“I just want my horse to be comfortable, that’s the most important thing”.
I get it, you want your horse to be comfortable. That really is your highest priority if you have to compromise, you can deal with whatever, if you have to, as long as he’s comfortable.
Guess how many times I’ve heard that!
Guess how many times I’ve heard the opposite. How many times does someone call a saddle fitter and say, “I really don’t care about my horse, as long as it fits me”. Approximately Never. Now, you might see this in effect, in someone’s actions, but nobody says that out loud.
Let’s take a closer look at that. What even is the role of a saddle? Why do you need one? Think for a second……
Ok! So now that we’ve all agreed that the only real role of the saddle is to stick you to your horse, we have a whole new perspective on this. The main job of the saddle is to stabilize You, while doing as little harm to the horse as possible, and maybe some benefit. But the best saddle for your horse is Don’t Ride Your Horse. The saddle is for you (to enable the horse to do his job as effectively and comfortably as possible, true, but remember, he never applied for that job!)
Think of it this way: your saddle is the interface between you and him. Just like a phone charger is the interface between your iPhone and the abundant supplies of electricity magically stored in the power outlet. It’s pointless to say that it’s more important that it fits into the power outlet, than that it fits your phone. You need both to fit, at the same time, else you’ve got nothing.
It’s the same with your saddle. If it doesn’t fit you, your horse suffers. Imagine a full size adult in a tiny kids’ saddle. Knees hanging over the flaps, seat bones back at the Cantle, and too much weight distributed over a tiny area. Horrible, right? How about a tiny adult in a really big saddle? Not so bad, but still, wouldn’t the horse prefer you to be landing gently, precisely and predictably every stride, rather than slopping all over the place?
The slight problem with my phone-charger analogy is that there are more different rider’s body types than two. And there are more than a few different horse shapes too. In fact, rather than 2 or 3 of each, I think we’ve got infinitive rider shapes and infinite horse shapes to cater to.
People often ask me which brand might fit their horse, which brand might fit them? To my mind that’s another of those erroneous questions. A good brand would be one that has the different options needed to cater to different sizes and styles of riding. One that gives me access to multiple seat depths and allows me to put the flaps where the rider needs them. I want big blocks, small blocks, no blocks and honking great knee rolls if that’s what works. I want All The Seat Sizes. I want All The Tree Widths. I want to be able to build panels that give me enough room to put flocking where I want it. And to take it out. And move it around. Over and over again, if we want to. I want all that in a range of colours and I want to pretty it up with bling if I feel like it. And I want it for an affordable price, fully guaranteed and hand made in England.
And that’s what we have, in Bliss of London. Let’s have a look at the options and do some numbers. You know I love math!
Our saddles are available in
- 7 seat sizes from 15.5 to 18.5 in half inch increments
- 4 seat depths
- at least 7 different models depending on budget
We’re at 7 x 7 x 4 = 196 combinations before we’ve even started looking at the horse, or colours, or bling! (So, err, yeah, if you were wondering, at your saddle fitting, you will almost certainly not be able to buy your exact saddle on the day, there are just too many possibilities).
Here’s where I differ from some other brands… I don’t want to have a few different named models that work for most situations. I don’t want you to buy the X saddle, that comes with this seat, those flaps, in that leather. I want you to choose the depth of seat that works for you. I want us to work together as you ride, to determine where we need to put the flap to take up your long leg, or to give you a block that you can finally use that isn’t miles out in front of your little stumpy legs, if you’re built like me.
Our job when ordering is to pick the exact attributes that work, like picking a set of components. And then our saddle makers at our factory in Walsall hand builds it to order to our exact specifications. Each saddle is an individual creation. Surprisingly, this takes a lot less time than you would imagine. This degree of individuality is not a one-off special, it’s what we do every day! It’s how our system is designed. You can expect your saddle to arrive within 5-6 weeks, with a few exceptions in which case I’ll keep you fully informed of any delay.
When have several saddle ranges to choose from:
- Cavaletti. $1500 with few options
All the others are fully customizable for the rider
- Loxley twin flap $2315
- Loxley LX $2650
- Loxley Monoflap $3390
- Loxley Dressage Monoflap $3800
- Bliss Paramour $4650
- Bliss Liberty $5000
For each of these ranges, you can pick your seat size, seat depth, flap configuration, block placement, leather type, colours, bling, billet system, D-ring placement, … every option is available for every model.
I realize I haven’t said a whole lot about fitting the horse. The reason for that is a little subtle, and I have a hard time explaining it well. It actually is my top priority and I feel that is the area that I’m most trained in and most skillful at. I’ve focused on the rider so far because that’s where I need most of your feedback. I’m not a trainer, I’m a Novice rider. There’s only so much I can predict for you as a rider and I absolutely need the feedback from you and your trainer to build the right saddle for you.
But for your horse… I’m in my element. I have 4 different tree profiles to choose from, in 8 basic different tree sizes, with each being infinitely adjustable. A total of 2 x 3 x 2 x 6 = 72 basic panel configurations, and each of them is infinitesimally adjustable. Not only that, but even with all that customization for the horse, that’s just the start. The saddles are designed to adjust, and to continue to adjust as much as we need as your horse changes, grows, even when you move on to another horse!
So remember that thing about wanting it to fit your horse, rather than you, if you have to compromise….
It was another erroneous question. You didn’t have to compromise in first place 😉