Monday 30 June 2014

The NEW SMART SPORT VT™ saddle – for peak performance in the dynamic interaction of horse, saddle and rider

SMART SPORT VT Dressage saddle £2850 inc VAT

The revolutionary new patented SMART SPORT VT™ saddle is now available in Dressage, Jump and GP styles.

The innovative, fully flexible gullet and impact absorbing panels have been developed using the Tekscan CONFORMat™ Pressure Mapping system. Scientific research has shown that correctly fitted, SMART™ saddles reduce peak and overall pressures.

Ongoing scientific research studies using biomechanical analysis highlight that use of a flexible saddle enables the rider to maintain synchrony with the horse, achieving a more harmonious performance whilst minimising the risk of rider lower back pain.

The anatomically optimised and ergonomically designed UltraContact™ seat has been developed to improve rider comfort and stability. This new design supports the weight-bearing areas of the rider’s pelvis, improving balance and reducing the risk of saddle-related injuries.

The SMART™ saddle is fully deformable, and free of any rigid parts, which in high-risk performance sports provides significant safety advantages for both rider and horse in the event of a fall.

The versatile and easy-to-use SMART SPORT VT™ saddle can be quickly adjusted by the rider to accommodate the ever-changing shape of the horse’s back. Rider fit is easily customised with an adjustable knee block system.

"The SMART SPORT VT is fantastic! The seat and stability of the saddle are excellent; I felt a real improvement on my narrow event horse.
Kadiya Qasem, Solution Saddles Technical Advisor.

To book your appointment to trial the new SMART SPORT VT™ saddle, contact Solution Saddles for details of your nearest Approved Advisor.

In addition to our current special offer purchase options Solution Saddles are offering:
·         SMART VT Dressage or Jump saddles = £100 off full price plus £100 accessories credit.
·         SMART VT GP saddle = Introductory price £2350 inc VAT plus £50 accessories credit.
Terms and Conditions apply.

Find out more:       07738 711099

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Diary date - Saddle Research Trust 2nd International Conference: Horses, saddles and riders: applying the science- Issued February 2014

WHAT: Saddle Research Trust 2nd International Conference: Horses, saddles and riders: applying the science
WHEN: Saturday 29th November 2014
WHERE: Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

The world’s top scientists will be coming together to share their knowledge at the second Saddle Research Trust International Conference, to be held in Cambridge on 29th November 2014 at Anglia Ruskin University. 

This prestigious event, which is supported by World Horse Welfare, will examine the latest scientific research to promote equine welfare and performance and hear how new results affect horses and riders. It’s a unique opportunity for vets, therapists, trainers, riders and horse owners to gain collective access to the knowledge and opinions of internationally renowned experts and to participate in panel debate.

The morning programme, Chaired by Dr Charlotte Nevison, Director of Research Students, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, will explore the impact that horse, saddle and rider have on each other. Presentations will be given by Anne Bondi, Director of the SRT and Professor Hilary Clayton Chair of Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The pivotal sessions will be from Dr Sue Dyson, Head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Centre for Equine Studies at the Animal Health Trust and Line Greve, PhD Student who will also present the results of a new lameness and saddle slip study, building on research conducted last year. It confirms that hindlimb lameness is the most important cause of saddle slip and reveals a startling frequency of lameness in the general sports horse population.

The afternoon session, Chaired by John McEwen, BEF Director of Equine Sports Science and Medicine, will examine the kinematics of the equine back and neck (Professor Christian Peham, Leader of the Movement Science Group, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna), the effects of saddle design and function (Dr Michael Weishaupt, Head of Equine Sports Medicine, University of Zurich) and influence of the rider (Professor Lars Roepstorff, Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) and practical application of science (Professor René van Weeren, Head of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht). Richard Davison,Olympic dressage rider and former BEF World Class Performance Manager will give his personal view of research before the full panel makes itself available for questions and discussion from the floor.

World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler says: “World Horse Welfare is a Practical and forward-thinking charity that believes in using scientific evidence to help guide its work. We are very pleased to support this prestigious conference that aims to apply the latest scientific research to the issues that surround saddles and their effects on both horse and rider. We frequently see welfare problems caused by a lack of understanding of saddlery and hope that this conference will improve the knowledge of all that participate.”

Advance tickets are £100, £75 for SRT members and students or £125 on the door. 
Save 15 % on ticket price until 1st July 2014
Email or telephone 07775 912202 to reserve your place. 
To find out more and to download a copy of the full programme visit 

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Solution Saddles Director in the University of Sunderland Equestrian Study Group - Issued May 2014

Saddle Research Trust Research Associates in the UoS Equestrian Study Group are part of a large-scale multi-disciplinary project investigating the interaction of horses, saddles and riders. The group are working on several research papers that will be submitted for publication during 2014.

Anne Bondi, PhD student and Solution Saddles Managing Director, is investigating how different saddle designs perform by focusing on the asynchrony of the movement between the horse, saddle and rider. She presented the preliminary findings at the International Society for Equitation Science Conference (ISES) in 2012 (see below).

Elizabeth Gandy, Computer Scientist and Senior Lecturer, is developing a new software tool for analysis of the horse, saddle and rider interaction. She gave a presentation of the development and application of the system at the ISES conference (see below).

Elizabeth Gandy, Anne Bondi and Tim Pigott have carried out a preliminary investigation using the Xsens MVN inertial motion capture suit ( for the measurement of hip angle rotation in the assessment of asymmetry in riders. The study revealed the presence of asymmetry in hip external rotation angles for all 12 riders analysed and found the technology to be efficient and practical, with the potential to further advance the analysis of horse and rider interactions. Future work will include validation of the technology for use in rider analysis and investigation into the potential link between rider asymmetry and lower back pain/injury risk.

An example of the Xsens software showing rider data being captured in real time. The asymmetry of the rider's posture is clearly evident.

A large team is necessary to run an SRT Study Day. 
Data collection using the Xsens equipment in progress at Washington Equestrian Centre.

Publications relating to this project
Gandy E.A., Bondi A., Hogg, R, & Pigott, T.M.C. (2014). "A preliminary investigation of the use of inertial sensing technology for the measurement of hip rotation asymmetry in horse riders". Sports Technology. doi: 10.1080/19346182.2014.905949.

Click here to view the free summary and if you wish, purchase a copy of the paper. Sorry - the free copies of the full paper have all been snapped up!

Video game technology aids horse rider assessment - issued May 2014

A rider wearing the Xsens™ MVN inertial motion capture suit, 
with sample screen captures from the MVN Studio™data capture software.

HORSE riders’ balance, symmetry and poor posture could be improved thanks to an innovative body suit that works with motion sensors, commonly used by movie makers and the video games industry. 

New research by Elizabeth Gandy, a senior lecturer in the University of Sunderland’s Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology, uses inertial motion sensors worn in the Xsens™ MVN body suit, is now showing promising results as a method of assessing rider asymmetry and lower back pain and injury risk. 
The research has been supported by funding from the University’s Faculty of Applied Sciences Digital Innovation research beacon and has now been published in the Sports Technology journal titled: ‘A preliminary investigation of the use of inertial sensing technology for the measurement of hip rotation asymmetry in horse riders’. 

Elizabeth said: “Lower back pain affects around one-third of the UK adult population and studies have reported that some of the highest injury rates are to be found in equestrian sports. Despite this, limited scientific research has been carried out into the effects of asymmetry and poor posture on rider health. 

“The incorporation of inertial motion sensors into a body-worn suit is an emerging technology, which provides a non-constraining alternative to video capture for motion analysis. Examples include medical research and applications within the video game and film industries.” 

To evaluate the potential of this technology for rider assessment, Elizabeth and colleagues, in collaboration with research associates from the Saddle Research Trust, carried out a postural analysis of 12 riders wearing the Xsens™ MVN inertial motion capture suit. Hip angle rotation was measured and software developed to customise the analysis of the data for rider analysis. Results revealed the presence of asymmetry in all of the 12 riders studied, with up to 27 difference between left and right hips, 83 per cent with greater external rotation of the right hip. 

“This preliminary study has demonstrated that the use of the inertial motion sensor suit provides an efficient and practical method of assessing riders during a range of movements,” explained Elizabeth. “Furthermore, the technology could potentially provide a tool to meet the needs of riders and coaches, for assessment within training and competitive

The MNV Biomech is a 3D human kinematic, camera-less measurement system, with integrated small tracking sensors placed on the joints, which can communicate wirelessly with a computer to capture every twist and turn οf the body and is displayed as an avatar and a 3D set of data on screen. 
From biomechanics, sports science, nurse training, rehabilitation and ergonomics are just some of the areas the University of Sunderland’s researchers and students are now exploring since investing in the hi-tech suit in 2011, developed by Dutch company Xsens. 

Previously used to create the animated alien in the science fiction movie ‘Paul’, the suit works with sensors and can be used in most environments, both internal and external. Previous technology at the university meant any 3D motion capture data had to be recorded via fixed cameras in a lab. 
The full results of the Elizabeth’s study will be presented at the second 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 but you can take advantage of 15 per cent discount if you book by 1st June, £75 for SRT, BEVA, WHW, BETA members and students or £150 on the door. 

More details and the full conference programme can be found at:

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Kirsty Bolton - Equine Sports & Remedial Massage Practitioner

"I have had horses all my life and event up to British Eventing Intermediate level.

About 5 years ago, I had three horses but none of my saddles seemed to fit properly.  I wanted a versatile saddle that could fit all of my horses even though they are very different shapes.  I trawled the internet and came across Solution Saddles; the more I read about them, the more I thought that I should try one.

Although treeless saddles were not something I had considered using before, I promptly rang Solution Saddles to arrange a test ride.  Following the test ride, I purchased a SMART Jump saddle that had been fitted to two of my horses. 

The first time I jumped in my new SMART saddle, my horse’s back end flew up and over the fence giving me a feeling I had never had before from this horse; the freedom I felt behind was extraordinary.  I liked the SMART saddle so much that I never used my other dressage saddle again and did all my riding in this saddle as it gave my horses the freedom to move.

Friends and family began to comment on how well the horses’ muscles were developing and how loose and supple they were, which is testament to the SMART saddle.  A few of these friends have now been converted to Solution Saddles - and they have never looked back.

I have since bought a SMART SPORT V2 dressage saddle and, as a freelance groom and rider, I use both saddles on all of the horses that I ride. It is such a versatile saddle and every horse definitely goes better in a SMART saddle of any type.

As a qualified Equine Sports and Remedial Massage Practitioner, I have observed that a correctly fitted SMART saddle keeps the muscles supple and elastic and allows them to develop without hindrance, meaning less time and money spent on correcting issues that may have been caused by poorly fitted, rigid-treed saddles.  Not every horse can be fitted into a neat little box for saddle fitting, but the Solution Saddles range can be fitted to any type of horse and their comfort is of paramount importance.  I too have joined the ‘Solution Revolution’.

Kirsty Bolton