Maximizing the performance and weight distributing capabilities of your
Sensation Ride ™ saddle.
The Sensation Ride ™ saddles are completely tree free with no rigid components. The supportive cantle and swell / pommel are hand stuffed to permit the saddle to conform to the rider. These saddles rely on a system of weight distribution known as the MPD (multi-point Distribution) which employs a movable stirrup base under the rider’s legs, as well as a stirrup attachment at the lowest point of the saddle. This lower attachment is known as the ISA (Internal stirrup attachment).
The girth rigging and the ISA are intertwined and secured from side to side on the saddle. This assembly is then unified through the stitching of the saddle, creating a unified tension along the length of the saddle from swell or pommel to the cantle.
When the rider places weight in the stirrups of the Sensation Ride™ saddle, their weight is borne over the maximum surface area of the saddle. If the stirrups are not used to help bear the rider's weight while riding, the saddle is not able to provide the best performance - due to the rider’s weight being constant in one location (under the seat bones of the rider).
Treeless saddles which are truly treeless (without any rigid components) tend to maintain a constant contact on the horse, whereas a saddle with a rigid or semi-rigid tree or tree components will have periods of intermittent contact as the horse bends and flexes. The constant contact is stabilizing, but also tends to trap heat on the horse's back.
Heat and moisture dissipation, along with dynamic weight distribution is key to keeping the horse's back healthy and happy. Coincidentally, dynamic weight distribution is also an excellent way for the riders to remain strong, balanced and in tune with the horse.
When conditions are not optimal for the horse, you may see white hair "roaning" which is a factor of heat, moisture and steady contact causing follicular damage to the hair. Sweat patterns are a very inaccurate method of determining saddle fit, but persistent dry areas indicate that air flow needs to improve and contact needs to be less constant.
Solid white patches of hair showing on the horse are normally only present when a solid tree is causing unrelenting, extreme pressure resulting in substantial damage to the hair follicles and underlying tissues. This issue is much more concerning that white hair roaning.
It is not uncommon for the appearance of white hairs to be delayed. Sometimes, they will not show until shed-out begins. If you are transitioning from an ill-fitting saddle to treeless and white hairs appear after a few months, this does not always indicate improper fit from the treeless saddle. These hairs could be a result of the previous saddle with improper fit and a delayed response.
The following guideline will help to maximize your saddles performance.
This guideline applies to all saddles, but especially the Sensation Ride ™ treeless saddle.
Best performance and longevity:
- Using stirrups to help share rider load
- Keeping saddle pad clean
- Using a mounting block to mount
- Mounting on both sides of horse
- Saddle pad materials can have air pass through
- Saddle and pad contours match horse contours
- Conditioning leather only when needed
- Ensuring saddle permits comfort for rider and correct alignment
- Aligning stirrup leather for a balanced riding "feel"
- If riding long distances, keeping an additional pad on hand
- Maintaining your saddle with new panels/pad foams as required
- Purchasing a saddle made-to-order to accommodate a horse with unique build or special needs
- Keeping your saddle on a shaped stand in a balanced position
- Lifting seat topper and inspecting cantle and stirrup base for balance and soundness every season
Negative impact on performance and longevity:
- Sitting in one spot and bearing rider weight only on buttocks
- Allowing saddle pad to become encrusted with salt/sweat/dirt
- Mounting from the ground
- Only mounting on one side
- Saddle pad materials block air flow
- Saddle or saddle pad being too flat or too curved to match horse
- Over conditioning leather to a point where is gets stretchy
- Having to reach too far for stirrup leathers or having too small or large of seat
- Setting your stirrup leathers to conform to other's suggestions
- Using a saddle pad until it wears out
- Allowing saddle or pad to "pack down", affecting your horse's comfort
- Buying second hand without knowing the background of the saddle fully
- Storing saddle crookedly, on a narrow rack or stored "open" and flat
- Allowing cantle to become "squished" or stirrup base to move off-center