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.
It has been a great start to the spring season so far for WOW sponsored rider Kitty King…
“Persimmon won his 4th consecutive CIC ** at Burnham Market, not bad for an eight year old! We have also been to Weston Park where Persimmon and Zidante both did the Advanced. Zidante lead after the dressage and did a lovely double clear but I didn’t push her cross country so we had four time penalties which meant we came 2nd. Persimmon did his first ever advanced there and coped really well. He was a little green in his flying changes but I was very happy with him and he still came 9th. I was really pleased that he stepped up to that level and came in the top ten!
The young horses have been great, Caeleste only started eventing this season and went up to Novice at Larkhill where she was second and then won the Novice at Hambleden. Ceylor LAN is a nice 6 year old who won all the 5 year old championships last year and he won the Novice at Larkhill and then came 7th at Hambleden in the CIC*. I took it very steady with him as he is a big horse and the course was very twisty. Mo Cuiske also did the CIC* at Hambleden and came 4th which is very promising as he is aiming for Tattersalls. I also have a new ride, Very Special Z, owned by Ben Walden who also owns Zidante. I have only had a few weeks and he was second in the Novice at Aston Le Walls and then won the CIC* at Hambleden which I was thrilled about. He is also aiming for Tattersalls at the end of May.
I am really pleased with how the season has started. In fact I am currently 4th in the UK Rider Rankings which is really nice – I am sure after Badminton I won’t be so high but it is a great position to be in so early on in the season. The horses have all started the season brilliantly – most outings they have all finished in the top ten. I am really looking forward to seeing how Tattersalls and Saumur go so I can make exciting plans for the autumn!”
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