Manufacturer: American Flex
Model: Caliente, 7 panel system, S-D-SG-SD-16
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: In March of 2005 I wasn't really looking for a new saddle. My usual plan is to complain for a number of months about a problem so that my husband gets used to the idea that a new item of horse equipment (or a new horse) is going to enter our lives. When I visited Hill View Farms in Morgan, MN, however, I could see that a new saddle was in my immediate future, even though the $2,600.00 put a crimp in the budget.
Likes: After struggling to find the right saddle for my aging QH, Lewis, I was really interested in the A-Flex panel design that would adapt to fit any horse. The freely moving panels were exactly what my unevenly muscled old guy needed. The first time I put the A-Flex on his back it settled down in just the right spot and Lewis gave a big sigh of relief.
Dislikes: My first concern with the saddle came when I was using it on a green broke horse a few months later. We rounded a turn in the trail at a high rate of speed and came smack into the center of a flock of wild turkeys. In just about the amount of time it took me to think "Turkeys!" my wild-eyed horse was going back in the other direction while I proceeded to the spot where the turkeys had been. So much for the correct, upright show-ring position of heels, hips and shoulders in alignment of the A-Flex. In order to keep my bones in alignment when riding this horse I switched almost immediately to a deep-seated Australian saddle where I can prop my feet to the front in preparation for a potential turkey encounter. In this respect I would like the fenders on the A-Flex to be set further forward since I appreciate the value of avoiding sudden contact with the ground.
Quality: The saddle itself is well made and it was a thing of beauty for about the first month. Then I tied the stirrups up over the seat--forgetting that I put an E-Z Up stirrup on the saddle--and the metal of the E-Z Up scratched the heck out of the leather. Since then the saddle has gone out on the trail in good weather and bad and there are many other nicks and scratches on it but overall it's holding up well. The exception would be the purely decorative saddle strings the German saddle makers put on the A-Flex. Maybe it's a European tradition to use saddle strings for pretty and never really tie anything on their saddles.
Summary: Overall I like the American Flex and haven't had any problems with it. The price seemed a little high--but as my husband has finally realized, everything with horses costs $1000. Whether it's a hoof pick, a saddle pad or even a new horse, he's resigned to the fact that when you average it out over the decades everything related to horses is going to cost $1000. It's good he's realized this since I have my eye on a new trailer...
Author: Frieda Bruck
Usefulness Rating: 2.22222 out of 5.
9 reader(s) voted.
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