Keeping Everything Natural: DIY Dressage Rider Candyce McCann Is Devoted To Reactor Panel Saddles

Nov 15, 2012 - 7:37 AM

Candyce McCann is a classic do-it-yourself kind of person who has been riding all her life. Her whole approach to horses is natural, and she’s done her homework. She keeps her horses barefoot and trims their feet herself. She doesn’t feed commercial feed but grinds flax freshly every day. She is absolutely committed to providing the best possible experience for her horses, and does rigorous research to find top products and solutions.

After experiencing fitting problems with multiple saddles, she found the ReactorPanel Saddle Company and experienced better comfort, fit and adjustability than any other saddle. Thrilled at the great fit for her horse and the adjustability that allowed her to change the fit as her horses’ backs developed, she won’t ride in anything else. From her first used ReactorPanel saddle to her latest fully custom dressage saddle, she’s devoted to the ReactorPanel brand. To Candyce, it was a bonus that she could use the ReactorPanel fitting tools and videos to make adjustments on her own.

“I have always had issues with saddles until I found ReactorPanel Saddles,” she said. “I was told that my saddle had lost its flocking and it needed to be re-stuffed. The saddle fitter stuffed it so full that it caused my horse to have pain. Instead of sitting evenly, it pinched him in the spine and was very rigid. It made him really sore in his back. I borrowed a friend’s saddle that fit me well, but didn’t fit my horse. Then, I purchased another saddle that was okay but when he moved, it was just stationary on his back. It didn’t flex with him.”

“I purchased a Port Lewis fitting pressure pad system,” she continued. “It confirmed that my saddles weren’t fitting properly. Then I went on to the ReactorPanel website and I purchased my first used ReactorPanel saddle. The minute I sat in the saddle, I knew it was perfect. I had never felt my seat bones properly in another saddle. Finally, I found a saddle that makes me feel the way I am supposed to feel when I am riding. It was good for me and it was good for my horse.”

“My horse, Vinny, had a really bulging and over-developed right shoulder and the left shoulder was hollow. It was easy to use different-sized components that made up for the hollowness on the left side. I could balance the saddle without having to re-flock the saddle.”

“The most notable change using the ReactorPanel saddle was the complete freedom of the shoulders my gelding expressed in the trot. He also rounded over his topline without any fuss. Lateral movements were more willingly performed within a week of transitioning to the new ReactorPanel.”

McCann has since purchased additional saddles for each of her horses. She enjoys the experience of purchasing a ReactorPanel saddle and creating exactly the saddle she wants.

“My eight year old grade mare has been lucky enough to never experience a saddle other than the ReactorPanel,” said McCann. “I am convinced that the ReactorPanel saddle fit is the reason why she is the easiest to ride of all my horses. She has never had to deal with back pain from an ill-fitting saddle. Her medium and extended trots are spectacular. You can feel her shoulders lift and her hocks bending to take more weight and allow the power of her hindquarters to propel us forward across the diagonal.”

As a tried and true DIYer, McCann has also benefited from ReactorPanel’s high-touch customer service.

“When you order your saddle, you have so many choices- from the billet holes in your girth strap, to the color, to the leather- there are so many choices. You can get a number of different tree widths all the way up to extra, extra wide. Essentially, I got a completely custom saddle. I even designed my own flap. I don’t think any other saddle company would ever do that. ReactorPanel has great customer service. Carmi (Weininger, President of ReactorPanel Saddle Company) and Lisa Jordan (Education Director) were really helpful.”

“Now I have five ReactorPanel Saddles. Every horse I ride at my barn is in a ReactorPanel Saddle. It is a good feeling to know I have a saddle that fits each of them.”

The ReactorPanel Saddle Company, based in Oakland, CA, makes saddles for multiple disciplines including dressage, trail, endurance, eventing, hunter/jumper, fox hunting, and cross-country. They require that all customers use the saddle for a two-week, free trial, prior to purchase, to ensure proper fit and comfort for both the horse and rider.  Saddles are fit and adjusted by specially trained Fitting Agents, or by users like Candyce, who enjoy do-it-yourself projects.  

For more about the ReactorPanel Company go to: 

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If you are interested in being a ReactorPanel Saddle Company Fitting Agent contact:

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