A new “smart saddle” had been designed in France, with Voltaire’s Blue Wing said to be the “first ever connected saddle”.
The Blue Wing uses Equisense technology, which allows the jumping saddle to track the time spent at each gait and at each direction, as well as the rhythm and the quality of the symmetry of the horse.
The mobile application will allow riders to view the calendar of their rides, and have information on the intensity of each session and how many jumps each horse jumped.
“It can tell you the length of your horse’s stride and the course you jumped. If your horse goes more to the left or right, it will track that. After you ride the same horse five times, it will recognise your horse immediately,” says Voltaire Design founder Brice Gouget.
The company is only six years old, and now employs 72 people. Voltaire began after Gouget started making saddles out of his garage in Espelette in the south of France, after working for Devoucoux saddles for several years.
All saddles are hand made, and the company has also taken its environmental responsibility seriously. For every saddle bought, a tree is planted through the United Nations Programme for Environment. “As a lover of horses and nature, it seems important to make a modest contribution to the environmental balance,” Gouget says.
The Blue Wing’s tree has been engineered to flex with the horse for shock absorption and a perfect fit. According to Gouget, trials at University of California, Davis, showed the saddle to be “one of the first ever that has proven direct neurological benefits for the horse”.
“It literally fits so well that it lowers the horse’s stress levels,” Gouget says.
Leading riders are using Voltaire saddles, including Beezie Madden who won the World Cup Final in 2013 using a Voltaire, as did German eventing team gold medalist Dirk Schräde at London 2012
The Blue Wing will be available for public sales from May 2016 at a starting price of $US6900. There is the option to pay $15,000 and be one of 10 riders who will be “serviced with Blue Wing saddles for life”.