Thursday, 23 March 2017

How can SMART FLEXTech Technology Address Saddle Fit and Balance Issues for Horse and Rider?

Dr. Sue Dyson, Head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust’s Centre for Equine Studies and Veterinary Advisor to the Saddle Research Trust, recently ran a pilot study (click here to read more) to investigate basic aspects of rider position and saddle fit for the rider. Initial results showed:
  •         Only 12% of riders had alignment of their shoulder, ‘hip’ and heel
  •         41% were judged to be sitting too far towards the back of the saddle
  •          59% were considered to be too big for their saddle

At Solution Saddles, we understand just how critical it is that the saddle is correctly balanced and suitably sized for the rider, as well as the horse. There are both short and long term consequences attributable to riding out of balance, ranging from lack of synchrony between horse and rider, to loss of performance and, not unusually, injury to horse and/or rider. Issues can manifest both physically, as well as behaviourally, and oftentimes the saddle’s role is overlooked. Despite a rider’s best efforts to improve their position, without a well-balanced saddle, they will be fighting a losing battle.

Seasonal weight fluctuations and the effect on saddle fit and balance
Horses are constantly changing shape; this not only affects saddle fit, but saddle balance and how the horse carries the rider. Whilst there are limitations with a traditional saddle, constructed around a rigid frame that cannot intrinsically accommodate any changes, the fully flexible SMARTTM Saddle system provides an ongoing solution. All SMARTTM saddles are made of high density, yet fully flexible, materials, ensuring that they offer support to horse and rider whilst accommodating any shape, and the many fluctuations experienced throughout the seasons. Unique FLEXTechTM technology affords SMARTTM saddle owners the freedom to address fit or balance adjustments as soon as they become perceptible.

When is a saddle out of balance?
A well balanced saddle should encourage the rider to adopt a classical position of shoulder-hip-heel alignment, with minimal effort.

Pictured: Solution Saddles Approved Advisor, Daniel Hammond, balanced to allow a classical dressage position in his SMARTTM Dressage saddle.

Perhaps most importantly, the rider should be able to sit on the saddle in ‘pelvic neutral’, without tipping forwards or backwards, changing the centre of gravity and causing the rider to compensate with their lower leg and/or upper body. Whilst there are variations between the ‘ideal’ position according to discipline, the necessity of a ‘pelvic neutral’ position is consistent across the board. 

Above images: Captured using XSens inertial sensors, provided by the Saddle Research Trust, illustrate pelvic rotations of the rider.

The SMARTTM Easy-Fit System

There are two golden rules to fitting a SMARTTM Saddle:
  1. Fit to the horse – ensure that the horse’s needs are met by supporting the saddle up off the Dorsal Spinous Processes and wither
  2. Balance to the rider – tweak the balance to allow the rider to sit in ‘pelvic neutral’  
Changing the fit or balance of a SMARTTM saddle is quick and easy, does not require any specialised equipment and can be done either by yourself or by one of our network of trained Approved Advisors. Our wide range of external SMARTTM Balance Pads (examples pictured below) are designed to be positioned underneath your SMARTTM saddle to provide additional lift or support as required. Feeling tipped back? Simply add a pair of rear shims under the back of the seat of your SMARTTM saddle. Tipping forward? Attach a pair of front shims to your saddle cloth and feel the difference for yourself. Thanks to FLEXTechTM technology, which flexes independently throughout, balance can be adjusted for the rider, without affecting the fit for the horse.

SMARTTM Saddle Sizing

SMARTTM saddles are sized according to rider height and weight, and thanks once again to their flexible structure, can then be fitted to any horse that rider is suitably sized to ride.

It is often possible for multiple riders to share the same SMARTTM saddle, within reason, thanks to our interchangeable knee block system, to provide more support for a shorter leg length or allow more room for a longer leg length.

With a full range of saddles to suit both professional and leisure riders alike, there is a SMARTTM saddle for everyone. The SMARTTM saddle system enables you to choose your preferred saddle style, whether that’s a GP, Dressage, Jump, VSD or Show, in a wide range of sizes to fit tiny tots to tall adults. SMARTTM saddles are approved for all FEI disciplines.

Test ride a SMARTTM Saddle today:

Solution Saddles offer a home consultation and rental service, enabling you to try a range of SMARTTM saddles under the expert guidance of one of our trained Approved Advisors. Throughout the consultation, you will feel for yourself the difference a correctly fitted and balanced SMARTTM saddle can make for you and your horse. Our try-before-you-buy rental service enables you to test the saddle in your own time before committing to purchase.

To find out more or to book a test ride, contact Solution Saddles today:

01909 720 259 / 07738 711 099

Pictured: International Event Rider, Izzy Taylor, rides 7 year old event horse, Edison, to 8th place in the Osberton International Horse Trials Young Horse Championships 2016. Ridden in all three phases in SMART PRO saddles. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Solution Saddles Agent Training Dates 2017

Don't forget to book a space on our SMART saddle Advisor training days:

Monday 10th April 2017 and/or Monday 18th September 2017

Wellow Equestrian CentreNottinghamshire, NG22 0EQ
By Kind permission of Jake Fowles.

With both indoor and outdoor arenas, Wellow Equestrian boasts excellent facilities
for agent training, which we are very grateful to have access to.

Training days are suitable for both induction training for new and potential Advisors and annual top-up training for Approved & Technical Advisors. 

In order to maintain the highest standards to ensure a constant level of service for the customer, all agents must attend annual training to maintain their tier level. New agents must attend an induction training day plus one other training day in order to achieve 'Approved Agent' status, subject to meeting the required standard

Why Become a Solution Saddles Approved Advisor?
  • Opportunity to make a real difference to horse welfare
  • No cost to you - all training is free of charge and there are no set-up costs or associated fees
  • Choose your level of involvement and be as active as you wish to fit flexibly with your lifestyle
  • No minimum performance requirement
  • Tier system that is easy and convenient for both agents and customers
  • Full back-up support from Solution Saddles HQ
  • Ongoing training available within a company dedicated to scientific research in the interests of horse and rider welfare & performance
  • Agent discount on saddles and accessories
  • Opportunities to represent Solution Saddles on the display stand at local and national events

Friday, 13 January 2017

January Special Offers: Sale saddles, discounts on new SMART saddles & accessories - PLUS, evening enquiry line...

Save £100's in the Solution Saddles January SMART Sale - PLUS, codes for extra savings and special offers on SMART accessories 
January Sale Saddles 

Size 5 Black
Ex Demo
RRP £2,650
Sale £1,500
Save £1,150
SMART Eventer
Size 3 Black
Ex Demo
RRP £2,350
Sale £1,950
Save £400
SMART Eventer
Size 5 Havana
Ex Demo
RRP £2,350
Sale £1,950
Save £400
SMART PRO Dressage
Size 4 Havana
Modified, low profile seat
Ex rental condition
RRP £2,950
Sale £1,950
Save £1,000
SMART Native Dressage
Size 3 Black
Ex demo
RRP £2250
Sale £1,950
Save £300

STOP PRESS: January Offer
- 10% off ANY new SMART Saddle 

Contact us to book a test ride by January 31st and receive 10% off your NEW SMART Saddle. Valid for all test rides booked by 31st January, to take place no later than 28th February 2017. Also valid on all NEW SMART Saddles purchased directly from the Solution Saddles office or website before 31st January 2017.

Contact us to order yours today:
Tel: 07738 711 099
New for January 2017: Evening Enquiry Line
Are you interested in finding out more about the SMART saddle range but struggle to contact us during office hours, or do you need some fitting advice but work full time? To meet demand,  Solution Saddles are extending phone line opening hours each Wednesday through January until 7pm. We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Olympia here we come – Look out for Robbie Bell and Magheradartin Elevator at Olympia 2016.

Solution Saddles are very excited to share the fantastic news that Sponsored Rider, Robbie Bell, has been rewarded for his great racing and support shown to the Shetland Pony Grand National for the last two seasons, by being awarded one of three wild cards to complete at The London International Horse Show, Olympia, 13th-19th December 2016.

Robbie will be taking his more experienced pony Captain (Magheradartin Elevator) to Olympia. His other mount Beesy, although faster, is still a little green, so is being aimed at the Liverpool international Horse Show at New Year to gain more experience.

As well as competing on the Shetland Pony Grand National circuit, Robbie is also a successful member of the West Norfolk Pony Club, winning the 10 and under winter dressage league and also becoming the best Norfolk member in the 50cm, 60cm and 70 cm league – all in his SMART Eventer saddle!

Good Luck Robbie – we will be cheering you on!

From all at Solution Saddles

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Move seamlessly through the seasons with a SMART Saddle

It is a fact that horses are constantly changing shape; a weekly fluctuation of 3 kilos is perfectly normal. The horse carries most of his stored fat deposits over his top line and ribs, so even small variations in weight will immediately affect saddle fit, which often creates problems. As the seasons change, along with it do the work demands of the horse and the quality of accessible grazing. For these reasons, amongst others, we see the greatest changes in weight and shape of the horse with the seasons and, consequently, the greatest need to assess the fit of your saddle. 

Image ref: EasyCare Inc.

Whilst a traditional treed saddle is rigid and cannot accommodate any such changes, the 100% flexible SMARTTM saddle range can adapt to any back shape and thus provides a simple and practical solution for saddle fitting all year round. By quickly and easily making adjustments with balance shims, you can ensure that your SMARTTM saddle is optimally fitted for both you and your horse. 

Whether you’re an eventing enthusiast with summer goals, or if you have a freshly clipped hunter in your stables who needs careful management over the winter months, a fully flexible SMARTTM saddle can help to keep you and your horse doing what you love most, all year-round.

Solution Saddles offer a wide range of saddles in different styles and sizes to suit adults, children, leisure riders and professionals alike. Not only do Solution Saddles offer a home consultation service through a nationwide network of Approved Advisors, we also offer a rental service and 3 x 0% payment plans.

Don’t let poor saddle fit ruin your plans each time your horse changes shape – book a test ride with a SMARTTM saddle today!

Tel: 07738 711 099

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Are you going to the 2016 Trailblazers Championships?

Come and visit us; discuss your saddle requirements with our team and see our latest SMART saddles at our display stand 29th – 31st July and 3rd – 6th August 2016.

2015 Elementary Horse Champions
Emily Cruickshanks on Tymbars Wizbit with Solution Saddles Technical Advisor, Rachael Brown.

As sponsors of the Solution Saddles Combined Training Championships (4th – 5th August) we will also be awarding a special prize to the highest placed rider in a Solution or SMART saddle at the finals! (

We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, 15 July 2016

First Look: The New SMART™ GP Saddle

Introducing the latest SMART Saddle:

The SMART GP - New for 2016!

The NEW SMART GP is the perfect saddle choice for the all-round leisure rider who enjoys multi-discipline riding. The ergonomically designed seat shape ensures comfort and security in the saddle, whilst the GP flap design provides versatility between flatwork, hacking and jumping.
Featuring the same base shape design as our SMART PRO and SMART Eventer saddles, the SMART GP can be easily fitted to high withered horses, flat backed cobs and everything in between. The traditional appearance makes this saddle suitable for all disciplines, including showing and hunting.  
Available in Dark Havana or Black, in sizes 3 - 6, the SMART GP is made to order to suit your needs. Priced from £2,350 new, we are offering the popular 'SMART 10th Anniversary' add-on package for just £100 when purchased in conjunction with any SMART GP saddle. Contact us today to order yours!
SMART 10th Anniversary Package
  • Wedge knee blocks - RRP £110
  • SMART PRO Cotton Sadddle Cloth - RRP £55
  • Choice of SMART Non-Slip Dorsal Pad - from £50
  • SMART Deluxe Saddle Cover - £20
All of this for just £100!
Contact Solution Saddles today to book your test ride