Dutch customer and WOW ambassador Roos Dyson wanted to tell us about her recent escapades with her WOW saddle (with thanks to her fitter Kerry Sharp for his help and assistance)!
“Kerry recently fitted a WOW saddle on Variety, my new mare. Kerry came to see if my existing WOW saddle, which I’m using for my other horse, would fit her; and it does! I think it does fit her very well indeed as not only did I noticed a big change in her movement, but on the third day I saddled her up with the WOW saddle, she walked up and ‘greeted’ the saddle with her nose. Obviously the WOW saddle is very welcome! As I said to Kerry, I do believe that horses recognise different saddles!” Roos says.
“I bought Variety in June and have ridden her in the WOW saddle since July. She is 13 years old and has been previously competing up to Grand Prix level so she will be my new teacher! It will probably be a couple of months before I will be competing her though as I want to get her more relaxed first and she is known as notoriously ‘difficult’ to ride.
My other mare is 17 years old and I am competing her on ZZ Zwaar level (which is the grade below the British Prix St. George). I have ridden this mare in a WOW since March 2015 and really do rate these saddles,” Roos concludes.
We wish you all the best with your horses, Roos!
Roos’ website is www.gepaardmeteenlach.nl where you can see she gives a special mention to WOW Saddles!
In between an intense period of school work, WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Hero Seago, has still managed to fit in some show jumping…
“On Sunday 1st December I took both ponies to Markfield EC, in Leicestershire and both the boys got double clears in Discovery. The following weekend, on the 7th December I went to Sollihull EC and came 1st in a strong 80 Open class and 5th in the 90cm on Bobby, he was a little bit lively in the 90cm and took a stride out to the last fence, which made me chuckle.”
“On the 28th and 29th December, Keysoe held a New Year Pony Extravaganza Show, where I got an equal first in Springboard on AJ and a 4th in a very busy 80 Open on Bobby. Then on the 25th January we travelled up to Forest Edge in Norfolk and came equal first in 138cm Stepping Stones, which was my 1st out of 4 double clears to qualify for Scope. We have plenty of competitions coming up so watch this space…”
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.
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.