This case study has been written by Alison Woulds.
“I am lucky enough to have ridden and competed to Grand Prix level and in that time have had many dressage saddles. I found the demands of training both on my body and my horses backs were enormous and until now have never found that the saddles I had were absolutely perfect, they were more of a compromise in terms of fit for the horses and fit for me as a I rider. I thought the answer would be a made to measure saddle for my talented horse but the costs of such seemed too prohibitive and so we just continued to do the best with what we had.
Last year Sam Jamieson launched her made to measure Deluxe Dressage saddle at fraction of the cost of others I had seen, at first I thought it was just another version of the many saddles on the market and was a little skeptical until I saw it in the flesh and rode in it for myself. For me as a rider it gave me that stability I need to be able to sit to the biggest of trots and yet not be fixed into the saddle like the one I was presently using.
I have suffered from a burst disc in my back and have had to ride wearing a physiotherapy belt for the last year, after a month riding in the Sam Jamieson Saddle I no longer need to wear this belt as my back is not painful and can only assume that I am not having to work so hard to keep my position in this saddle. This is the first saddle I have ever had that was made to measure for my horse, and previous saddles had always slipped forwards despite being the best fit we could manage.
I didn’t quite appreciate the difference a truly fitted and balanced saddle could make to a horse until now and this horse now has so much more freedom to his shoulders, he is more forward from the start of a training session, and any bucking we used to have in the first few canters has disappeared.
He is easier and more fluent in his halfpasses too so our training sessions have actually been cut down as a result as this horse is happier and more compliant from the off, the old resistances that would take time to undo are not there now from the beginning. I can’t think of any negatives.
Now a new saddle won’t make me an olympic medallist or my horse a world beater, but is has made us both feel so much more comfortable in our bodies and happier in our work together which is the most exciting feeling ever and I look forward to see how we both develop.”