Manufacturer: Kuda Saddlery and Tack (View all products by Kuda)
Model: Flex Trail Saddle (View all Flex Trail Saddle reviews)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I acquired this saddle for my Paso Fino Mare who is very narrow in the withers and has a short back and protruding spine. I ordered it from PFL Inc. on the internet through their web site, PFLus.com, who is the dealer for the western half of the United States. The saddle was $1250. The reason I wanted this saddle is because it is treeless, but was designed for horses with high withers and protruding spines.
Likes: The Kuda Flex Trail Saddle was originally designed for Paso Finos, who need spine clearance and a freedom in the shoulders to gait. They also have very short backs. Because it was quickly discovered that riders of other breeds with similar needs were wanting to try the saddle, it was modified until now it can be used on a wide variety of breeds from ponies to drafts. The gullet width is the fitting key and the Kuda Flex Trail comes in 4 Pommel widths. I like the Flex Trail mostly because it gives me security with a nice pocket to sit in and looks and feels like a treed saddle, but with very close contact so communication is multiplied many times over a treed saddle. I love the solid arch that crosses over the pommel. I saved me from getting bucked off hard last fall and now I can't imagine being without it. Compare it to a grab bar in your shower when you have a slippery floor and you'll get my drift. My narrow withered mare would kick at me, try to bite me and swished her tail when I cinched her until I got this saddle. I thought is was the tightening process but now I know it had to have something to do with the hard treed saddle. Now she stands quietly for saddling and she gaits wonderfully under saddle. With her I know I can never go back to a treed saddle. Some treeless lovers look at the Kuda Leather Flex Saddles as Hybrids because they have the built in rigid pommel. But it has soft bars made of leather and foam. The bars twist and bend to match my horses back. So it is really a a treeless saddle. I bought a Skito Pad to match my saddle which is also offered by PFL Inc. This pad has optional shims so I can use it on my dippy backed horse too. Even though the saddle flexes down in this dippy area, I don't want to put added pressure on the withers or loin so I shim his dippy part up so the pressure is even all the way down the saddle again. This saddle and pad make a great combination.
Dislikes: I didn't like how long it took to get my saddle. I ordered the one I wanted with all the options I wanted and it took 12 weeks to get my saddle because they are made to order.
Quality: The 16" seated saddle that I ride weighs 21 pounds and is made of leather. You can also get a synthetic model for less money and it weighs a few pounds less. It comes with your choice of pre-twisted stirrups which are nice to the knees, or English Irons. It comes with a choice of Western fenders, 2" Endurance leathers, or 1" English leathers. It also comes with a girth, so you are ready to ride. It is available in Black, Brown, or a combo. The seat is well padded and comes in suede or stitch down or smooth. The saddle is well made with buttery soft oil tanned leather and I expect it to last for years and years even with hard riding.
Summary: I think this is a great saddle for horses that cannot tolerate the other treeless brands and who hate the hard treed ones. The built in open gullet is great for the horses with high withers and protruding spine such as the slab sided Paso Finos we ride. I love it and so does most everyone else who sees it. It's just another great alternative for picky or not so perfectly built horses.
Usefulness Rating: 4.4 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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