treeless saddles
Home Features Demos Saddles & Pricing Tack & Accessories FAQs Saddle-up Video Customer Feedback
In-Stock Saddles
About Us
that Fit
Free Swing Rigging
Hard Use Rigging

3 Billet


Simple Search
Site Map

Saddle Options

Each Sensation Ride™ Treeless Saddle is hand made to your specifications.  This includes customizing your pommel, swell, cantle and flap to get you that perfect fit!  All options below are available at no additional charge, unless otherwise specified.


The swells are used in the Hybrid, Sonoran, Westlish Rebel and Western Sport models.  There are three types of swells available: Hybrid (Short), Western (Medium) or Tall Western (High, additional $30).  The difference between the swells feels more extreme than it looks.  The height of the swells is the same, but the angle of tilt towards the rider makes them appear to be different heights.

Hybrid Swell Western Swell Tall Western Swell
Western Swell Hybrid Swell
Tall Western Swell


The pommels are used on the English/Trail, Dressage/Trail and Formal Dressage models.  There are three types of pommels available: English, Dressage, and Formal Dressage.  There is also a reduced pommel available.  Like the swells, the pommels are interchangeable on all English models at no additional charge.

English Trail Pommel Dressage Trail Pommel Formal Dressage Pommel Reduced Pommel
English Trail Pommel Dressage Trail Pommel Formal Dressage Pommel Reduced Pommel


Our cantles vary not only in height, but in width as well and are interchangeable on all Sensation Ride™ Treeless Saddles, with the exception of the Harmony Element.  From lowest to tallest we offer: English, Dressage, Formal Dressage, Hybrid, Western and Tall Western (additonal $30).  The height variance between the cantles can be as slight 1/4″ – which makes a huge difference in terms of how the saddle feels.

English Cantle Dressage Cantle Formal Dressage Cantle
English Cantle Dressage Cantle Formal Dressage Cantle
Hybrid Cantle Western Cantle Tall Western Cantle
Hybrid Cantle Western Cantle Tall Western Cantle


There are three flap styles available to choose from.  We offer the Englishl flap, the Dressage flap, and the Formal Dressage Flap.  The English flap is similar to an all purpose flap, in that it is cut slightly more forward.  This flap will accommodate riders who prefer riding with shorter stirrups, or who have a longer thigh.  The Dressage  flap is not cut as forward as the English  flap and is 0.5″ longer.  The Formal Dressage Flap is designed for a rider who prefers to rider with a longer, more dressage style leg.

English Trail Flap Dressage Trail Flap Formal Dressage Flap
English Trail Flap Dressage Trail Flap Formal Dressage Flap

Additional Rings

You can have additional rings added to your Sensation Ride™ saddle for $12/ring.  The most common placements are shown in the photo below.  If you would like an additional ring in a position other than A, B, C or D please let us or your dealer know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Sensation Saddle Ring Placement

Seat Foams

Each Sensation Ride™ saddle is custom made to your specifications – right down to the foam you sit on!  Read on below to learn more about the various foams offered in the seat of each Sensation Ride™ saddle.

Poron (soft additional $10) - This foam offers excellent resiliency, as well as high performance shock absorption.  It is a slow recovery foam, and will be affected by temperature changes.  It will become soft in warmer temperatures, and will harden in cold temperatures.  Poron is great for riders from 140-180lbs, but can be used whenever a high performance cushioning is desired.  Poron has an open cell structure, and will therefore absorb moisture slowly time – a factor to consider for riders living on the coast.

Poron (med firm additional $10) – This foam is usually used within the saddle itself, and is only recommended in cases where a very firm cushioning is required.  Riders over 180lbs would find this foam supportive without bottoming out.  It is lightly affected by warmer and cooler temperatures, and like the soft poron will absorb moisture.

Grey – This foam has a very open cell structure with a springy touch.  Grey foam is great for lighter riders, and also for those who live in a humid/coastal climate as it does not retain moisture.  This foam is not temperature sensitive.

Medium Blue Foam – This foam is ideal for riders 120-160lbs.  It is a slow recovery (memory) foam, and is affected by warmer and cooler temperatures.  It will absorb and retain moisture

Firm Blue Foam – This foam is great for riders who are over 150lbs.  It is a slow recovery (memory) foam, and is affected by warmer and cooler temperatures.  It will absorb and retain moisture

Some seat considerations:
Western seats come standard with a more detailed stitch pattern, which will tend to make a foam feel more firm due to the tensioning of the leather from the stitching.  Hybrid stitch patterning on the seat can reduce this feeling.
Seat leathers that have less stretch (such as suede) will tend to make a seat feel firmer than a seat with stretchier leather.

Each Sensation Ride™ saddle model has standard options:

English/Trail – English pommel, flap and cantle
Dressage/Trail – Dressage pommel, flap and cantle
Formal Dressage – Formal Dressage pommel, flap and cantle
Hybrid – Hybrid swell and cantle, Dressage Flap
Sonoran – Tall Western swell and cantle, Formal Dressage flap
Westlish Rebel – Western swell and cantle, English Flap
Western Sport – Western swell and cantle
Harmony Element – No fixed pommel or cantle, Dressage Flap

Remember that these options can all be interchanged.  For example, you could order an English Trail with an English Pommel, Formal Dressage Cantle and English flap if you would like.  Or a Hybrid with Hybrid Swell, Tall Western Cantle and English flap – the possibilities to customize the saddle exactly to your liking are endless!  A Sensation Ride™ Specialist will be happy to help you determine which options will make your saddle truly sensational!



We tried to anticipate the different aspects people want to know about the Sensation models as they are considering these saddles. The explanations below will be changed as needed.

Usually customers will look over this site and then pick up the phone to ask questions that were not addressed somewhere in the web site. When they call I like to have a thorough conversation with my customers that helps me to determine which saddle and options will best match their riding style and their horse(s).

Please note that the treeless foundation is the same in all the models.

If you have any comments or suggestions for other topics you feel would be helpful here please let me know. I would love to hear from you. The first question or topic is probably the most frequent. So let’s get started!

What Models Are Offered?

These saddle models offered by Nickers Saddlery Ltd. are the G3 English Trail, G3 Dressage (non-trail), G3 Dressage Trail, G3 Hybrid, G4 Western Sport Trail and the formal G4 Dressage Show saddle. The G represents 'generation', and 3 is the version.

Length of Sensation Saddles

All the models except the Western are about 19” to 20” long on the underside, from front to back, which is the footprint of the saddle. The Western is about 3 inches longer. The rear skirting, which is soft and flexible extends out from the cantle about three inches. This will not interfere with your horses loins or interfere with the hips in any way.


The flap of the English, Dressage and Hybrid saddle is the large piece of leather that your leg is against. All the Sensation models have flaps except for the Western model. The length of the flaps is just about the same on all models except the G4 Dressage Show saddle.

G3 English Trail, seat size 17” to 17 ½" (English measuring) - The flap is a more forward seat flap that bows gently outward as with many multi-purpose or forward seat English saddles. Riders with longer hip to knee length and those who wish to ride with a shorter stirrup may be better served with the forward flap of the English Trail saddle. The thigh length can be measured from the bend of your hip to the bend of your knee.

G3 Dressage Trail, seat size 17” to 17 ½” (English measuring) - The saddle is built straighter at the front of the flap in comparison to the English Trail saddle. This is what you might expect on a dressage saddle.

G3 Dressage, seat size 17” to 17 ½” (English measuring) - Identical to the Dressage trail. The ONLY difference is that it has no rear O rings for saddle bags.

G4 Dressage Show, seat size 17” to 17 ½” (English measuring) - The flap is two inches longer. The bottom of the flap is styled for a more traditional look for the show ring.

G3 Hybrid, seat size 15” (Western measuring) - Built on the dressage flap.

G4 Western Sport Trail, seat size 15” or 16” (Western measuring)- Comes in either size (will be referred to in the rest of this document as simply the western model). It has fenders, not flaps. Click on the "3 Billet Rigging" tab from the "Saddles & Pricing" section to see pictures of how the fenders can be adjusted for your needs.

Flap Length Options

You can request the flaps on the English models and the Hybrid to be made one inch to two inches shorter or longer. Check pricing with Gerri.

Your leg length and inseam largely determines the need for these options. For example, if you have an inseam of 28” or shorter you will be best suited to a shorter flap. The hard use stirrup strap mode is the recommended way to ride the Sensation saddles. If you are short legged you will not have enough swing in the stirrups in the hard use mode which will feel restrictive. Getting a saddle with the flap 2” shorter will be more comfortable and provides more swing in the stirrups. If you are have an inseam of 32” or more and/or ride with a long leg position you may want a longer flap.

Stirrup Rigging

The G3 English Trail, the G3 Dressage Trail and non-trail, and the Hybrid saddles all have the "Hard Use" buckle at the end of the flap. This optimally distributes the load from the weight applied in the stirrups over the horses back. And it is the recommend way to use these saddles. For lightweight and very small riders, these saddles also offer the use for "Free Swing" rigging which uses traditional English leather stirrup straps that attaches to the strap ring under the saddle seat. Otherwise the 'Hard Use' rigging is the recommended way to ride in the saddles. Click on the "Features" tab for more information on the hard use and free swing modes and their uses.

The three billet rigging system (still Hard Use) is used on the Western and G4 Dressage models. See “3 Billet Rigging” for the Western and the G4 Dressage three billet system. This rigging allows you to set the stirrups where you want them, or set the girth position where it's best for your horse. If you are short legged, Nickers has stirrup strap & fenders that work for shorter-legged people.

You can order the three billet system on any of the models that normally do not come with them, IE., the English Trail, G3 Dressage & the Hybrid. Check pricing with Gerri.

endurance stirrup strap
Click Pic
A Note to Endurance Riders: Nickers highly recommends (they would make it a law if they could) that you use the “Endurance straps” that hang only on the Hard Use buckle. The use of the Hard Use strap which goes across the saddle under the seat is eliminated. This setup places 100% of the load from the rider’s weight in the stirrups which gets optimally distributed up into the flap. Check pricing with Gerri.

Pommels & Cantles

The relative heights and shapes of these pieces will, in part, determine the degree of seat security.

English Trail - The pommel is the lowest of all the models. It is angled so it slopes away from the rider, which will give the rider a roomier feel in the saddle in comparison to the dressage pommel. The cantle on the English trail is the lowest of the models at about 2 ½”. The choice of foam, ½”, ¾” or the new firm yet cushy poron foam will also determine in part how deep the seat will feel. The ½” will allow for a deeper seat whereas the ¾” will be less so.

G3 Dressage trail and non trail - This pommel is just slightly taller than the English trail and has a steeper more upright angle. This offers more seat security compared to the English trail. The cantle is just a little bit higher than the English trail model, approximately 2 ¾”. The difference in depth of the seat between the two models is minimal.

Hybrid - The pommel (swell) is taller and wider (what one might call an endurance styled pommel). It tends to tilt back more toward the rider in comparison to the western pommel (swell). The cantle is taller than the English trail and the Dressage trail and is a bit “scoopier” around the rider’s backside. This seat offers more seat security than the English or the Dressage saddle. It is meant to fit the rider in a more snug fashion. Riders who are a bit on the bigger side may find this saddle a little too snug compared to the English and Dressage saddle. I would say this is a saddle that will fit women who wear a pant size of 13/14 and under. Most average size men over 185 lbs will find this one too snug. But this depends on how each person carriers their weight.

Western - The pommel (swell) on this one is just a little higher and more upright than on the Hybrid, although it is hard to see from the pictures. The cantle is a little taller and a little more scoopy around the rider’s backside, or 'Bum' as the Canadians like to call it.

G4 Formal Dressage – The cantle is a bit higher and the overall feel is that this saddle has a deep seat, a bit more than the G3 Dressage saddle.

Which Saddle Will Give The Most Seat Security?

In order from the least secure to the most secure :

English trail
Dressage trail & non trail
G4 Dressage Formal Show saddle
Hybrid & Western are about equal

In comparing each model’s level of seat security, the Western & Hybrid are very close to each other in this respect. The Hybrid’s knee roll provides seat security in addition to the high pommel and cantle. The Dressage and English saddles are again very similar with the Dressage Trail model offering just a little deeper seat then the English Trail saddle. Riders just getting started learning to ride or riders training and riding young horses will appreciate a more secure seat.

That being said, if you like the English trail saddle, for example, but wanted a more secure seat, the western cantle can be ordered on it. You can even request the Western or Hybrid pommel (swell) on it too. There is no extra charge to do this.

How the Saddles "Feel" to the Rider

I have ridden in all the models now for some time. I happen to ride gaited horses which in part influences my own perspective. The thing I notice most is how each saddle positions me. All of the models except the Western set me nice and upright. This is a good thing and is a very correct riding position. It is very easy to post or two point in this position. The Western saddle allows me to sit back into the cantle with a bit more ease as the seat is flatter and a little more lengthy. This seems to suit my own riding style well. I really like being able to choose which billet to place the stirrup straps on as well. I personally select the most forward billet for gaited horse riding. I think those wanting to ride in a more western trail style would also appreciate this saddle.

Girthing System

All models, even the western, need a dressage girth. If you supply the heart-girth measurement of your horse then the girth size can be determined. The heart-girth is the circumference of your horse’s barrel in the area where the girth would rest. Place the tape measure there and go all the way around the horse’s barrel. Make sure the tape is at the bottom or base of the wither not on it. An average size horse will be around a 70” to 74” heart-girth.

Leather Choices For Optimizing Seat Security

Choose Suede or NuBuck for maximum seat security - The seat tops, knee and thigh rolls and the flaps on the English models can be made with either suede or Nubuck leather. NuBuck is very finely sanded full grain leather. Unlike suede it still has the skin of the leather intact - meaning it is more durable than suede - but it will wear smooth in time. NuBuck has a similar feel to that of micro fiber used to cover furniture. Some people find regular suede to be too grippy or that it causes chaffing to one’s backside. NuBuck is a comfortable alternative and still has a fair amount of grip. Both suede and NuBuck will show wear spots in time where there is the most friction on the saddle. You can purchase replacement seat tops as a separate purchase. Check pricing with Gerri. In some cases you can order a suede seat top for an all leather saddle at no extra charge. The following section explains the relative grip of “smooth” leather.

Smooth Leather - Leather comes in varying degrees of grip, with the grippiest being “oily” leather (the leather has a non-glossy appearance and is used for the saddle flap, but not usually the seat) and the least grippy “finished” leather having a glossy finish. Ask what is available at the time you order and you can be matched up with the leather for the flap that best suites your riding needs and style best. Suede seat tops are often requested with an otherwise all leather saddle.

Adding extra Rings - This is not exactly in the right section but I wanted you to know that You can request extra O rings on any of the saddles. The most requested position is for O rings on the back of the flap for Stowaway bags. Stowaway rings are standard on the Hybrid. Rings are also requested on the front flap, about 8 to 10” down from the knee roll, to anchor water bottle carriers.

Saddle Color Choices

Color is fun!! And it is very important in the selection and value of the saddle for each customer. There are so many color options here it can make your head swim. Go to the Saddles & Pricing page and then scroll all the way down to see the options. Suffice it to say that actual colors such as red, green, purple, blue, pink, etc. are choices for the seat tops and knee and thigh rolls. If Nickers has these colors already in stock you can choose a color at no extra charge. If the hide has to be special ordered the fee is $100.00 extra for color.

Breast Collars, Cruppers, and Bridles are offered by Nickers in many different colors of Beta & Biothane to match your new saddle. I hope to have pictures of them on the web site soon.

Customizations For Best Seat Size & Fit

Example #1 - If you are a larger rider and want to get a Western made as large as possible here is what you can do. Get it half an inch longer and get the smallest cantle put on it which is the English trail cantle. It is lower and less scoopy which will open up the seat creating a roomier fit. Keep in mind that all the Sensation saddles will fit a little roomier with use. The reason is that all the materials will stretch out a bit to a certain degree. Also, you can remove some of the stuffing from the cantle and decrease the bulk from behind you. Before you do this call for instructions.

Example #2 - Make a Hybrid bigger: order it ½” larger, and put the western pommel (swell) on it. This pommel tilts more forward opening the seat up for you a bit more than the standard pommel which tilts back toward you. You can also opt for one of the shorter cantles such as the dressage cantle.

Example #3 - You like the Hybrid or Dressage but have a long hip to knee length. Simple, order it with the English flap. Since the flap bows forward a bit you will have more room for your longer thigh. You can also opt for a longer seat size too.

Example #4 - You are 5’0” and want one of the English models or the Hybrid. Best thing to do here is to order the saddle two inches shorter. If you order a Western model you can choose shorter fenders and stirrups straps.

Example #5 - You are a petite gal, wearing a size 4 to 6 pant size. Pommel and cantle seat bolsters placed under the seat will create a smaller seat. You can use the bolsters on any of the models. Check pricing with Gerri. See the "Features" section for more information.

Any feature on one saddle can be built on another model with some limitations. For example, you can have an English saddle with Dressage flaps, or, you can have a Western saddle with a Dressage cantle. The three billet system that is offered on the Western and the G4 Dressage is available on the other models. Also, the G4 seat top can be added to your English trail or the G3 Dressage saddle in place of the regular one. Check pricing with Gerri.

 Sensation Ride™ Treeless Saddles . . . First Choice Treeless Saddles . . . The Fun Place to Learn and Shop! 
Copyright © 2005, 2010 First Choice Treeless Saddles - All Rights Reserved.