In the early spring/late winter before Freedom injured his check ligament, I bought what appeared to be an awesome saddle. I had never seen one before (and I love looking at saddles) and with it’s extra forward flaps, monoflap design and open seat, it was calling my name.
Of course, readers of this blog know that many saddles call my name — I love riding in different saddles. Some I keep and many I pass along.
Once I had agreed on an appropriate price, the saddle was delivered in all its glory. It was pristine — no stirrup marks, no marks on the billet straps, nothing. The leather was supple and in lovely condition. It even came with this very cool leather panel protector which goes under the saddle, meaning you don’t even need a pad with it.
That should have given me a clue to the saddle’s age. These days, no ride is complete without at least one special pad. This saddle was from an era when pads were mostly used to keep your saddle clean.
I fired off an email to Kieffer in Germany along with photos of the saddle. It had a very distinctive imprint of the Kieffer logo on the pommel.
A few days later, I had a name: my saddle is a Zugspritz Springen Spezial. And get this — it was made sometime between 1974 and 1980! That was the last time they had used an imprint like this. It was like this saddle had been sitting in a time capsule all those years.
This was one of the few true xc saddles that Kieffer manufactured and they were very popular when I was in high school! It is a very well made saddle; the leather is beautiful and the attention to detail is very fine.
The greatest luck is that the saddle fits both Freedom and me. Of course, I had to wait to ride in it while Freedom rested but I started hunting in it this fall and it’s great. The balance is perfect and while it doesn’t exactly have a cushy seat, it’s very comfortable. Plus, it’s a great color on Freedom, and that’s what counts, right?
The only negative to the saddle is that it doesn’t have the “glow tree” — the fiberglass reinforced synthetic trees that can be adjusted using an infrared process. Luckily the saddle fits Freedom well enough now that it isn’t a problem.