AE Saddleworks (Freeform USA)
Bandos Treeless Saddle
Manufacturer: AE Saddleworks (Freeform USA)
Model: Bandos Treeless Saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I purchased the Bandos directly from Freeform through Ebay for about $500. I was looking for a treeless saddle after my endurance horse presented with white hairs on either side of the withers.
Likes: The leather on this saddle is great. It is more of a nubuck which offers a lot of grip. The adjustable stirrup plate is fantastic! You can move the stirrups to the position comfortable for you and aren't strapped into a chair seat. There are 13 D rings to attach anything you can imagine! The balance and feel of the saddle is wonderful, and with the removable pommel and cantle, this saddle can literally fit ANY horse. You can feel the horse move and feel their spine flex right through the seat. Offers a very close contact feel with drastically increased awareness of what's going on beneath you.
Dislikes: If you remove the pommel, you will end up with a lot of slippage on a round back and/or mutton withered horse. I fixed this by putting the solid pommel back in. You must use an endurance style breastcollar to help with slipping. I bought a Zilco, but that's another $90. Well worth it though. Also, this saddle doesn't really have panels, so you MUST use the expensive treeless pads (HAF, or Skito), which adds another $100-$200 to your cost. But once you get the setup right, you won't be sorry! Also the removable seat on this saddle is stiff and uncomfortable. I took it off all together and replaced with a merino sheepskin from Easycare, Inc.
Quality: The quality and construction are excellent. Extremely durable, worth every penny.
Summary: I would definitely buy it all over again! Barring the slippage issues, the saddle is incredible. The degree of slippage depends on your pad, and the shape of your horse, but can be alleviated with the proper steps.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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