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The Importance of Saddle Performance

|  Signs of Saddle Damage  |  Common Behavioural Problems  |  Optimising Saddle Performance


"Many, including myself, would say that the notion of an air cushioning system, as the ultimate in cushioning for the horse's working muscles, is a simple concept. That said no one, including myself, could predict the profound difference this simple system would make to both horse and rider's

Ron Bates, Managing Director of Bates Australia, November 2003



Dr. Peter Cronau has articulated what in his mind constitutes an optimally fitting saddle and what elements of saddle design are required for a saddle to perform well. Following are his principles for a top fitting saddle:

  1. The larger the bearing or contact surface is the more comfortable the saddle will be for the horse.
  2. The smoother the surface and better balanced the contact to the horse's body, the more comfortable the saddle will be for the horse.
  3. The softer the underlying saddle tissue is, the more pleasant the saddle will feel to the horse.
  4. The lighter the saddle is, the more comfortable it is for the horse.
  5. The saddle must fit the anatomy of the horse, however it must also fit the rider.
  6. There must be an even bearing of the saddle panel on the horse's back, with no bridging.
  7. The saddle should distribute the rider's weight evenly, eliminating pressure points and potential discomfort for the horse.
  8. A saddle should meet the changing anatomy of a horse both in the transition from being young to maturing and in their changing shape as a result of their work program.
  9. Saddle materials should be top quality and hardwearing. The saddle should also be made with good workmanship.
The CAIR® Cushion System is exclusive to Bates and Wintec Saddles
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