Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle used on ebay for $1000. It was purchased because I was training a number of horses, and wanted a saddle that would be comfortable for almost all of them.
Likes: What I liked about this saddle, was that it fit every horse, although I am sure that there are some horses it wouldn't work for, I never ran into that.
Whether a high-withered Thoroughbred, or a mutton-withered Quarter Horse or a Warmblood, it left even sweat marks, and the horses seemed to move freer in it. I love the concept of the panels, which distribute weight over a greater area and is theoretically more comfortable for the horse.
Dislikes: While the horses seemed to appreciate the Ortho-flex, it was not the most comfortable saddle in which I have ridden. The seat was quite hard, and the older I get, the more I need comfort. :-)
The one thing that was different than other saddles I have tried, was if the horse acted up. If a horse started bucking, which admittedly was rare since they seemed to appreciate the saddle, it felt less secure than other saddles. Almost as if the "shock-absorption and weight distribution" put me an instant behind the action. If the horse bucked once, it was not that discernible. However, the more the horse bucked, the more out-of-sync I felt. To be fair, I might have felt that way on any horse who was bucking, but having trained a lot of horses in different saddles, that is the only time I noticed the peculiar sensation of being a second behind the action.
Quality: The construction of the saddle was solid. Hard to compare it to other saddles, because that type of saddle is rare. The leather was sturdy and wore well, but harder and tougher than other dressage saddles I have tried.
Summary: If you are wanting a saddle to fit a variety of horses and be comfortable for them, this saddle is a good choice. If you want comfort for you or a saddle that helps put you in the correct riding position for dressage, you will probably be happier looking elsewhere. With the new saddles that are adjustable, the main benefit to the Ortho-flex is the distribution of weight over a greater area. This leads to less pounds per square inch of pressure throughout the panels. To give the saddle its due, I never had a horse develop a sore back with this saddle.
Usefulness Rating: 3.25 out of 5.
32 reader(s) voted.
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