Freedman’s Saddle System: A Collection of Products Working in Concert for the Comfort of the Horse

Articles & Blogs Freedman’s Saddle System: A Collection of Products Working in Concert for the Comfort of the Horse

Horses, as we all know, exhibit a remarkable sensitivity to their surroundings, especially when it comes to the equipment they wear and the position of their rider. The comfort of a performance horse is intricately linked to the quality and fit of its tack, emphasizing the importance of well-designed and properly fitted equipment for horse and rider.

A saddle, crafted to correctly fit the horse’s shape and performance expectation, plays a pivotal role in ensuring their comfort while working. Equally crucial is the rider’s posture and position. However, saddles alone are not the only piece of equipment that must be examined. A saddle pad strategy must be beneficial and non-bulky, while a girth needs to make breathing efficient for the horse. When these crucial elements align, the horse can then perform at its best.

At Freedman’s, we have created a collection of products that are designed as a total system, working in concert for the ultimate comfort and therefore, performance of the horse. Let’s talk about the Freedman’s Saddle System. It’s actually quite simple…

Part 1: Saddle Fit is Crucial

Our philosophy at Freedman’s is that the rider should be fitted to their saddle – not all saddles are created equal and not all riders fit into one size. A well-fitted rider will ride in a position that is most comfortable for the horse. From our sticky Super Grip leather, to our five-position adjustable bar system in our cutback models, our saddles are designed to help put riders into an athletic position that allows them to ride at their best, without sacrificing the comfort of the horse. A comfortable, well-placed rider can make all the difference in keeping a horse from becoming back sore or uncomfortable while under saddle. We call this the ‘rider ready’ position.

How does this contribute to the overall saddle system? The rider is riding centered and balanced. Therefore, the saddle is sitting centered and balanced on the back of the horse. A balanced saddle means a horse’s shoulder and back muscles are free to move as needed for their specific discipline. A balanced saddle also helps eliminate tension through the horse’s back as they try to compensate for pressure points and movement. A balanced saddled means better overall performance.

Part 2: Poised for Performance – the Stabil-Flex Girth

The second piece of Freedman’s Saddle System is our Stabil-Flex Girth. A by-product of five years of testing and research, this girth allows the horse to expand their ribs from the sternum as they breathe. The girth flexes on an independent elastic system that is positioned over the center-point of the sternum, not on one end or the other. Why is this important?

Horses are obligatory nasal breathers, meaning they cannot choose to switch to breathing through their mouths during exercise to increase their oxygen consumption. A horse’s only way to breathe is through their nasal passages. As they inhale at the height of exertion, some horses’ lungs can expand all the way to the 16th rib. This means that their ribs, connected to their sternum bone, must be able to expand accordingly to allow for maximum air and oxygen intake.

Essential to the correct function and comfort of the Stabil-Flex Girth is a non-slip assembly. This means that the chosen saddle pad and saddle need to fit the horse correctly and stay in place on the horse’s back. The key to the Stabil-Flex Girth’s comfort is that the pad and saddle do not slip; hence avoiding the need to overtighten the girth.

Part 3: The Correct Pad Makes A Necessary Base

If you opt to utilize a pad on your saddle seat or hunter horse, we have designed in partnership with Acavallo, the Freedman Cut Back Acavallo Memory Foam Gel/Silicone Pad (also available in an Eco-Fleece bottom option) for saddle seat and the Freedman Acavallo Hunter Gel/Silicone Memory Foam Pad for the hunt horse. Both pads have one goal in common: keep the saddle from sliding or slipping around on the horse’s back, while providing ultimate comfort.

A sliding or twisting saddle can cause a rider to come out of proper position, and a horse to end up back sore due to poor weight distribution from the displaced saddle. The Freedman Acavallo Pads utilize silicone on both the top and the bottom to ensure grip. The pad grips to the horse’s back and the saddle grips to the pad – in the simplest terms, these pads minimize slippage and movement. In addition, the pads are constructed with memory foam that yields to the horse’s shape and compresses comfortably, eliminating the need for a bulky multi-pad strategy for sensitive or oddly shaped equine backs. Lastly, these pads are exclusively designed to fit under Freedman’s saddles as a part of our total system.

In Conclusion…

This then brings the Freedman’s Saddle System full circle. From a non-slip pad, to a well-fitting and balanced saddle, to a girth that allows for proper lung expansion and breathing. Simple in concept, often difficult to achieve. At Freedman’s we’ve created these products specifically to work together; high performance is achievable with the Freedman’s Saddle System.

For more information on the Stabil-Flex Girth, read our full article here.

Browse Freedman’s Acavallo saddle pads here and their Saddlery Collection here.