Model: Flex Endurance Saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: Although this model sells new through several tack vendors for more than $1,000, I was able to purchase this one for $650 on Ebay. It was two years old and in nearly new condition.
Likes: It is wide enough to fit my wide-backed Arabians, with enough shoulder flare to give them room to move freely. It is also short skirted (approximately 23" skirt) which is great for any short-backed horse. Short skirts can often be difficult to find. The leather quality is excellent--thick buttery soft leather that does not need much break-in time. There are plenty of snaps and rings for the distance rider to attach trail necessities. Love the in-skirt C rigging, which gives the option to modify your girth configuration several ways. The nicely padded seat is also a plus for the rider.
Dislikes: Not much to dislike. The strings that are standard on the saddle are longer than my liking. At 24", the four strings are kind of a nuisance when saddling (they tend to wad up under the saddle) and were bugging my horse by slapping against his flanks when trotting. I resolved that by tying them up and out of the way. Some people may not like the rather heavy EZ-style stirrups that come standard on the saddle. My unit did have a slight difference in length of the stirrup fender adjustment. Changing the length on one side fixed that adequately, even though the hole numbers do not match perfectly now--my knees tell me they match in length.
Quality: My first impression when the saddle arrived was how solid it looks. No one would pick this out as a flex saddle at first glance. It is stitched and riveted sturdily. The fleece is thick and of good quality. This is a fairly heavy saddle at around 24lbs.
Summary: I have ridden treeless for many, many years but not having a twist was giving my hips some pain and I also wanted a saddle that didn't automatically require a crupper to keep things from slipping during steep downhill sections of trail. My main riding horse has been hard to fit, and always would get sore in a treed saddle. The flex-tree has given us what we both need. We've had this saddle about four months and have had no back problems. We've also competed in a very strenuous competitive trail ride and had all A's on his back from the ride judge. I would recommend, as with any other saddle, that you use a high quality pad underneath this saddle. We're using a Skito Equalizer and that is working well.
Usefulness Rating: 3.82143 out of 5.
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