About Freeform Saddles
Here you'll find an in-depth overview of Freeform treeless saddles:
- Saddle Details:
- Adjustable Stirrup Attachment
- Girthing Options
- Interchangeable Seat & Seat Options
- Sizing & Fitting
- Features & Options
- Caring for Your Freeform Saddle
Freeform provides superior quality in every aspect of treeless saddles:
- Remarkable versatility for the serious rider, whether you ride endurance, trail, hunt seat or dressage.
- Made in Italy by a wonderful group of craftswomen.
- All NEW designs - by Paulita & Whitney
Freeform saddles combine the qualities of a conventional saddle with the lightness and flexibility of being treeless. As a result of the Freeform foam injection molding process, the saddle is suitable for horses with a wide variety of conformations. Its flexibility minimizes interference with the horse’s natural gaits and offers a comfortable, more balanced ride than a traditional saddle, while protecting the horse's back.
The Freeform saddle has two main parts: 1) the saddle base and 2) the detachable seat. Other features include an adjustable stirrup attachment, adjustable girthing, Mono flaps and a wide choice of leathers and colors. The breathable foam core ensures the saddle's light weight. See technical details and more information below.
The flexibility of these saddles allows the horse complete unrestricted freedom of movement, encouraging movement as nature intended, while providing a close-contact feel for the rider. There is excellent weight distribution with all the Freeform saddles. This gives the horse and rider a comfortable, balanced riding experience.
The incorporation of “flexi-front” technology, as detailed below, into the front of the seat aids in wither clearance and adjusts automatically with both the movement and shape of the horse. One saddle can fit all of your horses. Plus, as your horse's back changes with age and conditioning, the saddle consistently maintains a good fit. See Brooks & Blanco's story of recovery and rehab, Hannah's story about a 1,000+ mile ride with multiple horses or Hard-to-Fit saddle raves.
These are saddles you will use for years to come on many different horses if you so choose, confident that the quality of materials and workmanship will last and last.
The Freeform saddle has been used by most Tevis Cup winners since 2007. You, too, will be a winner in your horse’s eyes when you’re riding in a Freeform saddle.
Freeform Saddle Details
The Freeform's detachable seat has a high tensile aluminum bar incorporated into the front of the seat to aid in wither clearance. This bar is very lightweight while providing high flexibility. It will automatically adjust to the movement and shape of your horse. Freeform acts as a totally tree-free saddle with flexibility throughout its entirety, but without collapsing in the pommel arch over time and use. When transferring your saddle from a very wide bodied horse to a narrow horse, just remove the detachable seat, gently squeeze the pommel arch together, and then re-affix the seat to your saddle base. The pommel will automatically adjust to the shape of the horse.
The stirrup attachment on the Freeform Saddles is completely adjustable. It is designed to allow custom stirrup positions, from Trail/endurance riding, to jumping position to classical dressage seat. Having an adjustable stirrup attachment allows each individual rider to adjust their stirrup placement so they do not have to fight the forces of nature - allowing each rider to sit easily in the natural hip/shoulder/heel alignment. We can help you with your balance and body issues.
The girth straps are stitched on a "Y" system in all Freeform saddles to help make the saddle more secure and spread the pressure of the rider over the whole of the saddle (see below). This design also ensures that the stirrup and girthing arrangement do not attach at the same point, thereby preventing pressure from radiating at one point on the horse's back.
New girthing option (see below) comes standard for all Freeform Classic (all purpose) and Enduro/Trail saddles from Saddle Up. This girthing was designed by Paulita Neff and Amy Sumrall because they wanted their saddles to have options to fit many different horses. With the three D rings will able you to find the position for the girth that is right for your horse.
NEW in 2019 - Extreme enduro bases are available with center fire rigging and dressage rigging. You will always be able to find your girth grove with these options. The extra billets are removable for later use. The extreme base also has extra build up in the base to support heavier riders. This option comes standard with our Pathfinder and Pathfinder PJ saddles. It is available at an extra cost on our Ultimate Trail saddle.
The seat of a Freeform saddle can be completely removed and is interchangeable with different sizes. Shop seat styles.
Seat Sizes: 16 - 20 inches (half inch increments in some models)
Sizing for the Rider
Reach out to our sales team for help in fitting and sizing the rider.
Sizing for the Horse
As a Freeform Saddle has no tree and is flexible, the saddle shapes itself to each individual horse. However, the following are some guidelines:
When placing a Freeform saddle on your horse place the saddle seat so that you will be sitting in the saddle seat in the same place you would be sitting if you were riding bareback. The area on the horse's back equipped to carry the rider comfortably is between the 9th and the 13th thoracic vertebrae. With the Freeform saddle, the rider is placed right behind the withers, avoiding pressure beyond the 14th thoracic vertebrae and allowing full range of movement of the shoulder blades. The rider's weight is carried without causing pain, discomfort and damage to the horse's body. The rider weight is wrapped around the horse's center of motion for best support of weight and freedom of movement.
Wither clearance is easily obtainable with the Freeform saddle. All saddles come with a 9mm cutback. Deeper cutback saddles can be special ordered, if needed. If you are questioning the fit of your cutback, we recommend you be able to put your fingers under the cutback while trotting down hill. You may feel a bit of pressure, but it should not feel TIGHT. Please see our video on how to test your saddle fit at home for more tips.
High withered horses are the most difficult to fit. Not any more - with a Freeform and the newly designed Skito pad we custom make, high withered horses find comfort. Each pad is made from photos of your horse.
Please call Saddle Up for help with saddle selection, pad selection and shimming options.
We at Saddle Up can show you the simple steps to take to ensure correct placement and fitting for your horse as well as advise the correct seat size for the rider. Call us at (540) 271-4577.
- Cutback option available on all models providing clearance for high withers.
- Flexi-front constructed of high tensile aluminum provides support and flexibility.
- Velcro panels on underside of saddle for attaching panel system. (Sold separately).
- Two sizes of panels to attach to underside of saddle for better fit for some horses, providing better weight distribution of rider, more clearance of spine and withers.
- "Y" girthing distributes pressure more equally.
- Free moving interchangeable billet straps allow for girth to settle into each horse's individual girth groove. Center fire rigging available on some models.
- Optional sweat flaps protect sensitive horses from billet strap chafing.
- Stirrup leathers attach with Velcro across the top of the saddle, allowing for incremental changes in stirrup position for best rider balance and positioning appropriate for jumping, dressage, and more. NO pressure.
- Close contact EasyFit Leathers greatly eliminate bulk beneath rider's thighs and knees. One inch wide.
- Wave Leathers provide more leg protection while still maintaining flexibility and freedom of leg position. Two inches wide.
- Standard Fender is wider and for use with Western and English saddles.
- Ultimate Trail (aka Happy Ass) Seat available for trail riding with superior support: high cantle, low twist, and poleys.
- Detachable seats interchangeable with most models.
Basic Leather Care:
Routine cleaning is recommended to aid in the longevity of your Freeform saddle. A complete cleaning twice a year, followed by a conditioner and protectant, will maintain the finish and increase durability.
Saddle Up recommends the use of Effax Leather Balm with your Freeform Saddle.
Helpful Resources to Learn More:
- Fitting Your Horse & You - Choosing the right saddle and pad, factoring in weight, fitting with panels, evaluating cinch/girth length and tips for trying out your saddle
- Overview of Freeform Saddles - Find out what makes Freeform unique, including saddle details; sizing, features and options; and saddle care.
- FAQs - Often when someone is considering changing from something they are used to - like a saddle with a tree, to an unknown - like a saddle without a tree, they have many questions. Find answers in our FAQs.
- Watch Videos - Get saddle fitting tips, saddle spotlights, setup tips & quick changes with accessories and tips for gaited horses
- Saddle Guides - Considering treeless saddles for your gaited horse? Start here Saddles for Gaited Horses & Tips for You, See also Saddles for Trail Riding and for Endurance Riding.
- Saddle Demo Program - We work with you one-on-one to ensure the best fit for you and your horse. We’re proud to say that our saddle return rate is less than 6%.
- Raves from Riders - Browse the many raves that riders have shared over the years about the benefits of Freeform treeless saddles