Solution Smart GP
I contacted solution via their website and got in contact with a local fitter. The saddle itself is identical to the original smart gp, but with thinner and shorter panels, making it ideal for wide, flat backed horses, and those who are bum high. I have the Size 4 and at 5’8 it provides the benefit of helping the rider feel less perched.
The saddle came with a dorsal supplement pad (DSP) – a fancy half pad, which is non slip on the saddle side, with Velcro along the underside attaching itself to a numnah (either the eskadron classic range, or anything which already has Velcro attached -p.s. I’m not advertising eskadron, it’s the only one I’ve found so far which the Velcro already sticks to without needing further alterations) and a nuumed hi wither numnah with Velcro on. They do say that it doesn’t have to be one of their numnahs however, all you need is a hi wither, thin numnah/saddle cloth and a roll of Velcro, approx 3″ wide!
On the saddle, I have a large knee roll, and a thigh block, I ride a 4yo with limited riding experience and a high risk of tripping. I’m also used to a barnsby omega gp on my older horse, so I like a decent knee roll to stick my knee in at the first sign of trouble.
To say I was sceptical would be a large underestimation. All treed saddles had slipped forwards onto her shoulders, and inhibited movement, and I’ve never been a member of the ‘barefoot and treeless’ brigade. I’ve always been fairly traditional, so the solution appealed to me as it looks treed but very lightweight. The leather is soft and good quality, and in general the saddle is very comfy to ride in.
Since owning the saddle, I have hacked over varied terrain in walk, trot and canter, been to a dressage competition and most recently show jumping. The saddle doesn’t move a millimetre no matter what my horse does underneath me, allowing her to move freely underneath me. It took a few rides to fully get used to how much the rider can feel the horse moving underneath you, and vice versa. Having only ridden in treed saddles before, I found I was half halting but receiving a halt from my mare. She was suddenly much more responsive.
Price wise, if buying brand new they’re an expensive outlay, but the company do offer 10% the total purchase if you buy outright, or they offer a 0% payment plan! which gives you a free saddle cloth, DSP, and knee blocks. Buying a saddle that has the potential to last you from backing of the horse, and for life the cost will work out very cost effective over the years. The saddles are FEI approved, so fully legal for all levels of competition. I haven’t yet jumped over 50cm ish, but am planning our first ODE later this year so we shall see how it goes then!
Solution Smart Jump
Today I tacked up as per instructions, I had spoken to the company and I can if I want to have a fitter out to tweak when she covers my area.
It says amongst other things “put on far forwards” I have to say that’s alien and I was convinced it would be over her shoulder and that’s going to be as far as we get! But, as it says to have your straps vertically straight, that’s what we did.
You only need a thin cotton pad, so we used the extra-large Shires one.
I lunged in walk, trot and canter and my bum was twitching to get on. My first shock was that the seat is in fact fairly hard. But I believe its due to it needing to mould and my bum expecting it to be a Freeform softish seat! Once my stirrups were shortened, we started to “settle”
In the jumping position it’s really comfortable, you have space to adjust your seat and we popped a couple of jumps.
It rides as a treed saddle, if you prefer the more bareback feel I have been told to look for the Freestyle and Energist models. This model is in my opinion as heavy as a treed would be. I love the w girthing and there is no crupper ring. It has two rings for their own make of x over breastplate.
Its a lovely well made saddle, but I decided not to keep this model and look for a gp instead. I had a lesson and it fitted the horse lovely but wasn’t totally suiting me. I think perhaps the non panel type could be better or the gp.
It really is as flexible as they say, my horse has an upright shoulder, low wither and is very broad.
Air Jacket Fitting
Air Jacket Announcement-from Solution
It has come to our attention that clients are attaching straps for air-jackets, panniers and grab straps onto the stirrup hangers of their Solution saddles. Please be aware that attaching anything other than stirrup leathers or webbers to the stirrup hangers can compromise the function, as well as cause damage to the saddle.
Misuse of the saddles in this way renders the warranty void
We suggest that any clients wishing to attach such items to their saddle do so by way of clips to the D-rings. The D-rings alone are not guaranteed under such high forces as an exploding air-bag and we therefore recommend attaching via a plastic clip which will give in the event of an emergency.
Similarly, please remember that the girthing assembly is also not designed for any purpose other than attaching the girth. Please do not attach breastgirth straps etc. to the girth straps themselves. All Solution GP and Jump saddles come with knee D-rings as standard. If your saddle does not have knee D-rings, these can be fitted retrospectively in our workshop.
Thank you to both riders above for demonstrating correct use of the SMART X-over breastgirth and attachment of air-jackets.
Reproduced from the newsletter.