In 2006, Derbyshire based saddle manufacturer ‘Solution Saddles’ was founded in a quest to develop the perfect saddle to improve equine welfare and performance. The result was the innovative SMART™ Saddle Range; a saddle developed through thorough scientific testing with the highest performance levels for both horse and rider.
Managing Director and SMART™ Saddle designer, Dr. Anne Bondi BHSI, believes that the natural progression to the RigidFree™ saddle concept is the biggest step forward in horse welfare in her lifetime. Following on from her background as a highly successful rider and trainer in both dressage and eventing, as well as a Senior Examiner of the British Horse Society, Anne Bondi has been awarded a doctorate for her novel research of horse, saddle and rider interaction.
Anne Bondi teaches world-wide, giving lectures and presentations to a wide range of groups including equine healthcare practitioners, saddle fitters, coaches and equine science students, sharing her passion for this complex but fascinating subject.
Many people experience problems with saddles and it is common to hear of frustrated riders spending large sums on saddle after saddle that for one reason or another just does not work. It is also common to hear of even made to measure saddles failing, although this is not as surprising as it sounds as the saddle may well fit in theory on a static horse, but becomes a problem as soon as the horse actually moves.
Pictures illustrate the difference a flexible saddle can make.
The first image shows the pony’s usual way of going in its own saddle.
The second is taken immediately after, ridden in a SMART™ saddle fitted by a Solution Saddles Approved Advisor.
SMART™ saddles do not have a traditional rigid saddle tree. Instead, made with revolutionary SMART™ FLEXTechTM Technology, the SMART™ has absolutely no rigid parts to cause injury to the horse. The fully flexible design allows the saddle to accommodate horses that are difficult to fit, have existing saddle or performance related problems, give young horses a good start or give older horses a new lease of life. The unique saddle system enables the whole of the horse’s shoulder and back to lift and move without causing tilting, rocking or torque, allowing the horse unrestricted movement in all disciplines of ridden work.
Without the rigid tree, the dressage hose can move forward with suppleness.
Horses change shape constantly throughout their lives - even small variations in weight will immediately affect saddle fit. Most horses are fairly stoical in their role as people-carriers, and will put up with an astonishing amount of discomfort, sometimes displaying symptoms that are too subtle to be readily diagnosed. Our unique Easy-Fit™ system ensures one saddle can be adapted to fit several horses easily and allows changes in shape through the season, without the need for specialist equipment or reflocking.
SMART™ saddles are designed to protect the horses back from pressure and trauma by using a patented shock absorbing system. Constructed of multiple layers of lightweight, high density materials, the impact absorbing SMART™ saddle design contains no rigid parts to cause harm. The patented 100% flexible SMART™ saddle range responds to demand for safer saddles; in the event of a rotational fall, pioneering SMART™ FLEXTech™ technology offers unrivalled safety for both horse and rider, thanks to its unique, fully deformable structure. Whether you’re an elite eventer or a happy hacker, the advent of the RigidFree™ saddle offers remarkable levels of safety for all equestrians.
Whereas the frame of a solid and inflexible traditional saddle poses a real risk of exacerbating injury, particularly in instance of a rotational fall, the compressible layers of a SMART™ saddle will flex and absorb impact, reducing the trauma an injury.
Many experienced riders - who do not believe that their horses are experiencing saddle issues at all - have been surprised at the improvements to performance that working in a SMART™ saddle has demonstrated. The SMART™ saddle design is unique, not only because the saddles are completely RigidFree™ but also because they are designed, made, used and fitted by riders. We not only understand how the saddle is constructed and performs but understand the performance demands of both horse and rider.
Scientifically tested, 100% flexible saddle designs - for all disciplines.
• 100% flexible - accommodate any shape
• No rigid parts – avoid pressure damage
• High density, lightweight materials - support horse and rider
• Fully deformable - reduce risk of injury
Handmade in the UK from premium leathers for luxury feel and durability, the full range of SMART™ saddles are available for trial and purchase directly from our office in Derbyshire or through our nationwide network of Approved Advisors. Try-before-you-buy rental service and valuable on-going fitting advice is available as well as 0% payment plan options over 3, 6 or 12. Solution Saddles is an Associate Trade Member of the Society of Master Saddlers, a Research Associate with the Saddle Research Trust and a BETA Trade Member.
In the clinical evaluation of back-related problems, SMART™ saddles are useful as a diagnostic tool and can be usefully employed to eliminate the saddle as a possible source of pain. Dr. Sue Dyson, a world leading specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of lameness in the horse, now regularly uses the SMARTTM saddle in assessing horses with back pain and recommends its therapeutic use to clients.
“It has been my experience that some horses with back pain benefit tremendously by the use of the SMART™ Saddle.”
Dr Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, Head of Clinical Orthopaedic Studies at The Animal Health Trust
“I love both my SMART™ PRO saddles. My lovely little Thoroughbred has always tried his hardest at dressage but never found it easy. With the SMART™ PRO, all of a sudden, sideways is as easy as forwards... Fantastic!It is SO comfortable! ...and if I'm comfortable my horse has to be more comfortable!”
SMART™ Saddles Ambassador, Penny Lawn BHSI
““I LOVE my SMART™Jump saddle! I have used it on many different horses over the years and always had fantastic results.”
Read Bethans full story, including details of her RSPCA rescue horses’ rehabilitation, here.
After 6 month of using the SMART™ saddle, one customer noticed a huge difference in her horse, read more here.
“He’s now completely different to look at; his back is clearly stronger, the dips behind his withers are filling in, and each time he changes shape, an Approved Advisor has been available to assist us if needed.”