Monday, 11 December 2017

Approved Advisor: Catherine Marshall - East Lothian

I am a teaching student of Philippe Karl’s school of Legerete, following many years of dressage riding, training and working with young horses. 

I love Philippe’s unique way of riding, it has at heart the horse’s psychology and biomechanics, encouraging us riders to enable the horse to use his true rhythm and balance underneath us. While he insists on no artificial training aids, he stresses the importance of a well fitting saddle. The SMART saddle perfectly complements my training as it moves with the horse’s back and allows its ribcage to lift underneath me, while allowing me the comfort and stability I need for the high school movements. 

My horse is a typically flat backed Hanoverian with large shoulders and big, swinging movement. I was nearly at the end of my tether trying to find a saddle on a flat enough tree, most of them bounced at the back in canter and moved from side to side when he walked. He would tell me straight away when he disliked a saddle, his back would tense and hollow and his paces became shorter and stilted. 

As soon as we moved off in the SMART saddle I could tell he was comfortable, and in trot and canter, I could feel his ribcage lift underneath me.  I had some reservations about doing sitting trot and more high level work in a RigidFree saddle but this one is very supportive, it allows perfect hip shoulder heel alignment and during the lateral work, I felt the saddle was stable and able to follow the small bend of the spine rather than being pushed to one side.  The seat is very comfortable too, especially on longer rides. 

The muscle wastage behind Trooper’s shoulders filled in noticeably in the 3 week trial period and is now nearly gone. 

I can use this saddle on all my own horses and clients’ horses too. Cost efficiency is a big issue for me but in the long term this saddle will definitely save me money – it is perfectly designed to conform to each horse’s back, meaning that as they change shape (as they do from week to week) the saddle adapts too– it is very easy to fit once you understand the balance pad system. 

I have no hesitation in recommending these saddles to anyone. Once you have ridden in one, I think it would be difficult to go back to anything else. 

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