View Full Version : Who makes para-equestrian saddles?

Jul. 24, 2009, 12:21 PM
Which saddlers are game to make either custom modifications or even better, custom saddles, for those of us who need more help from our saddles to keep riding well?

Jul. 24, 2009, 12:33 PM
Which saddlers are game to make either custom modifications or even better, custom saddles, for those of us who need more help from our saddles to keep riding well?

I'm a Grade III para rider, I don't have any modifications to my saddle specifically, I ride in a Albion SLK, with some extra short leathers from prestige. My dream saddle is a Trilogy Debbie Special, I'm 5'0 so I could really use the short flaps! I am getting On Tyte stirrups as discussed in a previous thread. As part of my para dispensation, I have a grab strap in the front of my saddle, my reins would be too long if I actually grabbed it in a test, so I mainly use it for warm up so I can get the feel of moving my elbows properly. My other piece of equipment is a spur strap that attaches my stirrup iron to the girth to keep my left leg stabilize my left leg and keep it from slipping back.

Jul. 24, 2009, 12:37 PM
You could check here http://www.freedomrider.com/about.html

Jul. 24, 2009, 12:38 PM

Jul. 24, 2009, 01:26 PM
Thank you for the posts.

Ellie, I'm waiting for some ontyte sample booties to arrive at journeyman so I can try them. Did you glean any other suggestions at Lamplight? I was hoping that some of the saddlers might have exhibited there.

NoelleMwc, have you tried this system or know of anyone who has?

Equibrit, It seems that she carries only a conventional saddle type. I hope I am wrong and missed a click somewhere.

I really appreciate all of you taking the time to answer.

Jul. 24, 2009, 01:53 PM
I think it may be worth asking if she has other resources not on the website.
Check at the bottom of this page too; http://www.medicinebowsaddlery.com/saddles.htm

Movin Artfully
Jul. 24, 2009, 02:59 PM
You might try contacting Michael Richardson. He is a paraplegic and a clinician.


Jul. 24, 2009, 07:53 PM
I have a good seat, but my legs are extremely limited. On a positive note, I am unable to grip too much with my legs so my seat stays super deep. My balance is generally good, but as I tire, I lose some control. For example, if I am nearing the end of a ride and my horse stumbles, I will become unseated as a result of my legs slipping back and fall on his neck.

I am 5'10". My leg length is more in my thigh then my calf...not to the point of being odd looking, but my thighs are pretty long. I am looking for a saddle with a deep seat and large blocks. My legs lack feeling because of my nerve disorder, so I need a saddle which will aid me in keeping my legs in the correct position, thus keeping my feet in the stirrups. I want a deep seat as my tush and pelvis are my only fully working lower body parts.

Do any of you have any ideas of saddles that might work for me? I do not have the means for a custom saddle. I have to stay under $3k.

Thanks in advance. Until now I never believed I would need a "special" saddle. I have had neurological problems for 15+ years, but I always went into remission. At this point, I have been in a "relapse" for 3 years and it is looking as though there will not be another remission. I am just hoping to be as secure as possible in the saddle.

Jul. 24, 2009, 08:08 PM
Check the Medicine Bow link above ($1300.00) for a special saddle.

Jul. 24, 2009, 10:02 PM
Thank you for the posts.

Ellie, I'm waiting for some ontyte sample booties to arrive at journeyman so I can try them. Did you glean any other suggestions at Lamplight? I was hoping that some of the saddlers might have exhibited there.

There was very little shopping (well, compared to the hunter/jumper shows) and no saddlers when I went on saturday. I forgot to mention, right now I am riding in Herm Sprenger 4F stirrups with an offset eye, and cheese grater stirrup pads.

Oct. 6, 2009, 09:18 PM
Smith Worthington in Hartford, CT used to do custom saddles especially for those with disabilities. They are great and very helpful.

Oct. 6, 2009, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the smith worthington idea. I am trying a Tad Coffin proto type this weekend. Tad designs his own trees and is game to see if he can fit my Trakehener mare. She is a difficult fit, quite short backed. His saddle isn't a dressage saddle, but rather a different sort.

I want to ride trails and small mountains, ravines and streams, hand gallop and deal with small obstacles, then do 30 minutes of dressage in the arena and go back out and do another 30 minutes of conditioning. His saddle is close contact, and hopefully, there will be enough cushioning from shock in the seat that I am good for 5 hours.

Dec. 21, 2009, 01:34 PM
I'm bumping this up since there are more of us on the hunt.

I am working on a prototype custom saddle. Black Country is willing to work with Patty Merli, saddle fitter. I have many spinal issues, so they are creating a double seat so the shock is dampened and I can have a twist that doesn't set off the nerves in my upper inner thighs. My mares are wider than I can manage, so I need just enough height that I can keep my legs more under me. They are willing to start with the Celeste, since that tree suits the mares and it is more comfortable for me.

They will adjust the padding to give me a close contact feel in my legs and the sensitivity and light touch will work. I have to have bend in my legs, so I ride with about a 45 degree angle. The saddle will "appear" to be a dressage straight flap for showing, but it will actually have enough forwardness that I can shorten stirrups and gallop. I will have extended stirrup bars, which means the balance will be fine tuned to the need, and I can have another rider sit in it, when I need help.

I like the shrumph leather because I need to be able to move some in the seat. If the seat were too locked in, I would have my vertebrae shift and pinch my spinal cord. It is similar to the analogy of the football player whose cleated shoes keep the foot planted, but the propulsion sends the body forward and the knee and ligaments go.

It seems like such a simple thing to buy a saddle. Until it isn't. I have been honing the saddle quest for many years now; four since the last time I broke my back, when I got hit by a deer, while galloping my big DWB.

I hope that what I learn and create will help the rest of us. I will post when the latest iteration arrives over the holidays. Keep your fingers crossed and wish on a star for me..

Dec. 22, 2009, 09:15 PM
I have not worked with astride saddles for the handicapped or restricted rider. But I have built sidesaddles for women who have problems with hips, low back and knee problems. I have built off side and reversable sidesaddles( as well as regular sidesaddles). I built a Western for one lady with a siderail for added security. I do have one lady who needs additional knee blocks ro help keep her knees inthe correct place on the saddle flaps. I am going to make some notes to help me to do this for others.
I would like to know more about this as I desire to help the restricted rider to have a more pleasant way to ride. Is there any school for this in the East. I have not heard of any personally but I'd love to learn more in this field.
Kind regards, Sadlmakr

Dec. 22, 2009, 11:48 PM
Thank you so much for posting. I saw your post a long time ago in a different thread, and I really appreciate your interest. You are happy thinking outside the box, and that is key.

This is an emerging specialty, and there doesn't seem to be anyone that I have found in the U.S. who has studied enough and has the desire to create a new paradigm. It is like a NASA project, lots of playing with divergent thinking and wild combinations from many different areas and fields.

Drs. Hilary Clayton and Narelle Stubbs, of Michigan State University, are working on the horse/rider science of the interface and how it affects both of them. They are measuring the biomechanics and they are easy to reach and discuss ideas. I have visited them and participated in some of their studies.

I would be happy to talk with you, if you want to p,m. me. I am also playing with technical materials from the orthopedic field.

I have another lead from a dutch instructor of a saddler in Holland that makes para saddles. I haven't made contact with that one yet. Hope Hand, executive director of Para-Equestrian and Paralympic for the U.S.would be a key person for you to contact.

Dec. 27, 2009, 05:32 PM
It seems like such a simple thing to buy a saddle. Until it isn't.

This is a basic Truth.

I dealt with *horse* issues for years, and only recently had to start dealing with rider issues. And mine are much simpler! I only have to deal with hip pain and sciatica!

Some with less mobility in the legs might find it useful to try a Fhoenix from Heather Moffett. The Memory Foam seat molds to you, and is very secure and feels 'deep' without being restrictive. To give you an idea, I went from the Fhoenix to an Ancient Passier--you don't get LESS restrictive than that... but the Fhoenix was INCREDIBLY supportive when I needed it, getting back to riding after the hip issues.

I know that Nursey's makes each one by hand, and I could see them be VERY willing to try something like an outside strip of loop velcro on the flap so you could put a leg loop on (like the Massimo saddle shows) etc.

Structurally it's not going to have the rigidity that some of them have, but it's very close contact and could be useful for some. Worth mentioning anyway.

I am incredibly interested in saddle design and thinking 'outside' the box. Whicker, please do keep us updated.

Dec. 30, 2009, 08:16 AM
From the Uk side of the pond the two makers who I know will produce custom saddles for para-riders are Barnsby and FTE who make the WOW saddles.

Lee Pearson has a specially made Barnsby and I know of at least two other para-riders who have Barnsby saddles.
My friend is a Grade IV rider and she has a WOW saddle that had the seat made for her to help with her unlevel seatbones (one is quite a bit higher than the other).

Sep. 14, 2012, 04:05 PM
Massimo/ Zeitler makes a high quality and very useful "para equestrian" saddle called Smile
Unfortunately their website is in German only. We sell Massimo in Scotland:

Hope this helps!


Sep. 15, 2012, 01:39 AM
According to lauren barwick. Shlesse will be prepared to pay alot, she said prestige wont, i will find out what brand her new saddle is going to be for you.

Me im ok with a super deep padded with big knee/thigh rolls and short flaps

Sep. 15, 2012, 01:41 AM
Invite i love chelderic and prestiege, try and find used

Sep. 16, 2012, 09:07 AM
Walkers is on the hunt for a gaited horse saddle. Any ideas?

I want to try the W.O.W. saddle. It has an adjustable tree and component structure. My osteopathic vet wants to look closely at it for the endurance riders. So far, I'm having trouble locating a U.S. rep for it. Suggestions?

My current custom is made by Centaur saddles. Still tweaking the blocks on this one. The memory foam seat is a new design and does a super job of not making the nerves in my back and legs light up. First seat that doesn't hurt.:D