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flair panels?

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  • flair panels?

    Here's the story:

    I scored a very inexpensive older County Competitor saddle today from a Craigslist listing. It had tubes coming from both panels (which were very flat) and the tubes were marked "flair". It kinda jogged my memory a little about a pre Cair air inflation system, so I looked it up on the internet and I was right, that's what it appears to be. At one time this saddle had the panels replaced with the flair system (I guess).

    Does anyone know if they can be removed and reflocked with wool? Or should I pursue finding someone to reinflate the flair panels? I did a search here, and the opinions on the flair system were mixed to say the least. I would rather not have them, and am hoping that the panels could be reflocked. And while we're on the subject, does anyone know of a reputable saddle fitter in south central PA or northern MD who could do this? The saddle is in decent shape otherwise & is worth restuffing. I'm on my way to the local tack shop tomorrow to gather info, but thought I might get some feedback here first!
    "Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death."

  • #2
    Well, if what you have is what I have... (mine's a Schleese with Flair, though)

    The panels in my saddle can be adjusted with a small hand pump. I've heard both very good and very bad things about the Flair, but my horse seems to really love this saddle so we're sticking with it. The pump I have came with the saddle (bought used) and appears to just be a very small hand pump with a pin (like would be used for a basketball or similar). It also came with a pair of forceps (?) to pinch off the tubes once inflated so you can reconnect them without losing air.

    I believe they can be converted, but would guess it's on the spendy side.


    • #3
      I have the flair system in two of my saddles and I couldn't be happier. I would be incredibly bummed if I had to go back to wool. Cair is an even poorer version of flair or wool if you ask me. The most important thing though is finding someone local to you to have the flair adjusted. It's incredibly easy to adjust the flair panels if the person is good.

      My first experience with flair was horrible. I had a saddle adjusted and then got on my horse the next day and I had the inevitable beach ball experience: bouncy. It took me a while before I returned to the saddle fitter, but with only a few minutes of tweaking, the saddle was absolutely perfect. I have my saddles adjusted many times since then and never had a problem. In fact, flair gives a super feel to the horse and seems to fit a wide range of horses even when it's not perfect.

      Try it@


      • #4
        Yes, they can be changed over to flocking. Ive know of a few people who have theres done, i'm in the UK though so couldn;t recommend anyone.


        • #5
          They can be changed over to flocking. I have all my flocking changed to Flair as I adore them! My mare loves it and I love that I can tweak my saddle between fittings with a $5 hand bike pump! I just realized today I was falling right. I got off and sure enough my growing/changing mare had changed again. 2 minutes with my hand pump and my saddle was level and my mare was happy again and not hanging on my left rein! If I had wool I would have to mess around with shims and wait months for the fitter!

          Cair and Flair are very different. Cair is mostly foam with a little air while Flair is pure air. Flair can be adjusted and Cair can't. Cair is quite hard and not very forgiving while Flair molds the air over the horses back. I really don't like Cair at all. Flair I love! :-). Wool is great too but on a growing horse I'm all about the comfort and ease of adjustment of Flair!
          Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


          • #6
            The beach ball feeling is when they are too inflated. They should be squishy yet firm. Too full and there is no give and the bouncing is horrible! I fill my so I can squeeze them like squeezing a non-tensed leg muscle.
            Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


            • #7
              Originally posted by gallopinggram View Post
              Does anyone know if they can be removed and reflocked with wool?
              I acquired a cheap kieffer with popped flair panels, I had it changed over to wool for the same price as the tack shop charged for normal reflocking.
              "I think animal testing is a terrible idea, they get all nervous and give silly answers."
              -fry & laurie


              • #8
                Originally posted by Keg-A-Bacchus View Post

                Cair and Flair are very different. Cair is mostly foam with a little air while Flair is pure air. Flair can be adjusted and Cair can't.
                CAIR panels do not have foam. They're made up of a thin neoprene layer, the CAIR airbags (2 per panel) and synthetic flocking. Though the CAIR panel itself can't be adjusted, the newer saddles that incorporate them *can* be adjusted through the use of shims which slide into the panels.
                Patience pays.


                • #9
                  I've seen inside a Wintec saddle with Cair and that had foam. I have a picture but can't see how to add it.


                  • #10
                    There is a County rep and saddle fitter that serves the NoVa and Md areas - she is very good - Ann Mary Bettenson annmary@countysaddlery.com


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks to all for the replies, we are pursuing the reflocking. I've never done this before, so, is there anything I should be aware of when I talk to the saddle pro? This saddle does NOT need to fit a particular horse, I just don't want it to be rock hard.
                      "Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death."


                      • #12
                        Just make sure they use good quality wool and the rest is a breeze!
                        Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.