Category Archives: WOW Saddles Testimonials

WOW Saddles: Proven to reduce pressure

A recent study carried out by Dundee university has independently verified that Flair – The air flocking system gives 26% less pressure on your horses back than wool flocking!

The research undertook to measure the forces on the horse and the rider.  By using one horse and six riders using the same saddle filled with wool and then with the Flair air flocking system.

This is a great independent test of the Flair system.  The research found that the forces on the rider increased with Flair.  This is not a negative as the problem with this type of testing is that the horse is not constant.  When such a large difference in pressure is made to the horse’s back this allows the horse to move bigger under the saddle/rider.  The reduction in pressure results in increased stride length along with swing and elevation of the back.  This induces move movement in the rider, which amounts to more forces being applied to the rider.

In other words it verifies what First Thought Equine Ltd the manufacturers of Flair have claimed about their product, that if you want a bigger moving horse Flair has the ability to deliver that movement.

Professional riders use Flair for that very reason, Wayne Channon will not ride in anything else now he has felt how his horses backs swing, as does Richard Davison, Lesley Payton-Gilbert, Paul Tapner, Kitty King, Francis Whittington and many, many, more.  “The ideas along with the research and development strategy that First Thought Equine has employed to create and prove their products is enlightening and refreshing to see in the saddlery industry,” says Wayne Channon. “This product appeals to me on two fronts; its ability to deliver a better moving horse whilst providing more comfort for that horse and as a scientist, a science based approach to proving and then improving the product by using the best available technology and materials.”

It has therefore been suggested that there be another study carried out where the horse is replaced with a simulator so that a more controlled test without variables in the horse’s gait affecting the data.  A simulator will keep the horse induced movement in the rider a constant and therefore accurate assessment of the forces applied to the rider using various saddle flocking materials can be measured accurately.

First Thought Equine Ltd have 10’s of thousands of customers using the Flair system, a lot of them with quite severe back problems.  All these riders report that they are much more able to ride with the Flair system in their saddles compared with other flocking materials as this typical email points out.

WOW Saddles customer Georgina Greenslade says, “I have owned and ridden in Flair saddles for over 15 years and after breaking by back just over 8 years ago, my Flair saddle is the only one I can ride in for hours on end, without getting a backache!”

Pressure testing close up

Introducing the youngest addition of the WOW Sponsored rider team!

We are very proud, at WOW Saddles, to be supporting young rising star Hero Seago as she pursues her quest to take the show jumping world by storm! Here she tells us a little bit about herself…

“My name is Hero Seago, I am 12 years old and show jump my ponies. I started riding at 5yrs old and got my first pony at 6. He was very naughty and bucked and reared so taught me a lot about stickability. Next we got Sammy, a perfect little 11.1hh, whom I show jumped and also went to the Pony Club Areas Mounted Games with. Then along came Bobby, who started me off in BSJA at 10yrs old, and then Atlantic Jewel the following year. I currently run these ponies along side each other most weekends, jumping in the 138 classes and 90cm/1m opens. The three of us have had much success together, the NAF shining star award, 2nd over all in the NAF 5* Style and Performance Class at the Inter-Academy show this year and 1st in an inter-schools style and performance class. Also with my school, we got four teams through to the inter-schools Championships at Addington Manor in October and there we gained team champions in the 1.05m-1.10cm, and team 4th and 7th in the 95cm.”

Hero Seago
“I am so excited to have gained a sponsorship from WOW! It is such an incredible opportunity for me. Since I got my WOW Saddle I have loved riding in it and Bobby felt much freer underneath me. I think he particularly likes the freedom of movement the saddle gives him through his shoulders.”

“This weekend was his first show in the WOW Saddle and he was on fire! We gained our second double clear in the Springboard class, coming equal 1st and qualifying, and a 5th in the Discovery/90cm open. There is no stopping Bobby now he has a WOW!”

We can’t wait to see how Hero progresses with her ponies! Keep your eyes peeled for more blogs coming soon and in the mean time make sure you visit our Facebook page to keep up to date with all the ‘up to the minute’ news!


A Flair for fitting

David Ashton, proprietor of Village Saddlery in Cheshire, fits and retails a range of saddle brands including WOW; he says offering customers WOW saddles flocked with Flair often enables him to find solutions to problems that traditionally-flocked saddles can’t address.

“WOW saddles with Flair are especially good for asymmetrical horses – you can adjust the fit accurately on site, and the nature of the Flair panels works to keep the saddle square, without restriction,” David explains.

Along with many other saddlers, David has undertaken a course to convert any make of traditional saddle produced wool flocking to Flair; however he says there is less demand for this service now. “Converting wool flocked saddles to Flair was how we started with the brand – we had a great number of conversions when Flair was launched. But in the last five years, we have received less requests, because people would rather just purchase a new WOW saddle – they are modular, so can suit a great number of riders and disciplines,” he states.

“However, we do still get requests for this conversion service, notably from customers who have fitting problems that conventional saddles can’t solve, or through chartered physiotherapists, who often advise their customers to consider Flair because of the welfare benefits to the horse.”

Case Study by Chloe Ackroyd

Chloe Ackroyd has a 10 y/o Dutch WB x Welsh cob called Spider. He has experienced several health problems over the years, including a bout of sand colic that needed surgery; he then developed a hernia during his recovery. “He got through that, and all was going well when he lost weight drastically. He was quite ‘flinchy’ over his back, and became resistant and unenthusiastic when schooling,” Chloe explains.

A veterinary rectal biopsy showed up irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), while a gastroscopy showed up the ulcers. “The ulcers have now been gone for nearly 10 months, although he will always have the IBS – but we are managing it so far,” she adds.

“Spider had outgrown the traditional, non-modular, wool-flocked saddle that we bought when he was five, so I attended a WOW demo and fitting with Jon Homer of Elemental Equine. I thought the WOW saddles were great, and Spider went very nicely in them. I bought a general purpose saddle as I mainly do dressage, but Spider loves jumping too, so we mix it up and do both. 

“Because Spider’s IBS makes him very sensitive over his back, the WOW saddle is perfect for him and keeps him comfortable. These saddles feature the Flair air-flocking system which reduces pressure; they also feature a carbon fibre tree which offers lateral flexion, for optimum back and shoulder comfort.”

Testimonial from Su Delve

Su Delve from Thetford owns Hopleys Atlas, a sixteen year old, 16.3hh ID x TB. “I’ve had him since he was four and we mainly hack and school,” she explains. “He is sensible and kind, although had developed a reputation as being a bucker. When I first got him, I bought a second-hand, high-quality GP saddle and it was checked regularly; both my saddle-fitter and I were happy it was causing no problems for the horse,” she continues.

“Never a particularly big mover or a forward-going ride, over the last couple of years Atlas had been getting more pottery and shuffling, with increased shoulder stiffness. He also always cantered on the same lead. He had had a bad bout of pedal osteitis when younger and I assumed this was coming back. My vet was confident that there was no particular problem however, just increasing age and stiffness.

“I visited the WOW tradestand at Burghley in 2011 for some window shopping, having recently earned some extra cash, and decided to blow the money on my lovely horse as a thanks for all he had given me. I didn’t buy the saddle to treat any problems, I just wanted the best I could get for Atlas. I had the initial fitting in March 2011 with local fitter Elemental Equine (, and chose a VSD saddle. However by the time my new saddle arrived a few weeks later, Altas had gone from being very stiff to being really quite lame from his shoulders. Fearing I had just splashed out on a saddle as my horse threw in the towel, I gave him a couple of months off and when he started to come right, I began carefully lunging him with the new saddle, before venturing into Thetford forest once more.

“All I was hoping for was a return to the old Atlas, and an increased level of mutual comfort, but what happened completely took me by surprise. Within a couple of months of returning to work my horse started to go better than ever before. His shoulders filled out, his paces became more expressive, and I now have a more active and keen horse than I have ever known! I started working on his suppleness and he now happily canters smoothly on either lead. I recently had the first full-tilt gallop on him since I can remember and we have started doing a little bit of jumping.

“I didn’t buy the saddle to improve my horse so I have been literally gob-smacked by the difference it has made to him. It is like riding a different horse! In the year since he has had his WOW saddle, he has only bucked once, a smallish one, and that was when he was having a ‘race’ alongside his ex-racehorse friend. I think I can forgive him that!” Su concludes.