A new lightweight cantilevered saddle designed in Ireland is promising to revolutionise saddle fitting and design.
The new Bua Mark 2 saddle is the second major design around a cantilevered suspension from Bua Saddles, designed by Martin Ryan.
The saddle’s tree is a piece of thermoplastic composite bent into a U-shape, a cantilever design, which effectively separates the unit into two different saddles. One part of the saddle is customised for the rider and the other side of the curved tree is designed to fit the horse’s back, allowing balance for the rider and comfort for the horse. There is a natural suspension as the two parts are joined at the front. The latest version has interchangeable flaps, meaning the same saddle can be used for different disciplines.
Ryan said many other sports had embraced technology and had experienced great performance gains.
“It’s time that someone took the saddle on and brought it into the 21st century.”
Unlike other sports, such as golf or cycling, where new technologies have been embraced, the world of equestrian events has remained largely static, resulting in a saddle that has not changed for centuries.
“Equestrian – great tradition in sport, but it hasn’t maximised the potential,” Ryan said.
Launched in 2015, the Bua Cantilevered Mark 1 saddle is now being sold in 17 countries. A winner of numerous industry awards, the saddle is used by leading riders in a variety of disciplines.
The Mark 2 incorporates new features making it suitable not only for showjumping and eventing, but also for endurance riding, Le Trec, para-riders and riding for the disabled, Ryan said.
Ryan said the cantilevered design had become a popular choice with riders returning from falls or for those with back or leg injuries, as the cantilevered tree allows riders to stay more comfortable in the saddle for longer periods of time.
At just 4.1kg, the Mark 2 saddle is said to be good for sport horses returning to work after back related issues.
“More importantly the flexibility allows horse owners with a number of animals have a ‘ready to go saddle’ without constant flocking and adjustment as horses change in size and fitness throughout the competition season,” Ryan said.
Ryan first started on his saddle design in 2005. The concept won its first award in 2006, the Dyson award / ISPO / Institute of Designers Ireland.