Manufacturer: DK (View all products by DK Saddlery)
Model: Freedom Dressage Saddle (View all Freedom Dressage Saddle reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought my saddle used through DK Saddlery for about $3800. DK typically makes the saddles custom for about $4500. I was fortunate enough that the owner found someone who wanted to sell their saddle. If you order one new, you can choose from different colors of trim, having a nubuck seat,etc., in addition to flap length, tree size, etc. based on your and your horse's measurements.
Likes: This is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in, for both me and my horse. Both the tree and the panels are fully adjustable to fit any horse (so this will be the last saddle I ever have to buy) and to fit my horse as her shape changes with training. My saddle was made in 2007 and I bought it a month ago, but even though it is 3 years old it looks brand new. The leather is extremely soft and easy to clean. It is a monoflap design, so there is less leather to clean :-), and between the FLAIR panels and the monoflap, my horse is much more responsive to my seat. It also helps diffuse some of the bounce of her rather large trot, so I can sit it without killing my back. It does have quite large thigh blocks which can be moved (they attach with velcro) which some people may not like, but I like very much because it helps keep me in proper position (I tended to sit in a chair seat in my previous saddle, a Passier) but I still have the freedom to move my legs as needed (you can't swing your legs forward very much, but I can't think of any movement where you need your leg way in front of the girth!) My position has improved dramatically since I began riding in this saddle. I use it for trail riding as well, and I can ride comfortably for hours with no back pain.
Dislikes: There isn't anything I don't like. The saddle does have to be adjusted by Danny or one of his reps, but he frequently travels to my area, so that is not a problem. Even if there is not a rep nearby, you can ship your saddle to the nearest one or to Danny in Canada along with pictures and measurements of your horse and he can adjust it for you.
Quality: The saddle is very well made of very soft, high quality leather. There was an issue with some of the early models of DK's where the metal in the tree would eventually break (another reviewer had this problem so I asked about it), but they are in the process of changing the trees in these saddles as they come through to be adjusted. If you are looking at buying a used DK from someone or on ebay, ask for the serial number which is stamped inside the left flap. The company keeps records on all of the saddles they make, and they can tell you if the tree has been replaced yet or not. This is also a good way to find out if that particular saddle has been stolen (and is a way of identifying your saddle if you are unfortunate enough to have it stolen, without having to microchip it). Some people on other forums have complained about having to have the saddle adjusted, but really any saddle needs to be adjusted (or reflocked) at least once a year because a horse's shape will change with training, just as a person's does.
Summary: Even though it is expensive, my saddle was worth every penny...my horse loves it and I love it. I have read comments both in other reviews and on other forums about DK's customer service, but I have had no problems at all. Danny himself personally went to a lot of trouble to find this saddle for me. If you have the opportunity, I would definitely recommend trying a DK even if you aren't necessarily in the market for a new saddle
Author: Abby's mom
Usefulness Rating: 2.76 out of 5.
25 reader(s) voted.
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