Margo is a highly accomplished Australian Dressage rider. She has competed successfully both in Australia and overseas, and has trained several horses to Grand Prix level. After riding in a Bates Isabell saddle with the CAIR® air panel system for six months, Margo won't ride in anything else. She shares her experience with us...
When Ron (Bates, Managing Director of Bates Australia) initially asked me to test the CAIR® system and gave me the panels to try under my feet, I was fascinated by the idea.
I was having a few problems with my horses, such as sore backs, tight shoulders and high head carriages, and was pleased to be able to try an alternative saddle. For the test run, I chose my best horse Don Georgio. He has difficult conformation, in so far as he is croup high and has virtually no wither. A difficult horse to fit. He also tends to suffer from a sore back when worked hard.
I must say my first ride was really interesting. The difference between my own saddle and CAIR® was huge: my horse felt freer, really swinging along. Then I thought to myself, this wasn't really a fair test. Here I am, testing it out on my best horse, who has the smoothest movement I have ridden anyway! I really needed to use it on something else. So I expanded my test program to include my oldest, stiffest, most difficult horse.
By the end of the first week I had included 4 of my horses in the trial. They ranged from freshly backed, to a 14 yo schoolmaster. All shapes and sizes from 16.1 to 17.3hh, from good conformation, to not so good! A wide selection. Then I realised that there was still a flaw in my experiment. I was still riding in my old saddle at times, so I would be unable to accurately gauge how CAIR® was affecting my horses, as well as myself. So I packed away all my saddles, except those with CAIR®, and the trial really began.
After 3 months I had found the following;
- My old school horse freed up in the back and became easier to ride;
- My good horse doesn't suffer from a sore back any longer;
- Another horse, which was experiencing a tight back and a tendency to run in the medium trot, has improved greatly;
- On my young horse, I can't really comment, except to say that he hasn't bucked me off yet!
I would never have believed it possible, but I can confidently say, it has improved my horses' comfort and therefore performance, and that is what I want from a saddle. I wouldn't ride in anything else!
Tell us how you like CAIR®!
If you’ve noticed an improvement in your performance since using a saddle with the CAIR® Cushion System, we would like to invite you to share your positive experience with us. Email us by clicking here.