I’ve had my Freeform treeless saddle for about five years and have always really loved it, except for one thing: the way the stirrups attach. The Freeform comes with a closed loop attachment. This means that unlike a conventional saddle (which uses bars) if you fall and catch your foot in the stirrup, it won’t release.
Of course, there is a solution to this: safety stirrups. However, I love my jointed stirrups and I’ve yet to see safety stirrups that also work for my knees. So, I’ve been riding using the Freeform EasyFit leathers which attach under the seat using a velcro base. I liked them because they reduced the bulk of the buckle under my leg but I always was a bit concerned about the closed ring.
Several months ago one of them broke. It’s a crummy design — the leather itself is very sturdy, built around a synthetic core. The weak spot is in the attachment to the ring: it’s is (or shall we say, was) nylon webbing and it gave out. After that, I put the saddle away while I figured out what to do next.
Finally, I came across the solution: Nickers Saddlery makes an e-bar stirrup attachment with a velcro base and a standard stirrup bar for their Sensation saddles! The moveable stirrup base is one of the best things about the Freeform and Sensation saddles because it means you can position the leather in the most natural place for your conformation.
It’s the same velcro base that attaches to the Freeform and it allows you to use traditional stirrup leathers by slipping them over the bar. I like using Webber style leathers because there is no bulk under your leg. This is a great product because you can use your existing leathers (no need to buy the $120 Freeform EasyFit leathers) and you are safer — if you fall and catch your foot in your stirrup, it will release.
I’ve really enjoyed riding in my Freeform saddle again. Now that I’ve fixed the safety issue, I ride in it for hacks or when I’m schooling on the flat. It’s a very comfortable saddle and I like the fact that I can really feel Freedom’s back. The amount of “feedback” that I get through the saddle is amazing.
FYI — not that many U.S. dealers carry the e-bar base. I was going to order mine directly from Nickers and was a bit put off by the shipping costs from Canada. Through the Treeless Saddle forum on Yahoo I found that http://www.foresthorse.com carries them. Mine was $41 delivered.