There will be a review of a bareback saddle in a few months time. Photos and impression first.
The company refers to it as a saddle rather than a bareback pad.
@ 2015-06-10 – 09:54:06
There will be a review of a bareback saddle in a few months time. Photos and impression first.
@ 2015-06-08 – 23:07:39
Which do you like and why?
This is the closed ring Freeform stirrup plate with original leathers. These are actually stitched on, so giving you no chance of changing lengths.
You can buy duo t bars fitting top and bottom for closed rings, if you removed.
In comparison to the Sensation stirrup plate it is thinner in feel. I now have the Sensation e bar with FlexEE biothane leathers. So far pleased with quality of these leathers with the tiny pull down tab to cover the t.
The saddles that use a moveable plate are Freeform Sensation, Freemax, Bandos and the Western Barefoot.
@ 2015-06-02 – 22:38:47
I contacted solution via their website and got in contact with a local fitter. The saddle itself is identical to the original smart gp, but with thinner and shorter panels, making it ideal for wide, flat backed horses, and those who are bum high. I have the Size 4 and at 5'8 it provides the benefit of helping the rider feel less perched.
The saddle came with a dorsal supplement pad (DSP) - a fancy half pad, which is non slip on the saddle side, with Velcro along the underside attaching itself to a numnah (either the eskadron classic range, or anything which already has Velcro attached -p.s. I'm not advertising eskadron, it's the only one I've found so far which the Velcro already sticks to without needing further alterations) and a nuumed hi wither numnah with Velcro on. They do say that it doesn't have to be one of their numnahs however, all you need is a hi wither, thin numnah/saddle cloth and a roll of Velcro, approx 3" wide!
On the saddle, I have a large knee roll, and a thigh block, I ride a 4yo with limited riding experience and a high risk of tripping. I'm also used to a barnsby omega gp on my older horse, so I like a decent knee roll to stick my knee in at the first sign of trouble.
To say I was sceptical would be a large underestimation. All treed saddles had slipped forwards onto her shoulders, and inhibited movement, and I've never been a member of the 'barefoot and treeless' brigade. I've always been fairly traditional, so the solution appealed to me as it looks treed but very lightweight. The leather is soft and good quality, and in general the saddle is very comfy to ride in.
Since owning the saddle, I have hacked over varied terrain in walk, trot and canter, been to a dressage competition and most recently show jumping. The saddle doesn't move a millimetre no matter what my horse does underneath me, allowing her to move freely underneath me. It took a few rides to fully get used to how much the rider can feel the horse moving underneath you, and vice versa. Having only ridden in treed saddles before, I found I was half halting but receiving a halt from my mare. She was suddenly much more responsive.
Price wise, if buying brand new they're an expensive outlay, but the company do offer 10% the total purchase if you buy outright, or they offer a 0% payment plan! which gives you a free saddle cloth, DSP, and knee blocks. Buying a saddle that has the potential to last you from backing of the horse, and for life the cost will work out very cost effective over the years. The saddles are FEI approved, so fully legal for all levels of competition. I haven't yet jumped over 50cm ish, but am planning our first ODE later this year so we shall see how it goes then!
@ 2015-05-24 – 20:29:52
Here we have a sensation sonoran model. This is my favourite model of all the sensations.
This is a 15.5" seat measured like a western. It has a tall western swell with a tall western cantle,2 removable rigging billets and g3 rigging for the stirrup attachment. It is set up in the endurance setting in the photo,this offers the most weight distribution after the hard use set-up and is my preferred stirrup attachment as I hate leathers under my legs and it also helps stabalise my legs. Good for me since an old injury. It does limit your leg movement a bit but does not fix it in one position.
I had the flap shortened 1.5" on this one and at 5'4" with a 28" inseam this is perfect for me. The sonoran has the formal dressage flap which is very straight cut and I am effortlessly riding in a very relaxed correct position with no back,knee or ankle pain. The swell and cantle offer security but do not pin me in or restrict posting the trot. Though not great for jumping anything but small logs etc out on the trail.
All the horses I've used this on have been very comfortable in it and the wither clearance is great in the ones I ride. I have not used it on shark fin withers but believe it would work with the correct choice of pad. From 13.2hh no withered xxxxw up to 17hh med wide medium withered with only a change in pad.
The colours in this are butterscotch deertan seat,knee,thigh roll and binding on black cherry flap leather which was a one off hide nickers saddlery had available,I love this combination!
This for me is a perfect trail saddle for comfort and ease of a relaxed but correct position and remains my favourite model.
@ 2015-05-13 – 22:10:33
This is a sensation dressage trail with upgraded formal dressage pommel and cantle giving a deeper seat and upgraded g4 seat giving a neater look.
I ordered this but unfortunately I just didn't get in with it,I found the formal pommel and cantle just a little too deep for me and in hindsight should have had the normal dressage trail pommel and cantle but it was a lesson learned. The colours are butterscotch deertan seat,knee,thigh roll and beading with dark coffee bean flap leather. 2 removable rigging billets and a 17" seat.
The formal dressage pommel because of its higher stance offers a little more wither clearance but again this had been used from low wide wither to medium narrow withers with just the change of pads. For flat work this worked well to give a really deep seat and the flap is similar to a working hunter style cut and offers good shoulder room. Same 19" weight bearing panels and works well in short backs.
This is a sensation dressage trail with 1" shortened flap and standard dressage trail pommel and cantle.
Offers a semi deep seat with a working hunter style flap,not completely straight but only slightly forward cut.
This fit my mare very well and was the first saddle we had had that really worked,both treed and treeless.
The flexibility of this saddle really worked well in allowing the saddle to mould to my mares shape,medium but very wide wither,sharp rise to the group,downhill and very short backed, huge movement from behind and through her back which always caused saddles to fly forward then blocking her shoulder,nightmare to fit!
In the picture I am using the endurance set up stirrup attachment which offers the most effective weight distribution. It does however mean you lose some of the swing in your stirrups,for me this is not a problem,it helps stabilize my left leg since a knee injury but does take a little bit of getting used to. I jumped around 2'6" in this saddle and it works well for flat work too.
I am using a Skito pad with 3/4" inserts and a 1/2" wither shim for this particular horse but the Skito is a great pad for all types of horses and saddles and offers a very large selection of inserts and shims.
@ 2015-05-12 – 20:12:26
This is the Sensation Westlish Rebel model which is a merge of Western and English. This saddle offers riders the security of western swells, tall cantles but also knee rolls. I found this saddle very secure and very comfortable when I owned it. It worked very well for any hairy moments we had out on the trail! The rigging had been moved forward on this particular saddle which unfortunately meant it didn't work too well on my mare at the time, but it gave me a good idea of what I liked and what I didn't.
The swell on this model isn't restricting at all but at the same time offers a lot of security. The flap for me was too forward cut,I have short legs and ride very long so my knee felt a little lost and didn't benefit from the knee rolls however this was not an issue with the saddles themselves just what my size and style of riding found. I loved the western seat and fenders,riding in jeans without chaps is fantastic :-D
My horse went very well in this saddle,she moved freely and worked happily through her back which had always been an issue in treed saddles and other treeless saddles.
@ 2015-05-11 – 19:26:57
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.
@ 2015-05-08 – 19:06:19
This is the most basic model that sensation offer with a very close contact almost bareback feel. It does however offer support from the use of bolsters, you can add move or take off underneath the seat to shape it just as you want. Currently I use a cantle bolster and 2 front SHE bolsters and a pommel bolster on top to give a more noticeable rise to the front of the saddle.
This has the ISA up stirrup ring which offers more swing but doesn't take away the excellent weight distribution system. I like this set up as it allows me more leg room when dealing with tricky situations like narrow gates,trees etc.
The SHE offers the least wither clearance of the sensations but with pad changes I'm using it on flat to medium withers with no problems. Picture shows it in use on medium wither with a Skito half pad on top of a toklat coolback,this particular horse likes deep soft padding .
I can mount from the ground if absolutely necessary,it is very secure. I have jumped on the trail up to around 2'6" with no problems. The base length is 19" on the weight bearing panels,only 21" overall so works very well on short backs and is also flexible to a lot of differing horse shapes.
The colours for this saddle are a light brown deertan seat,knee,thigh roll and binding with ponderosa flap leather,lovely character leathers and the ponderosa has some grip to it.
Overall I am very fond of this saddle and plan to start my youngster in it as I feel it is basic but very functional :-) I have no pain when riding in this saddle or any other sensations which is something that makes me very happy!
@ 2015-03-19 – 19:29:40
My lass has been off work for three months with a ligament strain, so winter was hard. Spring has arrived and she is sound again.
I have reviews due in, so will upload these.
I will get photos of the Barcelona as I have a vintage stirrup to add - display only. I think its 18c but even if its not original it won't matter. I bought it because I liked it
@ 2015-02-09 – 20:12:29
I have been having some fun doing low level competitions in the Classic. Some people worry about treeless not being dressage legal, but the Freeform is BD approved. They do have a dressage model as well.
We came 7th in the Prelim with 68.68%
We also did a few showing classes coming 5th.