ridecamp@endurance.net: [endurance] Ortho-Flex (a bit long)

[endurance] Ortho-Flex (a bit long)

idj3q@tva.gov ("idj3q@tva.gov")
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 11:04:59 -0400 (EDT)

There have been several posts recently about OF fit and service problems.
Although the complaints may be justified, my recent experience with them has
been very good. In March of this year I purchased a slightly used Express
Lite - vintage approx 1994 - to use as a main or second saddle, depending on
how it worked out. I wrote OF a short letter to transfer the serial number
and asked for a catalog. Five days later I had a letter from them with a new
personalized cantle nameplate and a sales brochure. Cost was about $5.

One friend has an older Express. The old-style panels on her saddle cracked
which made the suspension not work. She shipped it back to Brown's. It came
back to her, freshly polished, and with the new-style panels installed at no
charge. She had expected to pay for an upgrade to the new panels but was told
that the old ones should not have cracked and that there was no charge. That
seems to be pretty good service.

My saddle has worked great with both of my horses. My younger horse
completed three of his first four 50's using Express Lite's owned by friends
so I knew beforehand that it would work for him. I have not had loin rubbing
problems on either Arab. I'm sure that length of the panels in relation to the
horse's build has a lot to do with whether the rubbing occurs or not. Also, I
think keeping the saddle in place probably makes a difference. For that
reason I always use a crupper and breastcollar, regardless of the terrain we
are on. My saddle was built with western rigging - I think OF calls it a
forward-Y yoke - instead of the rigging in the skirts for attaching an english
girth which is standard on that model. It may add a little extra bulk (not
sure) but is not objectionable and it allows me to use the same girths as the
ones I use with my Desoto saddle. This might make the saddle stay in place
better (???). The stirrup hangers do not appear to be defective. Perhaps
this is not as widespread a problem as one might think from the discussion.
In any case, a check by the owner would not be a big deal if he/she knew to

So far I have only used the OF on training rides except for the Biltmore 100
where we pulled. That means we have done a few hundred miles of training with
it, divided between the two horses. I have some reluctance to subject such a
beautiful saddle to the treatment it will get at an endurance ride. Guess I
will get over that and it will see more use. However, my Desoto saddle fits,
works great, and is comfortable to me so it will still most likely be used the

I guess I think that there are always going to be some problems and complaints
regardless of how good a product may be if there are enough of them in use.
That's no excuse for bad service but is a fact of life. Also, some people
will always be happy and others may never be satisfied...

Dave Bennett - Ben Amil & Southern Rock
Chickamauga, Georgia
e-mail: idj3q@tva.gov