Manufacturer: Kieffer (View all products by Kieffer Munchen)
Model: Kur / Lusitano Kur (View all Kur / Lusitano Kur reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought mine in Australia and paid normal retail pricing (about $4,500 AUD I think). The Kur comes by default with the Kieffer 'Excellent' tree, so mine has the Excellent tree, and the blue piping around the seat that usually goes with that tree configuration. I have ridden in Bates, Prestige and Luc Childeric dressage saddles, and my comparisons below are based on this level of exposure to other brands.
Likes: Everything. I adore anything Kieffer with the Excellent tree. That's where they have put a membrane in the seat of the tree that takes all the jarring out of the movement. You seriously don't need to try to do sitting trot. Just stop rising and just sit there and it all happens for you. Mine has a deep seat which really holds you in. If you have a horse with a large extended trot, or is just a big mover, this should allow you to feel like you can stay there without too much effort. I have had mine for several years now and the leather still looks like new. The blue piping and stitching around the seat looks great.
Dislikes: Nothing. I adore this saddle. However I do have a friend with one too, and he complains about not being able to do rising trot easily. I never really noticed it, but when I watch him riding in it I can see what he means. The contour on the front knee block is so perfectly matched to your leg that it doesn't really allow your thigh room to move forward in rising trot. I only use mine on whichever of my horses is competing at the highest level, so rising trot is not an option, and it's one of the things I love about it... it holds you in. Admittedly I use a Kieffer Ulla Rusty on my younger horses, so maybe this saddle is better the higher up you compete in it.
Quality: Every Kieffer item I own is fantastic quality and very tough. I have heard some negative comments about bridles purchased off eBay, but most of these are copies so you can't blame Kieffer for that. Those clever sweat-shop people can make as much money copying Kieffer bridles as they do copying Louis Vuitton handbags, so be careful about where you buy. Back to the saddle, the changeable gullet is great. It's not a multiple-bracket system like Bates. It's the one gullet inside the saddle that is widened or contracted through a thermal heating process, and then cooled too set. Very clever system, and has been around for ever. Some of the new ones have a metal gullet plate that the saddler just alters on the spot with a 2-tonne metal press. That's even better because it's done instantly. Basically I can't fault quality and construction on this, or any other Kieffer item I have ever bought.
Summary: This saddle is my favourite dressage saddle (my Kieffer Ulla Rusty is second on my list). You can't go wrong in this price bracket with any Kieffer saddle with either the Excellent or the Exclusive tree. The seat feels the same between most models when you ride around, you just need to chose the model with the knee blocks and panels in the shape that suits you. Bates cannot touch these saddles, and I don't really think Prestige can either. I rode in a Luc Childeric once that came close, but they are well above Kieffer's price range. I also put Peter Horobin 'Flair' panels into my Kur, which made it even more divine to sit in.
Usefulness Rating: 3.1 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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