“Smart” saddle wins prestigious innovation award

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Penny Lawn using a Smart saddle on Bold Impulse at the CIC* at Somerford International Horse Trials.
Penny Lawn using a Smart saddle on Bold Impulse at the CIC* at Somerford International Horse Trials. © Matt Nuttall Photography

A saddle designed by Saddle Research Trust founder Dr Anne Bondi has been recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation.

The patented Smart™ saddle range from Solution Saddles can be adapted to fit different horses and allows for changes in shape through the season. It is designed to flex with the horse through the stride cycle. It is believed to be the only brand of saddle to have earned the sought-after Queen’s Award.

Now in its 55th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in Britain, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years.

Solution Saddles is one of just 205 organisations to be celebrated for their business successes this year; either in international trade, sustainable development, promoting opportunity through social mobility or, excellence in innovation.

Saddle design has remained largely unchallenged ever since people began riding horses.

Launched in 2010, the Smart saddle range aims to provide horses and riders at all levels with a modern solution to their saddle fitting problems.

The Solution Saddles Smart range was designed with the aid of 3D scanning, pressure mapping systems, and CAD modelling in order to design a saddle that offered dynamic flexibility to both horse and rider. The structure and assembly process is unique to the Smart saddle range and is not derived from skills already held by traditional saddle makers. Technical aspects of the saddle are protected by five patents.

‘’I am immensely proud of our skilled and dedicated team members, every one of whom has played an integral part in the success of our saddle designs and the continued growth of the company,” Bondi said.

Solution Saddles has won an innovation award for its Smart saddle range.
Solution Saddles has won an innovation award for its Smart saddle range.

‘’Most of our team are horse owners and riders themselves, so truly understand our quest to promote the welfare and performance of the ridden horse. As riders, we also know what good customer service means to our clients and how to deliver it. These are the core principles that our reputation for excellence is built on and we look forward to continuing our research programme and bringing more innovation to the equine industry.”

Founded in 2006, Solution Saddles in Derbyshire employs 12 members of staff at its base near Worksop, with more than 20 approved saddle fitters supplying the Smart saddle range to horse owners across the UK and overseas.

It has recently added two new apprentice saddle makers to its team to keep up with increasing customer demand.

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