Ever since BALANCE went public with the evidence of its own research back in 1993, there has been a lot of interest in the work that BALANCE does.

The Co-founders took advantage of any opportunity they had to use more scientific and objective ways to prove the validity of their findings from very early on in BALANCE history.

One of the first studies we did back in the early days of the BALANCE organisation, was to experiment with assessing the difference between a ridden horse in its own conventional and professionally fitted saddle to the BALANCE Saddling System and a BALANCE saddle, by using a force plate to record and analyse the loading on the feet as the horse was ridden over it.

This was all done in a very informal way, just because the opportunity came up and we had no idea whether the results would show anything of interest or significance.

However, what that simple experiment clearly showed was highly significant. :)

As well as taking readings of the horse when trotted over the plate in hand, to assess a base-line pattern of loading, it was, apparently, the first time that someone had attempted to ride a horse over the force plate, at that facility, but it worked well.

The results clearly showed more stability in the way the feet landed in the BALANCE saddle and a reduction of concussion and loading in the front feet, with the weight of the horse more evenly distributed between the front and back feet.

This supported what we had been witnessing visually when changing horses into BALANCE saddles, but it was great to get some unbiased and objectively measured evidence as well.

What the readings showed, was that in the BALANCE saddle, they were very close to matching the readings when the horse was led in hand, with no saddle on its back, whereas the readings when the horse was in its own saddle, showed a deterioration in stability, an exaggeration of an inherent hoof imbalance in one front limb and an increase in concussion.

In 1996, Writtle College asked if they could use BALANCE saddles and methods for a simple project they wanted to do, using CAD to analyse movement patterns in horses when their saddles were changed.

Again recordings and measurements were taken of the horses led in hand and then in two different saddles: their own, conventionally fitted saddles and a BALANCE saddle.

The data collected shows that in the BALANCE saddles, the movement returned to very similar to the readings taken when the horses were led in hand (walk and trot); this matches what we witness time and again when doing Saddle Consultations and Test Rides. This confirms that the BALANCE methods and equipment can minimize saddle influence on the horses and allow them to retain their natural movement.

"a correlation was determined between the flight arc and the fit of the saddle which suggested that a wide fitting saddle mirrored the flight of the horses natural movement. This compares to a saddle of a narrower fit which indicated that the peak of flight occurred in the opposite direction to that of the horses natural movement."

The next study that was undertaken, was at De-Montford Universtity under the guidance of Dr Gail Williams from September 1998 till May 1999

This project was used for 3 students. Amy Bealle, Katie O'Neill and Rachel Fuller, submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a Bachelor of Equine Science degree.

The subject of their research was:

THE EFFECT OF SADDLE FIT ON THE MUSCULATURE AND ACTION OF THE JUMPING HORSE

It was done with a small group of horses over several weeks and included a control group

During the time that the horses were ridden in BALANCE saddles they showed improvements in joint flexibility, bascule over the jump, better recovery and improvement in muscle mass in the saddle area.

"This study aims to test the primary hypothesis, that poorly fitting saddles inhibit the jumping kinematics of the horse. The horses used were 4 geldings that all displayed symptoms of damage from poorly fitting saddles. In total data were taken over 7 collection sessions under one of two conditions."

  • Condition 1. The horses were jumped in their normal saddles
  • Condition 2. The horses were jumped in correctly fitting, wider Balance saddles

The 3 study horses jumped under both conditions, while the control horse jumped only under condition 1.

Data were taken and recorded with the use of the MacReflex Motion Analysis System(MacReflex 2.5 Qualysis AB, Sweden) and passive reflective markers (Scotchfite 3M 8850).

"The results of this study support the primary hypothesis and suggest that Balance saddles allow the horses more freedom to utilize their own inherent ability and natural jumping techniques."

The most recent study was done during 2018, at Hartpury College as part of a Masters Degree .

Once again the data collected supports the fact that the horses used in the study were able to move better when ridden in saddles that contain the design features found in BALANCE saddles and used as part of a Functional Saddling method.

The full details of this study are yet to be released, but we hope to be able to do this in the early part of 2020, including video footage of the instant transformation of horses when taken out of their own, conventionally fitted saddles and put into a BALANCE saddle and pad combination.

Client testimonials

  • I can’t tell you how much I love my Zenith!!!  I went through 10 saddles in 6 years for my horse before I got my Zenith. Two were “custom” made for him. What a joke. I am on my 5th year with my Zenith and it is still perfect!!!  I cringe now when I see these very deep Dressage saddles with the huge thigh blocks. People ask me how I can ride in my Zenith with no thigh blocks and no deep seat. I say well now my horse is balanced and I don’t have to depend on the saddle to hold me. ☺️

    Melinda - United States

  • What can I say?  I love it!  The saddle and all of the accessories are great quality and look good but most importantly my horse is so comfortable that her stride has almost doubled, she glides round corners and works on the bridle with ease.  What a difference!

    Donna - Scotland

  • It has been almost a year since I received my Zenith Saddle and I cannot tell you how happy I am with it. I went through 10 saddles trying to find the right one. He would rear as I was saddling him or move away from me.

    Now he happily munches  his hay as I saddle him. He has had no more issues under saddle except for his lack of strength but I see that improving all the time. I wish I had discovered this 10 years ago.

    Many thanks!

     

    Melinda - United States

  • You simply blow me away with the care and attention you give me, a single client! WOW! I am so excited to be buying a balance Saddle and just thrilled to be supporting such an awesome company!

    Sally - England

  • The BALANCE saddle started us on the road to recovery.  I can’t thank enough Carol Brett and the whole BALANCE team who have not only worked hard to find the right saddle solution (the Matrix GPD proved best for us)  but have provided support throughout the whole process of getting myself and Alfie back on the right track. 

    Mags and Alfie - England