Manufacturer: Dakota (View all products by Dakota Saddlery)
Model: Gaited Walker Trail Saddle (View all Gaited Walker Trail Saddle reviews)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle second hand from Craigs List for $500, with breast collar and flank cinch included. The saddle is built on a Steele Equi-Fit tree made especially for the wide Tennessee Walker horse type. It has an 8" gullet; I bought it for my wide Haflinger mares. The saddle fit one of my Haflingers perfectly, I could not have a better fit custom built for this horse. I have another, 'extra drafty' Haflinger that was a little too wide through the shoulder for this saddle.
Likes: The ride was balanced, I felt very centered on my horse going up and down very steep terrain. The wide, deep bell stirrups are hung in the right spot to keep your legs comfortable. I like the rings behind the cantle for attaching breeching or a crupper. The in-tree flank rigging gives you more options for cinching. The saddle fit my Haflinger so well that it did not slide forward or backward in rough terrain, I could probably leave the breast collar at home if I wanted to.
Dislikes: The seat is NOT COMFORTABLE. It has a high, hard edge that starts at the cantle and goes all the way to the jockey, this digs into your legs. I have ridden in more saddles than I can count, and boy this one was a doozy for discomfort. I am hoping a good seat pad can help.
Quality: The leather is not that great. It is over dyed black, with lots of the original brown showing through. The leather that holds the stirrups is soft and is destined to stretch and tear over time. Everything else is OK, for the retail price of $850 I think you get your dollars worth.
Summary: I am happy that this saddle fits my horse. For $500 it was a good deal. I would not buy another Dakota saddle because of the uncomfortable seat and the cheap leather. There are other saddle makers that use the Steele Equi-Fit tree, in the future I will have a nicer saddle built on the Gaited Walker tree.
Author: Susan from Joyce, WA
Usefulness Rating: 2.8 out of 5.
20 reader(s) voted.
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