Innovative saddle manufacturers, First Thought Equine, have launched The WOW Bounty – a beautiful, technologically-advanced dressage saddle with a deep profile seat designed to offer supreme support and comfort for the larger rider.
“This is the first saddle of its kind to hit the market,” says co-proprietor David Kempsell. “Larger riders often feel pushed forward in conventional dressage saddles, the Bounty maintains a secure and comfortable riding position. Importantly, we have designed a longer, larger seat without making a longer saddle, as many weight-carrying horses are short-backed. The panel of the saddle measures 18”, so it is suitable for all horses.”
The WOW Bounty is specially designed to cup the rider’s seat and provide ultimate support. It offers the horse supreme comfort, with the famous WOW carbon fibre tree that provides lateral flexion, and the Flair Air Flocking System that consists of four adjustable air bags that provide an even bearing surface for optimum equine comfort and enhanced performance. Meanwhile, WOW’s Pointless Panel System increases shoulder movement, and interchangeable steel or carbon fibre headplates, available in 11 sizes, offer the perfect equine fit.
The seat can be used with the full range of differently designed flaps in the WOW range be it fixed or moveable knee blocks, giving the ultimate in rider comfort and stability. The WOW double stirrup bar enables the rider to move leg position, depending on the length of their upper thigh and the level of work their horse is achieving. A range of black and brown colours is available.
“We are thrilled with the response to this saddle – and have recognised a market demand from our customers,” David concludes.
To find out more call 01227 831614 or visit www.wowsaddles.com
As horses come back into work after a winter break, or simply build up or drop muscle due to the change in seasons, it can lead to saddle fitting issues.
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.
WOW have developed the Korrector, which 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.
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?
Here are some common indicators of a poorly fitting saddle –
- Equine behavioural problems, or reacting negatively to being saddled.
- Changes in ability to perform, for example a shortened stride or refusing jumps.
- Saddle instability, eg rolling or slipping.
- A horse that’s obviously sore in the back to the touch, or has swelling.
In these circumstances, you are right to consider having your saddle checked, or to look at the purchase of a better fitting saddle. Choose a saddle fitter based on personal recommendation if possible, or seek references from happy customers if the saddler is new to you. This is one of the most important purchasing decisions you will make for your horse, and will influence his performance and wellbeing.
If you are unsure which fitter to choose, contact the Society of Master Saddlers for a list of qualified fitters.
Before choosing a saddle, it is important to address the horse’s needs; for example, his age (will he ‘fill out’ or muscle up more?); his breeding (this indicates his subsequent likely shape) and your riding discipline (so the saddle style can be ascertained). This goes hand in hand with your own style of riding, your level of experience, and your height and weight.
Once you have ascertained this, your saddler can assess your horse, look at the animal’s functional anatomy – that is, his structure and physiology at the time of fitting – and work through any barriers to saddle fitting.
What are the most common reasons for a poor fitting saddle?
- The tree and thus the saddle itself is the wrong size or shape.
- The tree is damaged.
- The saddle pad, if used, causes pressure points.
- If your saddle has traditional wool flocking, as opposed to air-bag flocking, irregularity in the wool flocking can cause imbalance and pressure. This occurs when the saddle flocking has not been sufficiently checked and adjusted. According to the Society of Master Saddlers: “Irregular, uneven or lumpy flocking can cause pressure points that may seriously damage the horse’s back.”
- The saddle has detrimental pressure points, perhaps due to asymmetry or equine weight loss. (A pressure as low as 1½ lbs per square inch will in time damage minor blood vessels.)
- The saddle impinges shoulder movement due to fit and / or shape, or is simply being placed too far forward by the rider.
In addition, there are of course rider issues that will cause the horse to display signs of discomfort – these should be addressed by tuition. Furthermore, issues like poor hoofcare can affect stance and movement, and should be addressed by a good hoofcare practitioner. Meanwhile, equine injuries, surgeries and short-term asymmetries can all affect saddle fit, and should be addressed by the animal’s vet or body worker (eg. a chiropractor or other practitioner).
What helped diminish unsightly and uncomfortable skin lumps on Francis Whittington’s ride Sir Percival?
This video shows WOW’s sponsored event rider Francis Whittington at Burghley 2011.
“The horses are now all much freer through their shoulders both on the flat and when jumping. I love the ease of adaptability to fit different horses, being able to fine tune them and make subtle changes to the balance while on board which would be impossible in a traditionally flocked saddle. Sir Percival had lumps on his back before I started using the WOW on him, and they are now diminishing. Not only do they sit well on the horses but I can now ride in comfort too,” he says.
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