Thursday 4 December 2014

Laura Morrish - Confident A SMART GP Offers The Best Start For Her Youngster Buddy.

Solution Saddles Customer Story - From The Archives

After reading about treeless saddles and the benefits for the horse, I wanted to find one for my horses. My old mare had a lot of back issues, many of which I think could have been avoided if I had had a properly fitting saddle when she was younger.

I decided on a cheaper make of treeless saddle at first and noticed a difference in all the horses I used it on. It was certainly doing them good and they were moving much more freely, but it did not suit all the horses I rode. It felt unstable, slipping easily from side to side because there was a lot of padding under the saddle. I felt further away from the horse than in a traditional saddle, and at times, quite unbalanced.

My horse’s health and comfort is hugely important to me. I ride a lot of young horses and some problem horses so, in the long term, these were going to be issues. I couldn’t afford to be worrying about the saddle slipping and I wanted my youngster to have the best possible start..

I first saw Solution Saddles at Horse of the Year Show 2012, where I sat in a SMART saddle. I was very pleased by its looks and comfortable feel. It looks just like a traditional treed saddle but as demonstrated to me, the RigidFree system means it freely moves and flexes with the horses shape.

I booked a home consultation visit to test ride the SMART saddle. When the Approved Advisor came out she went through all of the information on fitting and using the saddle that I needed to know. 

I felt completely secure, so was able to focus on riding my youngster rather than thinking about the saddle. I ordered my SMART GP saddle straight away!

Pictured above, Buddy and I the day after receiving our new SMART saddle. This was our first ever hack and just the 6th time he has been sat on. I felt comfortable and secure in the SMART GP saddle straight away, and we had a lovely ride.

I'm confident that the SMART GP saddle is the best start I can give my young horse and can't wait to get back in the saddle again!

Laura Morrish


Solution Saddles Customer Story - From the Archives.

Coedeneirin Solo is a 12.3 hh Welsh Section C pony owned by Lindsay Caldwell. He is based at the late John Dufosee’s stables at Nyland in Dorset, and has recently been awarded the Pitchford Trophy by Endurance GB at their annual Awards Dinner in Daventry, for the registered native pony gaining the most points in all types of EGB rides for the 2010 season.
Solo did not have the best start in life, he was ridden far too early and his back muscles were badly damaged. He was rescued in a poor condition and scared of his own shadow. He has been ridden by ex-British team member Lisa Franks, since 2006.

Lisa said “I decided straight away that I had to use my Solution saddle on Solo. I had previously and very successfully used it on other horses, but because he was so small, it seemed to be the obvious choice; there was not going to be a chance of any pressure points and the saddle would help spread my weight evenly. I find that Solution saddles also allow you to feel the horse’s movement and whether there is any problem with the gait, which in endurance is most important. I have had the saddle fitted and monitored by Approved Advisors over the years, and Solo has blossomed.”

‘Solo’ was originally destined for the show ring, and although he had many successes, and did qualify for the NPS novice ridden championships at Malvern, he has found his real niche in Endurance.

He has built up over the years and now regularly completes rides up to 80 km in a day and has represented Wales at the Home International Competitions for the last four years, most recently placed 5th in the 82 km endurance ride at Burgie, Scotland in August 2010.
His rider Lisa says: “In order to do this type of mileage, his tack has to fit well and also be adjustable for both horse and rider as he is constantly changing shape. This is where his Solution saddle really comes into its own.”
In 2007 Solo surpassed what his team had hoped for him, not only did he complete one 80 km ride to go advanced, but he completed the 80 km ER (race) at the Inter-Regional Championships, helping their team to second place overall. They then went on to be given an award at the Red Dragon as the top scoring Native Pony and best pony under 14hh.

Lisa was thrilled to bits with Solo in 2008 as he was progressing well. As they looked forward to competing for the Welsh Team in the Home International in Northern Ireland, Lisa reported “After Solo successfully completed the FEI CEI 2* 80 km endurance ride at Euston Park, at a speed he has never done before in his life (13.99 kph!), the vets were quite interested when we said we used a Solution saddle - there is not a mark on his back” At the end of the season, after successfully completing 10 rides, Solo was going beautifully and was full of life when he went ‘out on holiday’.

In 2009 Solo continued his success and was awarded the trophy for the best pony under 14.2hh ridden by an adult, sadly picked up an injury that cut his season short.

He bounced back in 2010 and Coedeneirin Solo and Lisa Franks added to their long list of achievements and awards, including a distance award for successfully completing 2,400 km in his career to date – all in his Solution saddle!  He also has taken the regional native trophy for the past four years and the top under 14.2hh.

“Since using Solution saddles, Solo he has changed quite dramatically. He will always be highly-strung and flighty but he used to be totally tense when ridden in a traditional saddle with a tree and would try to run away from it. Now he is totally chilled – and this is entirely due to the fact he has learned that he can work without any discomfort and life is FUN.”
Lisa and Solo have had a good start to 2011 having already completed over 300km competitively. So far they have achieved a top ten placing in an FEI 1* 80 km ride and a bronze award in the Exmoor 80 class at the Golden Horseshoe. They are starting out with their new SMART Native saddle and looking forward to another successful season.

Julia Skippen & Veteran, Harvey, Got Over Their Back Problems With A Solution Saddle

Solution Saddles Customer Story - from the archives

Harvey and I have been together for just under ten years and he has suffered more than average from various injuries and ailments, but the biggest problem was always his stiff and sensitive back. 

After owning him for four years I had accumulated four saddles, and, according to two saddle fitters, they all fitted him.

Harvey disagreed. His behaviour varied from a series of small hops to full-on bucking bronco.

Then I attended a demonstration where a horse without any known problems became even freer and better to ride in a Solution saddle. 
As soon as I could, I took Harvey to try one. Instantly he told me that it was right. Several years later we haven’t looked back and I have both a Dressage and a Jump saddle from Solution Saddles.

I never thought I would be able to ride him properly when he was having such problems, but now that he is 18 years old we’re enjoying more jumping and dressage than ever before.

Recently a BD judge and trainer commented that he doesn’t move like an 18 year old horse. 

We have just returned from the BRC National championships in Lincoln where we were placed 6th in Medium, 9th in Elementary and 4th as a member of our Riding Club open dressage team.

Julia Skippen

Monday 1 December 2014

Solution of the Month December 2014 - The Flexible SMART GP Solved 5 Year Old Solomon's Saddle Problems.

"I would like to say a big thank you to Solution Saddles for sorting out my saddle problems.

My horse Solomon is 5 years old and we were having many problems with an ill-fitting treed saddle. It had only been used for 4 months but in that short time had caused considerable damage to his back and withers. It was fitted correctly initially but as Solomon grew, it pinched and caused muscle wastage. This was causing Solomon to nap and buck which was getting dangerous for both of us. Through our regular equine chiropractor appointments I discovered his saddle wasn't fitting him at all.

I then had the flexible SMART GP saddle fitted by my local Approved Advisor and it is amazing; it is the most comfortable saddle I've ever sat in.

I have now had my SMART GP saddle for 4 months and had the equine chiropractor to check Solomon’s back again, she was very happy with the fit of the saddle and his back has improved dramatically. His top-line and back are very strong and the muscle wastage is improving day by day.

Justine and Solomon at their local show in their SMART GP saddle

I compete at local shows, cross country, hacking, jumping and flat work, my horse is very happy in his SMART saddle and I like that it looks like a traditional saddle in the show ring. It feels very safe and stays securely in place. Many people comment on how lovely the saddle is and ask me about it.

Thank you Solutions Saddles for making me and my horse very happy and comfortable."

Justine Walker

Friday 21 November 2014

Solution Saddles Customer Explains Why She Won't Be Riding In Anything Else.

Like many people I have experienced problems with traditional saddles leading to poor performance and discomfort for my horse and frustration and huge expense for me.

About 5 years ago I discovered Solution Saddles, driven mainly by my desire to economise. 

I had two horses and with the best will in the world I was never going to ride them both at the same time, so the idea of being able to fit one saddle to both really appealed. 

Recommendations by word of mouth and research on the internet showed that SMART saddles were well designed with a sound scientific basis, and perhaps more importantly were highly regarded by riders.
"The fitting and trial period did not disappoint and I have never looked back. My SMART saddle has now been used on three horses and I can safely say that it has improved the way of going of all of them while enabling me to refine my position and develop greater feel."

I may have halved my number of horses and doubled my number of Solution saddles, but I definitely won’t be riding in anything else.

Gemma Hill

Spotted: pictured in Horse & Hound magazine...

Solution Saddles Approved Advisor, Elaine Sutcliffe, winning a medium qualifier at Cockshot Dressage on her own homebred horse, Whiterose Strandwolf, in their Solution saddle.

 'Wolfie' is 21 years old and has previously evented to 3* level. 

Well done to Elaine! 

Friday 31 October 2014

Solution of the Month November 2014 - The SMART saddle can accommodate Charlies large shoulders

"This is my 16.2hh, 7 year old gelding, ridden in his SMART saddle. We regularly compete in British Eventing, Showjumping, Dressage, Working Hunter, Showing and pleasure rides.

It took me a whole year to find a saddle that Charlie was comfortable in due to his large shoulders, thankfully we came across Solution Saddles and I truly would never use anything else.

Whenever possible I promote these fantastic saddles and I am now saving up for another SMART Saddle."

Suzannah Brookes,

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Welsh Cob Has No Problems Qualifying For The Regionals In Her Solution Saddle

I have had my 14 hand Welsh Cob for 5 years and I have always had her in a RigidFree saddle…

…Although I did get through a few saddles before I found Solution Saddles, including other treeless brands.

Two of my previous horses both had behavioural problems caused by saddles, and despite spending a fortune on physios and saddles I never felt happy that the issues were resolved – and I resorted to riding bareback, which as you can imagine is pretty limiting!

Since affiliating, Lily and I have qualified for the Regional Finals in Novice and Novice Freestyle. The focus now is on training her up the levels and we have just come back from a 3-day course with Adam Kemp, working at Medium level.
My equine chiropractor and massage therapist always comments on how Lily has never had any saddle related problems and the muscles on her back are well formed and soft and supple, which she attributes to her being in a RigidFree saddle.

Amanda Hope, Solution Saddles Customer

Thursday 2 October 2014

Solution of the Month October 2014 – "Stacie Liston Needed a Secure Jump Saddle for Her Bold ISH".

“I wanted to share my story to say thanks, I am so pleased with my new SMART Jump saddle.

I like to think that I have found my perfect 4 legged partner in crime in Alvin my lovely ISH.  I was lucky to find him locally after deciding that new challenges were needed in the form of a new horse.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a previous Solution saddle for 10 years which I have used on all my horses. My Highland & Welsh were both very different in shape and using the Solution saddle made life simple for me; with a change of pads for each of them and I was set to go.

It never even crossed my mind to go back to a tree’d saddle for backing Alvin and I believe that using my RigidFree saddle is what made him so easy to back. 

When the time came to introduce jumping I knew that I would need a suitable saddle to do the job. Alvin can be quite ‘bold’ so I needed a saddle that would offer a very secure seat.  I got in touch with my local Solution Saddles Technical Advisor, Catie Baird, who was able to bring a selection of saddles for me to try - and I was sorted with a new SMART Jump saddle that afternoon! 

My physio has commented on how beautifully balanced and soft Alvins muscles are in his back, and when you see him cutting shapes when playing in the field you know that he is happy and pain-free in his movement.

People on my yard are also surprised by how much RigidFree saddles have changed over the years and like that the SMART Jump saddle looks like a traditional saddle - now I just have to save up for my dressage saddle next year  J

You certainly get what you pay for from Solution Saddles and I joke that my new SMART Jump saddle cost more than my sofa - but I spend more time sitting on my saddle! 

Now to go out and start winning some ribbons!

Thanks Solution Saddles for challenging the norm and offering an alternative to tree’d saddles.

Stacie Liston,

Tuesday 23 September 2014

First Mini One Day Event with the SMART GP Pony Saddle - Customer Update - Video

Antonia & Blondie at their first mini one day event.

Due to Blondies round belly and back shape, her tree'd saddle would slide up her neck all the time.

 Their SMART GP Pony saddle stays in place even with her extravagant jumping style.

Antonia and Blondie enjoy jumping all the big fences at fun rides and compete at 80cm and 85cm showjumping classes.

Maxine Oxford,

An update from Maxine Oxford for Antonia & Blondie

“My twelve year old daughter, Antonia, competed at her first junior Tetrathlon with Blondie. She had to run 1500m, swim for 3 mins and shoot at a 7m turning target with one hand.

The pictures below are of them jumping over a 2'9 to 3' course. They were one of only four partnerships to go clear - and most of the competitors were riding horses. Blondie was so sweet, ears forward as usual, tail flicking and paws up :D

Antonia came 10th overall - I was so amazed!”


Antonia Oxford, riding her pony, Blondie, around a course of 90cm in their SMART Pony saddle.

Friday 19 September 2014

The Eventing Way - Houghton International CCI* - Reports From 2013 Event Diary

July 2013
“The consistency of the trot rhythm was particularly pleasing. This is something that has improved all the time since we started using the SMART Saddles.”
We made the long journey to Houghton in Norfolk with two lorries and five horses!
The Navigator was competing in the CCI** class, Sabreeze in the CCI* and Phantom Spark, Cadanbyrig No Warning and Cadanbyrig Moonrunner competing in British Showjumping classes and the Eventers Grand Prix.

The Navigator passed the first trot up with flying colours and went on to do his dressage on the Thursday of the event. He warmed up well and did a good test to score 51.9.

We had a lot of rain on the Friday at Houghton and it changed the ground from good going to deep and challenging! Scobie went really well cross country and had jumped all of the difficult combinations with ease, but unfortunately got caught out, along with others, at a big parallel under trees five fences from home,  where he misread the back rail and they fell. Horse and rider were fine but it was a big disappointment.

Scobie was sound after his fall and we were relieved that despite falling he wasn't sore in his back nor was there any damage to the flexible SMART saddle! - Not the result we had hoped for but that is the ups and downs of eventing!
 Sabreeze competed in the CCI* class, which was his first three day event of his eventing career. In the dressage phase, the consistency of the trot rhythm was particularly pleasing. This is something that has improved all the time since we started using our SMART saddles.

After torrential overnight rain, the going on the tough cross-country course had deteriorated and became very deep and holding, causing lots of problems around the entire track. Sabreeze, unfazed by the conditions, jumped a fantastic clear round inside the time and finished full of running.


Sabreeze continued to cope well with the difficult conditions the next day in the show jumping and we were delighted to complete his first three-day event. 

Check back soon to find out how The Eventing Way team got on at Barbury Burghley Young Event Horse class and the Retraining of Racehorses Parade at Ascot.

BYRDS Rider Has Never Looked Back Since Purchasing Her First SMART Saddle - Customer Update

"My story was chosen as the Solution of the Month in May 2013, and I would like to update you on our progress since then.

I now have a new ride who is a warmblood called Daydream Believer and I ride both my horses in my SMART Sport dressage saddle. We were very successful earlier on this year, being selected to represent the Northern region team for British Young Rider Dressage Scheme. 

Tilly was so relaxed under the saddle and it showed through her test. 
We have plenty more outings planned, and are aiming to ride at winter regionals! 

Previous Update: 
“I bought Bobby, a 16.3 Irish sport horse as a four year old when I was fourteen. Initially, I had a treed saddle for him but it did not fit and I didn’t want to buy numerous saddles to accommodate his ever-changing shape.
When my local Solution Saddles Technical Advisor came out for a home consultation visit she brought the SMART dressage saddle, which I instantly fell in love with. From the word go, Bobby was a different horse. He became free and swinging in his walk. After going out to competitions I realised I could cut my warm up time down as he was instantly relaxed under the saddle, rather than tensing up and rushing off as he did before.

When the new SMART SPORT dressage saddle was launched, again I fell in love with it. Bobby is a big horse with big movements, and I felt more secure in the new design.

I would definitely recommend these saddles to anyone; when purchasing from Solution Saddles you know that not only are you buying a saddle, which is “horse friendly”, you are buying a service from Solution Saddles and their Advisors. My Technical Advisor was so helpful and worked with me to make sure I was 100% happy with my saddles and was happy to answer any questions, however silly they may sounded.
I have never looked back since changing to the SMART saddle system. I know all my horses will have the best on their backs.”
Cassidy Adey
May 2013

Monday 15 September 2014

From Lameness and Muscle Atrophy To A Happier Horse with the SMART SPORT Dressage & Jump saddles

My horse has not been difficult to fit with saddles…

but he started to have ad hoc periods of lameness and I noticed large rub patches appearing at the back of the saddle area.  His saddles were checked and adjusted which seemed to work for a while but he soon started to become lame again so I took him to the vets for a full check up. He was sound on all counts with no sign of the mystery lameness and no apparent back pain.  With some relief I brought him home but after a few weeks he felt lame again.

My Bowen practitioner was concerned at the amount of muscle atrophy he had and she was sure there was some deep shoulder muscle bruising where his saddle had been pinching and moving from side to side. The rub marks on his back were now significant.  This was definitely a saddle problem, so she recommended trying the RigidFree SMART Saddles.  

The local Solution Saddles Technical Advisor visited and spent a considerable time trying various different models and sizes.  We finally agreed the new Smart Sport saddles were the best solution for both the horse and for me.

Three months later, with our new Smart Sport Dressage saddle, he is noticeably freer moving and has a much looser swing to his back.  He is just a happier horse.

I was so impressed with the immediate difference this made to my horse’s way of going that I also bought a Smart Sport Jump saddle. It gives me a great XC position and I feel really secure in it.  My horse feels a lot happier jumping too with much more freedom in his shoulders. The bald patches and rubs at the back of the saddle area have completely disappeared and he is already building up muscles around the shoulders and withers.

He is a much happier horse and we would both like to say a big thank you to Solution Saddles.

Sue Sandford

The Eventing Way - Aston le Walls & Rockingham CIC** - Reports from 2013 Event Diary

May 2013 - Aston le Walls  

“A good day out with the babies and very educational.”

Hannahs Silk (Indy) and Cadanbyrig Drifter (Joey) went to Aston le Walls to compete in the BE90 level class at their unaffiliated horse trials.

Indy was first to go, she scored 36.5 in the dressage. She jumped a great round in the show jumping just rolled one pole and went really well cross country - much more confident than the week before at West Wilts which was pleasing.

Joey was next up and again found the cross country near to the arena far too exciting to concentrate on dressage but then jumped a  good and easy clear round in the show jumping and followed that up with a confident clear across country.

June 2013 - Rockingham International CIC**

“Preparation for Houghton”

The Navigator went to Rockingham to do the CIC** but only intended to do dressage and showjumping as a preparation run before Houghton the following week.

He did a good test in the main arena and focused despite the atmosphere with flags flying and people moving around the tradestand area. He scored 52.2 which left him in the top 15 overnight.

The showjumping was the following day and was an up to height track again in the main arena. His jump has been improving and we have been building the partnership at this level and although he had a couple of rails down the overall round was very pleasing.

He was withdrawn after showjumping as planned.

Check back soon for another update from The Eventing Way event diary to find out how they got on at Houghton as they continued the season with their SMART saddles.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Solution Saddles Customer is Now Pain Free in Her SMART GP Saddle

"I wanted to drop you a line and say a huge thank you. I am over the moon with my SMART™ GP saddle.

 I bought it from Solution Saddles last year and have never looked back. It is so comfortable and I do everything in it. I had a bad fall a few years ago and always suffer from a bad back with other saddles but since I have bought my SMART™ GP saddle I always return home pain free. 

The photo is of me and my horse Ben competing in our very first one day event, we both had a fab day and just want to say a huge thanks for making these incredible saddles."

Charlotte Wilkinson

Customer Story - Security and Balance for Robbie Bell & His Pony Ben

  “Many thanks to Solution Saddles for introducing my son Robbie and I to their SMART™ Native saddle range.

While wandering around Badminton horse trials trade stands in May 2013 we started talking to the Solution Saddles Agents and my son sat on a SMART™ Native GP Pony saddle. He liked it a lot so on returning home I organised a Home Consultation Visit from the local Solution Saddles Agent with the very saddle that my son had sat in at Badminton.

His pony Ben is a very flat backed 11hh Shetland cross and we had had great difficulty in keeping saddles in the correct place. We had found that when wearing his normal saddle it would move forward causing Ben to hump resulting in the saddle moving further still up his neck. My son also found other pony saddles we had tried to be uncomfortable.

Ben was much happier in the SMART™ Native Pony saddle from the first time we tried it. Humping into canter had become a habit, but this immediately stopped in the new SMART™ Native Pony saddle.

My son is quite a nervous rider but he found the security and balance provided by the SMART™ Native Pony saddle has allowed him to build his confidence and is now virtually unstoppable.

He is hacking out at speed and cantering into his jumps. The SMART™ Native Pony saddle is so versatile he uses it for all pony club activities, dressage and showing. Although expensive to buy I know that it will fit his next pony and I can easily size up when necessary with the good resale value.


I decided that it was pointless carrying on with a saddle and pony combination that didn't work and I didn't want to part with Ben, so the SMART™ Native Pony saddle was the answer.
You can see from the pictures that Ben and my son Robbie are really enjoying riding together.

Helen Bell

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Solution of the Month September 2014 - Saddle Nightmare Solved For a Sensitive Hanoverian Mare - Video

“Thank you so much for your help in solving my saddle nightmare. My 6 year old Hanoverian mare has always been very, very sensitive. She had a choppy right canter and was inclined to change behind as she went round corners. Changing from a tree to a SMART SPORT VT RigidFree saddle seems to be a miracle cure. 
On the final day of our extended saddle trial, we went to a competition and scored 7s for all her medium trots and canters (she's only just started these so delighted!) Even though she needs to build strength and learn to relax the difference is phenomenal! 
She is also less grumpy, thank you very much!”
Nicola Nisbet

Nicola Nisbet has kindly sent in these two videos showing her horse before and after starting to use the SMART SPORT VT Dressage saddle. There are just 3 weeks between them yet the difference is quite remarkable.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

New scheme launched to help combat saddle problems - Issued August 2014

The Saddle Research Trust (SRT) has launched a new referral scheme to help riders tackle saddle-related problems. The new scheme, which will be highlighted at the Saddle Research Trust International Conference, to be held in Cambridge this November, gives riders access to the expertise and advice of a world-leading authority at a manageable cost.

Riders often relate saddle-fitting problems and equine back pain to loss of performance. However, recent studies showed that horses with saddle slip syndrome were more than 50 times likely to be lame or have gait abnormalities; that 46% of horses were lame or had gait abnormalities and that 43% of saddles were ill-fitting. However, lameness can often be difficult to recognise which can lead to potential welfare problems for the horse and can have implications for the rider as well.  A further study has identified a clear link between ill-fitting saddles and back pain in the rider.

The Saddle Research Trust receives around two requests every week for advice on saddle-related issues,said SRT founder Anne Bondi.Many horse owners report that they feel trapped in a seemingly unending cycle of veterinary/musculoskeletal/saddle fit assessments without ever determining the underlying cause of the problem. The lack of a definitive diagnosis can be expensive but most importantly has the potential to result in a permanently damaged horse.”

The new referral scheme, which is exclusive to SRT Members and Friends, aims to help owners resolve their saddle-related problems. Potential cases can be submitted to the SRT for an initial assessment and if deemed suitable will be passed, with the permission of the owner’s usual vet, to the SRT’s veterinary advisor Dr Sue Dyson at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, for a full assessment at a fixed cost of £335 plus VAT.

Dr Dyson MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, is a world-renowned expert in equine orthopaedics, with a particular interest in lameness and poor performance in sports horses.  A British Horse Society Instructor, who has trained horses and competed to Advanced level Eventing, Grade A Showjumping, Medium level Dressage, Dr Dyson has the additional advantage of a real rider’s perspective.

Dr Dyson will conduct an independent and thorough review of the past history plus an examination of the horse, saddle and rider interaction, including physical and visual evaluations  as well as  in-hand, ridden and  saddle fit assessments. A written report will then be provided for the owner and their associated professional practitioners.

Dr Dyson said: “The SRT has taken a valuable step forward in raising standards of welfare and practice in the industry with this important referral scheme and I am pleased to support it.”

The new referral scheme will be showcased at the forthcoming Saddle Research Trust International Conference, to be held in Cambridge on 29th November 2014 at Anglia Ruskin University. The conference is supported by World Horse Welfare (WHW) and is approved by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA). Advance tickets are £100 or £150 on the door –

email or telephone 07775 912202 to reserve your place. To find out more and to download a copy of the programme visit