Manufacturer: Albion (View all products by Albion)
Model: SLK Ultima (View all SLK Ultima reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I decided to have an Albion dealer come out to my barn for a fitting because I had been having a hard time finding a dressage saddle that worked well for me and my horse. It cost me $150 for her to come out (this may be different depending on each dealer). I ended up paying about $3,600 for the saddle.
Likes: I have a 14 year old Hanoverian mare who has relatively wide/thick withers. The Albion brand has saddles with wide channels and that is one of the reasons I decided to try the brand. My mare ended up taking a MW and it fits her perfectly. When I test rode the saddle, she moved so much freer and she really wanted to go round and stretch her neck. I could tell it was comfortable for her. I also like the large knee/thigh blocks. Some people think that these are restrictive, but they are probably riding in stirrups that are too short. Most of the time, the blocks serve as reminders to me to not "scrunch" my leg. They aren't restrictive at all because they hit me in the thigh rather than the knee. That makes a huge difference. I also feel like the saddle is extremely well balanced. I have a hunter background and this makes me instinctively tip forward at times, and this saddle really helped me stay centered. One of the professional reviews on the Albion website says something about the saddles being like legal cheating in the show world because it makes it so easy to sit/ride correctly. I definitely agree!
Dislikes: The price is my only dislike, but the saddle is an investment because the Albion dealer has had training in reflocking saddles. When I need an adjustment on a saddle, I just have to call her and she will come out.
Quality: The construction and quality are great. My saddle has grained flaps which are extremely supply and strong at the same time. The seat is a soft, but durable leather that is somewhat "tacky"--with full seat breeches you don't move at all. I see this saddle lasting for many years to come. The old saying is true--you get what you pay for. I can't find one thing wrong with the saddle.
Summary: If you are looking for a saddle with horse and rider comfort in mind as well as a saddle that will put you in the correct position, this is definitely a brand to consider. I won't buy anything else from now on. I also own an Albion Kontrol (jumping saddle) and I love it! Albion is the way to go.
Usefulness Rating: 3.25 out of 5.
16 reader(s) voted.
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