SPECIALISTS IN IDEAL DESIGNED TO ORDER SADDLES

Made in the UK, Fitted & Supplied Worldwide

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SPECIALISTS IN IDEAL DESIGNED TO ORDER SADDLES

Made in the UK, Fitted & Supplied Worldwide

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From Norway

From Norway

Let me introduce you to Glima!

Elisabeth  lives in Norway and wanted a saddle for her new mare, Glima who had arrived from Iceland a few months ago. After much discussion, thought  and fun for everyone,  she decided upon a saddle in Sala coloured leather with Ranch coloured piping along the seat,  based on the Ideal Icelandic but with Ideal Jessica style flaps, calf skin seat and knee pads, both with extra cushioning, large short knee rolls and dressage style girth straps. Ian’s comments included “the saddle will be a very similar width (to Elisabeth’s current saddle), just narrower by a nudge, have a shallower gusset at the back and a softer, flatter  flock”. He suggested point and balance straps (v girth) to help stability given that the horse is a young Icelandic, round and flat. He commented that the larger, shorter knee rolls are more versatile and practical than dressage blocks (Elisabeth’s first thought) as your knee can pass underneath, allowing more freedom of movement. He went on to say that the Jessica flaps with these blocks are a good combination of being off the horse’s shoulder but allowing your knee forward.

When fitting the saddle, Ian had to allow for the fact that this young horse was not yet ridden away and was going to have a foal before being backed.

Elisabeth wrote “I love, love, love my new saddle”

The following year, Elisabeth bought a 10 year old black stallion. His saddle was similar but subtly different to Glima’s saddle.  It is an Icelandic with a medium depth seat and short, large knee rolls with “formed “saddle flaps.

 

 

From The Isle of Man

Sammie from The Isle of Man was looking for a saddle for her 14.1 Section “D”, 9 year old mare Maggie. Sammie rides the pony and so does Ella, Sammie’s 9 year old daughter.  Very green for her years, Maggie has a big, arching jump and so security for Sammie and Ella was a key consideration.  They also hope to do some dressage. Sammie loves the look of the Nyala: they want to be able to “put their knees into” the saddle.  The Nyala is a great jump/gp hybrid with a neat, secure seat.

Given that Sammie and Ella are very different size and weight, the saddle would have flexible blocks on Velcro so that they could adjust them for who was riding. Seat size was also a question but it was decided to size the saddle to Sammie and the pony as Sammie was the main rider now and would be for a while. Even if she squeezed in to a smaller seat it would still be too big for Ella and if the seat was too small for Sammie she would tend to sit on the back of the saddle causing discomfort and problems for the pony.

In this story, the needs of the two riders has been the key issue, Maggie being quite straightforward to fit. How the saddle looks was also very important. Sammie loves the look of the Impala Pro Dressage saddle…….”the two tone and contrast stitching and piping is just gorgeous”. So, her Nyala is going to be made up with dark havanna seat and knee pads, black skirt and flaps and white stitching and piping as per the Impala. She is having a matching two tone girth with white stitching and a set of dressage leathers in black.

The saddle is due any day now. When it arrives we will post an image to show you how great it looks!

From Lancashire

From Lancashire

Suzanne is the lucky owner of two wonderful piebald cobs, Shaun & Wilf. Wilf is a true Piebald and Shaun is all white except for his head! Wilf is 14.2 and now 24 years old. Shaun, show name Shaun the Sheep, stands just under 15.3 and is much younger. Suzanne does mainly dressage, schooling and hacking but enjoys a bit of cross country on Shaun. She now does all her lessons, competing, xcountry and horse camps on Shaun although Wilf is still active and ridden and often hacks out with a friend on board.

A couple of saddle “problems” came up in our discussions with Suzanne and they are problems many share.

Problem 1:

Suzanne is tall and the cobs are short backed. Ideally Suzanne needs a seat size bigger than the cobs can accommodate.

Solution:

Part of the solution lay in the choice of saddle, a dressage saddle, a Suzannah. To make the saddle more flexible for hacking and the occasional jump across country, we suggested the saddle have two sets of blocks, one full dressage, one shorter and also GP girthing.

The other part of the solution is to be practical: fitting “rules” state that a saddle must not extend beyond the last rib but in the real world lots and lots of horses and riders are not anatomically suited and this last rib fitting “rule” sometimes needs to be interpreted with some discretion. Rather than whether the saddle extends a little beyond the last rib, we believe THE most important “rule” is that the saddle is in balance by which we mean that the rider sits naturally in the centre of the seat and the weight of the rider is evenly distributed over the entire bearing surface of the saddle. If the saddle is too small for the rider, the rider will tend to sit on the back of the saddle. The rider and saddle will not be in balance. This will create discomfort and soreness for the horse

Problem 2

Suzanne would like to use the new saddle on both cobs

Solution:

Wilf is sway backed and Shaun is too but less so. The saddle will have a custom flock with pure white lambswool. The idea will be to flock the saddle more to Wilf’s shape but given the soft consistency of the flocking it will work for Shaun too. We don’t want the saddle to “bridge” on Wilf ie it makes contact at the front and back but not in the middle. Conversely we don’t want too much shape in the saddle for Shaun so that it makes more contact with his back in the middle of the saddle than either front or back. But Shaun is a bit sway backed too and the soft consistency of the flocking material will do the trick. All a bit tricky but possible!

This all being said, it turned out there was a different solution to “problem 2”! Two new saddles ie one for each was not an option but Suzanne began to ask herself whether it made more sense to gear this new saddle more towards Shaun than Wilf. Wilf is getting on in years now, with hopefully many more to come but most of her riding is on Shaun. So it was decided to fit the new saddle to Shaun and look out for a second hand saddle for Wilf. It turned out, Ian had just the thing, a Minster dressage saddle that he could offer Suzanne at a very good price.

 

So, in the end, both boys were fixed up! Suzanne has just taken delivery of the saddles and we are waiting to hear how she and the boys are getting on.

From Germany

From Germany

Sheila contacted us for saddles for her two Arabs, Will & Noddy. Both are six year olds and both had been backed the year before. To date they had been hacked out but looking forward, Sheila hoped to perhaps show them and/or do some endurance type riding.

Arabs are rather notoriously tricky to fit! To compound this potential problem, Sheila was finding it hard to find saddles in Germany for anything other than the Warmblood type and for anything other than dressage and jumping. Will is the more substantial type, wide, indeed very wide, and long striding. Noddy is finer, high withered and short backed.

 

Arabs are notoriously tricky to fit!

Will was our first project! Sheila sent us a photo of the type of saddle she had in mind. There were various ways to arrive at this but given that the Ramsay tree works very well on Arabs, this was going to be our starting point. However, Will is very wide, so Ian had a long chat with Ideal and they strongly recommended that we use a Finesse tree. This is the same as the Ramsay but for wider horses. From the photos and video that Sheila had sent to us, it was clear Will was unwilling to go forward. It was very likely that the saddle being used was too narrow and could well be the problem or at least eliminating the saddle as the cause is the first step and hopefully the solution.

Much discussion then centred on flaps and blocks and seat depth. The saddle in the photo Sheila had sent us had dressage style blocs. Ian suggested that given that she wanted to use the saddle for working hunter, showing and general riding, a shallower, shorter block would give more flexibility and allow Sheila to ride shorter. The final spec was for an Ideal Finesse in Dark Havana with a medium depth seat, and GP blocks. The saddle would be fitted with point and balance straps to help stability.

The saddle arrived and “looks lovely”, said Sheila. However, Will was still not happy although at least he did not buck or kick out as he had done with his last saddle, said Sheila. We asked Sheila to send us some photos and hopefully a video so Ian could check the saddle was sitting in balance. Meanwhile, Sheila took great care to familiarize Will with the feel of his new saddle. Sometimes it can take a bit of time for a horse to respond. His behaviour is so conditioned by his past discomfort that it doesn’t change immediately.

However, in Will’s case, there was a different cause. It turns out he had a serious problem in a stifle. An operation and long box rest later. I’m relieved to say that there is a happy ending. Sheila is being cautious with him, but he is sound and in light work.

Now for Noddy! It must be said, Noddy is easier to fit!!! The spec for the saddle was very similar and everything went smoothly.

After receiving her new saddles, Sheila said:

“Noddy loves being ridden. I am very happy with the saddles and find they are a perfect fit. I have seen made to measure saddles here that are twice the price.”

 

That Noddy loves being ridden is perhaps the best testimonial we can have!

From Norway

From Norway

Bente contacted us having been referred to us by a friend. She needed a saddle for her daughter, Malene to use, if possible, on two horses. Both horses are 6 year old, rising 7, Icelandic competition horses. The narrower horse, the red one, was not very muscled. He had been ridden in an ill fitting saddle and had had some time off with back problems.  The wider horse, the black one, was rounder but a bit fat rather than fit!

Malene wanted a black Ideal Suzannah with a 16 ½” seat. This is a snug seat for a Suzannah but photos Bente sent to us confirmed that it was not too small for Malene. However, Ian was a bit concerned that the snugness would force her into one rather strict, dressage style position. So he suggested that she have shorter, smaller knee blocks. This would give her some freedom of movement and flexibility which she will need when riding over varying terrain.

The templates of the horses’ backs were such that Ian felt the one saddle could be used on both horses, particularly since it was a Suzannah. The design of this saddle makes it remarkably flexible in this respect. He would fit the saddle to the wider horse and Malene could use a pad if necessary to lift the saddle a touch on the narrower horse.

Bente wrote to us :

The saddle is PERFECT! Malene is so pleased with it. The saddle fits perfect for both! You have to send or best thoughts and thanks to Ian too. He has done very good work on this!

I have to say that I have my doubts in forehand, but I had no reason for that, because this I would do again

Thank you so much for all your help and kindness. I think Malene will love this saddle.

I will recommend you to all my friends, that’s for sure.

All the best from Norway

 

 

From Australia

From Australia

Virginia is an Equine Myofunctional Therapist, trainer and competitor and lives in Australia. She contacted us about a dressage saddle for her horse, a 5 year old Warmblood x American Saddlebred gelding. He has been under saddle for about 18 months and is working at Novice/Elementary dressage and jumping around 70-80 cms. Virginia described him “as quite short backed and solid and since his scapula slopes a fair way back behind his wither”, she felt there was not a huge space left for a saddle to sit before his last rib.

Virginia described a long tale of woe in her search for a saddle , one that suited them both. She is not very tall but not light either and this compounded saddle fitting problems. Cheeky Chops expressed his discomfort with an unwillingness to go forward particularly in canter, lots of tail swishing and “pig rooting”. Many different brands, styles and sizes were tried to no avail.

These are some of the photos Virginia sent to us before placing her order for her Ideal saddle, and the change after:

Ian explains that Virginia and Cheeky Chops were suffering from a common problem. The saddles were too narrow for him in front but because he was well muscled and croup high, he kept Virginia in balance and so the problem was disguised, other than manifesting itself in the horse’s discomfort. However, with the correct width of tree for the front, the horse’s shape and musculature behind the saddle will tend to make the saddle too low at the front and for Virginia to feel “downhill”. The answer is to rebalance the saddle using the flocking so that the saddle lifts at the front and sits down at the back. The Suzannah has drop panels as standard and front gussets so it lends itself exceptionally well to this fine tuning.

The next common problem was the perception, which is widely shared, that the saddle should not extend beyond the horse’s last rib. The fundamental problem here is that this is very rarely possible to achieve if a saddle is to fit both horse and rider. If the rider is big relative to the space on their horse’s back where he or she can sit….”you cant do it” says Ian. If you accommodate the horse in this respect, the rider is squeezed in to a saddle that is too small, their leg falls too far forward and they sit on the back of the saddle, causing uneven pressure, discomfort and a sore back for the horse.

The number one golden rule is that the front arch of the saddle tree must be the same shape and width as that part of the horse’s back upon which it should be positioned.  The other golden rule is that the saddle is in balance by which we mean the saddle is positioned such that the rider naturally sits in the centre of the saddle and the combined weight of the saddle and rider is evenly distributed over the whole bearing surface of the saddle. The Suzannah with its wider twist and big, broad panels is ground breaking in this respect as it is designed to maximise this bearing surface.If these two golden rules are obeyed, it rarely causes a problem if the saddle extends a short way beyond the last rib.

Our thanks go to Virginia for allowing us to tell this story. That her problems were common problems is only clear to the expert but having said that many experts would not recognise them nor be able to find the solution. We must say this next!….. Luckily Virginia found us and through us, Ian and his team!

“ I LOVE the new saddle!!! I have ridden in it 4 times and it hasn’t moved at all on him not like any other saddle I tried. It is lovely to sit in and I definitely notice the difference position wise as it sits my pelvis and leg in a much improved position…….and touch wood I haven’t had any pig roots or even any real ears back since I have been using it. Very HAPPY CUSTOMER”.

A couple of weeks later, Virginia wrote “ My instructor, Cherie is a top level judge and coach in this country and in her day rode Grand Prix Dressage and Show Jumping. She is very impressed with the alteration the saddle has made to my riding and to the comfort and happiness of my horse. I even made her sit on him in it and it was only then that she really realised how wonderful it was and how it sat you in the right spot without even trying and allowed your leg to hang in a much more correct position without forcing it. “ Virginia went on to say that her instructor “made about 5 other people sit in it (poor Chops must have thought he was doing pony rides) and it made a big improvement to most of them. The interesting thing was that it suited many different body types – tall and slim to short and round, long legs and short legs”.

As you can imagine reader, we were thrilled to hear all this. We care about what we do, indeed we are passionate about it! We believe this successful outcome is down to the combination of excellent communications, Ian’s experience, expertise and attention to detail plus the quality and excellence of the design of the Ideal Suzannah saddle.