Manufacturer: Kieffer (View all products by Kieffer Munchen)
Model: Masters League (View all Masters League reviews)
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I bought the saddle from Emmers in Belgium. Can't remember what I paid for it. It was expensive but alot cheaper than a Prestige Jumping saddle. Probably comparable to Stubben pricing. I currently have several Kieffers, however this was my first Kieffer jumping saddle. Prestige and Stubben jumping saddles are the most common here, and you rarely see a Kieffer in the jumping ring. I took the punt based on how much I love my Kieffer dressage saddles. This was the only model I could find with a flat seat, which was a compulsory prerequisite for me.
Likes: Everything! Prestige and Stubben seem to be the current benchmark for jumping. I own both, so my comparison is based against these brands. I'm not a show jumper, I event One* and Two*, so my opinions are based on this type of use. Firstly the leather (once it wears in for a week), is extremely grippy. Every bit as grippy as Prestige calf-skin leather on their expensive 'D' models, and definitely grippier than Stubben. It feels spectacularly safe on cross-country. One of my horses has thrown me (and everyone else) out of every other saddle before this one because he has such an aggressive jump off the ground, and you usually get separated in the air. This saddle has solved this problem. The panels are cut further forward than Prestige (more like a Stubben cut). This is better because my knees sit right at the front of the panels on my Prestige, which is pretty useless. I have one Kieffer with the standard panel cut and small knee blocks. I then bought a second one with the extra 2cm in front and standard (medium/large) knee blocks. My preference would be for small blocks, and if you ride short or have very long legs then get the extra 2cm in front. The flat seat is great and you feel glued on, but not sucked in like you can't move freely over the jump. You also aren't going to get hit from behind jumping a big drop or into water because the seat is nice an compact and flat. My showjumping instructor (former World Cup etc) was surprised at first when I turned up in it. He had a look look and watched me ride around for a while and said there was a distinct improvement in my stability and lower leg position, and gave the saddle the thumbs-up. Finally, it looks spectacular. I have one in Tobacco, and one in Black (with the red keeper on the side). The wave-shaped stitching on the outer flaps look great.
Dislikes: There is nothing I don't like, other than how hard these saddles are to find. My Tobacco coloured saddle is a little sensitive to marks and is getting darker patches on the lower half of the flaps, but this is normal for this dye colour, and Prestige and Stubben saddles are no different. If you don't want the saddle to look pre-loved after a few years, then Tobbacco is not the colour for you. Plus, the red keeper on the black version looks very flash.
Quality: Manufacture quality is great, as with all Kieffers. Exclusive seat with integrated gullet plate allowed the saddle fitter to alter the gullet on the spot. Kieffers have a much better gullet adjustment system than Bates. Either the gullet plate, or the older thermal heating method are both great. the older method just requires the fitter to take the saddle away and make the change over a day or so.
Summary: I have already bought a second one with the money I got for selling my Prestige Paris D in preference for another one of these. While this saddle exists I can't possibly justify paying Prestige Italia's exorbitant prices to get an equivalent product. I also prefer this saddle to the Stubbens I have/had. In the end, I only kept my Lohengrin because it was worth more to me than I could get by selling it. I can't rate these saddles enough. Because I have multiple horses I need different saddle fits for each of them, so I am currently trying to acquire a third one of these.
Usefulness Rating: 2.66667 out of 5.
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