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.
Why not ‘bling up’ your saddle?
WOW Saddles recently customised a customer’s saddle at the cantle and pommel areas, using appliquéd diamante and crystals. “Some riders like to use a bespoke pattern of their choice, particularly if they compete in the discipline of dressage under artificial lights, as discreet sparkles can really add interest and glamour,” explains First Thought Equine’s Co-proprietor, Maggie White. “It is also possible to spell a rider, horse or sponsor’s name in gemstones, or diamante and crystals. However I wouldn’t advocate that owners simply ‘bling up’ their own saddles – it is best left to saddlers with design experience and all the right materials and technology at their disposal to do this!”
If you want to ‘bling up’ your saddle and make a statement then get in touch via www.wowsaddles.com
Q. Francis is known for having very soft hands (which is always so nice to see). I appreciate there is no simple answer to having such a ‘giving’ style but could you please ask him if it came naturally to him or was it something he spotted as a youngster in his pony days and developed ? Marc Melander
A. I was lucky enough to receive training from some amazing trainers when I was younger. They were tough on me and if I got it wrong they made it clear!
One person who helped me with my style of riding for cross country and show jumping was my show jumping trainer. Most will have heard of him as he is the current boss of the British Show Jumping team, Rob Hoekstra. I had a lot of training from Rob as a kid. Starting when I was 6 or 7 years old. Although I don’t see him that often now as he is so busy, his words and advice still play an important part in my riding and understanding of how I should ride. It was important to use body control rather than fight with the hands. To teach the horses to listen to our body and allow the horse the hand when needed. There are obviously times where it is necessary to take a firmer contact and I’m sure you will see the odd occasion at Badminton next week. For me there are three basic points to remember. Rhythm, Balance, Control. You only ever need two of them to achieve the third!
WOW Sponsored rider Philip Spivey tells us what has been going on in his latest blog…
“It has been a month of local shows, taking different lots of horses to get out competing and it has been very successful, I went to one show and won every class I jumped in! I am currently jumping at Addington, at their Spring Classic Show and so far so good.
Smirnov is jumping very well, we had an unlucky pole in the HOYS qualifier but have another chance this weekend! Cirocco is winning nearly every class he is entered in and all the horses are generally going well.
I took Virgina and Graffiti to a demo at Otley College earlier on this week and they were both very well behaved and gave me an easy job! The focus on the demo was fittening the show jumper and it was run in conjunction with Saracen Horse Feeds. We spent lots of time working on gymnastic work such as bounces which I call ‘horsey press ups’. To me show jumping is the middle distance training, you don’t need the same level of fitness that the event horses have as usually you only need to perform for 1 minute to 1 minute 3o seconds maximum. It depends on the age and level of the horse but we hack our horses around twice a week and then they get harder work 3 times. Now that the weather is a bit better they can also go out and enjoy the odd afternoon in the field too!”
Leading saddle manufacturer First Thought Equine now offers a personalisation service on all new saddles.
The leatherwork of all saddles may also be customised in the rider’s or sponsor’s colours; two-tone leather is popular, for example. Eventer Paul Tapner recently commissioned a striking red and black saddle in his country colours.
Key features of WOW Saddles:
• The only longitudinally rigid, but laterally flexible tree – offers greater shoulder freedom
• Large bearing surface
• The widest range of interchangeable width fittings: XN-8X
• Features Flair air bag flocking; a flexible, gaseous bearing surface that increases pressure distribution over the horse’s back & provides shock absorption.
Call (44) 1227 831614 for stockists or visit www.wowsaddles.com.
Korrector is a revolutionary new saddle pad which using air and foam technology, can be adjusted by the rider to give full day to day control of the fit of their saddle on one or more horses. If you haven’t already used the Korrector then these reasons will explain why we think you should…
Korrector benefits the rider by…
- Allowing the rider to adjust the pad for seasonal changes in the horse’s shape
- Absorbing jarring shock to the rider’s lower back
- Giving the rider the means of using a saddle on more than one horse
- Allowing the rider to adjust the balance of the saddle front to back
- Allowing the rider to adjust the balance side to side so distributing the riders weight centrally
- Allowing diagonal adjustment when the horse is asymmetric
- Can be used with English, Western and Spanish style saddles
- Bags can be removed and replaced fully inflated for washing purposes
Korrector has been proven by independent testing to give your horse greater comfort by…
- Dispersing the pressure points of the saddle
- Increasing the bearing surface of the saddle
- Continually flexing and moulding to the horse’s shape allowing the back and shoulder muscles to work unrestricted
- Absorbing impact shock from the rider
- Alleviating pressure across the horses spine and wither area
It all started with the WOW Competitor Range. For the first time one could buy a traditional looking saddle and by buying different components, alter all of its’ characteristics to suit different horses, riders and disciplines. WOW is the world’s first modular saddle. The seat, panels and flaps of the WOW Competitor Range are all available separately, so you can easily change component parts. When they are combined they make a saddle whose performance for the horse and the rider is unbeatable!
The WOW Competitor Range offers…
Flexible Carbon Fibre Tree. Using the latest materials to give the ultimate in flexibility and strength. Lateral Flexion allows the horse to rotate the scapula fully under the saddle without interference, whilst also proving a very big bearing surface and hence very low pressures on the horse’s back.
PPS™ “Pointless Panel System” The unique shape of the tree with no conventional points and an extended floating plate on the panel top produces a bearing surface larger than a western saddle!
Double Stirrup Bars Allows the rider to ride with both a straighter leg position for schooling and a more forward leg position for hacking or jumping disciplines.
Adjustable Tree Width The width of the tree can be adjusted by the rider using the unique Flexi-Head™ in conjunction 11 interchangeable headplate width fittings from extra narrow to 8X Wide.
Interchangeable Panels Enables you to change the panels of your saddle to a design more suitable for a different horse with different back profile i.e. higher or lower gusset height
Double Wishbone Girthing A unique girthing arrangement centers the pull of the girth to keep the saddle still and stable on the horses back.
Interchangeable Flaps Extra flaps can be purchased and these are interchangeable allowing the rider to remove one flap and replace with one for a different discipline flap i.e. dressage to jumping
Two position flaps All flaps have two fixing positions so you can change the flap’s angle forward or back as well as removing them totally. This allows for riders with longer leg/thigh length.
Choice Of Seat Designs Flat to deep with differing degrees of softness of support.
Anatomically Designed Seat Allowing the rider to achieve total closeness to the horse with their thigh lying flat against the horses side.
Choice Knee Blocks Fixed Blocks or Moveable Blocks. moveable blocks allows the rider to adjust the knee support.
Single web stirrup leathers included so there is no buckle under the rider’s leg and Flair – The Adjustable Air Flocking System is fitted as standard. Flair allows the panel to be adjusted to and continuously mould to a horses changing/moving shape. There is a choice of colours and styles of leather, stitching and facings as well as flaps, panels and seat allows the rider to customize the saddle to their own preferences.
The WOW Club Dressage shares the same tree as the Competitor and has the same range of headplate fittings. The WOW Club Dressage cannot change flaps or seat and is just a dressage saddle. The Panels of the Club are inter-changeable and come fitted with a foam panel as standard, this can be upgraded to Flair. The colours for the WOW Club Range are limited to black and brown.
The WOW Club Dressage still features the following…
Flexible Carbon Fibre Tree
PPS™ “Pointless Panel System”
Double Stirrup Bars
Adjustable Tree Width
Double Wishbone Girthing
Anatomically Designed Seat
Many people ask us what Flair actually is, so here goes…
Flair is a system of four air bags, which are incorporated into your existing saddle panel, two at the front, and two at the rear. Flair air bags can be fitted to all styles of saddle i.e. Dressage, Jumping, General Purpose and Endurance etc.
The air bags surround a foam insert which makes the air displace in such a manner that the saddle panel maximises its bearing surface on the horses back.
The bags are adjusted via two valves that are fitted under the skirt of the saddle. The adjustments are made whilst the rider sits on the horse, the whole process taking a matter of minutes. The saddler is able to balance the saddle perfectly both side to side and front to back even if the horse has uneven muscle development.
So why use Flair?
The majority of training problems relating to the control, balance and direction of the horse are caused by the horse’s discomfort in the area immediately under the saddle. The problem with saddles is the hardness and unevenness of the panel. All flocking materials over time become unevenly compacted, so creating both high pressure points and areas where the panel may not touch the horses back.
A pressure as low as 1½ lbs. per square inch will in time damage minor blood vessels in both the skin and muscle leading to signs of bruising, hair loss and eventually muscle wastage. Pressure on or pinching of the withers directly affects the muscles of the shoulder, causing shortening of the horse’s stride and in many cases, difficulty when moving down hill. Soreness or restriction of the back muscles makes it more difficult for the horse to engage his quarters and so to come on the bit.
Flair creates a gaseous and totally flexible layer in your saddle. This removes pressure points and increases the sensitivity of the horse to your lower back aids whilst also providing shock absorption for the horse when jumping or engaged in sitting trot (gases can be compressed whilst liquids, gels and solids cannot).
Flair allows your horse to move naturally as the muscles of the back and shoulder are no longer restricted by your saddle’s panel.
So now you know! To find out more visit www.fteltd.co.uk
Proceedings got underway on Wednesday 6th March for WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Richard Davison, as Myerscough College hosted it’s Premier League Show, with classes up to Grand Prix.
Richard made his return to the scene following the sale of his prolific ride Hiscox Artemis to Swiss Under 25 rider Phinie von Bremen earlier this year and dazzled the judges with a plus-70% win in the Grand Prix with 12 year old Holstein gelding, Hiscox Aliano. This horse had already shown much promise at Small Tour under Richard’s wife, Gillian Davison, and now proves to be one to watch!
Here is the fabulous write up featured in Horse & Hound magazine the following week…
WOW was developed after listening to riders and investing time to scientifically test different types of saddles to see how they perform on different horses. This is where the name came from, when our guinea pigs rode in the saddle they said just one word, WOW!
WOW is also totally new way of owning a saddle. For the first time one can buy a traditional looking saddle and by buying different components, alter all of its’ characteristics to suit different horses, riders and disciplines. WOW is the worlds first modular saddle meaning that it is a long term investment for your horse.
The seat, panels and flaps of the saddle are all available separately, so you can easily change component parts. When they are combined they make a saddle whose performance for the horse and the rider is unbeatable!
Did you know that a WOW saddle provides you with…
- A laterally flexible tree that allows for greater shoulder movement;
- A wide variety of fittings and styles to suit even the most hard-to-fit horse, plus modular styles available;
- Flair air bag flocking, which avoids pressure points that can be caused by ill fitting wool flocking, and also provides an even bearing surface; (other flocking types also available if preferred);
- The Pointless Panel System, that provides a wide bearing surface without no pressure points.
Perhaps 2013 will be the year that you say WOW?