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.
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
In developing the WOW Saddle we asked ourselves this question… what does your horse want from a tree?
The answer is a means to distribute the rider weight symmetrically and evenly from the 7th to the 18th vertebrae.
This means there should be no flexion in the tree front to back. A lot of companies purport to having flexibility in their trees. If there is flexion along the spine of the horse then this will allow the riders weight to bear unevenly or put another way, to concentrate the pressure directly under the riders seat bones over a area no bigger than 3-5 vertebra. This is not a good situation and is verging on removing the tree altogether which gives even worse results in concentrating pressure under the rider seat.
However, as a horse moves, its’ shoulders need to find more space as the scapulas rotate back under where the tree sits. The answer is to let the head of the tree swing from side to side as the alternate shoulders rotate back under the tree.
In other words, a horse would want a saddle that is longitudinally rigid and laterally flexible in the head. This is exactly what the WOW tree provides. By the use of a “Y” bar made from rigid Carbon Fibre that is as strong as steel embedded in the body of the tree we have created a framework that will move with the horse not against it!
The WOW tree is patented and state of the art. It performs like no other tree for both horse and rider. WOW is the only tree that incorporates Lateral Flexion. If you want to feel the benefits for yourself then contact us to find out more…