Friday, 17 August 2018

From cross poles to Eventing - all in a SMART Native GP saddle




“When I bought my little mare ‘Pip’, I thought we would just do light hacking and a bit of dressage - little did I know that two years later we would be out Eventing.

Pip had a bad back when we got her, which we later found out was linked to badly fitting saddles. In desperation, I paid for a bespoke saddle to be made. I waited for 12 weeks, riding bareback in this time while we waited for our perfect saddle to arrive. When it arrived, it looked stunning, but Pip hated it. I went to great lengths to have the saddle checked by everyone including my coach, Physiotherapist and vet, who all thought the saddle fitted but when I rode Pip in it she went slightly lame in front and couldn’t work correctly. I felt lost; everyone was telling me the saddle was fine but I knew it wasn’t the right fit for Pip. I searched the Internet for a solution and found SMART saddles!

One year after purchasing our SMART Native GP saddle, we have gone from jumping cross poles to entering our first One Day Event. At our first event I was petrified, but Pip was as cool as a cucumber. My new white, non-slip mesh SMART PRO saddle cloth worked perfectly to keep her saddle in place!!


Our dressage test went really well and I was over the moon with a 39 - I am hoping to get this score down as her training progresses. The showjumping course was nice but there was one jump that quite a few horses kept stopping at - this scared me but with support and advice from our coach, Pip jumped clear!


The SMART Native GP saddle was amazing in all 3 disciplines, including supporting me across country. This discipline is new to us and it was our first time in a start box …. I was so nervous, not knowing what to do, that my brain froze. Pip wasn’t sure what she was expected to do and stopped at both the first and second fence, but because my saddle stayed perfectly still, I was able to sit back and get my leg on to support Pip over the second fence when she was being extremely nappy… after that we were off and literally had the best time ever!

When walking the course I didn’t think we would finish… but we did. It was our first event and we were delighted to complete every discipline.


On a high, we booked our next One Day Event at Aston-Le-Walls. 

When I saw the show jumps, my tummy turned… waves under the jumps, boats at the sides of fences - they were scary!  I decided there and then cross country was not to be as we would be getting eliminated in the show jumping. So, I walked the cross-country course, paying no attention as I was certain I wouldn’t be jumping it - I was later to regret this!

I trotted over to the dressage to work in, only to be told on arrival that I was in next - I hadn’t even warmed up!. We had to go straight in and got 39, which I was over the moon with given the circumstances. The awesome thing about our SMART Native GP saddle is that Pip loves it, it flexes around her shape and is a bit like a second skin, so she isn’t at all stiff when it first goes on.

The showjumping seemed massive, but we warmed up and Pip felt amazing! The saddle goes with her every move, which is fab as she is speedy. When it was our turn, Pip rocked it and we jumped clear - I couldn’t believe it!

Now we had to complete the cross-country phase…

We had done some start box training since the previous event which worked a treat. To cut a long story short, we shot around the course completing it clear and within the time to finish in 6th place.

I was over the moon.


Watch Amys round here

We are quite an odd eventing team; Pip is only 13.3hh, I am 33 years old - coming back to riding after a 10 year break – and we compete in a flexible SMART saddle. But we demonstrate that with the right saddle, pony and coach you can achieve anything! 

After a seasonal check from our Solution Saddles Approved Advisor,  we will be attending BE clinics, showjumping and cross country schooling in preparation for more BE80 events. During winter I will keep Pip busy hunting and affiliated showjumping – all in our SMART Native GP saddle!

Many thanks for everything!” 

Amy Shone and Pip.


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