[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’Saddle Features’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]
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WOW from First Thought Equine is the first fully modular saddle, combining modern technology with a traditional look. So, what exactly do we mean by modular?
The seat, head plate, flaps, panels, and even billets are exchangeable on many of the WOW saddles. So, for example, you can buy a Shallow Seat Competitor in an 18″, and put a 17″ panel on it because your horse has a short back, and whatever size head plate you need. Then, you can add a dressage flap and long billets for your dressage tests. When you want to jump, you switch out to a butt leather jumping flap and short military style billets for the Hunter ring. The head plate, panel, and seat all stay the same, so the fit for the horse is unchanged. Basically, you are getting two high quality saddles for the cost of ~1.3 saddles!
More commonly, the modular feature is used when you switch horses, or possibly disciplines. If your original horse could accommodate an 18″ panel but your new horse has a shorter back, no problem! We can switch out the panels in about ten minutes, no need to buy a whole new saddle. Head plates are equally easy to exchange, and are very affordable.
The flaps can also be moved to a forward and backward position. For jumpers, this means you can rotate your flap back for flat work or more forward for higher fences. In dressage, many more novice riders prefer the more forward position at first, then drop back as their hips open and their stirrups lengthen. There are also three stirrup positions to accommodate all leg positions, so you never have to fight against your stirrups to keep your hips and heels aligned!
There are 21 head plate size and shape options. The size matches the angle of the trapezium muscle directly behind the furthest point of rotation of the scapula. WOW is unique in its size range, offering from 7 degrees narrower than a standard “narrow” gullet, and up to 21 degrees wider than the widest gullet in Wintec’s Extra Wide range, or a full 42 degrees wider than a standard “extra wide” gullet! The head plate shape determines how high off the withers the saddle will sit. Separating shape from size means no more having to go too narrow in order to stay clear of a high wither!
The Y-shaped carbon fiber tree has two serious advantages. First off, it allows the saddle to be laterally flexible. This protects the horse’s spine without impeding his natural movement. It also allows for a pressure-point free front- as in, there is literally no tree point to cause a pressure point! When you ride in a WOW you will feel your horse’s shoulders and back move similar to when you ride bareback, but with the support of a real saddle seat underneath you. Secondly, this tree design makes for the narrowest twist on the market at just 11 centimeters. If you desire a wider twist, we can add padding in multiple areas, but most people find that allowing their leg to just fall away from the hip is incredibly comfortable.
The tree can be ordered as either flat, semi-curved, or curved to fit any back shape. Then an ergonomic seat is built on top of the tree, with available comfort features ranging from coccyx support to channels in the pommel area. High end leather completes these gorgeous saddles, and with so many possible customization options you can order something as unique or as classic as you like.
The panels are available with foam, wool, or Flair flocking. Flair panels are not like other air systems on the market; they are designed to evenly distribute air over a very wide surface area with the help of cleverly arranged foam inside the panels and bladders. In fact, Flair panels distribute the rider’s weight 27.7% better than a traditional wool-flocked saddle! The bladders themselves are well engineered against leaks or tears, and failures are exceedingly rare. Because each panel has two bladders, making four per saddle, we can adjust them asymmetrically to improve the comfort and balance for both horse and rider! Also, we can adjust them onsite, meaning your saddle never gets taken away for a reflock! Some people complain that the Flair saddles require more frequent fit checks, but in reality wool flocking should also be rechecked every six months for most horses, and some Flair saddles have gone as long as seven years without requiring adjustment! Because refitting Flair is easier and cheaper than wool, we suspect people are simply more compliant, creating an illusion that they “require” more maintenance.