Horse Tack Review

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Dressage Saddles

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Manufacturer: Freeform (View all products by Freeform)

Model: Classic (View all Classic reviews)

Category: Dressage Saddles

Purchase: I found my saddle on e-bay, slightly used for $850. I originally bought it for endurance riding, but when I discovered that my mare, who also does Dressage, moved so much better with this than she did with her custom fitted Reactor Panel saddle, it now doubles as my Dressage saddle.

Likes: The leather is of good quality and it is well constructed. I like being able to take the seat off (velcro) and adjust the position. The stirrup attachments can also be easily moved. It is super light weight. Using it for Dressage, my horse is now very forward, lifts her back, and moves more freely. So far I have had no issues with using it at open Dressage shows. I doubt I will return to treed saddles, not with this horse. With the HAF pad, I always have a dry channel down the spine when I take the saddle off.

Dislikes: The stirrup leathers are sewn on to rings under the seat. I always use safety stirrups if I ride with it out of the arena. One stirrup leather broke recently and I was able to put regular leathers on it ok. Since there is no tree, the saddle takes on the shape of the horse. It works fine with my narrower built mares, but on my wide backed mare, the saddle becomes as wide as her. On the two narrower built mares, I can hold my position fine for Dressage. It just takes some getting used to not having a tree for support. My balance is sure not the best but I am doing well with it for First Level so far. I do get a bit bouncy sitting the trot, which I do not do with a treed saddle. I use the HAF pad. When I show I put a regular Dressage square over it to hide it and it looks fine. The pad is crucial to keep the saddle off the spine. The improvements this saddle has made in my horse makes it worth working out the bugs.

Quality: The leather is good quality, and it is constructed well. The saddle looks enough like a Dressage saddle, but with lots of D rings. I will buy another, but a model without D rings for showing.

Summary: A great saddle if you have a sensitive horse and have enough balance to hold your position. Not the best for very wide horses. I gave it 4 stars rather than 5 because of the lack of a twist and the need to use a girth with some grip. (real wool lined girth works good for me, but the fake fleece girth made it roll) Very versatile.

Rating: 4

Author: Patty Jackson

Date: 2010-06-07

Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
1 reader(s) voted.

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