Blog Archives

A new rider on the WOW Saddles team!

We are very proud to announce the sponsorship of talented, South East-based dressage rider, David Rumsey!

In continuation of our commitment to supporting equestrian talent, we have added dressage rider David Rumsey to the team of WOW Saddles sponsored dressage riders, which already includes Richard Davison, Wayne Channon, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert and Izzy Chaplin.

31-year-old David turned to dressage ten years ago and is now based in Canterbury, Kent with fourteen horses in training. Each horse has been carefully selected and hand-picked from trusted sources, to progress through the dressage levels, whilst David is fortunate enough to train with Suzanne Lavandera and Carl Hester. David has recently stepped up to Grand Prix level with his 12 year old Hessen mare DRD Florina H (aka Feebie) and now plans to head to the Winter Regional Finals and then the Premier Leagues and International Finals throughout 2015.

“I am so pleased to be working with WOW Saddles,” says David. “I absolutely love the feeling I get from my WOW Saddle when I ride DRD Florina H. I feel closer to my horse and find it easier to sit to her, as she stays softer in her back now.”

“David’s talent, dedication and passion for the sport is very apparent,” says Maggie White from WOW Saddles. “This commitment reinforces our values and ethos, making him the perfect representative for WOW Saddles.”

To keep abreast of David’s progress, like WOW Saddles on Facebook to read exclusive blogs and updates www.facebook.com/wowsaddle.

Photo courtesy of Carla Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of Carla Jane Photography

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Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Ups and downs of horses!

We have a catch up with WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin to find out what she and her horses have been up to since her last blog…

“Wow, it feels like ages since I wrote my last blog! It has been full steam ahead with revision for my IB exams, but I am pleased to say that I have done 11 out of 15 exams now. Woo, time to spend a bit of time with the horses!”

“After having a great weekend of training up at Keysoe, I was on a high leading up to the winter championships at Hartpury. But then disaster struck. Dora came in from the field with a puncture wound to the chest. Unfortunately she had hit an artery. Luckily we managed to patch her up pretty quickly with the help of some magic crystal things (apparently stitches are very old school) from the vets 😉 Absolutely amazing!”

“Unfortunately this meant that she had to have a week off which gave me a week of working her before the winters. We lunged her for the first few days and then managed to ride her for 3 days before the competition. Not exactly the idea preparation but i didn’t have anything to lose, I was just pleased that I had qualified!”

“So we arrived at Hartpury and I have got to say it is an amazing place. Everything was so organised and it had a lovely atmosphere. I was really pleased with how Dora went the day before and her trot work felt really good. In the warm up Dora was really with me. She obviously knew what was happening! The beginning of our test was great especially the medium and extended trots which felt really uphill and she was moving through her shoulder really well. The extended walk was really good but she didn’t feel quite right in the collected walk and a few strides into the canter it was obvious that Dora was not happy so I decided to pull her up and retire rather than push her and possibly hurt her. There is always another day and it has definitely made me more determined to qualify again for next year! I also got the chance to watch another WOW Saddle rider, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert in the evening gala performance which was great to see the riders riding through the higher level movements and showed me what I am aiming for (in a couple of years anyway!)”

Dora Keysoe 2014
“After that it turned out she had tweaked a muscle, so I did light work with her for a while. I had entered Keysoe premier league and Dora felt good when I started the more demanding movements so I decided to take her with the aim of doing a safe test. On the first day was the team test and I achieved my aim of getting round the test and I felt it was a good test to get Dora’s confidence up after the last competition. Unfortunately we didn’t get a great score as I feel I didn’t ride her particularly well. So bearing that in mind I focused on the individual test the next day. She was a lot more supple and responsive to my aids the next day and this showed in the test, especially the trot work. We still have areas to improve on. I overrode the changes which meant that some were late behind, but we ended up in 5th place which I was really pleased with for our first premier league of the season!”

“It has been great to be able to watch the WOW Saddles sponsored event riders at Badminton this weekend. Congratulation to all riders as it looked like a pretty tough XC course! At home, I have been really focusing on getting Sid to stay in a steady contact. His counter canter is really balanced now and the leg yields are becoming increasingly fluent and he is showing so much talent. I’m looking forward to taking him out to a local competition this weekend so I will tell you how it goes in my next blog! Also, I have finally decided to open a twitter account! Taken my time 😉 My twitter name is @IzzyCDressage so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening, follow me. Hopefully my next blog will have a few more results. Fingers crossed!”

Sid May 2014

Kerry Weisselberg shares her WOW story…

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.”

as a foal
“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.”

doing her favourite thing
“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.”

not basculing, tense
“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.”

much better style
“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.”

keen and uphill xc
“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.”

square again
“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.”

bigger fence

WOW Saddles: Proven to reduce pressure

A recent study carried out by Dundee university has independently verified that Flair – The air flocking system gives 26% less pressure on your horses back than wool flocking!

The research undertook to measure the forces on the horse and the rider.  By using one horse and six riders using the same saddle filled with wool and then with the Flair air flocking system.

This is a great independent test of the Flair system.  The research found that the forces on the rider increased with Flair.  This is not a negative as the problem with this type of testing is that the horse is not constant.  When such a large difference in pressure is made to the horse’s back this allows the horse to move bigger under the saddle/rider.  The reduction in pressure results in increased stride length along with swing and elevation of the back.  This induces move movement in the rider, which amounts to more forces being applied to the rider.

In other words it verifies what First Thought Equine Ltd the manufacturers of Flair have claimed about their product, that if you want a bigger moving horse Flair has the ability to deliver that movement.

Professional riders use Flair for that very reason, Wayne Channon will not ride in anything else now he has felt how his horses backs swing, as does Richard Davison, Lesley Payton-Gilbert, Paul Tapner, Kitty King, Francis Whittington and many, many, more.  “The ideas along with the research and development strategy that First Thought Equine has employed to create and prove their products is enlightening and refreshing to see in the saddlery industry,” says Wayne Channon. “This product appeals to me on two fronts; its ability to deliver a better moving horse whilst providing more comfort for that horse and as a scientist, a science based approach to proving and then improving the product by using the best available technology and materials.”

It has therefore been suggested that there be another study carried out where the horse is replaced with a simulator so that a more controlled test without variables in the horse’s gait affecting the data.  A simulator will keep the horse induced movement in the rider a constant and therefore accurate assessment of the forces applied to the rider using various saddle flocking materials can be measured accurately.

First Thought Equine Ltd have 10’s of thousands of customers using the Flair system, a lot of them with quite severe back problems.  All these riders report that they are much more able to ride with the Flair system in their saddles compared with other flocking materials as this typical email points out.

WOW Saddles customer Georgina Greenslade says, “I have owned and ridden in Flair saddles for over 15 years and after breaking by back just over 8 years ago, my Flair saddle is the only one I can ride in for hours on end, without getting a backache!”

Pressure testing close up

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Sid’s first show and camp with Dora

We hear from WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin as she gets going for the new season…

“As I am writing this blog, I am staring at my physics textbook willing myself to get the motivation to revise and try and understand the quantum nature of particles (!!!) as well as other physics related stuff! Eugh!! Now is the countdown to my exams which start on the 5th May (the IB doesn’t seem to recognise the word ‘bank holiday’). So I thought this would be the perfect time to start planning my show season!”

“First up was Sid’s first affiliated competition at Cobham Manor. The Great British weather didn’t fail to disappoint with gale force winds battering the lorry as we drove down the motorway. Sid was extremely excited to be at a show where obviously every horse was there to see him, he thought he would be better off without a saddle and a bridle and proceeded to stride down to the warm up arena with me hanging onto a lead rope behind.”

“After much discussing with Sid, we managed to get his tack on and we started warming up. He warmed up really nicely, however when we went into the other arena to do our test, unfortunately Sid spotted a very handsome horse in the mirror that he just had to stare at. Once he realised it was actually himself he was staring at, he decided to listen to me and went really nicely.”

Sid Cobham Feb 2014
“Although being a bit rusty as it was the first time I had been out competing since the Petplan regionals, we did 2 lovely tests without any major mistakes. We have a lot to work on especially getting the medium trots in the test, and being a younger horse, I have to prepare a lot earlier for the movements than with Dora. I now have a lot to work on before our next show!”

“I then took Sid to his first lesson with Sarah. We thought this would be a great experience for him to go somewhere different in a relaxed atmosphere. Although we had a few difficulties at the beginning of the lesson with getting him to concentrate, we worked on getting him to work more over his back and I got a great trot out of him!”

“Next up was Dora’s turn. I took her up to the BD Southern Camp held at Keysoe. It is a great camp with a lovely atmosphere and it was really nice to see everyone from BYRDS as well as my sponsors WOW Saddles. It was also great to see so many people riding in WOW Saddles, obviously seeing the benefit of them. One of my fellow BYRDS riders didn’t want to give the saddle back after trying it, she loved it so much!!”

Dora Keysoe Lorry
“Over the weekend I had two lessons and two test riding sessions. My lessons were with Henry Boswell who really helped in getting Dora to collect in the canter which also producing a much more uphill canter. I was able to take this into the tests later on in the day and I was really pleased that we managed to keep the work I had in the lesson in the test. Unfortunately, I had a few silly rider errors in the first test, but it was a great opportunity to use a test riding session, especially as it had been a while since we had been out competing. ”

“I am now utterly exhausted after the packed camp, but it was another great camp with many laughs! My next show will be Brook Farm with Dora and then Nationals (eek!!!). Roll on the Easter holidays!”

Keysoe BD Camp 2014

Kitty King’s first blog of the 2014 season

Just before the 2014 event season kicks off we have a chat to WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Kitty King, and find out what she has planned for this year…

“After the event season finished last year all the horses had a break and then came back into work in November so they were all fit and raring to go come January when the jumping and dressage training began. My year started off amazingly when I got a call from Yogi Breisner to say that I had been selected for the World Class Performance Squad! This means that I get access to lots more training and support, as well as additional funding towards my regular training. I have already been to William Fox-Pitt’s yard twice for training, Aston Le Walls all weather cross country course and the Unicorn Centre and it has been fabulous!”

“We have the first event of the season this weekend (1st March) where I will be taking one young horse for their first event. Then the older horses will run at Oasby the weekend after, then all going to plan it will be Aldon and then Gatcombe – fingers crossed the weather doesn’t ruin plans!”

“I am really excited about the season – Persimmon is aiming for Tattersalls 3* and Zidante is aiming for Badminton so we have some big plans! Hopefully all the hard work will pay off! I have a new mare called Creevagh Cooley, owned by Lindsay Caldwell, and she will hopefully do the 6 year old classes, meanwhile Ceylor LAN will be getting mileage on the clock at one day events before hopefully doing Le Lion 7 year olds at the end of the year.”

WOW have been out and checked my saddles so we are raring to go for the season!”

salperton 2012 Kitty King from Lulu Kyriacou MED RES riding Zidante

Congrats to Ian Wynne for qualifying for the WOW Saddles Star Championship

We are very proud to be sponsoring the WOW Saddles Star Championship this year and riders are qualifying left right and centre for the prestigious Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships which will be held in April 2014. We hear from one of the riders, Ian Wynne about his qualification…

“I qualified at Croft Top Equestrian Centre near Accrington, Lancashire. The horse I won on is Don Douglas, a 16.2hh, gelding owned by Ann Wolley Dod who also bred him. He won the Star Championship final this year and we are obviously very pleased to have qualified this year to be able to try and win the final again (which will be very hard to do!).”

“He has been a horse of a lifetime, winning many major championships including the Amateur Title at HOYS and the now defunct British Open. Preparation will be nothing more than competing in the spring in the run up to the championships. I also qualified another horse in the same qualifier – Mirabella, a 13yr old chestnut mare!”

Introducing the youngest addition of the WOW Sponsored rider team!

We are very proud, at WOW Saddles, to be supporting young rising star Hero Seago as she pursues her quest to take the show jumping world by storm! Here she tells us a little bit about herself…

“My name is Hero Seago, I am 12 years old and show jump my ponies. I started riding at 5yrs old and got my first pony at 6. He was very naughty and bucked and reared so taught me a lot about stickability. Next we got Sammy, a perfect little 11.1hh, whom I show jumped and also went to the Pony Club Areas Mounted Games with. Then along came Bobby, who started me off in BSJA at 10yrs old, and then Atlantic Jewel the following year. I currently run these ponies along side each other most weekends, jumping in the 138 classes and 90cm/1m opens. The three of us have had much success together, the NAF shining star award, 2nd over all in the NAF 5* Style and Performance Class at the Inter-Academy show this year and 1st in an inter-schools style and performance class. Also with my school, we got four teams through to the inter-schools Championships at Addington Manor in October and there we gained team champions in the 1.05m-1.10cm, and team 4th and 7th in the 95cm.”

Hero Seago
“I am so excited to have gained a sponsorship from WOW! It is such an incredible opportunity for me. Since I got my WOW Saddle I have loved riding in it and Bobby felt much freer underneath me. I think he particularly likes the freedom of movement the saddle gives him through his shoulders.”

“This weekend was his first show in the WOW Saddle and he was on fire! We gained our second double clear in the Springboard class, coming equal 1st and qualifying, and a 5th in the Discovery/90cm open. There is no stopping Bobby now he has a WOW!”

We can’t wait to see how Hero progresses with her ponies! Keep your eyes peeled for more blogs coming soon and in the mean time make sure you visit our Facebook page to keep up to date with all the ‘up to the minute’ news!

 

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Introducing myself

WOW Saddles are very proud to now sponsor up and coming South East based dressage rider, Izzy Chaplin. In her first blog for us she tells us a little bit more about her and her horses…

Izzy and Dora at WOW HQ in Kent!

Izzy and Dora at WOW HQ in Kent!

“Hi, I’m Izzy. I am a 17 year old junior dressage rider and I am a member of the Great Britain Junior Potential Squad. I have recently been given sponsorship from WOW saddles and I am really looking forward to working with them as their saddles are amazing. I especially love their new Bling Fly Fringe! The flexible tree in my WOW saddle has really improved how my horse moves, she is so much looser, I could not believe how much a saddle could improve her way of going! I feel like I am able to influence her a lot more in the saddle as well!”

“A bit about me… I live in the South East of England and I am currently in my final year at school. I train with Sarah Millis and Darryl Thickett. I started riding at the age of 7 at a local riding school and at the age of 12 I was lucky enough to get a loan pony called Kizzy who although being a little cheeky, gave me a lot of experience and definitely taught me stickability and how to ride! I did all Pony Club events and with Kizzy I got my first experience of dressage. I also got the ride on a friend’s pony, Rupert, who taught me how to ride the dressage tests and took me up to the Pony Club Novice Nationals.”

“Soon I began to want to move on so we found a 14.2hh pony, Brett. Brett was the ideal Pony Club pony and we did everything together including a bit of showing! We took each other through the stages of dressage and I began to learn how to influence him to get the lateral movements and improve his way of going. We started off at prelim and I then began affiliated dressage and we qualified for the novice open winter regionals together. Soon I had taught him the first stages of medium lateral movements and flying changes.”

Harry was a bit quirky but taught Izzy a lot!

Harry was a bit quirky but taught Izzy a lot!

“We also went up to the Pony Club Intermediate Dressage Championships where we managed to win our arena. As I began to get the bug for dressage I was introduced to BYRDS and I was picked for the Home International representing England in 2012. When I was 15, I was lucky enough to get the ride on an FEI dressage pony called Harry. He was a bit quirky, but taught me all the movements for the medium tests and I don’t think I would have the knowledge I have now without him! We got to compete at the Premier League competitions and we were selected for National Pony Training 2011/2012.”

“However, my 16th birthday was fast approaching and you can only compete on ponies up until you are 16. I knew I wanted to continue with dressage, so we went on the hunt for a junior horse. For juniors, I have to compete at advanced medium level and only being 5’1”, I needed a small horse! So I went on a search for a 16hh or under horse, preferably a gelding. After scouring the country, we travelled abroad to Holland and found a 16.2hh mare, Dora (Taijdora). Dora had just had a foal in summer 2012 so when we went to see her in December 2012, she had only just come back into work. She had an amazing temperament and natural ability, I fell in love with her instantly! Although we have taken a while to build a partnership, we are going from strength to strength and gaining so much experience together. This winter we have been selected for the GB Junior Potential Squad which is amazing, so I know we are going in the right direction! We have also qualified for the medium open Petplan Championships next April, my first BD Nationals!”

“My aim for next year is to hopefully train Dora up to PSG to contest young riders when I turn 18 and have to move on from juniors. I am concentrating on my training at the moment before the upcoming high profile shows next year while juggling my school work. I am really pleased to be part of Team WOW Saddles! I will keep you updated with my progress and experiences in my next blog! In the mean time do ‘like’ my Facebook page here!”

Izzy and Dora hope to contest PSG next season

Izzy and Dora hope to contest PSG next season

Dealing with a change in shape

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.

Korrectorhas been developed to help owners dealing with the ever-changing shape of their horse. For more information click here. Image