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- About SMART™ Saddles
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SMART™ Saddles are initially sized for the rider then fitted and balanced to the horse, this means you can buy the saddle model for yourself and fit it to any horse that you ride.
Saddle size is calculated from rider height and weight and also rider preference and style required. It is important to ensure you are riding in the correct size of saddle otherwise you could be riding out of balance, feel uncomfortable or unable to be effective in your riding. For example, a saddle that is fitted to the horse and set up for your friend, is unlikely to be the correct size or correctly balanced for you & your horse without adjustment.
SMART™ Saddles can be easily customised for individual riders with our range of balance pads, knee blocks and thigh blocks according to personal preference.
Click here to refer to our sizing and fitting guidelines.
SMART™ Saddles offer a flexible fitting system. Our fully flexible saddles are designed to be used with balance pads where required to ensure optimum balance for the rider and fit for the horse. It is this unique feature that allows one SMART™ Saddle to be easily adapted to fit different types of horse.
The introduction of additional models in the development of our saddle range makes it easier to achieve optimum fit for horse and rider combinations due a variety of base options. If your horses are completely different types you may have to consider prioritising on the most important horse and the saddle can then be fitted, using our balance pad system to the others.
Once correctly fitted the saddle will allow the horse to move and grow and accommodate any change of shape. The fit should be checked regularly by a SMART Advisor especially if the horse changes rider or workload and can easily be adjusted with the use of the balance pads if needed.
A SMART Advisor will be able to demonstrate and explain the concept of your SMART™ Saddle and advise on how to fit and balance the saddle for you as well as the horse. They will be able to guide you on the best saddle model and advise on the best accessories to use to achieve optimum comfort for both horse and rider. Correctly fitted accessories are essential and they can be the difference between a saddle fitting and working for a horse and rider or not.
Your SMART Advisor will ensure correct fit at the test ride, be on hand to discuss any queries that arise during a rental period and be available to advise you in the future if needed.
Many SMART Advisors own and ride in their own SMART™ Saddles. This ensures that you deal with people who really understand the radically different concept of SMART™ Saddles and that they are fully up to date with their fitting training and current product information.
The SMART™ Saddle system is designed to be used with balance pads where the horse’s back shape or conformation requires. The saddle does not permanently mould to the horse’s back, but flexes into the back shape with the horse’s movement. Some well muscled horses or those with rounded backs may not require any balancers, but those with a prominent spine or muscle wastage generally will need some support.
Horses change shape constantly throughout their lives due to maturity, muscle development, fitness levels and weight fluctuations. For example, in just one week, a fluctuation of 3-6 kilos in weight is perfectly normal. The horse carries most of his stored fat deposits over his top line, so variations in weight can directly affect saddle fit.
With no rigid parts such as a tree, pommel arch or cantle, the saddles are able to fully flex with the movement of the horse, allowing the horse to move freely without being impeded by the rigidity of the saddle frame and the tree points.
As the scapula (shoulder blade) rotates, it is able to slide under the flexible base panel, resulting in increased stability of the saddle. While a traditional saddle may rock from side to side, lift at the back or sit unevenly to one side with the movement of the horse, SMART™ Saddles flex around the trunk of the horse. When weight is applied, the flexible construction conforms to the back contours and does not bridge.
The saddle gullet can expand or contract to however wide or narrow the shape of the horse’s back, without pinching. Due to this flexible nature of SMART™ Saddles, they can accommodate a horse though any changes in shape throughout its lifetime. With no head plate to adjust or flocking to alter, SMART™ Saddles simply flex around the horse, whatever shape he/she is. Balancers may be used as and when required to maintain optimum fit.
Firstly, trees do not evenly distribute weight - this is physically impossible if you put a rigid structure between two live moving beings.
The SMART™ Saddle does not set out to provide even distribution of weight but to protect the horses back from pressure and trauma by using a unique patented shock absorbing layering system.
Our saddles are rigorously and scientifically tested using Tekscan pressure mapping technology. Tekscan software produces scientific data that enables a comprehensive and highly accurate view of the symmetry of the dynamic forces exerted on the horses' back. SMART™ Saddles have been scientifically proved to be more dynamically stable and symmetric when compared to a wide range of conventional saddles.
The SMART™ Saddle has absolutely no rigid parts to cause injury and is completely flexible. It flexes with the movement of the horses back so does not need to be lifted off the horses back, but fitted with a close and even contact, so that it is supported by the back muscles.
Having been established since 1999, The SMART™ Saddle is now thoroughly tested and proven. As with all leather products, with correct care and cleaning the saddle should last a lifetime.
The SMART™ Saddle range is the first fully flexible saddle range to be designed specifically as a professional riders tool. It is allowed for use in all disciplines under FEI and BHS rules.
SMART Saddles work closely with many professional trainers and top competition riders from a range of disciplines to gain important feedback on the saddle design working in the field. We also work with a huge range of active owners, amateurs, and hobby riders to ensure that we are able to constantly stay ahead and develop our range of designs to further enhance the performance benefits for both horse and rider.
Case study research projects run with vets, physios, colleges and equine welfare organisations, providing a wealth of valuable information on the benefits of long-term use of a SMART™ Saddle.
Click here for a selection of testimonials and stories and reviews from our clients.
"Ed (Edison) has all of a sudden become very grown up and made the journey to Blenheim Horse Trials for his first three-star in the eight- and nine-year-old class. It doesn’t seem five minutes since popping round his first novice three seasons ago and wondering if he would cope. Well, cope he certainly did — he has gone from strength to strength and he maintained his 100% clear cross-country record by jumping a stunning double clear at Blenheim in his flexible SMART saddle. It’s a fabulous event with a big atmosphere and he coped beautifully. I’m very excited for what next season holds for him."
Simon Grieve, Eventer and Horse & Hound blogger