Thursday 12 November 2015

Susie Young purchased a SMART Dressage saddle to ensure saddle fit as a young Warmblood mare matured ...

- she now also has a SMART PRO Jump and uses both saddles on a range of horses.

" I purchased my first SMART saddle almost two years ago for my mare Destiny, a young Warmblood Sports Horse who was going to change shape as she matured. The saddle has been ideal in enabling me to adapt it to both her change in shape as she has grown, and her change in weight which tends to fluctuate throughout the year.

The added bonus for me has been that I have been able to use this saddle on my other very different shaped horses, which range from Destiny the 17.2hh Warmblood to a 14.1hh Quarter horse and a few others in between including my friend’s horses.

I find the saddle extremely comfortable and feel so much closer to the horse than in anything else I have ever ridden in before. It’s the nearest to riding bareback I’ve experienced but without having to worry about my seat bones being uncomfortable for the horse.

Although I do jump in my dressage saddle, I decided that as the saddle was so versatile I would get a second SMART saddle and I have chosen the SMART Jump Pro. This means I now have the benefit of being able to have two horses ridden in SMART saddles at the same time, which in turn means two comfortable and happy horses and two comfortable and happy riders.

I am following Philippe Karl’s School of Legerete method of training and believe the SMART saddle compliments this by allowing the horse maximum range of movement without impediment, and will hopefully help me to reach my goal of High School Equitation.  

I would highly recommend these saddles and am delighted to have the pleasure of riding in them."

Regards Susie.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Patience has paid off, Madison is now pain free through her back and withers, with help from her new SMART Native GP saddle.

“I bought a SMART NATIVE GP saddle for my pony, Madison, in April. Three months later, the McTimoney therapist who looks after her back said that she is pain free through the withers. This might not sound like much, but it has taken a year of trial and error to get to this point and it's SO great to know that I can now take her out without causing her pain.

We are just back from a three day camp, jumping and hacking every day; the saddle is really comfortable for me, and it's good to know that it must be comfortable for her too. 

Thanks to the Solution Saddles Advisors’ patience in allowing Madison and I to take our time - I really couldn't be happier with the SMART NATIVE GP saddle.”

Miranda Davis & Madison

Friday 14 August 2015

Maxine Oxford & Flicka - From "problem pony" to racing at Cheltenham

"I decided to buy Flicka in part to save her from her current treatment as she was not favoured by the riding school where she was kept. She was a nightmare in the stable, hard to catch and too wild for the kids to ride. She was given to the riding school by her previous owners as she kept bucking them off and also had a stumbling problem that neither the vet nor their master saddler could solve.

At the time I was looking to buy a Solution saddle for my daughter’s pony, Blondie, her saddle would ride up her neck - again a problem that could not be solved with a traditional tree’d saddle. As it was such an expensive purchase for a 12.2hh pony, I also wanted to try it out, so I also used Flicka for the test ride. 

Unlike Blondie, Flicka had big hollows either side of her prominent withers; she went well in the Solution saddle and I noticed she did not buck or stumble. I decided to buy the saddle and we have had great success with both ponies. The Solution saddle stayed in place amazingly even with Blondie's extravagant jumping style as you can see in the video below.

Blondie & Antonia Oxford in their Solution saddle

I've had Flicka for three years now and mainly hack, although my daughter now jumps her a bit too, (see video below). Since purchasing the Solution saddle, I have found Flicka likes humans more and doesn't hide at the back of the stable when you bring the tack out, also she doesn't trip, has good muscle either side of her withers, is loads of fun to hack and on fun rides, jumps well and is great in traffic. 

We had the opportunity to race at Cheltenham which was amazing for all connected. My daughter wants to do it again next year, if we can get her fitter I am sure she will put on an even better show!

Flicka aka Hywi Venus racing at Cheltenham in her Solution saddle!

We didn't win but had a great race!"

Maxine Oxford.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Junior Swedish National Team riders cannot do without their SMART™ saddles!

Theresa Hogart from Sweden shares her experience with the SMART saddles, used by her daughters, Junior Swedish National Team riders, Amanda and Isabella.

“When you compete in mounted games, you need to have a saddle that fits both the rider and the pony. I tried many different saddle options before the SMART saddle but found I always had to return them as the saddles are often too big for the pony or too small for the rider.

We are so happy to know that our ponies are now comfortable in their SMART saddles. A happy pony can do the very best at competitions and my daughters both compete for the Junior Swedish National Team in Mounted Games. 

We are really happy with the last SMART saddle we bought and can´t wait to get another just like it.

Pictures from Norway Summer Challenge show great action shots of the saddle sitting securely through fast moves and turns.

Amanda Hogart and Kenny Rob

Isabella Hogart and Ameysing

Theresa Hogart,

July 2015

Monday 1 June 2015

Successful Endurance rider, Chris MacMillan, has just completed the Golden Horseshoe with her Connemara pony Glen.

 Successful Endurance rider, Chris MacMillan, has just completed the Golden Horseshoe with her Connemara pony Glen. Here is what she has to say about her wonderful Solution Saddle...

The start of the 80km Endurance Ride at the
Scottish Championships / Home International in July 2014.
“I was introduced to endurance as something different to do and a great way to get out and see new countryside.  We started with pleasure rides in 2012, and then competitive rides in 2013.  We were lucky enough to be picked to represent Scotland as novice horse/novice rider combination for the Home International held in 2013 at Barbary Castle, where we stepped up to 40km for the first time and won the class! 

In 2014 we moved on through the grades gaining Silver Thistle Final at Seacliff and Gold Thistle Final at the Scottish Championships where we once again represented Scotland in the Home International team but this time at 80km. 

Glen and I have now clocked up just over 1000km at endurance rides.  This, together with all our training miles and the varied other stuff we do (jumping lessons, dressage lessons and hunting), was all achieved in my Solution RigidFree™ saddle.   I love it because it is such a comfortable saddle for both me and my pony and still in fantastic condition after 6 years of heavy use.”


Chris MacMillan and Coolagoree Glen Thunder

Monday 11 May 2015

Ann Nisbet & her daughter love their SMART Native GP saddle - and the difference in their 5 year old Irish Cob is remarkable.

Mildred is a 14.3 hh, 5 year old, Irish cob I share with my daughter, Lara, who is 10; she is the realisation of my lifelong dream to have my own horse after years of riding other peoples'.  She is as bombproof as they come but definitely not a plod.

After buying Mildred, it rapidly became clear that saddles were going to be a problem due to her very round well sprung ribs and her long reaching shoulder action. Every saddle we tried felt "perched on top".  Canter was uncomfortable as I was constantly being pitched out of the saddle as it was moving against her action - an awful twisting sensation. Mildred started to develop rubs quickly and seemed to be awkward and uncomfortable in her breathing when working.  I didn't feel safe jumping at all, but was more concerned about the damage it could be doing to her. 

I had read articles about treeless saddles being the ideal solution for the rounder native build. A friend then lent me a treeless saddle that she has for her Thoroughbred for me to try; I was so impressed that I contacted Solution Saddles immediately. 

I arranged to try a SMART Native GP saddle with a Solution Saddles Technical Advisor who came out and fitted the saddle for both myself and Lara and we all just love it.

I now feel safe and comfortable, as does Lara, but most of all the difference in Mildred is remarkable. Her movement is even more fluid and lots of people have commented on the change in her; one of the BHS AI instructors on the yard said the "change is really amazing -and I thought her movement was stunning before the new saddle!". Her breathing is now perfectly normal even after a tough lesson and I can really feel what she's doing in her quarters so much more.  Jumping is fun again and all the rubs have gone.

I cannot recommend Solution Saddles enough, our Technical Advisor was so approachable thorough and helpful both during and after the initial fitting. The saddles are beautiful, comfortable and really high quality.

Mildred, Lara and myself are delighted.

(Ann Nisbet, 2015)

Friday 17 April 2015

Sharon Savory and Josh are having great fun in their SMART saddle and looking forward to moving up a level next season.

“Oxnead Appleby (aka Joshua) is a tall Haflinger who stands at about 15.3hh. I was having issues with Josh going forwards, he was starting to do mini bucks in transitions and I worked out that he was filling out and his saddle was the cause. I felt stuck, I had had the saddle checked and it looked to fit but clearly he was still unhappy and unable to move freely. 
My friend came over with her Solution saddle and suggested that we tried it. I was sceptical at first but gave it go.  Well, a different horse indeed!  No ears back; no bucks and moving forward freely.  That was it!

I arranged a Home Consultation Visit from a Solution Saddles Approved Advisor and I decided on a SMART NATIVE GP for Josh and a SMART POPULAR GP for my other horse. Since then, it has been plain sailing.  Josh is now six and has changed shape a lot over the past two years and the SMART saddle has allowed his muscles to grow and strengthen without any interference.  We have lovely comments from dressage judges about how flexible and soft his movement is.

I love being able to feel the movement through the saddle, which has improved my balance and riding no end. I find it easy to stay with him, even when training a young horse which is learning to balance, bend and jump and things go slightly awry! I am only 5' tall, 7.5 stone and have short legs; this has made no difference as I am able to use my seat a lot more and feel my way through. 

 Josh is now competing in ODE's at 80 cm and training at 90 cm.  His jumping is freely and easily as he is able to use himself without any restrictions and I don’t worry about the saddle pinching or digging in.  He is so comfortable and confident in his work that I can really focus on the riding. 

As you can see from the photos, we do just about everything in our SMART saddle - horsemanship clinics, dressage, XC, SJ, hacks, pleasure rides, hunting.  I love the fact that we don't have to have endless saddle fittings and I can adjust the saddle using shims and balance pads to adapt as necessary.  They are so comfortable, light and easy to use, handle and ride in.

We are having a great time together!  I have absolute confidence in my SMART saddles; next year I am looking forward to moving up to training at 100 cm and having yet more fun!

Sadly I lost my other horse but I was able to put the spare SMART straight on my loan horse, and away we went!"

Sharon Savory

Friday 10 April 2015

Angel is happy, so we are happy – it is the most comfortable saddle we have ever sat on! - video update 2016

Angel came to us as an 8 year old, having had severe back problems which had led to one of her feet being twisted. She also had a very high wither and was difficult to fit a saddle to.

After a combination of physiotherapy and being ridden in a saddle pad, she was getting back to normal. But it was not possible for my mum, who has recently had a hip replacement, to compete with the saddle pad. They needed a saddle that looked the part but was also kind to Angels back.

Her owner introduced us to Solution Saddles, and we are now riding all our horses in them! Angel has not had a problem in her SMART saddle and has been successfully competing in dressage and jumping events with it.

She's happy, so we're happy. As an added bonus, the SMART RigidFree saddle is the most comfortable saddle we have ever sat on! Mum is now able to enjoy riding, in comfort! 

Thank you Solution Saddles for making it possible for us to enjoy our horses!

Debbie and Susan Priestley

2016 update:

Debbie Priestley shared her video of her horse; transformed since being ridden in the SMART GP:
''This is a little horse that arrived wired to the moon - he bolted when you put your foot in the stirrup. 3 months into work from then, a changed horse, he's now happy with someone on his back in a rather comfy solution smart GP 😊''

Sunday 1 March 2015

Solution of the month March 2015 - Margi Haslop is delighted with her SMART saddle that she uses on two very different horses.

“I have recently bought a SMART saddle and am absolutely delighted with it. I had a Solution Saddles Approved Advisor out to demonstrate the system to me and I was impressed with her great patience and skill.

I have two horses that the saddle is used on and it also fits me very comfortably. Jack is a sensitive “project” horse with high wither; already I find him to be far more relaxed, more supple and at ease under the saddle. Milly, a retired hunter, uses the same saddle with different balance pads and she too seems far more comfortable and free moving under saddle.

Milly, Jack and I are enjoying our rides thanks to the decision to come away from a rigid treed saddle and to invest in a SMART saddle - which is a saddle for life, whichever horse I ride, now or in the future.

I wish I had discovered Solution Saddles years ago!  

Margie Haslop.

Monday 16 February 2015

An update from successful endurance rider, Lisa Franks.

"I have used various Solution saddles for over 9 years and now it is time for an update ...

Our welsh section C, Codeneirin Solo, has now been retired having completed nearly 4,000 competitive kilometres, initially in a Solution Energist saddle before upgrading to a SMART Native saddle.  He thrived in a RigidFree Solution saddle and after ten competitive seasons, his back is unblemished and as perfect as when we started to compete.  (Read more from Lisa Franks and Solo here

I now have a new horse, Cloonmung Mist, a six year old Connemara.  I bought her last summer and she has completed her three novice rides successfully. 

She has upgraded to Open level and is now being prepared to step up in distance and hopefully by the end of this season, we aim to have upgraded to Advanced level qualify to compete in FEI competitions.

We have just purchased a new SMART SPORT VT GP saddle  for her and she is going very well in it – her first outing will be on 1st March 2015.  

She is obviously more comfortable; she is her laidback self when ridden out, her flatwork has improved and in just two weeks, her back has started to develop which can only bode well for the future.

Lisa Franks, 2015.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Solution of the Month Story February 2015 - Katie King is looking forward to affiliated dressage now Eric is forward and relaxed in his SMART saddle.

“I am so happy with my SMART saddle. Eric was not your typical problem horse, he didn't have an obvious back problem and wasn't naughty. He was very tense and I would have to warm him up for at least 20 minutes before his work would become more relaxed - I just thought that was him.

Everything has changed now we have a SMART saddle.

He has a new desire to power forwards on his own in a relaxed and controlled manner and is much more willing to stretch. Contact is much more consistent and his length of stride improved dramatically.
Even hacking has changed, he used to feel a little on edge at times, now he doesn't spook at all.

We are looking forward to going out to affiliated dressage now!! :)”

Katie King

Friday 23 January 2015

Thank you to Sarah Donnelly for sharing Craig’s story:

Craig came from a hunting yard in Gloucestershire. She had been a hireling and only ever hunted. The comment from my vet before I bought her was, "You will never get a saddle to fit this horse, she was built to pull a cart!"

I had originally test ridden a SMART saddle at the same time as a friend who later went on to become an Approved Advisor. She sensibly bought a SMART saddle following her test ride but I decided I couldn't justify spending so much on my fat cob. It took four brand new saddles, including one made to measure and every sticky pad and expensive numnah I could buy to discover I was still hanging off and rolling around on top of poor Craig. To make matters worse, I also now had a stuffy, lame horse. I realised that she was sound if I rode her bareback - so that told me everything!

I spoke to my friend, who promptly came over and fitted her SMART saddle to Craig. 

With a few simple pads fitted, I had a sound horse and a stable saddle. I ordered my own SMART saddle straight away and it's the best money I have spent!

After our first five dressage tests we have three firsts, a second and a third! We are now looking forward to affiliating!

Friday 9 January 2015

Solution of the Month January 2015 - Stud Owner Has Impressive Results When Using Her SMART VSD Saddle.

The eye-catching Islestone Spider at her 1st dressage competition in her SMART VSD saddle.

Owner of Islestone Stud, Jessie Johnston, has been using the saddle on a mix of her homebred horses with positive results.
 ‘’After lending my SMART saddle to a friend and returning to riding in a tree’d saddle for a short while, the improvement when putting the SMART saddle back on Spider was immediate. Both my Mum and a friend were watching at the time, remarking at how much better Spider was going before I told them that the SMART saddle had been put back on for the first time in a little while. They were all impressed!’’