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ABOUT US

Based in Cirencester for over 45 years, Sydney Free Saddlery is recognised as a leading saddlery in the Cotswolds stocking over 8,000 tried and tested products for EVERY BUDGET and ALL LEVELS OF RIDER, from beginners to advanced competitors. We are passionate about horses - as horse owners and riders these animals become a part of who we are. We have very much maintained our roots of being a traditional saddlery, whilst adding in the newest products on the market. We understand that each horse is an individual with its own specific needs and requirements. It is important to us that we provide the best possible resource for both horse and rider.

All our staff either are or have been horse owners and/or riders and we're here to give you friendly, unbiased and - hopefully - helpful advice. We cater for everyone from Pony Club kids and complete beginners, to professional competitors and keep in a huge range of stock. However, if there is something that you are wanting to order that we don't have in stock then we are happy to get it in for you if it is from a company that we deal with. We also offer bit hire (available in store and online) on any of the metal bits that we have in stock, as well as offering clipper hire (in store only).

HISTORY

Sydney Free Saddlery was started in the early 1970's by Sydney Free himself, a Master Saddler. When he was looking to retire he sold the business to Anne & Fraser Glennie (Mary's parents) in 1995. They had 7 children who all rode at various stages, including 3 who at the time were competing seriously in dressage. We think they decided it was cheaper to buy the shop!! Sydney Free continued working in the workshop until he decided that he wanted to fully retire. The workshop is still onsite and is now run by Master Saddler Nigel Higgs who was taken on by Sydney at the very beginning and has been here ever since. Helen was also working at Sydney Free Saddlery when Mr & Mrs Glennie took over ownership and has stayed ever since. In 2011 Anne & Fraser were both suffering from ill health and could no longer run the business, which is when their daughter Mary bought the business from them.


MEET THE TEAM

Owner - Mary
grew up in Cirencester and rode from pretty much as soon as she could walk. At around the age of 12 she recognised that her sense of self preservation was stronger than her sense of danger and decided to concentrate on dressage! After training her Pony Club horse up to and competing at Junior level she then moved onto a 4 year old who she trained herself up to Grand Prix level and also competed at Young Rider level for Great Britain. She then trained up her next youngster from 3 years old to Grand Prix, was invited onto the World Class plan for horses with Olympic potential and started aiming for the 2012 Olympics. In 2010 she competed at Grand Prix with that horse, won every competition at that level and was well positioned to come top three in the Inter II and Grand Prix at the National Championships. Sadly, her horse injured himself in the stable just before the Championships that year, resulting in enforced retirement. Mary started working at Sydney Free in 1995, doing that alongside competing and other jobs, before starting to work here full time in 2011.

Mary


Shop manager - Helen
is from a local farming family and came up through the Pony Club, completing up to her B Test. She is also qualified up to BHS Stage II, having participated in most general disciplines. She worked at a stud before joining Sydney Free Saddlery under the original ownership. Helen has refused to let us put on here what year she joined Sydney Free Saddlery, but suffice it to say, she is our 'fountain of all knowledge' and never allowed to leave us!!

Helen

Shop Assistant - Kate
is the newest member of the team, having joined us in 2018. Having had years of retail experience, she was finally able to combine that with her love of horses when the position opened up here. Despite not owning her own horse Kate has spent years helping friends with horses and landing the rides on plenty of horses for friends to keep her busy.

Kate

Master Saddler - Nigel
joined the business when Sydney Free first started in the 1970's, having owned horses in his earlier years. He is a fully qualified Master Saddler and runs the onsite workshop where he offers saddle fittings alongside repairs of saddles, bridles, sporting luggage and many, many other items from handbags to classic cars. Highly respected and widely recommended by word of mouth, Nigel has quite a following of customers who trust him implicitly with their items and often find it tricky to spot where their item was broken in the first place once he has repaired it. It was also his handiwork that was requested in order to make a saddle when Denman was retired from racing and sent to one of our customers for his retirement - if you can count hunting and team chasing as retirement!