Category Archives: WOW Saddles
Zigzag is a 14-year-old Lusitano gelding, bred by Sherene Rahmatallah of Sussex Lusitanos, a small group of breeders specialising in these sensitive and intelligent horses. Zigzag has enjoyed success in the show arena and currently works at Advanced Medium level at home.
Katie Gilmour first rode a Lusitano with Tina Layton BHSI at Contessa Riding Centre, Ware, Hertfordshire, and fell in love with the breed. On moving to Sussex and seeking a horse to ride, she contacted Sherene, who suggested she ride Zigzag.
Zigzag is a true schoolmaster for those who can already ride well, but seeks to develop a stronger, more consistent position with better feel and sensitivity. Katie’s aim is to improve her riding and training skills and to become a ‘Luso rider’ in advance of taking on a new partner – a Luso of course! – to compete in dressage and showing.
“Zigzag is fairly close coupled,” Katie says. “Sometimes he gets blocked in his back and finds it difficult to work over his topline, particularly if his rider doesn’t maintain their position in his point of balance.”
“He has a big heart; he wants to please his rider, but it felt as though he simply couldn’t go forwards and he would stop. Just before Christmas, he felt particularly uncomfortable and his willingness was affected.”
Sherene carried out the usual checks on Zigzag, including his teeth and his back and became concerned that his saddle was uncomfortable. Sherene contacted her local Wow fitter, Nicola Purdy, because of Wow’s reputation for allowing full freedom of movement in all shapes and sizes of horses.
Wow boast Baroque styles in their range that are modelled on the Relvas type saddle, designed for showing and competing Iberian horses. These can be used with any of Wow’s huge range of panels, headplates and seats, to combine a classic traditional look with up-to-date sadddle technology. Difficulties in fitting Iberians are consequently easily resolved.
With his new saddle made to order and fitted, Sherene and Katie both noticed an immediate difference in his work, and it became obvious that he had been hindered and constrained by the previous saddle’s fit.
Katie says: “Ziggy is definitely a lot happier in his Wow; he is so much more forward-thinking. He is a very sensitive horse, but now he is so comfortable, you can just enjoy riding him, and not feel like you are treading on eggshells all the time. There’s now no tension in movements like half-pass and counter-canter. I have never seen such a dramatic change when saddles have been changed on other horses I’ve ridden. It’s lovely to feel such a difference. Ziggy really is a special horse and it’s heartwarming to feel him feeling so well.”
WOW customer Mairi Howat tells us that her horse Pagan, with rider Alex Sales, recently WOWed the competition at the TREC championships. Well done Alex and Pagan! Their collective tally is now:
Welsh Level 2 Individual Champion
Scottish, English and British Level 2 Pairs Champions
Welsh, Scottish, English and British – Best Veteran
Scottish, English and British – Highest PTV Score across all levels.
As you can imagine, Alex is over the moon. “As she said herself, after 13 years of ‘not quites’ and ‘nearlies’, to win all the champs in the same year is unbelievable,” Mairi says.
We catch up with WOW Saddles rider Izzy Chaplin to find out how she is juggling university and training with the beautiful Dora…
“Uni has been going really well and I have passed all my first semester exams with a 2:1. Riding on the uni team has been a great experience especially as you have to adapt so quickly to a new horse you have never ridden. Five minutes with a horse before you go and do a dressage test or a course of jumps goes pretty quickly!”
“A month or so into uni, I decided that the best thing for Dora would be to move her up to Henry Boswell’s yard. This meant that I would have the opportunity to ride Dora more, rather than going 3 and a half hours home! I could also have a lot more help, so I could progress quicker and hopefully achieve my goal of young riders sooner (although we are still have quite a way to go). Everyone at Aspire has been so friendly and look after Dora so well, she settled in so easily. It was also lovely to be able to ride in an indoor school!”
“While the first term was mostly focused around training and getting Dora to go into more self-carriage, when she came home for the Christmas holidays I managed to get her out to a local competition. She warmed up brilliantly. We didn’t do our best test as we were both a bit rusty but we came away with a 1st place and a lot to work on. I was also lucky to go to Olympia Horse Show to watch the freestyle. It was amazing to witness another world record being set by Charlotte and catching up with everyone.”
“Soon it was back to uni and we took Dora back up to Henry’s. We carried on with training for a bit and then we decided to enter a competition that was local to Henry and do 2 mediums. Dora was brilliant and it was so useful to have Henry at the show to give us a hand and shout a few pointers at us in the warm up. In the first test we got a 71.55% which is one of our highest scores to date. I was so pleased especially as she had chucked in a flying change in one of the movements. It was also really nice to see another U21’s rider Becca Bell who I met when I was in ponies.”
“Then it was onto the next test. Dora really tried and we came out 70.94% to come equal 1st! We also got my first 9.5 for our first centre line. I was so pleased to get 2 scores over 70%. Only a few more points needed for regional qualification then onto advanced medium!”
“When I got back I got some more good news, Dora and I had qualified for the Winter Petplan championships at 2 levels, medium open and advance medium open! So we can have another shot at the medium again this year and hopefully don’t have the same bad luck as last year. Now it is back to training for a while but we have a lot planned including BYRDS training and more competitions. Now it’s the countdown to the winter championships!”
WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Lesley Peyton-Gilbert reflects on a fun, crazy, challenging, frustrating and sometimes painful year so far…
“Well here I am and i’ts September! How on earth did that happen?? It’s been a fun , crazy ,scary , challenging, frustrating and at times painful! Woodcroft Garuda K has taken to Grand Prix like the proverbial duck to water and we continue to grow and develop . We have done premier leagues and several internationals, one in France which was very eye opening and disappointing in that we drove 700 miles only to be allowed to ride one test and pay £900 for the privilege. Don’t for one minute think we get any support for going on these international expeditions. I have to say a MASSIVE thank you to my horses’ owners Woodcroft studs Tim Harris and Bernadette O’Sullivan for making it possible for me to have these international experiences! Deauville was a stunning location found at a very late hour and making like ‘wee Willy winky’ running through the town looking for our stable at 3 am! Hilarious if we weren’t so exhausted! It was HOT, 32 degrees sand arenas that were over watered and rock hard.”
“The positives were the food! The Australians, French and Brazilians were doing their final team selections for WEG so there was a lot of tensions at the show and some interesting tests and riding ! We got home to have three days break at home and then travel to the CDI at Hickstead! Again a great show and a steep learning curve but certainly the Grand Prix Special was our high light, like the one we did at Hartpury international to come third with Carl and Nip Tuck winning. I had got Garuda ready to travel home and had to do the prize giving on foot!”
“Yet again the team at Hickstead had produced great show and I never fail to enjoy my time there and the wonderful atmosphere aided by the Irish bar for the riders and connections! I hope that the public enjoyed watching as much as we riders enjoyed taking part.”
“After Hickstead it was time to really turn my attentions to my younger horse, World Exclusive, as it was the regional championships at Addington. The weather was truly awful on the day we were there and at one point hail stones the size of marbles pelted down. I thankfully only had sideways rain to contend with, and Wex was a super star. The classes were huge, and the depth of talent bottomless. So I was very pleased to come 6th in the 30 strong medium and 7th in the advanced medium both with scores a hairs width off 70% meaning as we were one place off qualification in both classes that we did get wild cards for the nationals!”
“Garuda, who had qualified for the Inter11 got his place in the Grand Prix, realising a massive ambition to ride at the nationals at Grand Prix! We have to drop the inter11 as we had ridden a big tour CDI abroad. Consequently I am now madly trying to get a Kur together! It’s compulsory to do the music if you get into the top 15! The weekend is going to be a busy one at the nationals (18-21 of September). Outside of my riding I’ve been helping my pony club teams get ready for their area championships and for a couple of my riders the pony club nationals champs. This is such a rewarding process and I am so proud how far they have all come. I think I can say that for all my pupils , young and old! I do give them grief at times but always in good humour! I have also have the pleasure to judge some amazing horses during the coarse of judging the BEF Futurity scheme, there are some very exciting young horses out there so remember that when looking for your next equine partner!”
“I have managed the odd day off too, here is evidence! A day out with my dogs , to watch my husband play some polo! A bit of a bus mans holiday but I got to chill out for a change! The autumn looks to be as busy as the summer, we are off to Saumur in France to represent GB again the week after the nationals! I’m very excited about this as for me this is one of the real homes of dressage. Just hope I get the chance to go and explore a bit!”
Due to popular demand, we are launching a brand new collection on to the market at Burghley Horse Trials and it is set to fill a void in the market place, providing customers with many of the revolutionary WOW features, at a fraction of the cost!
The Classique collection, powered by WOW, is the result of research in the market, which identified that many customers wish to provide their equines with an ‘off the peg’ saddle that is packed full of unique features, without the higher price tag.
After careful development and prototype testing, the Classique has now been perfected to offer riders just this. The Classique collection of saddles offer customers a traditional flocked saddle with the benefits of WOW’s unique tree and panel system. The WOW Patented tree with Lateral Flexion means that as the horse moves the tree literally twists from side to side to allow total freedom of movement of the shoulder. The Pointless Panel System (PPS) provides a much greater bearing surface without point and stirrup bar pressures and this means you can achieve support and lift without increasing the pressures on the wither area.
The Classique collection is capable of taking all of the WOW Headplate sizes and styles so they can fit horses from Extra Narrow up to 8X Wide. In addition each the Headplates come with three arch radiuses so you can fit the finest, to the very broadest wither with the same tree. Available in a Dressage and Jumping style in black or brown, sizes 16”, 17” & 18”. GP and XC style coming soon. RRP £1,499.
The Classique collection will be launching at Burghley Horse Trials on the WOW Saddles stand. To be one of the first to try it contact 01227 831614 to find your local WOW Saddle fitter or email email@example.com
As WOW Saddles rider Izzy Chaplin prepares to go off to university, she looks back at what has been a very exciting August…
“Well August has been quite a successful month! Early in August I found out that I have been accepted into my first choice uni, Nottingham University to study Accountancy! I was absolutely thrilled as I was a bit nervous before hand. Then it was on to Sheepgate U25’s championships. I had an intensive training week before going up to Sheepgate where I was lucky to be able to have training every other day for a week with my trainer, Sarah Millis. We worked on getting Dora suppler and in self carriage and we had a massive breakthrough. It was as if everything has clicked and Sarah has given me some brilliant exercises to work on that I can also use in the warm up, which came in very handy in the warm up at Sheepgate.”
“You could tell you where further up north as soon as we got out the lorry, it was so cold! But luckily, thanks to WOW Saddles, we had our team clothing to keep us warm and looking very smart! As I had been picked for the Southern advanced team, I did two medium tests for the team over the 2 days. I also entered into the music class as this is something that I have wanted to do for a while. After sorting out a floor plan I decided on music from Narnia and Prince Caspian.”
“On the first day, Dora and I got just under 69% in the medium team test which I was really pleased with considering we had a mistake where Dora broke into canter in the shoulder in. My other team members also did really well and this meant that we were lying in 1st place as a team overnight. Later on was my music class. Dora felt fab in the test. We got a bit ahead of our music in the canter but apart from that the music worked really well with the test and I got all the extended trots in the right place! Our score can through at 74% to win. I was absolutely thrilled as this was only the second run through of the test and this meant a new personal best. You can watch my test on my YouTube channel.”
“Day two was just as successful for the team. I was one of the first on in the team test and we did a good test although I felt that she could have been a bit suppler and in more self-carriage. We got a score of 70% to get 3rd place. As a team we all did brilliantly again on the second day so we managed to win by a big margin. Prize giving was amazing as every southern member that had been competing was in prize giving. A very successful show! Unfortunately that was it for another year for Dora and I but it is such a lovely show and always a highlight of the show season. After Sheepgate, I went away on holiday with my family so the horses had an easy week but now that I am back I am looking forward to fitting in some training and competing before I go off to uni. I will keep you up to date on my Facebook and Twitter page.”
Great to hear from WOW Saddles advocate Gaynor Ranshaw that Pete (Zero to Hero) had a winning weekend at the PetPlan Area Festival in his WOW Saddle…
“We arrived on a VERY WET Friday morning and had a super lesson with Jill Grant who is based at Morris. We ran through our tests for the weekend and worked on improving a couple of the movements, Jill thought he was looking good and his canter work was much more through with greater cadence than when she had last seen him. I then installed him in his stable and gave him a shiatsu massage before spending the rest of Friday helping 4 pupils and warming them up for their various classes on Friday evening. They all did good tests and we had a fun evening when they had all finished.”
“Up early on Saturday morning to take Pete for a walk prior to warming up Moira, Siobhan, Pam and Marita for their tests that started at 8.20am! Between working with pupils I took Pete out for various walks around the show ground, massaged him and let him munch grass in a nearby paddock. By 5pm Pupils were all finished so it was time to scrub off the stable stains and plait Pete up. At 7pm I got on and walked him for half an hour then went to warm up. He felt absolutely super, really listening to me and as we entered the arena I felt confident that he would do a really relaxed test. I could have probably asked a bit more in my Medium trot but was pleased with our test and even more so an hour later when I discovered that he had WON the Petplan Elementary Open. Both judges said it was a lovely test from a harmonious partnership.”
“5.30am Sunday came round awfully early and Pete was sound asleep when I gave him his breakfast. He was lying down again when I returned an hour later to plait him up and scrub those hocks! I got myself ready and went back to the stable to tack him up and yes he was lying down again!!! However, as soon as I got on him he felt great and we arrived in the warm up arena at 7.45am. He felt good and Jill assured me he was looking good so in we went. Other than a not too brilliant walk pirouette, I was really pleased with him and Jill assured me that it looked flowing and easy! I was hoping to be in the top half of the class and was completely overcome when I discovered that we had won the Medium Restricted. So that’s us qualified for the Championships at the Spring Nationals 2015 at both Elementary and Medium level – Pete really is a Hero!”
We were fascinated to hear how well WOW Saddle fitter Gaynor Ranshaw’s horse is getting on with his WOW Saddle. As an Equestrian Shiatsu therapist and dressage trainer as well, she explains here that despite an unconventional back shape, Pete is thriving in his WOW…
“Pete, AKA Zero To Hero, is a 17.1hh grey gelding by Marston St George, born in 1998. He was bred at Warwickshire college and born with rather unusual back conformation!”
“He was originally produced by David Wadge BHSI and sold to Kim Young in 2007. Kim continues to own him and I have had him on loan since 2011. I have known him for over 10 years as I used to train with David and when Kim took over the ride I coached her and also regularly gave Pete Shiatsu sessions. Kim competed Pete at novice, elementary and medium level and I often accompanied them to competitions including regional and national championships. In 2011 Kim offered Pete to me on loan and I decided that as I had not competed for a number of years I would get us both down graded to novice level so that we could have some fun and also see if I still enjoyed competing.”
“I work as a dressage trainer, equine shiatsu practitioner and WOW saddle fitter so don’t have very much time to compete but when we have been out Pete and I have had a great time together. In 2012 we won the Petplan Area Festival and Scottish Championships at Open Novice and came 3rd in the Open Elementary Petplan. Last year we were 3rd in the Open Elementary Scottish Championship and won the Scottish Veteran Trophy – but I am not saying who is the veteran out of the two of us! Unfortunately we missed last year’s Petplans due to illness but have qualified for them and the Scottish Champs at both Elementary and Medium level this year.”
“We have only competed a few weekends this year but most of his rosettes have been red ones and we recently won both Elementary and Medium music classes to qualify for next year’s winter regional champs. He qualified for the summer regionals at Open elementary but we are going to do the Petplans and will hopefully complete our non music winter regional qualifications at our next outing.”
“I train regularly with FEI 4* judge Jo Graham who is really encouraging and really likes Pete – all trainers love him as he tries so hard. He has an absolutely amazing extended walk and loves his medium trot & canter. He is very established in his lateral work and we do lots of it to keep him supple. Generally I follow a routine of hack/school/lunge on alternate days and include plenty of hill work and canter work plus paddling and playing on the beach in his hacking.”
“Pete was fitted with a WOW saddle in 2005 (I think) when he was with David as with his rather unusual shaped back he was a saddle fitter’s nightmare. It has certainly worked for him! Kim inherited the saddle with Pete and when he came to me I had the one owned adjusted to fit him. I purchased a WOW saddle in 2005 as my horse had kissing spines and the WOW combined with shiatsu really seemed to help keep him as supple as possible and gave him another few years of work. I currently ride Pete in an Extra Deep seat with Giant High angled back flaps. He has DWG no tab with 2.5” rear gusset panels and insists on a sheepskin saddle cloth so I really hope WOW start doing Sheepskin saddle cloths soon! I became a fitter when the fitter in our area moved away and having just taken Pete on loan I thought it might be a good idea to learn what I was doing.! I now fit WOW saddles throughout southern and central Scotland & Cumbria!”
Find out more about Gaynor’s Equine Shiatsu by visiting www.equestrianshiatsu.co.uk or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To discuss WOW Saddles with Gaynor call 07818 006 079 or email email@example.com
Read WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin’s latest blog and find out how Dora and Sid have been going…
“I can’t believe how quickly the summer holidays have gone already! After finishing my exams (hooray!), I got to go out to Spain with my friends for a week for a girlie post exam holiday. It was so nice to be able to relax by the pool and go to the beach. Once I was back from Spain I have really focused on the horses, getting them out training and competing ready for competitions later on. Hickstead Premier League was a success where Dora and I got a personal best in the Junior tests coming 3rd in the individual test. Unfortunately I had a bit of a blond moment, thinking my test was 1 hour later than it actually was (my mum and I were quite happily shopping over at the showjumping) and only realised 15 mins before I was meant to go into the test! Luckily the secretary was extremely nice and let me go in at the end of the class! Panic over! But I was extremely pleased considering all the hurdles we have had to jump this year! She needed to be a bit softer over her back and I made a few silly rider errors so there is still a lot to improve on but it was a great competition with a lovely atmosphere.”
“Shortly after I found out that I have been selected to represent England as part of the Southern Team at the BYRDS Home International in Wales next week! This will be my third time competing at the Home International but my first time competing in Wales! In preparation for the Home International I have been fitting in a lot of training sessions with my trainer Sarah Millis. We have been working on suppleness to improve the quality of her way of going and improving the quality of the movements. Some of the exercises included doing a figure of eight around blocks with a pole in the middle. This really helped with getting Dora to bend round my leg. I have already noticed a difference in her half passes which seem so much better and easier, so fingers crossed it will pay off next week.”
“Sid has been out to a few shows recently. I have been doing a few novices and he is really settling down and growing in confidence at shows and is improving all the time. I was extremely pleased with him at Hadlow College where we gained 67.5% in a novice getting great comments from the judges.
I am also pleased to say that both horses have qualified for the Petplan Area Festivals. Sid has qualified at Novice Open and Dora has qualified at Medium Open. I am also hoping to qualify them both for the music regionals and to qualify Dora at Advanced Medium open.”
“Currently I am working on putting together a music routine for Sid and Dora, however my limited musical ability is failing me at the moment while trying to search for music for Sid but I will keep everyone posted! In my next blog I will tell you about the Home International but you can keep up to date on my facebook and twitter page in the mean time!”
We catch up with WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Lesley Peyton-Gilbert to find out why she loves spring time…
“Last time I wrote it was the run up to the NAF Winter Dressage Championships, I had both the boys there, Wex (World Exclusive) at his first winters and Garuda in the Inter1 music gala night. I love the winters as it pretty close to the atmosphere that you find at international indoor shows and it marks the end of winter, plus it is a great time to catch up with all my friends! It was lovely to see Maggie there with the WOW trade stand!”
“Both Wex and Garuda went really well. Wex coped amazingly and did a lovely mistake free advanced medium to finish just out of the top ten. In the medium he was very good and earned a top ten place and his first championship rosette! This, in a hot open class, as he is only just seven, is quite pleasing! Better still he was a very good boy with his sleep over! Finally growing up I think!”
“Garuda was a seasoned pro, and even coped with having started his covering the day we left for Hartpury! The inter1 music was probably one of the most amazing classes for years, every combination deserving of their place there. Garuda was really up for it! And put in an energetic performance, just a little tension in the left pirouette other than that very nice! Two judges thought exactly the same but one I think must have watched another test! Ha ha that’s dressage! Still we finished 7th and watched a lovely test or two. I particularly liked Sophie Wells and Valerius. Sophie is the consummate performer and the music and the test were fabulous! So I really enjoyed my winters experience!”
“From the winters we’d planned training with Paul Hayler before the Premier leagues started for us. I go down on one afternoon have a lesson and then stay the night and have a lesson the following morning. I find this help so beneficial and Paul has helped both me and consequently Garuda so much. The criticism from the high profile at Addington ‘stung’ a bit but I took it on board discussed it with Paul and it’s been brilliant to say the least. This training session was really good and Garuda was much happier to cope with the extra demands in his way of going, engagement, straightness and ultimately collection and expression.”
“So from this we went armed with a ‘tool kit ‘ that we can use in the arena to Keysoe premier league. Grandprix and inter2 were on the cards. As always it was a super show, well organised and friendly it is such a nice venue. The hilarious thing was that none of us realised that the inter2 was the BD test not the FEI and none of us knew it, let alone had ridden it! So having done the Grand Prix on the Friday and being really pleased with Garuda and a super 67.78% and our first top ten placing at Grand Prix, I had to familiarise myself with this new test. It worked, we were 2nd with a rather lovely 71.25%! Very happy in fact! Not that it was mistake free but he did some really lovely work! It’s quite a confusing test with everything of diagonal lines of one kind or another! So that qualifies us for the national dressage champs and gives me more qualifying scores to support my international nominations as there are a few international shows I’d like to go for now! (The other thing was 3 hrs before we did the GP on the Friday Garuda had had to go to Towcester vets to jump the dummy as we needed to collect from him! It just goes to illustrate what an extraordinary character he has.) I got a late entry for Wex on the Sunday to do the advanced medium and he won with a smashing 70.89%! It was a strong class too and he was just lovely! Very very lucky to have two such special boys!”
“I then had a quiet week working my boys before going down to Badminton horse trials to help one of my long standing eventing clients , she was in the grassroots BE100 final. This is the third time she has been on three different horses. I always love going down and I love the camping out and wonderful food she always brings! It was great to walk both courses and I as in awe of the huntsmans close! I also had a very interesting meeting with Alexander James of Pendlebury, a wonderful traditional tailors who make wonderful jackets and whom I am now going to be one of their ambassadors and try and ‘modernise’ their look with a tail coat and short jacket. I chose the most beautiful fabric so now they are working on the new pattern! I also caught up with Maggie and David and spent and hour on the Wow stand and even helped a few people!”
“The following weekend was Addington Premier league again inter2 and GP, last year we were in Roosendaal so missed the Addington Premier league. The weather was not helpful! Gale force winds and blustery showers. Still it’s a beautiful venue and the show was very slick and went well. Again a super inter2, the BD one again and I made an error of coarse grrrrr some times I make myself annoyed! Garuda was mega and I was very very please with him. Some lovely transitions with good engagement and confidence. We were 2nd and another good score!”
“The following day was the Grandprix and again Garuda came out in such good form he did a lovely test I terms of way of going but I let him over rotate and loose balance In the right pirouette (costly as it it’s a x2) movement Garuda also thinks its fun to do 17 1x tempi changes! Costly as that’s another x2 movement! He did a solid 66.667% to take 6th! So thrilled with him as there were some really super horses (25 of them) in the class. He really is doing a super job and really finding his feet at this demanding level.”
“I’m now waiting to see if we get our international nominations! I’ve been designing my new GP Kur too (with strict instructions to keep it simple……. Hmmm think David Trott may have heart failure when he sees what my idea of simple is!!!) So………. There in a few words is why I love Spring! It’s always a time of hope and progress! Oh and then… There’s more!….. I did a photographic shoot for a super talented fashion student who did equestrian sport clothing for her final year show! The clothes were amazing and Garuda and I had a blast being super models for the day! Thanks to Emily Lumb and John Minoprio!”