4 Questions answered about your (Freeform) Saddle Seat
by Elvira Noot | 30-1-2017
If you’ve ever seen an English model Freeform saddle you must have noticed that the seat can be taken off: the seat is actually exchangeable for both different models as well as different sizes seats. (If you’d like to know more about Freeform Saddles go to: Freeform)
1. Why is this so ideal for me as Saddlefitter as well as Trainer?
The seat of your saddle, treed or treeless, helps determine the balance of your saddle and therefore has a great impact on your posture and, in consequence, on the pressure distribution and your horse’s comfort.
If your seat is too large for instance you may be forced into a chairseat at the back of your saddle. This will put your weight towards the back of the saddle and it will be harder to distribute it causing your horse discomfort. This can also make posting the trot harder since it will put you behind your horse’s movement.
As a Saddlefitter I have a lot more to work with because of Freeform’s range of models and sizes. It’s easier to find well fitting combinations of seats and saddles for people and their horses, and is also particularly useful when, for instance, two riders share the same horse.
As a trainer (starting young horses under saddle, check it out at Eager Ears Coltstarting) it’s ideal for me because even a flexible saddle will be balanced differently on different horses. By playing with several seats I can quicklyto find the correct balance on individual horses for myself, making the horse’s job of carrying me a whole lot easier.
2. What seat sizes can I choose from for my Freeform saddle?
Freeform seats come in half inch sizes from 16,5’’ through 18,5’’.
The maximum seat size available to you will depend on the size of your saddlebase. The Freeform saddlebase comes in three sizes: Standard, Short Base and Extra Short Base.
You would never, for example, put an 18,5’’ seat on an Extra Short Base saddle. If you would the seat would hang over the edges of the saddle both front and back. First of all this will definitely make you look a bit silly riding around, but more importantly it will put excessive pressure on either the front- and/or the back of the saddle: which is what you’re trying so hard to prevent.
Also important to note is that seat sizes differ between different models. A 17,5’’ ROL seat will not feel the same as an 17,5’’ Elite seat due to their shape and design differences.
3. How can I check what size my Freeform Seat is?
It might take some brute strength, especially if your saddle has already been ridden in quite a bit, but it is very easy to check what size seat your Freeform saddle has.
Check out this little video that shows you how:
4. How can I tell if I need a different seat size?
If you’re experiencing one of the following things when riding you might be in need of a different size or model seat:
- You are riding with a rounded back / chairseat
- You are riding with a hollow back / riding on your crotch
- Pain in your lower legs, back, neck or shoulders
- You feel the edge of the cantle digging into you at the back of the saddle
- Difficulty posting or sitting the trot
- Difficulty riding through sudden movements of your horse / not feeling safe
- You are pulling up your heels
*Beware: some of the symptoms might be pointing out that you need a different saddle base, your saddle needs a small adjustment because your horse has changed or that your saddle doesn’t actually fit.
If you can’t figure it out, ask your saddlefitter for help. Make sure you ask a fitter experienced with Freeform saddles and capable of fitting flexible or treeless saddles.
If your saddlefitter does not live in the area they might be able to help you through the help of pictures or videos online.