I have spent the summer trying out our new seat. I had it shipped over from VA USA just before the summer.
I needed to move up a seat size and the difference is amazing. It’s on a Classic Freeform Base with a brown Freewest seat. The skirt I didn’t know if that would hinder or help, but I don’t notice it. In fact I have ditched the t bar and gone back to standard leathers. So maybe the skirt shape protects my thigh from the flat buckle.
The black and brown combo looks quite nice and since the brown was reduced I just got that.
You have two seat lengths and three fork size options. The fork is forward and is actually part of the base and not the seat.
It accommodates the panels if needed and has a slightly narrower twist than the Ultimate Trail. This model has the option of bolsters if you really really want a narrow twist. Deep secure seat as found in the Ultimate Trail.
This model has the new full girthing system.
Also Freeform have redone the foam in the Skito pads designed for Freeform use.
I get asked this from time to time. The simple answer is yes you can but just be aware of a couple of things.
If you opt for a class where the judge may ride, do not be offended if they decline. In the showing world, tradition is for a treed saddle, if showing if your chosen sport you might like to get one. 🙂
You may be marked down for being in a treeless in the show ring in a less than traditional looking model. Some judges just do not like them. If you want something traditional looking go for a Solution.
BD rules state that you can use a treeless saddle providing it is of a standard design, ie not western looking. If you want something traditional looking go for the Freeform, Barefoot or Sensation Dressage models.
We have had success in the Freeform Classic though. 🙂
Freeforms come in three lengths, xs is the extra short base of 18.5″, the Sb is the short base of 20″ and the standard of 22″
They also have 12 different models, 6 seat styles and the seat sizes range from 15″ to 19″
If you buy from new you can have it made to your specification and also opt for no, small or large knee rolls.
These are lovely looking saddles, not seen in the flesh so if you have one, get in touch.
have two horses and they each have Freeform saddles.
My little mare is 13.3, approx 360kg, and she would be best described as a light-weight cob. She has small withers, but does actually have withers!! Her freeform is a 16″ seat on the smaller version of the classic base, and it fits us both perfectly. I can mount from the ground if I have to without it slipping, and it doesn’t slip when we do extreme up- or down-hills either, nor when she does her occasional daft spooks!! She wears it with a Leather Airnet elastic girth. We’ve done Trec, a bit of dressage and LOADS of hacking it, and she’s had it since 2003. I find it an incredibly comfortable saddle and I believe she does too.
My bigger gelding is a 15h 500kg barrel shape with no withers at all. He’s had his Freeform since I first bought him in 2004 and at that time he was around 620kg and loaded with fat pads! We’ve done some serious ‘dieting’ every year because his diet really has to be controlled to keep him at a weight more suitable to him, but his saddle has coped with all his weight changes. He’s got a standard size classic base with a 17.5″ seat on it, which used to fit me better because I too was a ’round’ person, although I’m not now, and I now find the seat a little too generous. He and I do Trec, dressage and a bit of jumping along with loads of hacking, and the saddle is fine for all these activities. He also wears a Leather Airnet elastic girth and I can mount from the ground on him too on my more agile days (well I am 50!) if I have to, without the saddle slipping. He is often ridden by friends who haven’t got a horse and who accompany me and my mare, and everybody comments on how very comfortable it is.
The quality of the leather is lovely, and in fact the quality of the saddle is super all round. I don’t think I’d ever buy a different make for wither of these two horses now – we love our Freeforms.
Freeform Dressage Elite
This is a standard 22″ base freeform elite dressage saddle. Cutback 3cm with suede underside. This saddle offers large supportive knee blocks and a higher cantle than the classic models and a more defined twist in the seat.
I found this more comfortable for me than the classic as I prefer a large knee block to support my leg,my left especially due to an old knee injury. I was effortlessly put into a very nice position and felt secure and balanced.
The horses I used this on all moved freely and offered canter with a smooth transition which has been a struggle in their treed saddles. I think on Parr the lack of tree and the ample shoulder room this model offers were both contributing factors.
It has a firmer feel than the sensations for example and is not quite so malleable but still offers flexibility.
The stirrup plate is movable by simply taking the seat off and adjusting.
All in all a lovely saddle with a great deal of flexibility,and also show worthy for the competition ring.
The picture is a 14hh gelding and the saddle really only just fits,the 20″ short base would be better for him but I was just testing this out.
This is Ellie in her Freeform saddle with red equitex pad underneath.
She is a medium wide to wide in a treed saddle.
The one I bought was the dressage Freeform as I felt it fitted my length of legs (I am only five feet tall) and with Ellie’s movement I thought it was the better choice.
If the horse is smaller than 15 hands I think the person should ask to buy the shorter backed option. Ellie is short backed and I think I could have got away with a shorter backed model.
Have tried the saddle on a Irish X but it fitted across the shoulders but did not sit on his back.
Have tried the saddle on a Thoroughbred with a high wither and we were not convinced but my friend said she would like to try it out riding with the equitex pad underneath.
Ellie is very happy in the saddle and in fact she does not take a step backwards now when you get off. It’s extremely comfy for the rider.
Freeform Classic SB (short base)
i’ve been testing one of these this week, i’ve decided to buy one.
I found straight away the seat slippery to what i’m used to and the seat had a shape. I’ve got a Libra Trec. However i decided that i could change the seat to suede or pop on seat saver. Plus i’m not used to the seat shape. So chances are it’s due to how i sat.
Met up with friend and went for plod, did fit in two canters and i found it easy to ride in the forward seat just as easy as sitting.
Jack being Jack spotted open gate and thought lets really test it out, i said no and we spun round, the saddle didn’t move. It didn’t slip it didn’t go forwards either. Excellent plus point, think decided then i was going to get one! Due to Jack’s shape and fact he does have history of spinning, can stop dead and the Freeform didn’t budge.
Friend liked the saddle said suited Jack. He liked it, I liked it.
Day two, this time I shortened the stirrups a few holes as spent some of last hack with them in mid flight. I also rode in my suede full chaps as i found the seat a tad slippery, this is likely to be due to fact i’ve had my derier on suede and synthetic suede, I think it’s a mental thing that i think i may just slide off, I’m also finding the seat a little small for me, but I can order the Classic Plus seat.
The stirrups are set forwards at the moment and so i was doing sort of western seat, i did pop over a small jump to see what saddle felt like and it was comfortable. I changed from the pad it came with to my equitex pad, to see how it felt, it felt insecure, so changed back to the Haf.
This model is the sb, with 20″ base, i would get the synthetic suede model.
I also liked the girth system, my chap has a slight forward groove and the girth sits nicely with this saddle, i’m using a roamer girth and I do have a trekker one.
By day four i was finding the seat plenty big enough as my body had adapted to the shape. I did some small gridwork 2ft4 and i loved the feel and felt secure. I’d even forgotten the seat felt slippery, which it didn’t seem to feel anymore.
i do not have a big budget for a saddle. actually i don’t have a saddle budget at all, so when i went out shopping i knew i was going to have to pinch my pennies. luckily my mom gave me her old saddle to sell and that started my saddle fund!
the first saddle i purchased, back when billy was just a two year old, was a Wintec Wide Dressage Saddle. i thought it would be the perfect fit because it has the adjustable gullets, allowing you to change out the gullet as your horse grows and changes. the problem? when billy was two the widest gullet was the one that fit. also, because billy started out with such a dip in his back, the saddle bridged terribly. the more i padded to help with the bridging the taller and more unstable the saddle became!
Treeless saddles will come with one or the other of these.
A stirrup plate allows the position of the leathers to be altered to the riders preference. The Freeform has a movable closed ring stirrup plate allowing you to alter position of the leathers or change to an e bar.
However some treeless have fixed non removable closed ring or rings which only allow you to move between front and back. Torsion and Libra being an example.
The Dartmoor range is e bar, Barefoot Closed ring, so if this is preference of yours, its worth checking.
The Sensation has the e bar stirrup plate, it is this plate that allows those with removable closed ring plates to swap. After using both, I haven’t had any concerns with either set up. 🙂
It’s always recommended that when using a closed ring you either use a safety stirrup or the Swiss Clips Barnes buckles are still about, they just ceased trading, no reflection on the product, tested it, it works 😉