Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Solution Saddles have made my horse a pleasure to work with ... I cannot thank them enough.

“Dave had never been an easy horse to work with. He had always been very spooky and tense when ridden. He had a tendency to bolt when a rider mounted and had no flexibility across his body at all. His large shoulders and flat back meant that finding a saddle to fit him was a nightmare. 

Before Solution Saddles, I was spending copious amounts of time, money and patience in buying and trying different saddles, with most only lasting a few months before they would no longer fit. 

I had never heard of SMART saddles before my trial, and having no experience with anything other than traditional treed saddles I was a little dubious. However, several months on and I cannot believe the physical and mental difference a SMART saddle has made to Dave.

Within a week of riding in the SMART Native GP saddle, Dave was already feeling less tense and was moving much more freely through his back. A month later and we had overcome all mounting issues. Now several months on, and Dave is feeling the best he has ever been!

He is willing to work, no longer strong or stiff through his body. He is even beginning to offer stretching during our schooling sessions which is something he has never done. Dave definitely feels happier and much more confident and comfortable in his ridden work and this has ultimately given me more confidence in riding him. 

Solution Saddles have made my horse a pleasure to work with and enjoy and I cannot thank them enough. 


After an incredible transformation, I just had to invest in a SMART GP

“I love my Smart GP saddle!

I bought my youngster Lilly 2 years ago (when she was 3) and I was concerned about buying a saddle, knowing that she would outgrow it rapidly. A friend of mine recommended looking into SMART Saddles. I must admit I was sceptical as I have grown up with treed saddles and had not heard of a RigidFree option before.

A lovely Approved Advisor came out to demonstrate a couple of different versions: the SMART Eventer and the SMART GP and I instantly fell in love with them! They look no different on the outside to a treed saddle, but I really felt the difference when I tried it on my youngster; she felt so much more free under the saddle and transformed from a stiff, rigid, unwilling to move forward, stroppy mare to a forward going, free with movement, relaxed lady!

- It was an incredible transformation so I just had to invest in one!

 Here is a picture of us in action.

This saddle as a good investment for a young horse as she will constantly grow and develop and change shape - and these saddles can be adapted to cope with this change. I have had my saddle for about 2 years now and have learnt how to check the fitting myself so I can judge how it needs adjusted without having the expense and hassle of purchasing a new saddle regularly. I also like the idea that if I was to buy another horse I could use this one saddle by making simple adjustments to the setup at home with minimal fuss.

This really is a saddle of a lifetime! 



Monday, 11 December 2017

Training Consultant: Tim Downes

"I first came across Solution Saddles back in February 2005. Since then my acquaintance with SMART saddles has saved me untold amounts of time and money.

My first interest came for a horse known as “JC Too” or “Jim” to his friends. I had acquired Jim as a project in October 2004, as a very green 6 year old. In my fascination with his fabulous temperament, and his metronomic trot rhythm, I had overlooked his rather dippy back, and his complete inability to canter! The fact that he had spent two years running around in Ireland with his head in the air, did not put him in the best starting place to commence life as a dressage horse either!

It soon became apparent that as long as he was totally comfortable under his saddle, he was prepared to learn. This was all well and good, but as he learned, so he got stronger over his back, and he changed shape. Bearing in mind his total lack of acceptance of discomfort you will understand that from October to February we went through 5 saddles! As he began to grow out of the fifth saddle, I began a search for an alternative. A chance meeting with Anne Bondi led me to “going RigidFree”.

At that time Jim had mastered some degree of balance in walk and trot, but was still cantering only when fifty acres were available, and in a fair impression of an Alton Towers experience. Within two months of starting work in his new saddle he had won his first novice test with 76%! Steady progress has been made ever since. Learning to canter enabled him to learn to jump, and his new found freedom of movement meant that learning lateral work was childs play! This year he has competed at medium level, and been a star at the BHSI examinations.

Naturally having had such amazing results with the saddle I was keen to try it on other horses. The fact that the SMART saddle is so lightweight and rolls up has enabled me to take it with me on my travels around the world to teach. I have used my SMART saddle on every conceivable shape and type of horse, and all have quickly discovered greater freedom of movement and elasticity, rapidly followed by more willingness to work towards self-carriage.

At home we have tested the durability of the SMART saddle to excess. We own two, and both are used daily on at least four horses each. It is fortunate for me that many of my clients now ride with their own SMART Saddle, as I am no longer allowed to remove my own from the yard for more than about half an hour. To do so would cause too much distress amongst those left at home, as they would have to fight over the one remaining saddle!

I have currently got three horses of my own in work, “Jim” who is an Irish sports horse, “George” who is Pure Irish Draught, and as wide as a house, and “CK” who is an Australian thoroughbred ex race horse. He is narrow beyond belief! All three wear the same saddle each day to work.

As a rider, a trainer of horses, and a teacher of riders, the SMART saddle has made my daily life easier, saved me hours of time trying to find saddles that ”fit” and enabled me to develop the training of many individual horses and riders way beyond their expectations."