No matter what our breed or style of riding, we all want our horses to be as comfortable as possible and to reach their full performance potential. We humans may care about all sorts of things when it comes to saddles… but the only thing that really matters to your horse is how it feels when he’s moving in it! At Contour Saddlery, we’ve designed saddles and pads to bring comfort and performance to the next level to give you confidence in knowing you’re doing the best for your horse. You’ll be amazed at what you feel!
2. YOUR HORSE IN MOTION
Your horse is not a statue. The moment he takes a step in any direction, his back and shoulders are an ever-changing series of dynamic shapes. If your saddle impedes that natural motion, your horse will have to compensate somewhere else in his body – and that has a negative impact on his overall movement, long-term health and soundness. It’s important that your saddle can welcome your horse’s moving back without pain or restriction, and our saddles and interface systems are designed to do just that.
3. FIRST PRIORITY – FREEDOM FOR THE SHOULDERS
Shoulder mobility without pinching, restriction or excess pressure is essential for good saddle fit. This means having enough clearance for the muscles that power the scapula bone. While some people acknowledge this concept, unfortunately many are thinking of the shoulder shape when the horse is standing still, rather than when the horse is in motion. There can be a big difference. Your horse’s comfort and performance depend on your awareness of this.
First Key to Saddle Fit Success for Your Horse: Locate the back edge of the shoulder blade (scapula) while your horse is standing still. Feel where the firm muscular area drops off. Then, lift his knee up and forward to feel how the powerful muscles bulge as they pull the scapula back and down. This is similar to what happens when your horse is in full stride. Our saddles are designed to ensure generous room for the scapula to freely slide back and forth without restriction. Paired with our special VersaFit™ interface system, we can guarantee full freedom of movement for your horse’s shoulders.
4. SPACE FOR THE LIFTING BACK
Your horse carries ALL the weight of rider and saddle on his back, and yet he must be able to lift his back in order to use his hind end for sound biomechanics. As your moving horse engages his hindquarters and abdominals, his topline will lift and expand. You can see your own horse’s lifting potential by firmly tickling under his belly. If a saddle puts too much pressure in the wrong places, your horse will have difficulty or pain when he tries to lift his trunk and back – compromising health and happiness. We’ve engineered our saddles and customizing interface to provide just the right amount of space so that your horse can use his back a nature intended.
5. BALANCE FOR THE RIDER
It’s important for a saddle to help the rider find that ideal balance point – and thousands of riders joyfully report our saddles have done just that! If the rider is unbalanced, the horse will feel uneven or changing pressure as the rider tries to find equilibrium. Our saddles are designed to provide that sweet spot of fit for the horse and balance for the rider. Of course, no two horses are exactly alike, and we can micro-adjust for ideal rider balance with our VersaFit™ Shims.
6. REVOLUTIONARY RE-THINKING: A COMPLETE SADDLE SYSTEM
It seems obvious to us now, but it certainly wasn’t as simple as we imagined it would be to figure all this out! It took many, many years and many, many prototypes… working together with Master Saddlers in the UK, Europe and the US… striving for the ideal combination of comfort and freedom for the horse, plus balance and style for the rider.
One of our most essential findings has been the vital importance of the interface system – pads and shims specifically engineered to give never-before-possible customization for each and every horse. Not only that, but this versatile system means that one saddle can now work for a barnful of horses at all ages and stages of training.
That’s why we’re not just selling a saddle – we’re providing a complete Saddle System and the education to empower YOU to give your horse the best possible saddle fit.
With over 10,000 happy horses and riders finding their maximum comfort and performance, we know it has been worth every moment of the challenging journey.
We are delighted to share all we’ve learned along the way, and to provide you and your horse with a Saddle System to enhance a lifetime of joyful partnership.