love my bareback pad, I still ride in it quite often, and finally have my boy’s trot and canter to a smoothness that can now be sat bareback without holding on (something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I got him 6 years ago).  And that is mostly thanks to this saddle – it kept me secure during the rougher transitions so I could work him through it without worrying about my seat.  I highly recommend this saddle!

PSSM Horse Sore Back: Previous setup with Trekker

PSSM Horse Sore Back: Winter 2017-18 Setup with Trekker Luxus Treeless Saddle, Moss Rock sidepull, HDR breastcollar, Back On Track back pad with Hilason gel pad on top.  

I’m just throwing this in so you can see the difference one year can make!  He looks so different from the pic above.  This was before we got PSSM2 results, before we came up with a good hybrid management, and when he still wasn’t doing very well (though he was finally getting some canter during this time).  He did have a PSSM1 diagnosis and was on PSSM1 management at this time.

PSSM Horse Sore Back: Complications

PSSM Horse Sore Back and Shoulders NOTE: In/around May (?) 2019 I was riding in this saddle, and Jax bucked for the first time in the 8 years I’ve had him.  It wasn’t nasty, but we had been working on canter that day and his attitude was slightly off.  I untacked and checked his shoulders from withers straight down to back of elbow, and he was so sore he jumped sideways. 

This spot is the same reason treed saddles don’t work for him – the muscles here swell, possibly from compensation, and cause treed saddles to fit wrong when they’re swollen – making it look like they don’t fit.  While this saddle is still lovely and we still use it, I’m always sure to check these before tacking up with the saddle now.  With the bareback pad he still works fine, even when sore here, with no bucking.

PSSM Horse Sore Back: Adjustments Needed

February 2021: Adjustments are needed. My PSSM horse’s sore back and shoulder issues mean that the Trekker saddle panels (which extend down behind the shoulders) are uncomfortable while on the more rigid Trekker, but Jax seems comfortable with them attached to his Barefoot Physio bareback pad (which honestly needs more support than the Physio panels provide).

So, I’m trialing the Barefoot panels on the Trekker Luxus using an Edix treeless saddle pad to see if I can just swap out the panels permanently! I won’t get to try this until blanket season is over (it’s too cold to unblanket and tack up), so I’ll update this page with my findings when I have them!

I trialed this new setup quite a bit, but it didn’t 100% fix his shoulder or back soreness, and made it harder to switch between my bareback pad and saddle (due to switching the panels out, though for a time I put the Trekker panels on the Barefoot pad, and I did like that setup with thinner saddle pads!). I can’t say if the Barefoot panels on this saddle was a success or failure, but I did worry that the barefoot panels were a little too thin to keep pressure from the saddle skirt from causing issues so I switched the panels back.

See more horse sore back tack reviews!

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