We love hearing feedback from our customers so it was great to read about Kerry Weisselberg’s experience with her WOW Saddle! Read on to find out how her quirky and sensitive mare has gone from strength to strength since discovering the WOW Saddle…
Kerry has been eventing since 1988, and has produced and ridden horses up to Advanced and 2* and 3* levels. “I showjumped as a teenager (only up to Foxhunters) before I evented, and unfortunately no trainer and no amount of determined effort since has been able to get me out of my bad ‘showjumpery’ habit of an insecure lower leg. I have tried all sorts of saddles and all sorts of techniques over this time, including very short stirrups, even tying the stirrups to the girth, loads of work in 2-point seat, but nothing really helped my lower leg in the air. I can honestly say that in the WOW saddle, without me having to think about it while doing a round (which is always impossible, I have enough other things to think about!), my lower leg is FINALLY improving. That is a fantastic feeling.”
“Daisy (The Opposition Rose) is a homebred mare by Fleetwood Opposition out of a very quirky but talented Irish SJ mare. Knowing what I know now, I’d never have chosen Fleetwater Opposition as a stallion for her! Daisy had a physical problem growing up, some kind of asymmetry in her back end, and needed a lot of remedial attention. She is very opinionated, has always loved to rear – see photo – and is the only horse I’ve ever known who will stand and buck repeatedly, almost vertical, as if she’s a Buckaroo toy. I backed her without incident, but a few years ago, while quietly trotting a circle at home, she launched me spectacularly for no apparent reason and I landed on my feet but dislocated my knee very badly, leading to months on crutches and eventual surgery. So, I have always known that she has to be supremely comfortable, otherwise I am in deep trouble. She is very independent minded, the lead mare in my little herd here (in spite of not being the eldest by a long way) and likes to think that everything is her own idea. She takes a lot of tact to ride and train, but I absolutely adore her, and would do anything to keep her happy and on side.”
“We started eventing 2 years ago and progress has been slow, not for want of my ambition, but because she never felt ready to do more. Although she’s usually very bold, and sometimes liked to take full strides out (never fun or advisable, we’ve done a lot of work to eradicate that bad habit!) she’d feel a bit overawed by certain fences (although she did not stop) and, frankly, she felt lacking in scope and power. She was skewing badly over fences, throwing me off balance, sometimes feeling as if she was ‘sprawling’ in the air over them. She doesn’t always bring both hind feet down together so she was pushing off more from one hind leg. She was tense, bracing her topline in the air, not basculing and using her body properly. On one occasion (on our BE100 début) she backed off a fence, left one front leg completely behind – possibly stood on the overreach boot, I’m not sure – and slithered over the fence on her chest and that leg totally straight underneath her, somehow staying upright on landing, but I fell off. Not fun or at all encouraging, as it was only a metre high.”
“I remember scratching my head and wondering HOW a horse with this breeding, who looks like such a little powerpack, could have so little scope and talent. It was absolutely gutting and made no sense. I should probably mention that I hate selling horses, especially my homebreds, and that I want to keep her for her whole life and, ideally, get up to doing really big stuff again. I still dream of doing a 4* event and she is definitely my best chance unless I win the lottery! So, I was getting close to despair at her apparent lack of talent.”
“The WOW saddle has been a complete revelation to us both. She has started coming up in front properly and now bigger fences feel really easy on her. She is much straighter, and is starting to ‘throw her back end away’ in the air rather than bring it through tight and low (often having poles down). She is arguing less on the way to the fences and letting me ride her more, which helps a lot! I am still experimenting with different bits, and ways of riding her, and this led to us flattening three of the last five show-jumps on her début this year and one major misunderstanding during our last SJ round but overall there is a huge improvement in the way she feels and the way she jumps.”
“She’s run four times cross country so far this year, two at a hunter trial and two at BE100, always sailing round the cross country clear, with gusto, enjoying every stride, which means I can! Her confidence has grown hugely, she finally feels ready for the step up to Novice. She has a fantastic attitude to her jumping, loving the cross country in particular, feeling very keen and clever, coping brilliantly even with the odd duff stride or line (since I’m far from perfect!). She now doesn’t need all the remedial work she had to have very regularly (monthly, if possible) in previous years.
My dreams of getting up to the higher levels with her have been reignited. She’ll never lead the dressage (which, at the moment, we are doing in our WOW jump saddle, as I won’t put another make of saddle on her now, even though I have a couple of other very nice dressage saddles) but she gives me huge hope that if she stays tough and loving the game, we might get there.”
“There are even little things such as the fact that she now nails EVERY halt, perfectly square. That just wasn’t happening previously. It’s something she has learnt, but also something she now feels comfortable enough to do, consistently. That is a huge deal, to me. I can only say a HUGE thank you to WOW for making such special saddles, which my very special mare obviously needed, to Francis Whittington, for recommending me to try the WOW on her (and I should apologise for waiting a year to do it, and wasting a fortune on another saddle – of a very reputable brand – in that time!) and to my WOW fitter Fiona Reddick, for doing such a fabulous job, and having such a great eye for straightening me out too.”
“I love my WOW saddle, it is supremely comfortable (I can hack out in it for hours, unlike other competition saddles which were purgatory!), it makes me feel really secure in the air, and, more importantly, my opinionated, difficult, but talented and much adored little mare absolutely LOVES it. I wouldn’t swap it for anything now.”
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
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
Have you heard all the talk about Flair, but still don’t really know what it is all about? Or what it is that makes it like no other saddle product on the market? We think it s revolutionary!
Simply put, Flair is Air Flocking. Yes, the panels of your saddle are filled with air!
Flair is a system of air bags designed to replace the flocking in all conventional saddles, new or secondhand, to provide a soft, flexible and even bearing surface without pressure points.
Fitting air bags does not require any modification to the saddle, its appearance will not change. Once fitted, Flair air bags do not need adjustment or special maintenance unless your horse changes shape. Then simple adjustment by your saddler is all that is required. Some horses develop muscle rapidly with the Flair system and have outgrown their tree size
Flair gives your saddle a constant flexible layer of shock absorbing air as thick as your saddle’s panel.
Flair increases the sensitivity to aids from your lower back and seat. By removing any saddle discomfort the horse can clearly focus on your aids.
At this time of year your horse often changes shape, whether it be through weight fluctuations or muscle development as they get fitter and stronger in preparation for the season ahead. This can make saddle fitting a constant challenge, however First Thought Equine, manufacturers of the WOW saddle, have introduced the Korrector Air Saddle Pad which can help!
Even when a saddle fits a horse well, over the course of a year, changes in diet or level of fitness will result in changes of muscle structure, and the shape of the horse’s back. Therefore a saddle that originally fitted well may no longer fit the horse. Many people find it difficult to get a saddle fitter to visit to re-flock or adjust the saddle, and need to resort to saddle pads to ‘take up’ the difference.
Most saddle pads cannot be adjusted, and the majority assume that the saddle does not fit throughout its length. This is not normally the case, as most saddle fitting problems only occur at the front.
Korrector has four air bags for adjustment and a foam sheet for shock absorbency. You only use those pairs of bags required to correct the saddle, so cutting down on unnecessary bulk under the saddle. Korrector can be used with four air bags to create a shock absorbing pad under the whole saddle panel. The bags can then be adjusted so there is more air in the front or back bags to balance the saddle front to back or even side to side. Korrector can also be used with just the two front air bags to create a front riser pad or just the two back airbags to create a back riser pad.