Model: Freemax Treeless
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I bought it on eBay for GBP 335.00 ($543.14) This was a promotional deal, so my purchase included all the accessories: a treeless saddle pad, an Airflow synthetic girth, and pair of synthetic Freemax leathers.
Likes: First of all, please know that I am a leather snob and very particular about craftsmanship and hate synthetic saddles. I went for this saddle on eBay in an emergency my 6 year old Friesian/TH cross is going through a growth spurt and outgrew my nicer leather saddles that were making his back too sore to ride. I decided to stop playing musical saddles and not invest serious money until he reaches his max size and shape (as Friesians are known to grow until 8 years old!) With fingers crossed, I waited an excruciating three weeks for the saddle to arrive from the UK, and let my breath out when it landed on my doorstep and ran out to the barn to try it out. All I can say is WOW. Its so light, you can hold it above your head with one finger! Its so cushy, I feel like Im sitting on a down pillow. Its so supportive, I dont even notice that its a treeless saddle yet I feel his muscles under me almost like riding bareback! I read online about how treeless saddles can be dangerously tippy, so I braced myself for this possibility. To assure against this, I got the whole package special treeless saddle pad (a must!), special grippy synthetic girth (works great!), and the Freemax stirrup leathers that have the buckle down by the stirrup instead of under your leg (fabulous!). Well, Ive stayed secure through all kinds of acrobatics in the dressage arena and on the trail, and I havent felt it tip yet. On the contrary, I feel like I could do anything in this saddle! Oh, and my horse LOVES it! His movement is way more free-flowing. A very happy boy!
Dislikes: Okay, so there are a few downsides - although you couldnt pry this saddle from my white knuckles! SEAT SIZE: I am average height (5ft 5in) and skinny (guessing about 115lbs) – so I suppose that my proper saddle seat size should be 16.5 inches. However, I like a lot of saddle around me, and prefer to ride in an 18 in seat, probably because I ride huge warmblood types. There is no way that someone who needs an 18-inch would fit this saddle, it’s way too small. It fits like a 17-inch at best, and I can still feel the edges of the seat (although not a problem), and my knees just barely fit where they should. My trainer – also slender, hates the saddle because her butt is bigger than mine and doesn’t fit well. COLOR: The saddles are made with a choice of bright primary red or blue detailing, which looks okay, but makes it look more like a toy than a working saddle. Black and/or dark brown would be my preference.
Quality: Excellent, professional craftsmanship. COLOR: Red & Black (also come in Blue & Black) MATERIAL: soft synthetic Microsuede & Airtex Designed to fit all kinds of different withers and backs by using an injected memory foam that forms to the horses body shape with use. Technical note: The Freemax comes with a standard wither arch which is metal, but seems to sit well above the horses body and is there only as a support for the rider, therefore not interfering with the horse’s movement or possibly cause soreness. You can buy a narrower or wider arch to correct your sitting position, but the standard one fits me just perfectly. (i.e. narrower holds you back more, and wider will bring you more forward)
Summary: So in summary, due to the seat fit, the Freemax isnt for everybody. Maybe its something they will work out in their next versions, or maybe thats just the nature of the treeless design to prevent tipping. The seat is so soft, it doesnt bother me at all. All I can say is, at this price, if you think you would fit it at all, I recommend trying it out. Young adults would be most at ease in this saddle for sure.
Author: Mimi O'Connor
Usefulness Rating: 4.53125 out of 5.
32 reader(s) voted.
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