This Dressage version of the Matrix has is made on the BALANCE/FB7 tree, which is also used in all of the style options within the Zenith and Felix ranges. It has foam panels like the Felix. However, the big difference in the Matrix is that the points have been removed from the tree in this saddle.
Remember, that the Matrix range of saddles are exactly the same construction as the Felix Range, but the Matrix saddles do not have solid points below the level of the stirrup bars.
This makes the front of the saddle very flexible right up to the level of the stirrup bars, which some horses really love and take full advantage of to create expressive, generous movement through the shoulders and forequarters.
However, experience has shown us that while reducing the hard structures within the front of the saddle by removing the points sounds like it would be good for every horse, some horses don't like the feel it provides.
For example, if the rider is not very stable, and/or the horse has some movement or postural challenges, the horse often needs more clarity and stability to feel confident, the Matrix can provide almost too much freedom. If the horse feels an instability in the saddle or rider, it tends to use muscles it should be using for good movement, to brace against the unstable feel.
Stability has to come from somewhere. If the rider cannot provide it, the saddle needs to do that job. If, however, the rider has the skill to be balanced, co-coordinated and stable in their riding, the Matrix can provide a level of freedom that takes things to another level.
The Matrix dressage saddle has dressage/show bars which are set slightly further back than on the other Matrix styles, in order to facilitate the use of a longer, straighter leg position that is frequently used by dressage riders.
All BALANCE Dressage Saddles come with short girth straps (billets) as standard. This is because the research BALANCE has done shows that, the majority of horses are more comfortable in long girths and short girth straps (billets). However, long girth straps can be ordered if the rider prefers. The saddles have a flatter seat contour than many other dressage saddles on the market. This is a deliberate design feature for riders who do not want to feel fixed or restricted by the saddle. For the same reason, the saddles have moderate sized, but adjustable/removable, knee blocks.
A range of BALANCE tree Widths: R, X and XX. (This different way of labelling the widths of the BALANCE/FB7 tree, is because in the Matrix the tree has no solid points below the level of the stirrup bars.) The widths relate to the needs of healthy, well developed and correctly trained horses and ponies.
No Points from below the level of the stirrup bars.
Foam Panels, covered in a reversed hide.
Short girth straps (billets)
Dressage (show) stirrup bars
4 seat lengths A, B, C, D
Flap length on A & B seat length saddles is 17.75" (45cm) and on the C & D seat length saddles is 18.5" (47cm). This is approximate and is measured from the top of the stirrup bar to the bottom of the flap at its longest point. The saddle can be ordered with a different flap length, but it is very unusual for this to be necessary.
Adjustable/removable knee blocks
The leathers used are of the highest quality, with all welts, facings etc. made with leathers that are the best colour match for the saddle. Other options are available. Please see below.
Highest quality manufacturing by Frank Baines Saddlery
Choosing the colours in your saddle.
Many riders prefer to stay with classic colours of, all-over black or brown, but other options are available to customise your saddle if that is what you prefer. As this saddle is made for BALANCE by Frank Baines Saddlery, it makes sense for you to use their own, innovative and award winning 'Build Your Baines' app, that can be found on their website : https://www.frankbaines.com/bmb/
You won't see any BALANCE saddle models on their yet, but you can use the example of their Elegance saddle as a reference as it is very similar in its construction to the BALANCE range of saddles. This will show you the options for leathers and colours that you can choose.
Please be aware that some of the leathers, coloured welts and facings that you will see, will add to the basic price of the saddle as shown on this page.
The cantle of this style of saddle can include a cantle insert, cantle welt and crystals if wanted.
Being able to move in a powerful, balanced and engaged way, without restriction or discomfort, is every horse’s birth-right and essential in order for him to be able to carry the unnatural weight of a rider, without doing harm to himself.