May 23, 2022

Best Saddle I've Ever Owned

By Paulita Neff
Top endurance rider Tammy Gagnon riding her gray horse in a Freeform Classic Cutback Treeless Saddle in open country.

By Tammy Gagnon

I have been doing Endurance for about 20 yrs now. I went the gauntlet of saddle hunting and buying in order to fit our horses ever-developing contours that came with conditioning and competing with sport - and spent copious and obscene amounts of money in the process.

My sister bought a Freeform (used). I was skeptical at first, thinking there is no way since I had tried other "treeless" and adjustable saddles with all the same results. So, I tried hers out. Then I bought it off her when she decided to stay with more traditional western riding. Two years later, I bought the Freeform Classic with the Cutback option and a set of panel inserts (for those special needs project horses) and still have the same saddle to train and compete in.

I now have over 3000 miles in this saddle and it still looks virtually new. I have only had to replace my leathers once and typically keep them well guarded with fleece wraps. It has a few wear spots from the last season, because I rode it pretty hard with a torn acl and a mechanical knee brace for the last 1300 miles. But this saddle has been by far the best saddle that I have ever owned, I have managed to clean out my tackroom from the plethora of saddles that I will no longer use, at least for endurance.

From the start, the difference in how my horses moved, responded and developed and felt were extremely obvious. Gone, was the bracing, the choppy strides during the latter part of our workouts, they became softer, more supple, more responsive and I could literally feel their back muscle work under my seat! We have had no pressure spots, no soreness, no short strides from a pinched back or core fatigue due to excessive weight. I have since ordered another one this last week, so I have two.

I ride as a Feather Weight in our sport and my husband rides at the upper end of the Heavyweight Division. Both of us love our saddles! He had a western seat on his where mine is the Classic which is pretty close to a dressage style. I LOVE the fact that we can adjust our stirrups for a more forward or back or centered seat in the saddle. I prefer to ride with more of an equitation style where my husband (he has a hip deformity) rides with his legs more forward (looks like he's sitting in a chair), but we both are very happy with the amount of tailoring to suit both horse and rider that we have only found with these Freeform Saddles! Even after doing multi-day 50's or 100's, including Tevis!

Thank you Freeform for making such incredible craftsmanship! Our horses and our hineys THANK YOU!!!