Manufacturer: Freeform (View all products by Freeform)
Model: Classic (View all Classic reviews)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I paid $900 for a very new looking demo saddle that was advertised on e-bay. I bought it for my short backed Arabian with wide withers. All the treed saddles I tried did not work, and that includes the Wintecs. I was hearing good things about Freeform saddles, including the fact that some top endurance riders are using them.
Likes: The leather is very good quality, and the workmanship is good for a treeless saddle. It is one of the more attractive treeless saddles. I like the molded foam base. The seat is attached with velcro, but holds very well. It has a lot of D rings and so far has proven to be durable on the trails. The stirrups can be moved for better leg placement. I bought the HAF pad which is of good quality and keeps me off my horse's spine. Until recently, I have been riding Dressage in a Reactor Panel saddle that was custom fitted to my horse. The horse has been having back muscle spasms so I have been practicing my Dressage in the Freeform Classic. My horse is no longer cranky when I saddle her, she has more impulsion and moves much more freely with more suspension. The muscle spasms are GOING AWAY with the use of the Freeform. I can now get her in a very uphill frame, so much better at the canter that it was a big surprise the first time I cantered her with this saddle. My trainer was surprised at the huge improvement this saddle made, so now I am considering getting a Freeform Dressage saddle also. I can feel my horse bending through her body, and she is more willing to do so now, as well as lift her back up. She uses herself so much better and freely with the Freeform. My own back is not so sore after riding, also. I am able to hold my position pretty well and am now taking all of my Dressage lessons with this saddle, even though I bought it for endurance riding. For trails, it is very light and comfortable, with lots of D rings to attach things to, including a good crupper ring.
Dislikes: Hmmm...Some safety issues. The stirrups attach to a closed ring. Use stirrups with safety cages to avoid getting hung up if you wreck. The saddle is not as stable as a saddle with a tree, so if you are not a centered rider, or your horse spooks, you and the saddle might roll right off. The only time my saddle rolled so that I wrecked, I was using a girth that was pretty slippery. Now I use a mohair girth, a breast collar, and a crupper. It does tend to slide back easy on the up hills. The saddle really tells on me if I am not riding centered, which also happens to be improving my riding. It forces me to straighten up. While I can ground mount with this saddle, it is better to use a block if one is available. The saddle also takes on the width of the horse, so it can be difficult to ride a wide backed horse. If you can't sit comfortably on your horse bareback, this saddle does not have a twist and your legs will spread to your horse's width. I can ride my narrower horse comfortably, but the wide bodied mare makes me feel like I am doing the splits and I can't put my legs in the correct position on her.
Quality: Good quality, soft leather. I like the foam rubber it is made out of. It doesn't squish so much that I bottom out onto my horse's spine. I believe that the saddle is not recommended for riders over 200 lbs.
Summary: I give this saddle 4 stars, taking one star away because it is semi-unstable (I am no upper level Dressage rider myself, and have little problems with the stability, though a beginner might), the closed rings for the stirrups can be deadly if someone gets hung up, and while it fits just about any horse, it takes on the horse's back conformation, which may or may not be a good thing. My own personal experience has been so good that I want to buy their endurance model now and do away with my treed saddles. And I was once a skeptic.
Author: Patty Jackson
Usefulness Rating: 4.3 out of 5.
70 reader(s) voted.
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