AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR FOR HEATHER MOFFETT SADDLES
Soft Tree English Saddles
The SoftTree is a revolutionary design unlike any other saddle on the market. The manufacturing process is unique in saddle-making. The Vogue saddles have no rigid parts, other than a small rigid cantle support, which cannot be felt by either horse or rider. It is not like fully treeless saddles in that those are very thin and do not provide a ‘twist’ for the rider, instead our saddles allow the thighs to drop and legs and hips do not feel straddled. The ‘SoftTree’ is built up from layers of materials, tested and chosen for their shock absorbing and pressure resisting properties, but also shaping the seat to feel much more like a conventional treed saddle for the rider. This ‘SoftTree’ enables the saddle to flex with every oscillation of the horse's back, giving great freedom of movement, with no restriction of the shoulders or hindrance of the lifting of the horse's back.
Reflecting Heather Moffett's passion for the Iberian horse this Portugese equitation saddle has been developed by Heather from the Vogue to provide a comfortable, SoftTree saddle for both horse and rider. The Iberica is available with a 17 or 18 inch seat in dark havana or black. The Iberica has Heather's trademark set-back stirrup bars enabling the rider to achieve an instant 'ear-shoulder-hip-heel' alignment.
HEATHER MOFFETT VOGUE RANGE
The Vogue is the flagship of the Heather Moffett saddle range. It is styled along the lines of the expensive mono-flap dressage saddles, being almost indistinguishable in looks although with the benefits to horse and rider comfort of the SoftTree. It is completely competition legal for all disciplines.
The Vogue is styled without skirts over the "e" hook stirrup bars giving the closest possible contact with the horse.
The Vogue is available in three variants, a dressage style and two styles of general purpose saddle. All three models of saddle are available in black or brown, in 17" or 18" with the option of suede seat and/or knee pads at no extra cost. The flaps can be made with or without the decorative stitching, giving a wide range of style options.
The Vogue dressage has Heather Moffett's trademark set-back stirrup bars enabling the rider to achieve an instant 'ear-shoulder-hip-heel' alignment.
The Vogue GPS is styled like a VSD (Very Slightly Dressage) saddle and is suitable for riders who wish to do general riding and small jumps.
The Vogue GPT is suitable for the taller rider with long legs, who may not be able to ride with their stirrups shortened on the GPS without their leg protruding too far off the front of the flap.
Both the GPS and the GPT are true GP saddles with the flap cut so that it is still possible to ride with the stirrups at flat-work length without the rider's leg coming off the back of the saddle.
There is an option to add extra D-rings on cantle for a small charge.
Supplied with a set of panels and a pair of movable knee rolls. The customer can choose between large or small knee rolls depending on their preference, and it is also possible to purchase extra sets of knee rolls.
Each of the three models of Vogue (dressage, GPS, GPT) are also available in a limited edition deluxe version.
Featuring specially selected, cognac coloured, Italian hide, these saddles provide a unique alternative to the standard black and dark Havana leather. This colour does have an additional charge and wait time.
If you have any specific customisation that you would wish to have applied to your saddle, please do not hesitate to contact us. Examples would be - extra D rings, change in seat depth, lower cantle and so on. Custom orders will need to be paid in full for on submission of the order and are non-refundable.
Usually, the waiting time for new saddles is 10-12 weeks approximately.
CONSTRUCTION & FITTING
Soft Tree Saddles
The whole seat and flexible front arch are made from 45 mm thickness of the Seat bone Saver memory foam, into which the rider sinks, giving great depth of seat and exceptional comfort.
The molded replaceable panels are designed to give a traditionally gulleted underside to the saddle. With the addition of padding for horses with muscle wastage, it is possible to fit almost any horse.
The SoftTree saddle offers unrivaled comfort to both horse and rider, combining the flexibility and best characteristics of a treeless saddle, but with the rider support of a treed saddle.
With all saddles, whether treeless, part-treed or treed, there will always be an element of fitting. There will never be a saddle that is a “magic wand”, which can just be placed on every horse’s back without any thought to his conformation. Those with atrophy and/or asymmetry, and some young horses with undeveloped top-line and musculature, will require additional padding.
EE Agents should give you advice on this before purchase, preferably through a personal consultation visit, which is part of Enlightened Equitation’s Vogue trial service, although customers in an area where we do not yet have an agent, may be advised via conformation photos and other important information.
As stated, consideration of the fit of the saddle is highly important in young horses or other horses that change shape on a regular basis due to fluctuating condition and/or fitness levels. It is imperative that owners should pay attention to this and ask their saddle supplier for help and advice as soon as they notice any changes. Enlightened Equitation would highly recommend that any increase in workload, when purchasing any saddle should be undertaken gradually, keeping a check on all the above.
It should also be remembered that there is no single saddle out there that will suit every single horse and rider combination, this is why it is so important that there is a wide range of types of saddle to choose from and that they are trialed sufficiently before a final decision is made.
Riding in the SoftTree saddle:
The seat has been designed to allow the rider’s thighs to drop easily into a more vertical knee position, the saddle having a definite ‘waist’, which does not leave the rider feeling straddled as if bareback. The Vogue offers the same level of support as a conventional treed saddle, yet is the nearest thing to sitting on a cushion on a horse!!
Nearly all conventional saddles have the stirrup bars set too far to the front, resulting in the rider’s seat being pushed to the back of the saddle, and the thighs pulled forwards. This is why so many riders find it nigh on impossible to maintain the ear/shoulder/hip/heel line - the very tool that is supposed to be assisting the rider, i.e. the saddle, is actually preventing him or her from maintaining this ideal position of balance! This is especially so in rising trot.
The rider who is accustomed to sitting in a ‘chair’ seat as a result of riding in most GP saddles, will feel more stretched initially. Little stretch is placed on the hip and thigh joints when sitting in a 'chair' seat - as soon as the leg is brought back into line, the hip joints have to open and the thighs stretch: the saddle may feel wide to begin with.
The stirrup bars are set back, as in all of the Heather Moffett designed saddles, to enable an instant ‘ear/ shoulder/hip/heel’ line to be easily achieved. The bars have been designed to permit the use of normal stirrups, allowing the leather to come away and prevent the rider being dragged in the event of a fall.
The stirrup bars and girth billets are sewn onto either side of a webbing reinforced butt leather layer, so that no straps go from side to side of the saddle potentially pulling down on the back of the horse.
The SoftTree saddle, when brand new, may look a little odd when first placed on the back of the horse. The panels and flaps may appear to point a little backwards. This is because when the rider’s weight causes the saddle to sink in the middle, this pushes the flaps forward. The saddle may appear not to touch all along the back, and may protrude at the rear, on either side of the back, but after riding in it a few times it will very quickly mold and adjust to the shape of the horse.
The saddle may even look asymmetric when taken out of the box! This is because it is fully flexible, excepting the cantle, and will sometimes assume the shape of the box. This will quickly correct itself once used on the horse.
Under cold conditions, the memory foam used in the seat will feel hard. It is advisable to warm the saddle before use, either keeping it in a warm place, or allowing it to sit for ten minutes or so on the horse’s back before riding, preferably with a rug over the saddle and horse’s back to retain heat if necessary.
Dressage stirrup leathers (i.e. those with a T bar or Conway Loop, and a loop at the stirrup bar end which hooks over the bar) should be used, as the stirrup bars cannot be recessed as with treed saddles. Alternatively, use normal stirrup leathers, with the buckle at the stirrup end. We sell leather stirrups with a sleeve made by Mattes which are perfect for use with the HM saddles. Using the stirrup leathers in this way is common place in Europe, even with treed saddles, to avoid having buckles under the leg.
Ensure that the girth is done up equally on both sides and make sure that, even with a dressage girth, it is long enough! If the girth is too short, it will result in the horse’s elbows hitting the buckles as the shoulder swings back and forth. This is very painful, can cause injuries to the elbow, and has even been severe enough for it to be known to bring a horse down. Therefore, the girth should be long enough to come about one to two inches below the bottom of the saddle flap, once the girth is sufficiently tightened.
The SoftTree saddles have a soft front arch, which expands and contracts automatically to accommodate all but very high withered horses. The saddle has a gullet, which is more for lateral stability than spinal clearance and being soft with no hard tree in either the front arch or down the gullet area, does not need spinal clearance, but the presence of a gullet does ensure lateral stability, even permitting mounting from the ground on some horses. Although we strongly do not advise this on a normal basis, as it is damaging to the horse’s back, it may be unavoidable whilst out on the trail.
Questions often arise regarding whether there are pressure points caused by the rider’s seat bones, as there is no wooden or plastic conventional tree to support them, but the saddle is as thick as conventional saddles and made of layers of shock absorbing/pressure dissipating material. We have experienced no soreness in all of the test horses, ‘cold backed’ horses have shown no resistance at all to the saddles, and those who have suffered sore backs through conventional saddles being incorrectly fitted, accept SoftTree saddles willingly. Some horses with kissing spines, that have been rehabilitated, have readily accepted the SoftTree saddles whilst objecting to a conventional treed saddle.
A high wither cut numnah or saddle cloth should be used with the SoftTree saddle on all horses, regardless of wither shape. Such saddle cloths and numnahs merely follow the shape of the front arch of the saddle and fit well up into it, removing the need to pull the cloth up into the arch, and do so again often several times on each ride, to avoid pressure on the withers as will occur with a straight cut cloth.
Rider weight limits:
The Vogue range has a weight limit of around 95 kg and the Flexee Saddles is around 80 kg. These limits can be increased when using a quality shimmable Saddle pad.
Hi Di, I have been meaning to touch base with you for a week or so now... My leather HM saddle and leathers arrived! Yay! I have managed to get a few rides in with the last two being decent rides where I could really put the saddle through its paces. I did more jumping over my drums and lots of pole and cavaletti work and also some good road work up hills etc. I LOVE that saddle! I had forgotten how beautiful and "springy" those saddles are to ride in as I had pulled one of my old saddles out to ride my young horse in while waiting the few weeks for this one to arrive, and this was a real pleasure to come back to. I haven't ridden much lately so I am not as fit to riding as I have been and I can tell you my butt sure prefers the HM saddle! I actually got some elevation through my old horses shoulders today whilst doing some flat work and he is so much freer in his trot. My 7 year old son comes trail riding with me on his push bike and his first comment was " oh wow, look at Hummer's trot mum, it's huge!" I said " I know! I'm riding it!" Lol So my 20 year old horse is no longer retired, he's back in gentle work with us aiming for some low level jumping lessons and a ODE in December! Woooo hooooo! I'm so excited to have my trusty steed back! Here are some pic's of the saddle half way through our jumping session (unmoved!) and the awesome sweat mark when we finished no more dry patches the size of my hand !! Thanks so much Di, fabulous saddle design Heather Moffat and I love the matching leathers I still can't believe after all these years I have finally found something that suits! Amazing xxx Thanks a million Nadia & Hummer