Manufacturer: DK Saddlery
Model: DK Freedom Dressage
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: Bought the saddle straight from Danny, custom made for me and my horse. Paid around 5K Canadian plus taxes. I bought it because my trainer raved about it and I needed a new saddle for a new horse.
Likes: Good quality leather, well made, attention to detail. Have owned it for several years now, and wearing well. Very soft seat. Attractive looking saddle. Easy to get an appt for saddle fitting when the DK fitter comes to town twice a year. Horses seem indifferent to this saddle. Have used it on several and they don't seem to mind either way. i do find it harder to give clear aids with this saddle (see below).
Dislikes: Saddle locks you into a position leaving no room for you to adjust based on what you want your horse to do. You are locked in so much that the horse moves the rider, which sucks and is painful with a big warmblood with big gaits and a swinging back. Perhaps good for beginners who need security from their saddle, but quite a hindrance in a more developed rider who has greater body control. The Flair is not the problem as I have several other saddles with Flair and they don't push me around the way this one does... Knee rolls are way, way too big and despite what the company says, they cannot be adjusted to a smaller size. The leather from the saddle flap is firmly moulded to the shape of the large knee rolls so even if you switch them to smaller ones or remove them entirely, the saddle maintains the shape of the large knee roll. Company is very inflexible with complaints and concerns re: the saddle including payment (they charged my credit card with the entire amt instead of just the deposit as agreed) and they do not stand behind the workmanship of their products (their stirrup leathers shredded in less than 2 years and they did no stand behind their product). Easy to get appt for saddle fitting, but extremely expensive. I had 3 saddles recently done for about $830 total. A pretty significant cost if you are doing it twice a year as recommended.
Quality: Nice leather, good stitching. I have seen some of these saddles with poor quality, rough looking billets though mine are ok. The company told me that some of their older gullet plates do not stand up well to repeated adjusting but they don't stand behind that either. They will put a new gullet plate in, but it will cost you another $500.
Summary: BEWARE. I have not encouraged anyone to buy one of these saddles. I don't understand how the company can claim this is the greatest saddle ever because it does not make sense that the same saddle would be suitable for every body type (especially when you consider the differences between men's and woman's bodies...) Most other companies have multiple models to pick from so you can choose the one that feels right to you. Wish I could trade this one in for something else... Wish I had gone with the big, famous Canadian saddle making company in southern Ontario that will make any adjustments necessary until you are 100% happy with your $5000 purchase. And finally, I don't always believe what the saddle fitter/saddle designer from DK Saddlery says. Sometimes it seems like he is on autopilot. I think there might be a bit of "The Emperor's new clothes" syndrome going on with this saddle. Just trying to give another perspective here. Don't be derailed from what your body is telling you.
Author: Unhappy tack-a-holic
Usefulness Rating: 4 out of 5.
11 reader(s) voted.
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