September 06, 2022

This Saddle Is Truly Revolutionary

By Paulita Neff
Black mustang horse wearing a Freeform treeless Pathfinder saddle standing by boulders out on the trail.

Contributed by Hannah Catalino

I am primarily a bitless and barefoot rider. I loved the idea of long riding (a continuous ride 1,000 miles or longer) in a treeless saddle for my next great adventure. However, I felt there was a lot of mixed reviews on many treeless saddles out there and it made me initially hesitant and unsure.

Treeless was completely new to me as was riding such vast distances a day. Still, custom tree saddles didn’t make sense as I knew my horses back shapes would change with muscle gained and top lines changing - so I did not want to invest in a saddle that would not ultimately fit.

This propelled my interest in treeless as a potentially perfect option. Plus, I had two or three horses that would accompany me on the trip at different times and be swapped out. For my journey to be successful, I would need to fit them with an excellent pad and comfortable saddle that allowed flexibility in not just their individual body changes but different horses as well. To avoid any soreness was the ultimate goal.

Hanah Catalino riding a brideless Gruella colored mustang horse in a Freeform treeless Pathfinder saddle inside a corral with trees in the background.

Weight distribution - or the commonly believed, lack of - was where I was initially leery of making the jump to treeless. However, I quickly learned the Freeform Treeless saddles are like no other on the market.

It has a perfect amount of flexibility and stability, especially when coupled with Skito saddle pads, which help even further distribute and support the weight of the rider.

Nevertheless, even when I started, I still did not want this alluring idea and nice sounding concept to blind me to any soreness my horses might have. Their health and well-being for such a trek was always to be my greatest priority.

Often as precautionary measures, I had my horses checked by chiropractors and vets along our journey to ensure I was not missing anything. Their backs always received great feedback and were always in excellent condition! This was always music to my ears and I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing I made the best choice for my horses best interest.

700 miles in and up to 28 miles in a day and my horses never dealt with any discomfort or soreness related to the saddle.

And rider comfort was beyond my expectations too. I wasn’t exactly in riding shape before embarking on my trip. I had only ridden typically a few miles at a time on a trail ride a few times a year and I had done one 10-mile ride in my life as my longest time spent in the saddle. I was so comfy in this saddle, and I was never sore either.

I really have a hard time riding in any other because they just don’t compare to the security and ease I feel with the one I got from Saddle Up LLC! The Pathfinder always gave me the feeling of being able to move and shift around as needed, while also providing a very secure seat, even when my horses were startled by various things we encountered. I loved how the rigging, seat, and stirrup placement could be adjusted for individual riders needs as no person is perfectly symmetrical.

These seemingly minor details are game changers for horse and rider, increasing the versatility of this saddle beyond any other.

I honestly cannot think of one negative thing about this saddle even from a constructive criticism standpoint. Paulita and Whitney were so knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and every step of the way and acted as incredible resources as I learned how to properly place and fit my new saddle.

My horses’ happiness was also their priority as well, which really helped us stay like-minded and on the same page throughout my trek. I absolutely love it and would never choose any other for a ride longer than a few miles. I love riding in it so much I still select it over traditional tack to school my horses in the arena.

I am so glad I took the leap and did something different. This saddle is truly revolutionary.