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 email@example.com. To discuss WOW Saddles with Gaynor call 07818 006 079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 have a catch up with WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin to find out what she and her horses have been up to since her last blog…
“Wow, it feels like ages since I wrote my last blog! It has been full steam ahead with revision for my IB exams, but I am pleased to say that I have done 11 out of 15 exams now. Woo, time to spend a bit of time with the horses!”
“After having a great weekend of training up at Keysoe, I was on a high leading up to the winter championships at Hartpury. But then disaster struck. Dora came in from the field with a puncture wound to the chest. Unfortunately she had hit an artery. Luckily we managed to patch her up pretty quickly with the help of some magic crystal things (apparently stitches are very old school) from the vets 😉 Absolutely amazing!”
“Unfortunately this meant that she had to have a week off which gave me a week of working her before the winters. We lunged her for the first few days and then managed to ride her for 3 days before the competition. Not exactly the idea preparation but i didn’t have anything to lose, I was just pleased that I had qualified!”
“So we arrived at Hartpury and I have got to say it is an amazing place. Everything was so organised and it had a lovely atmosphere. I was really pleased with how Dora went the day before and her trot work felt really good. In the warm up Dora was really with me. She obviously knew what was happening! The beginning of our test was great especially the medium and extended trots which felt really uphill and she was moving through her shoulder really well. The extended walk was really good but she didn’t feel quite right in the collected walk and a few strides into the canter it was obvious that Dora was not happy so I decided to pull her up and retire rather than push her and possibly hurt her. There is always another day and it has definitely made me more determined to qualify again for next year! I also got the chance to watch another WOW Saddle rider, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert in the evening gala performance which was great to see the riders riding through the higher level movements and showed me what I am aiming for (in a couple of years anyway!)”
“After that it turned out she had tweaked a muscle, so I did light work with her for a while. I had entered Keysoe premier league and Dora felt good when I started the more demanding movements so I decided to take her with the aim of doing a safe test. On the first day was the team test and I achieved my aim of getting round the test and I felt it was a good test to get Dora’s confidence up after the last competition. Unfortunately we didn’t get a great score as I feel I didn’t ride her particularly well. So bearing that in mind I focused on the individual test the next day. She was a lot more supple and responsive to my aids the next day and this showed in the test, especially the trot work. We still have areas to improve on. I overrode the changes which meant that some were late behind, but we ended up in 5th place which I was really pleased with for our first premier league of the season!”
“It has been great to be able to watch the WOW Saddles sponsored event riders at Badminton this weekend. Congratulation to all riders as it looked like a pretty tough XC course! At home, I have been really focusing on getting Sid to stay in a steady contact. His counter canter is really balanced now and the leg yields are becoming increasingly fluent and he is showing so much talent. I’m looking forward to taking him out to a local competition this weekend so I will tell you how it goes in my next blog! Also, I have finally decided to open a twitter account! Taken my time 😉 My twitter name is @IzzyCDressage so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening, follow me. Hopefully my next blog will have a few more results. Fingers crossed!”
Great to catch up with our WOW Saddles blogger, Oli Lawrence. Read more to find out what adventures he has been embarking on this month…
“So. We’re nearly one month into the season and I’m still alive plus I haven’t fallen too behind with work which, in short, is a minor miracle. Since we last spoke/I wrote/you read Sox has been to Oasby, Lincoln and Great Witchingham. Oasby was his first event which normally leads to entertaining stories of general start of season problems but I’m surprised, even suspicious, to report that we had non except 2 poles down but we’ll let that go… Oasby did highlight though that a change of bit was in order for the cross country as it felt a little bit like being on a freight train with minimal breaks. Sox now has an American gag which does everything a bit is supposed to, well actually, it means I can stop which is kinda good really!
With new bit in tow Sox jumped a decent double clear at Lincoln and just had the one down show jumping but was clear cross country at Great Witchingham Intermediate. Coincidentally I discovered after Great Witchingham that if you finish your cross country round, pack up, go home and go straight to the library within four hours you’ll be one of the least productive students alive. Suffice to say I lasted about 5 minutes of sitting down before beginning to climb the walls and abandoned any attempt at work. I keep being told I need to compartmentalise things and focus on work in Cambridge then forget about work whilst I’m eventing. However, when you’re sitting at a desk convinced the table in front is fence 7 and beyond that there is a water jump and you click at your computer like a horse when it won’t start I think it’s safe to say you’ve failed to focus…
I also had the once in a life time experience, if I ever repeat it again someone will kill me, of doing a bad dressage test at Great Witchingham. Normally Sox’s dressage is pretty damn good but as soon as I went down the centre line I knew this was just one of those days – the arena had been moved slightly and there was the trace of a second centre line next to the actual one where horses had trotted before me. For the life of me every time I turned up the centre line I was off, which landed me in a lot of trouble with just about everyone, not least the judge who didn’t empathise with my predicament. I was once told by an old, dubiously wise and slighted bearded old lady at a pony club rally when I was still small enough to actually ride ponies, that some mistakes, like putting pans in a microwave and not tightening your girth enough, you will only ever make once. I hope she was right.
I suppose I should say something about polo too seeing as I missed it off last time. Cambridge uni is lucky enough to own its own ponies which makes playing polo here relatively cheap. As well as the actual polo the ponies have been subject to several experiments for WOW and other companies whilst I’ve been here. We tried cross country boots instead of bandages and WOW’s air adjuster pad under poorly fitting saddles to brilliant effect. What I’m trying to say is that from all of this I’ve learnt one thing – if you can give a product to a group of disorganised students who are either hungover or half asleep still and it works then you’re on to a winner. WOW might produce some wacky designs compared to your standard jumping saddle but their stuff is relatively idiot proof and simple to use – in a world where everything seems immensely complicated that must be the biggest compliment I can give something!
Sox heads to Belton Young Rider’s trial for his next event so watch this space. Actually , even better, come and watch! – its one of the best events in the country for spectators and a great family day out. Blimey, I sound like I’m selling ice to polar bears, but I do genuinely mean it!
On a final note, I have a classic Oli mess up to share. I’d offered to help out with a total beginners polo lesson and was really keen for it to go well seeing as I’d been for a drink previously with one of the girls involved. So she trots along trying to canter and I thought if I just give the pony a tiny tap on the bum as I go past it’ll be enough to nudge it into a nice slow canter for her. Predictably, as soon as I touched him he spun round and glared at me and in the process deposited said girl on the deck. Fantastic. Nice work Oli. Thankfully she got straight back on and seems to still be talking to me… When I got back I found I had an email asking how I’d managed to combine horses, uni and life in general as I seemed to have done a really good job of it and asking for advice… The temptation to reply that in all seriousness I was definitely the wrong person to ask was pretty high. That said, I do turn 21 tomorrow so I’m hoping for some beam of inspiration from on high that might eventually stop me having such ludicrously bad ideas!”
We catch up with WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Lesley Peyton-Gilbert before she heads off to the Nationals next week…
“So it’s the week before the NAF Winter Dressage Championships! Both my lovely boys World Exclusive and Woodcroft Garuda K are going to be strutting their stuff! Wex will contest the open medium and open advanced medium championship and Garuda the inter 1 music. So it will be a busy old weekend for us. Exciting but busy!”
“The lovely weather has made training a whole lot easier and certainly more enjoyable for all of us! The next best bit was that Wex got his new saddle and I got my bling!”
“I am totally thrilled with it and so is Wex. I feel so lucky to have such support for me and my horses from WOW and Carly was lovely to work with. It was a cold grim day but Carly was very patient and we made a lot of adjustments. You certainly have to be open minded and have a sense of humour to be a saddle fitter, especially when I’m about!”
“We tested out our new saddle at Addington as I had the chance to run through the two tests I’ll be riding! Wex was super and won both the medium with a smashing 73.31% and the advanced medium with 68%. Building on that I had a good training session with David Trott where we worked on a few of the movement to see where I can squeeze so more marks out of the test!”
“Garuda had a trio out at the two day show at Keysoe, the first time we had to do two ‘ big’ tests. The inter2 on the Saturday and the Grand Prix on the Sunday. We were greeted with the most stunning weather and as usual the team at Keysoe had put together a great show. Including an international French judge.”
“Garuda won the inter2 convincingly on Saturday with a super 69.98%. Had I not let him tighten up in the right pirouette we would have broken the magical 70%. Super weather the next day for the Grand Prix and another good day of competition. Garuda was quite unimpressed that I upped the anti and wanted more height in the passage and a more on the spot piaffe! He logged this by having a little moment in the piaffe and then carried on as well as then adding two extra one tempis (17 instead of 15!) to ensure that he does have a say in our tests! So expensive mistakes as both were x2 movements leaving us third and 65.65% so all I’m all a good weekend.”
“The next move is to work on my ground plan for the Grand Prix kur. I must try and keep this easy for Garuda as I’m always trying to think of the maximum I can ask. (I’ve been watching Edward Gal’s test and thinking about movements!) I’ve found my music so now we have to put it all together and try and keep it simple! Garuda and I also had a run through our inter 1 music recently as I’ve not ridden it since the summer nationals, he has developed his trot since then, it was therefore important to make sure of my timings. This will be the last time I ride this test as he will be out of points (more than 15 points at GP and you can’t ride inter1) so it will be a good night for us to say goodbye to this test that I have enjoyed so much.”
“Straight after the winters we will have training on the horizon with Paul (Hayler ) before our premier league season starts at Keysoe. From then on it is pretty much full on for the summer! The other exciting thing will be taking out Garuda’s four year old daughter to the young horse classes! We hope next year it will be his son!”
“In amongst all this my husband is having a hip replacement op. It was supposed to be before Christmas but the usual NHS delays have meant he will be dropped off by me on Thursday morning and I will have to leave him while I go to the nationals. Poor chap all on his own! It’s so typical that timings like this occur! Tomorrow is his birthday so I will have to work hard to make it up to him! Like any partner of someone totally absorbed by the equestrian life he puts up with an awful lot! Thankfully he does actually ride so pretty much understands…. Most of the time!”
“So more soon….. After The Winters! I’m looking forward to catching up with Maggie and David from WOW as they will be at Hartpury for the duration. If any of you are there be sure to say hi!”
The team at WOW Saddles are really looking forward to supporting Izzy Chaplin through 2014 and here she blogs about the start of the year…
“I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year! All the horses had plenty of carrots over Christmas as we had the whole family over for Christmas Day! I also had the amazing experience of watching Charlotte and Valegro achieve a new world record at Olympia in the freestyle. It was great to be able to see all the top riders, especially Carl and Edward Gal, who both really inspire me. It was also really sad to be saying goodbye to Alf, who put on an amazing display, still looking like an 8 year old despite his 18 years!”
“I have been very busy with school at the moment. I have just completed all my mocks, and its getting a bit scary how close I am to the real exams in May! I am also pleased to say that I have had all five offers from the universities I have applied for, so as long as my exams go well, I will be going off to uni in September to study Accounting and Finance! Hopefully with Dora!”
“On the horsey front, Dora has had a bit of down time over the holidays as she worked so hard last season, so she has temporarily taken up modelling as a reindeer…”
“I have also been up to the junior squad training sessions, watching my squad mates performing their tests, while also getting some great tips from the selectors about what to look for in the tests and how to maximise the marks for each movement. Meanwhile, I have been given the amazing opportunity to have the ride on a very cheeky horse called Cyrano L aka Sid. He is a 16hh, rising 7 year old. I am riding him for WOW Saddles to give him some competitive experience and I can’t wait to get him to his first competition!”
“Sid has an extremely cheeky temperament and unfortunately he also shares the same love of mud as a hippopotamus! Felix, my mum’s horse, has been doing his best stallion impressions when Sid arrived (Felix is a gelding). But they are all friends now and Sid has settled in really well.”
“After a couple of days of having Sid, we took him to a lesson with Darryl Thickett. It was a great opportunity to get to know how he would be away from home while also getting a few pointers from Darryl. I am really excited to take him out to his first show now, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks! In my next blog I will hopefully be able to tell you about Sid and I’s first competitions together!”
We catch up with WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert, after the nationals now she has time to draw breath and look ahead to the coming year…
“I must admit I dislike the drawing in of the nights and dismal weather. Made more frustrating by battling with the elements! I find wind the worst as we are working and starting some very young horses at the moment and it can be a bit on the nerve wracking side when its blowing a gale! Excitement I’d rather do without! Lots of my lovely fellow riders keep posting pictures of their lovely indoor schools too which adds to my depression! On the bright side, when it’s rained, blown a gale and even snowed during my tests my horses don’t even turn a hair so it does pay off sometimes! (every cloud and all that!)”
“I’ve been finishing my qualification for Wex (World Exclusive) for the winter regional championships at medium and advanced medium. There are the new High Profile shows at Vale View and Bury Farm this side of Christmas which give the advanced horses something to aim for and also gives us a head start for summer qualification in the advanced test. I’m planning on Garuda doing his first Grand Prix at the Bury Farm show.”
“Wex went to the Vale View show to do the mediums where he won one and was second in the other. The funny thing was it was an early start and by the time we had done our tests both Laura, my groom and I had finished we were desperate for our bacon buttie… all very nice … until it was announced they were running a prize giving! Sadly I’d taken his plaits out and as there was only five minutes no time to put them in! Hence the Horse & Hound photo of us with no plaits! It is important to take part in the prize giving as the class sponsor was there and we must show our appreciation! Just I’m disappointed I’d taken my plaits out! Especially as there was a beautiful sash and rosettes to show off!”
“Wex is a lovely talented chap who internalises his tension. It’s shown by this breathing, he hyper ventilates and then holds his breath in the canter! He then gets a little behind the aids so I was pretty happy with his performance as he started, especially in the second test, to trust me and work with me in the test.”
“I had him booked to do the advanced medium at Keysoe the following week as I feel he needs to keep going out to help him realise that its not a stress at a show and he can enjoy it! He did well at Keysoe and got a good score in the qualifier, won the class and again grew a little more in confidence. Our final qualification scores were achieved at Bury Farm this last week. Again a more relaxed rideable Wex and a good 71.89% in the medium winning the class and a second in the advanced medium. Still he needs to keep the balance on the hind leg but it is improving! The other major breakthrough and believe me this is major….. he managed to have a wee on the lorry! This has been an issue and I think signifies how much more relaxed he’s becoming!”
“My top ride, Woodcroft Garuda K, is working hard training at home but also we were invited to take part in the list one and two judge training seminar with Stephen Clarke and play our part as guineapigs. It was a very daunting day I can tell you. We were riding movements from the new national inter 2 test. I wasn’t very happy with my performance, I overrode the piaffe / passage at first and then slowly relaxed and improved! Still very much a case of going in the dragons den!! With all the top judges from the country there.”
“We did learn a lot from it and I enjoyed watching fellow riders like Alice (Oppenheimer) with her horse doing the Grand Prix work. Some good tips there too on how to give the judges what they want to see to get the marks! It is about presentation when you are in the ring!”
“Autumn is the time of seminars and conventions as I’ve said and the Convention/forum at Bury Farm was a fantastic two days. I spent the time with Maggie on the WOW stand where I had the pleasure of meeting lots of people and telling them about the saddles and how they work for me and my horses. This photo shows Maggie and I watching the activities in the arena from our very comfortable view point! Best seats in the house!”
“Watching the wonderful Valegro was a definite high point and lots of the information was absorbed by me for top tips in the Grand Prix we are about to do.”
“Counting. It’s the key in Grand Prix! The zig zag or counter change of hand is a series of half passes on the centre line with a determined number of steps in each direction with flying changes so in the Grand Prix its the counting of steps of half pass first three then six steps, three times to either side then, three then a final change. Fitting it in can be interesting! Quality of the canter and not trying to make the half passes too steep are the key factors! As well as being able to count! Everything comes down to numbers, 15 one time tempi changes, 8-10 steps of piaffe, 9 two time tempi changes …. 6-8 steps to get around the pirouette … lots of counting!”
“I have some more training with David Trott this week as a top list judge and rider it always helps me and I feel a bit more confident after his input (he knows I struggle to count too) I also enjoy training with Paul Hayler but my lorry has been in for it’s plate and needed a new fuel tank and then various other bits so I’ve been a bit stuck. That’s pretty frustrating but back now and going well! Bluebell is my lorry and I’m very fond of her! We’ve had some good adventures this year! Although if the French get their way with their super new lorry tax we simply won’t be able to afford to go abroad, or I will have to find a new way into Europe avoiding France!”
“So the build up to my first Grand Prix and getting Wex more confident is ongoing. I also examine my management of the horses at this time, feeding and the management issues. Check the worming, teeth, vaccination programmes, I’ve also started using a massage rug on Garuda twice a day on work days and once on ‘easy ‘days. I really feel this is having a positive effect on Garuda and his way of going. He seems really very happy with his new treat! Here he is enjoying the relax massage programme after work…”
“My groom Laura has a fabulous new horse, a Garuda daughter and she is so amazing ! We will nibble away with her over the winter and then aim to do some young horse four year old classes with her in the spring. Laura also took the young coloured stallion out to his first show and he did a lovely consistent test to earn a good 71% test so very proud of them both. Working my horses and training all shapes and sizes….. people and horses that is! That is maintaining the light at the end of the winter tunnel for me! From the weather warnings it looks like its going to be a long one. Here is Woodcroft Natalia, Garuda’s daughter, winning her performance test at the Trakhener show. Laura my groom is on the Exel talented athlete training programme and this is her new horse to hopefully be her partner and to follow her dad’s hoof prints to Grand Prix!”
“So as you can see there is a lot to be looking forward to!”
Technologically advanced saddle manufacturers are increasingly utilising design creativity to make their saddles not just functional, but beautiful too. WOW Saddles is shortly launching within its new designer range the ‘On Fire’ dressage saddle, which, on the fixed block models, utilises beautifully embroidered, quilt-effect stitching on the saddle flap. This gives a discreet, unusual appearance behind the leg and includes flame-shaped stitching behind the rider’s lower leg. A small burst of Swarvoski crystals behind the rider’s thigh adds light-catching sparkle.
While showjumping and eventing attire is fairly relaxed, dressage riders are quite limited in terms of their flamboyance in the UK. British Dressage bans clothing decoration, except discreet manufacturer’s logo studs on boots; although patent leather boots are popular, and give a high shine. Conservative-coloured coats are required in BD competitions, although discreet pinstripe patterns are now de-rigour. So, your dressage saddle is the ideal place to add a little bit of interest!
Within the field of showjumping, riders can express their fashion savvy a little more, as they may wear coloured jackets (providing they do not clash with the official ‘team’ jacket); perhaps to correspond with their own, or their sponsors’ colours.
Dress codes for the XC stage of eventing attire are even more relaxed, as there are greater provisions for promotional material and logos on clothing, (albeit at a certain maximum size, or in a designated position on the rider’s clothes.) Bright and bold colour-ways are popular.
Patent bridles or those with diamante or coloured accents are also popular to add interest, while leather riding boots in materials such as ostrich, crocodile or kangaroo are also popular with more flamboyant riders, particularly internationally.
Riding helmets are increasingly being seen with diamante accents and patterns, as well as jewel-inspired colours – the trick is to keep it discreet, so your accents complement each other and don’t over power you and your performance.
Why not personalise your saddle today by speaking to the team at WOW Saddles! www.wowsaddles.com
Within the eventing sphere especially, some riders are looking to their saddles to express their fashion sense, or coordinate their cross country colours. The leatherwork of all WOW saddles may be customised in the rider’s or sponsor’s colours; two-tone coloured leather is popular. Eventer Paul Tapner may currently be seen competing in a beautiful red and black XC saddle with fixed long blocks that give increased support for the leg. He also sports a more neutral Havana brown and maroon version of the saddle.