Wednesday 2 December 2020

“Onward and upward with my beautiful SMART VSD saddle!”

After being told by a few saddlers that I would not get a saddle to fit Rona, my Welsh Cob x ID “tabletop" mare, I had all but given up trying to buy a saddle and seriously questioned how to move forward. Tacking up had become an unpleasant tussle that made us both feel unhappy, her old saddle slipped and twisted while riding and I had no doubt she was uncomfortable.


Then, a SMART Advisor from Solution Solutions came to visit; she was interested and very keen to help solve our problems. The fitting was very thorough and so much care and attention was taken to make sure it was right. There was no rush. I learned quite a lot about saddles during the afternoon!  I was able to ride in various SMART saddle styles to feel the difference and see how they suited my position and how Rona felt in them.  As soon as we went in the arena she relaxed and stretched forward with her head down and a nice forward stride.


I knew straight away that the SMART VSD saddle was going to be ours.  It was available on a 2-week trial which is a great idea and a perfect chance to make sure it was right for us - but there was no doubt in my mind from the outset.


Although I have only had my SMART VSD saddle for a couple of weeks, we have turned a corner with tacking up, which is a much better, safer experience and that alone tells me that Rona is happier. The saddle is easy to fit and I no longer have slipping issues. Rona has good paces (when she is in the mood!) and stretches beautifully - I think she is discovering that she can move in comfort and thus our teamwork is improving. I’m very excited to see how her muscles will improve and develop over the coming months. Onward and upward! 


For myself, I love the comfort, stability and security that I now have. The seat hugs me and I am sitting “in” the saddle rather than the old saddle, where I was perched on top. Now I can feel Rona’s movement underneath me and the saddle lifts as she moves forward, allowing her to stretch and engage. I feel very balanced and stable and I am excited that my riding can now begin to improve.


I can honestly say Rona and I are so happy. The quality of my new saddle is fantastic and it looks really smart. I am so pleased with it, I am sure Rona would endorse it too!

Caron Gilleeney

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Remote SMART consultation helps happy customer move up a level

“I am lucky to own a beautiful warmblood dressage mare who is 15 years young. She is beautifully built with large powerful shoulders that can be an issue when trying to find a saddle to fit.

Recently, she has had an issue with her SI joint and could come out initially quite tight and stiff. So, after her SI joint was treated, I was keen to do all I could to preserve my beautiful mare, Bella, and keep her active.

That’s when I started looking at SMART saddles. After reading the research I decided to take the plunge and arranged to take a SMART PRO Dressage saddle on rental. As I live in Northern Ireland, I arranged to have a remote fitting, which was fab, effective and easy. Three weeks later my equine physio assessed Bella as ‘’in great shape with little tightness’’.

I love my SMART PRO Dressage saddle which gives me a close contact feel and is very stable - even the knee blocks are fitted to my shape! Having bought the saddle, we have gone from strength to strength. My trainer is delighted with our progress, we are scoring really well and hoping to move up a level by Christmas.

I wouldn’t use any other saddle now!”


Debbie Burns
Northern Ireland

Thursday 15 October 2020

“I honestly believe that the SMART PRO Dressage saddle plays a huge part in our success”.


“I’ve owned my SMART PRO Dressage saddle for almost one year and I cannot believe the difference it has made to myself and my pony.


I knew about the brand because we had a saddle for a previous horse when I was younger so it only seemed fitting that Solution Saddles were the first port of call on my search.

A lovely SMART Advisor came out to see me and brought a few different saddle styles for me to try (including GP and dressage). I instantly felt more connected to my pony and could feel so much more movement than I ever had before. I was sold straight away; the only issue I had was choosing one!


It was a difficult decision but I remember the SMART Advisor saying to me “can you see yourself going far in this dressage saddle?” My response was a tentative “Yes, I hope so”. Was she right or was she right!? We’ve come on so far and now my boy literally floats across the school. We’ve recently got our highest ever score of 78.26% and we’re going to affiliate later this year!

It’s been a lot of hard work and many hours training but I honestly believe that the SMART PRO Dressage saddle plays a huge part in our success.”

Emma and Alfie (otherwise known as Super Cob!)



Monday 14 September 2020

SMART GP proves the ideal option for young Welsh Section D

''I’ve recently purchased a SMART GP saddle for my 5 year old Welsh D. I first looked into SMART Saddles as I liked the idea of trying a treeless saddle that would allow my youngster to move freely whilst still growing but also fit me well.

I originally spoke to Solution Saddles HQ over the phone and discussed the couple of saddle models I was interested in. They were really helpful and suggested sending out 3 models for me to try and helped organise a local Approved Advisor to come and advise me. I managed to get an appointment really quickly, and my SMART Advisor was really helpful and thorough in fitting the right saddle to me and my youngster.

I decided to rent the SMART GP saddle for a few weeks so I could really test it out out properly; I tried it at home and at jumping and flatwork lessons. This allowed me to get a proper feel for the saddle and make sure I was 100% happy with it. My youngster felt very happy and comfortable in the saddle and was happier to work freely over his back.

Purchasing the SMART GP saddle with the payment plan has made buying it a lot more affordable for me. I’ve been very impressed by Solution Saddles and the customer service and would happily use them again.''

 ~ Emma Taylor, Kent

Tuesday 1 September 2020

'Like a breath of fresh air' for Fell pony and her owner

''I haven’t been lucky enough to have horses all my life, so was thrilled when I got my lovely Fell pony 'Wanda'.  I had to use a saddle with an adjustable gullet as we knew that she would change shape as she hadn’t done a lot previously. A saddle fitter came out and suggested that as she is short-backed and very wide, she needed an XW gullet plate and a cob fit saddle, but the smallest size I could get was a 17” which was a little bit too long, but the only real option at the time. 

As she progressed I got a saddle fitter out again and bought a traditional wide fit working hunter style saddle which seemed OK, but, after a few months when the physio checked her, she noticed that she had some muscle wastage to her lower back that was being caused by the saddle. 

The barefoot trimmer we had begun to use also said that he felt that the uneven wear on her front hooves was due to the saddle not fitting correctly which was affecting her gait pattern. I began to look for a better saddle for her but this proved very difficult as, despite having a lot of advice and 3 different traditional saddle fitters out, none of the saddles seemed to fit properly - they all either slipped forwards or sideways, were too tight or were not comfortable for me.

I had thought about trying a treeless saddle but had heard mixed reports and also as I am just a ‘happy hacker’ I thought they might not be supportive enough for me. 
I did more research on the internet and came across the Solution Saddles website. I was very impressed with the saddle design and the fact that while the SMART saddles looked more like a traditional saddle, they were completely treeless and adaptable to any width of horse or pony. I contacted them and arranged a trial visit. 

The home consultation visit was like a breath of fresh air after the previous trials I had with traditional saddle fitters. The SMART Approved Advisor brought several different saddles for us to try and when we decided which was the most appropriate, I had the opportunity to keep and try the saddle to do what I normally do in real life (lots of hacking and a bit of schooling); I didn’t have to commit to buying a saddle after only being able to try it for half an hour in the school. 

The customer services team were extremely helpful, supportive and patient during the trial period, gave me lots of good advice and even allowed me to extend the trial period to try a different saddle when I felt that my original choice had not been quite right. It did take me a while to get used to the dressage length girth and tightening it up once mounted but even I have been able to manage that with practice!

I was a bit nervous about how it would feel having only ever ridden in treed saddles, but I was amazed at how secure and comfortable I felt while still being able to actually feel Wanda moving properly for the first time. Wanda now feels like she is walking actively rather than tip toeing as she was before. We have had the saddle about 6 weeks now and even my instructor has commented that she is lifting her back better as she is able to use her muscles properly. 

The cost of the saddle did seem a lot compared to the other saddles I had tried but the fact that it is an excellent quality UK-made saddle, and won’t need constant adjusting/reflocking, meant that it would be cost effective in the long term. I also won’t have the hassle and expense of buying/selling/part-exchanging saddles as I have had to do until now.  The fact that the SMART NATIVE VSD saddle is quite lightweight in comparison to a treed saddle is a bonus as well when having to lift it in and out of the car and carry it to the yard every day.  

Now that we have at last got a saddle that works for both Wanda and me, I am looking forward to improving my riding and Wanda’s schooling, and maybe might even try something a bit more adventurous than hacking in the future! To sum up I would say that SMART saddles are not just sports saddles, but are very versatile and suitable for a wide range of horses and riders.''

- Janet Milroy, Yorkshire

Thursday 20 August 2020

The SMART Saddle saved my horse's life!

''In a nutshell: The SMART saddle saved my horses life!

My horse, Billy, has EPSM as well as hock arthritis. At the early part of the year he was regularly tying up, sore and lacked condition. He was pretty much retired and we had discussed if it was cruel to keep him going any longer.

I then had a SMART Advisor out for my other horse and we discussed using the same SMART saddle on Billy him for the few rides that he did do, so we duly fitted the saddle to him. Within a couple of weeks the changes in him were plain to see; he had started gaining muscle and you could tell he was enjoying work again. Fast forward 5 months and he is a completely different horse; he's in work 5/6 days a week and even out jumping cross country courses again.

My SMART Advisor has been there for help and advice throughout - including remote fitting advice during lockdown. She has been honest and didn't give up on my hard-to-fit mare, even when all the standard options failed.''

~ Kerry Warner, Leeds

The Game Changer of the Saddle World

''I’ve owned Lenny, a 14hh, 10 year old cob, for 7 years. He everything I’ve ever wanted in a horse. 

We never seemed to have any problems up until I clipped his winter coat to discover white hairs where his saddle would have sat. I was obviously devastated and annoyed at myself that I hadn’t noticed beforehand, but he had never shown any signs of pain or discomfort. I got a physio out to treat his back and had booked an appointment with my saddler - then lockdown hit. This resulted in my appointment being cancelled and being unable to see Lenny for over 3 months (apart from the odd short visit every couple of weeks). 

When things started to get back to the "new normal", I rearranged the appointment. The saddler came out and we tried every saddle he carried with him but unfortunately couldn’t find one to fit both myself and Lenny. Lenny has a very short back and the maximum length saddle with a tree that he could have would be 16 inches. This caused problems for me as although I am petite, I am 5’6 and have relatively long legs meaning my knees went over the front of the saddle. The saddler recommended Solution Saddles and I contacted them emailed them straight away. 

Solution Saddles HQ were extremely helpful and responded quickly. We arranged for my local SMART Advisor to come out to see us 6 days later. My SMART Approved Advisor was absolutely amazing with Lenny and explained everything thoroughly. She answered all my questions in great depth and I couldn’t recommend her more. We did a test ride on that day and decided to take the SMART Eventer Saddle on a two week trial. After the first week I purchased it and it has been the best decision for both myself and Lenny. 

Lenny is now going the best he ever has while being in the best shape ever and we are both enjoying our work so much! 

He is so much freer in his movement and doesn’t feel restricted one bit. Lenny whinnies when I get him in from the field to go riding now so it definitely has his seal of approval! 

My SMART Advisor has checked up on us on multiple occasions to see how we are getting on, so if you are also looking for fantastic customer service, I would definitely recommend Solution Saddles. 

SMART saddles are worth every penny and I would recommend them to anyone; even those who don’t have the same issue as we previously had.''

~ Charlotte Flaws, Northumberland

Wednesday 19 August 2020

The SMART start for young showjumper

''Having bought a just-backed 4 year-old Connemara as a prospective show jumping pony, we were, in need of a new saddle. With lots of growing to do, it was suggested that we should initially buy a cheap saddle. This seemed crazy to me, as when a young horse has weak back muscles, this is obviously the time that a perfectly fitting saddle is critical. I was at a loss at what to do, as I didn’t want to buy an expensive saddle that might need to be replaced in 6 months time.

Luckily, we were offered an Original Solution Jumping saddle to borrow as a stop-gap. Initially my daughter was a bit skeptical that a treeless saddle would offer anything like the support and performance she needed from a jumping saddle, however, she was quickly converted and so we decided to invest in a new SMART Pro Jump saddle. That was a few weeks ago and already we can see healthy back muscle starting to develop and my daughter reports that not only does her pony move freely beneath her, but the saddle feels extremely secure and is even more comfy to ride/jump in than the borrowed Original saddle.

With no fixed tree, it’s great to know that this saddle will continue to accommodate our pony’s growth and changes in shape and will hopefully give him the best start to a successful show jumping career – watch this space!

I should also mention that the customer care and support from Solution Saddles is exceptional; nothing ever seems to be too much trouble. Well done Solutions Saddles – great product, great service!''

~ Sara Bagshawe, Oxfordshire

Tuesday 28 July 2020

"I can't recommend my SMART GP saddle enough!"

"I bought Yogi 18 months ago and have been struggling to find a saddle that fits us both. He has a big shoulder and is quite round and I am long in the leg from hip to knee, so any saddle we have tried previously only fits one of us. I’ve also had a lot of problems with saddles slipping due to his shape, making it uncomfortable for us both.

I’d been deliberating purchasing a SMART saddle for a while, due to the cost. I’ve now had my new SMART GP saddle for 2 weeks and already feel the cost is very justified! - The adjustable knee blocks really help me fit comfortably in the saddle and the flexible base ensures it stays put for the whole ride. Yogi feels so much happier in our new saddle, the flexible nature allows his large shoulder to move freely and for me the comfort is great. The SMART Approved Advisor was very helpful and patient when fitting & any help I have needed since has never been too much trouble.

I can’t recommend the SMART GP saddle enough!"

~ A very happy Katie & Yogi

Thursday 23 July 2020

The SMART solution for a growing, newly backed youngster

I decided to purchase a SMART saddle for my 4 year old ID who is still growing.  Being able to have a 'proper' saddle whilst not having to worry about it not fitting in 6 months time is a real bonus.

My mare had only been broken a month, but my SMART Approved Advisor was very patient and helpful throughout the fitting process. The trial period was invaluable for getting a good feel for the saddle and checking that it suited both me and my mare.

You would never know these are treeless saddles, they ride just like (if not better than) a traditional tree'd saddle. 

The SMART PRO Dressage saddle gives an amazing secure, comfortable and close-contact ride.

Janine Munt, Yorkshire

Friday 26 June 2020

Socially distanced SMART saddle fitting a success!

" Our SMART Advisor was extremely helpful, from first point of contact, through consultation, to after sales care. She adhered well to social distancing during the appointment and asked many questions beforehand to determine the best saddles to bring on the day. 

The SMART Native VSD saddle is very comfortable for both me and my horse - he is young and green, but our SMART Advisor was very patient with us both! "

 ~ Eve Waterhouse

Thursday 25 June 2020

Remote fitting advice a resounding success for a difficult to fit cob

"I contacted Solution Saddles mid-lockdown in a slight panic due to my youngster being "off" again, which I knew was saddle related. I was sceptical to say the least, because just two months prior I had spent £1,250 on a brand new custom saddle that was supposed to last my youngster his lifetime...

But, we've had the SMART NATIVE GP saddle for just under one month now and I am so happy to say that it is amazing! We have been on 12 mile hacks and my horse has felt so free in his movement. His physio has also noted an improvement in his shoulder movement, which was an area of concern at his previous check up. I'm so happy with the versatility of the saddle as we show and jump!

I can't wait to see how much more improvement we have with the saddle over the coming weeks. For anyone with a hard to fit baby cob wondering like me, if they should give a SMART Saddle a try - DO IT TODAY!"

~ Amy McIntyre, Scotland. 
SMART Direct Outlet customers who took advantage of our remote fitting advice service during 'lockdown'.

"I highly recommend these saddles - for many reasons"

Louie is a Welsh cross, 15.2hh, 9 yr old gelding and I have owned him for two years. 

He has been a complete joy in every way. However, at the beginning of this year, we were starting to get a few behavioural issues, such as head-shaking, putting his tongue over the bit, violent spooking and also the occasional huge buck. Initially we thought it was pollen related, then we thought it may be back issues but the treatments I tried didn’t improve the behaviour. 

We began looking at his saddle to investigate whether this was where the problems were coming from.  Like most horses, Louies' shape had changed a lot over the last year as conditions changed. Over Winter he was stabled 24/7. Prior to lockdown, he was out during the day, and we were having dressage lessons weekly, so he was developing muscle. Throughout lockdown, he wasn’t ridden at all, and all that muscle tone disappeared.  

When I came to ride again, I discovered the saddle was too tight over the shoulders and was bridging at the back. My saddle had been fitted to Louie by a Master Saddler on three separate occasions in the course of the year but I started to think, maybe the saddle had been causing issues all along?

So, I tried a SMART PRO Dressage saddle on trial for two weeks.  

The difference in Louie is amazing. Head shaking stopped, bucking stopped, tongue over the bit stopped, spooking for no reason stopped. And the saddle feels wonderful to ride in; I feel secure, very comfortable and love being able to feel Louie's movements so much more than in the previous saddle.

Not only that, but I know I do not need to worry about this saddle hurting my boy. I know it fits, and it can always be fitted, no matter how much he changes shape, gains or loses weight.

I highly recommend these saddles for many reasons. 

Julie Thompson, Essex

SMART Saddles prove top choice for riding school horses and riders

Eat, Sleep, Ride CIC would like to say a massive thank you to Solution Saddles for making a product that will last our riding school horses a lifetime. 

The SMART saddles have really improved our horses lengths of stride, and, because of their versatility, have proven invaluable for horses that come in for breaking and training . They really allow our all our riders to feel the horses movement underneath them, and can be adjusted through out the seasons to ensure optimal fit.

Our horses have regular physio sessions and the practitioner always comments on how excellent our horses backs are, as do other professionals such as vets and dentist . 

We are really happy with our saddle purchases and Camilla who gave us a really educational and enlightening saddle fitting visit.

Danielle Mckinnon
Founding Director 
Eat, Sleep, Ride, CIC

"The difference in how my horses went in the SMART saddle was stunning!"

"I first came across SMART saddles in 2016. I subsequently had my local Approved Advisor, Rachael Brown, out to test ride a SMART Dressage Saddle and can honestly say the difference in how my horses went was stunning! So much so, that I have gone on to buy a SMART Sport Jump saddle and, more recently, a SMART PRO Jump saddle.

I have found Rachael, and all the people I have dealt with at Solution Saddles, to be friendly, professional and, above all, enthusiastic about their products. Rachael and Charlotte are both very knowledgeable and always more than happy to help.

I would recommend SMART saddles unreservedly for all aspects of riding, from happy hackers to high level competition riders."


Wednesday 26 February 2020

SMART Saddles: From little to large

"I was first introduced to SMART™ saddles, whilst trying to find a solution to the problem of my shire cross, Oscar, regularly changing shape and leading to me spending too much time and money having saddles adjusted to fit properly.

Oscar is 17.3hh and, at the time was 4 years old and just coming into proper work. As he was constantly changing shape, I was becoming increasingly frustrated at the amount of time we were spending out of work; waiting for saddle fitters, waiting for saddle adjustments and arranging to drop-off or collect saddles before and after adjustments.  Not to mention the money I was spending for every adjustment. 

I decided to invest in the SMART™ PRO Jump saddle and have never looked back. The easy-to-adjust fitting and balance system means that we are now four years on and have not missed a single training session or competition due to saddle issues.  

Our training has come on leaps and bounds and we are now regularly competing - getting some good results including double clears, wins and finishing on our dressage score. We are looking forward to moving on to more advanced work including our first BE.

Dorothy, a completely gorgeous, but very barrel shaped Fell Pony, was purchased for my daughter to learn to ride on.

I had difficulties finding a traditional saddle to stay in position, so invested in a SMART Native saddle for her - and what a difference! Both Dorothy and my daughter have come on leaps and bounds in just the three months since we bought it.  With Dorothy winning her first one day event with a 28.7 dressage score, after only seeing cross country jumps twice before in her life!"

Dotty winning her first mini one day event


2021 Update: Norah and Dorothy making light work of her first 65cm class in her SMART Native saddle.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

A flexible SMART™ saddle can be of benefit to a young horse as they mature:

“I’ve always loved riding in a dressage saddle and when I bought my narrow four year old, I didn’t think it would be worth buying one for him until he’d fully developed.

SMART Saddles were recommended to me as they were fully flexible and could adjust with him as he grew. I was a little sceptical at first - but that quickly changed after the design and concept was explained to me.

Following a through fitting session I started on our flat work; I couldn’t believe the difference; the sensitivity was highly increased and the SMART PRO Dressage saddle felt SO comfortable. I kept the saddle on trial and took it to a dressage lesson where my instructor was impressed with the increased movement my horse had in his shoulders.

Safe to say I bought the saddle!.”