Barefoot is the brain child of the German horse physiotherapist Sabine Ullmann and their forte is treeless saddles. It is a company that looks at riding a little differently, starting first from the point of view of the horse and not the rider. This may sound strange at first but when you think about it: a happy horse usually means a happy rider, doesn’t it?
It all began with one particular horse: Miss Painty. She was Mrs. Ullmann’s own mare and she had two sparkling characteristics: a demanding personality and an unusual body shape. It was difficult to find a saddle that would fit on her back. Many different saddles were tried but none of them seemed to fit just right, and eventually Mrs. Ullmann came to the conclusion that it was in fact impossible for a conventional saddle to suit this mare. At least, to suit her so well as to not cause pain during riding. Mrs. Ullmann decided to build a suitable saddle for Miss Painty herself.
She changed her profession and became a horse physiotherapist. She got a job with a well-known saddle maker and got to know what makes a saddle good and what makes a saddle bad. Trying a variety of saddles on many different horses, she began to understand that making saddles in the conventional way may give comfortable saddles for the rider but you can never reach a result that would be truly comfortable for the horse. Conventional, treed saddles are too rigid to be comfortable, and in some ways they actually hinder the horse’s movement. The horses back is in constant change during riding but a rigid saddle, obviously, is not…
This understanding led to the creation of the Barefoot company in 2002, which has now become known around the world as an exceptional saddle maker and the finest brand in treeless saddles. When you see “Barefoot” written on a piece of riding gear, you know that you are looking at a quality product that is exceptionally horse-friendly.
Barefoot in the Baltics
Barefoot Baltics is a family enterprise that started in 2017. Annika and Kristjan met in 2015, moved to the island of Hiiumaa, and soon got married and had kids. Annika had been a horse rider most of her life. She was and is an experienced rider whose job for many years has been to saddle young horses. Kristjan, on the other hand, had little to do with horses before he met Annika, and then it all changed. 🙂
When Annika trained young horses, Kristjan would help her and so got his first impressions on equine psychology. And he got stepped on a few times. When Annika wanted to take a young horse on a trek in the woods, Kristjan would run alongside the horse to give the animal company, so it wouldn’t be afraid. It worked well and Kristjan got fit!
Annika had always used a treed saddle in her work but had also wanted to try a Barefoot because she had heard good things about them. At the beginning of 2017, they got her a “Cherokee” and Annika tried on a few young horses. She liked it a lot. In fact, it wasn’t long before Annika wanted nothing more to do with conventional saddles and only Barefoots were good enough. She then worked with a “Cheyenne” for a while. And then a “London”, and a “Barrydale”, and a “Nottingham”. She loved them all so much that she came up with an idea: they should represent Barefoot in Estonia to help more people find out about this wonderful riding gear. Barefoot in Germany agreed and so it began. A year later, they thought about representing Barefoot in Latvia and Lithuania as well and Barefoot in Germany agreed.
Barefoot Around the World
Barefoot is represented in different countries by specific dealers. Here’s the list (last updated in July 2020):
- Germany – Headquarters
- Australia – Barefoot Australia
- Australia – Harmonious Horse
- Austria – Barefoot Sattel Austria
- Canada – Grey Havens Acres
- Canada – Sellerie Equi-Confort
- Chechia – Barefoot sedla CZ
- Chechia – Zdrava Zvirata & Martina Breberova
- Denmark – Barefoot Danmark
- Estonia – Barefoot Baltics
- Finland – Hevostarvike Hevoskuiskaaja
- France – Barefoot France
- Hungary – Harcsa Boglarka
- Israel – Ukaf Israel
- Italy – Azienda Agricola Le Dame
- Italy – EquidCare Provider Team
- Italy – Selleria la Colombaia
- Latvia – Barefoot Baltics
- Lithuania – Barefoot Baltics
- Luxembourg – Barefoot Lux’
- The Netherlands – Boomloosriden
- New Zealand – Barefoot Saddles New Zealand
- Norway – Bomfri Sal Norge
- Norway – The Tackroom
- Norway – Feel Your Horse
- Poland – Karlsbad Sp. z o. o.
- Poland – Bergo.pl Horse Equipment
- Russia – Barefoot Russia
- Russia – Miroslava Polyakova
- Sweden – Taur / Opux AB
- Switzerland – Reit- und Westernshop Tinkerhof
- Switzerland – TTouch the World
- Switzerland – Baumlos.ch
- Spain – Sport Hipic
- Spain – Good Vibes Equitación
- U.K. – Barefoot UK
- U.S.A – Barefoot Saddles USA