Cumbrian Heavy Horses -

+44(0)1833 640855 Skype Les Spark, Barnard Castle

Cumbrian Heavy Horses

Cumbrian Heavy Horses - the ultimate horse riding experience

Tommy with Annie at Westmoorland Show

Lugs having fun on the beach

Hamish on a weeks holiday ride

Ollie all 18.3 hands


I asked Annie Rose why she had so many FnE saddles, 16 at present, and why she'll be adding more,
this is her answer:

Cumbrian Heavy Horses have been using Free’n’Easy saddles for our hard working heavy horses for some years now. The Heavy Horses we work exclusively with are an interesting shape to fit; obviously not all alike, some are wider, some have a “dippy” back, but predominantly they have a broad, well sprung ribcage, strong shoulders and high withers - the idea that heavies are all fat, wide and steady is a fallacy – a fit heavy horse does have a shape and it’s not necessarily round! We had been struggling to get the right saddles and as we embarked on our ride from Scotland in 2006 we were well aware that we had much room for improvement.

We were introduced to them via Val Pape, a colleague who had been riding at top level Endurance for years who knew what our horses were doing work-wise and suggested we try one. Having used a variety of saddles for years ( and seeing the damage, the white marks and muscle wastage which could occur even when the saddle looked like it fitted) we saw immediately the potential benefits that this system could offer our horses.  I have tried treeless saddles and am nothing short of scathing about them (don’t get me onto that one Les!!) so to see the flexibility in the way these saddles are fitted, the ability to move with the horse, to absorb movement, the large weight bearing pads, the care over fitting and on-going support offered by Les – the whole package was appealing way back then and, having worked with Les over years now and seen the way he strives for continual development, continual improvement of a product which is already excellent is so refreshing that I have no regrets – in fact we have just added two more F’n’E saddles to our stock!

We use these saddles simply because they enable our horses to work in comfort. If I ask a horse to do a half or full day ride I KNOW that that horse is comfortable and will therefore enjoy his day, too. We no longer have horses with sore, bruised backs, they do not cringe when a saddle is lifted onto their backs, they no longer have the awful white marks showing pressure areas, and a huge bonus is that they are HAPPY in their job!

Another real benefit for us is that Les can come and can fit a saddle onto another horse if anything changes. They have interchangeable parts. AND given the workload here, which must be way above the norm for many horses in the UK, they wear incredibly well! They also look good too, despite the damage  through wear in muddy and often salty sandy conditions (we do clean tack daily which helps!) they continue to be a  quality product!!

Yes they are expensive, but for us as a business and for us as people passionate about their horses and the level of care they receive, knowing that our horses are able to work freely through the shoulder, pain free, what price can you put on that?? I never have horses off work with sore backs anymore. A horse off work is not only psychologically traumatic ( for both the horse and ourselves as people) but also expensive for us as a business. Lost revenue as a result of back injury simply does not happen here. What more can I say???!!! We love these saddles, I treated myself to a brand new one last year, and I love it…and more importantly, so does my horse!! I cannot recommend these saddles highly enough!


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