Hi, I’m Paulita Neff. I live in the beautiful Mountains of Virginia with my long time partner Jeff, our wonderful herd of horses (1 Arab, 1 Rocky Mountain, 1 Spotted Walker and 2 Tennessee Walkers). And our great dog “Billy Jack” and new puppy Lucca, both Aussies. From time to time we enjoy Guineas also. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to live and ride here. Jeff and I enjoy many days in our Freeform treeless saddles trail riding the awesome trails next to our home. We also LOVE camping in our LQ in WV and riding with friends.
I so believed in the treeless saddle experience that I bought into the business in 2009. In 2013, I became the head designer for Freeform. After riding for the past 50 years, I’ve gone through many saddles and disciplines. I’ve been horse crazy for as long as I can remember. Always dreaming of the pony standing next to the Christmas tree. I started riding at the age of five at Deerfield Horse Center in Great Falls, Virginia–schooling horse with those old English saddles. I didn’t care at that point in my life, as I was just so happy to be riding once a week. As I grew up and moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, I starting riding a variety of disciplines from showing Quarter horses in western pleasure to Tennessee Walkers in plantation classes (none of that padded stuff).
When I started into the world of Endurance riding I learned so much about saddle fit. Your horse’s back is ever changing. Never feeling totally in tune with my horse until I purchased my first Freeform treeless saddle. For months I researched treeless saddles. The Freeform saddle was new to the United States, and offered everything I’d been looking for. My first Freeform was a Classic. Many endurance and training miles were put on it before it was retired to the grandkids.
I finally found freedom of movement for my horses - and the end to saddle fitting issues by adapting to all five of my different shaped horses. The contact between the horse and myself is like we’ve become one. What an amazing experience! My horses have longer strides and freedom of shoulder movement; they also are able to have much better natural balance when ridden. Freeform saddles, I love it each and every time I ride out.
Having the opportunity to study saddle fit with master fitters around the world, along with vets, chiropractors, acupuncturist, holistic vets, osteopathy and other equine practitioners, including dentist and farriers, has helped me redesign and improve the Freeform saddles over the years.
I’m finally in a place in my life to enjoy hours of trail riding. This connected me to a more natural way of riding for both horse and rider. The freedom, balance and comfort for both myself and my horses are an unbelievable experience.
Jeff and I are so lucky to have our daughter Whitney and family living across the ridge from us. We have made trails though our property to use with horses and ATVs to visit each other. Life is truly great. This brings me to the introduction of our daughter Whitney to Saddle Up. In 2015, she gave up her career as a Greenhouse Manager (our family has a history of Greenhouses growing really cool plants and herbs) to be close to home with her kids. She jumped right in at Saddle Up to soak up all the knowledge from the start. Whitney enjoys saddle fitting and working with clients - you'll find her in many of our videos as well. She is a true GEM. I’m semi-retired now, leading to new adventures in my life and grateful to have Whitney to share my dreams and move forward with the business. I feel positive you will enjoy working with her on your new saddle.
Life's an adventure enjoy the ride - Paulita
Whitney HartmanHi friends, my name is Whitney Hartman. I am the daughter and best friend of Paulita Neff. She has taught me a great deal in my 33 years. When I was young, she ran 14 greenhouses in a small town. It was a lovely way to grow up. Living on a farm brought me a great deal of independence and responsibility. Mom brought horses into my life around the age of 11. I enjoyed very much helping her and friends get through endurance rides. I learned so many details about horses from those experiences. Horsemanship is really an amazing thing. I still have a strong love for plants, but horses are right there too!
I wear many hats at the Saddle Up Shop, where I've worked with Paulita since 2014. It’s amazing to see our accomplishments and our business grow and evolve. I share her passion to help horse and rider become one in the saddle. It is really a great feeling to help riders, to fit horses and be happy. There are so many different types of horses. Some are easy to fit, some are difficult. I like the challenge.
I am a mom to two wonderful children, who keep me hopping. My son is 12 and my daughter is 6. They also have a passion for horses. That’s one other thing that makes this job great. The kids help a lot - anything from taking videos, taping boxes, and putting inventory away. I’m grateful for the extra time I get to spend with them at the shop.
I look forward to many more years with Freeform and I'm excited to help you with any of your questions. You can reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (540) 271-4577.