English saddles made in the UK, Fitted & Supplied Worldwide



A Further 20% OFF our Saddle Special Offers!!!

A Further 20% OFF our Saddle Special Offers!!!

Fab prices for some lovely saddles!

Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle, an ex demonstrator, at £1480 is now 35% OFF the standard price!

Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle, brand new at £2075 is now 30% OFF the standard price!

More lovely saddles, on extra special offer, at anything from 35% to 70% OFF the standard price!

Take a look here Saddle Special Offers

A Good Year for Impala Pro, Suzannah Monoflap & Sienna Dressage Saddles….& T&T

A Good Year for Impala Pro, Suzannah Monoflap & Sienna Dressage Saddles….& T&T

At the beginning of last year, I wrote:

” What will 2023 hold for us all? Have to admit, it has started slowly for us but we are not alone!!!! Hopefully things will pick up as they usually do(!) as the year gets properly into gear! Fingers & everything crossed!!!!

Happily things did pick up but we all find ourselves in a similar position now keeping our fingers crossed for 2024!

Last year our customers were predominantly from the UK and USA and joined by Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Sweden. So our geographical reach was not quite as broad as usual.

It was a good year, as ever (!), for the Impala Pro and the Suzannah Monoflap but also for the Sienna and the T&T (Ideal’s adjustable range). Joining them were the Gazelle, Grandee, Olivia, FWB, 1550 GPD, Ideal’s Polo saddle and the Ramsay Show Saddle. Horses had deeper or shallower rear gussets, a different tree and shorter and/or modified panels. Riders had  bigger, smaller or different  blocks, longer or shorter flaps and many had patent rolls & piping & some, a patent cantle too!

Amy in the UK, who had an Impala Pro Dressage saddle said:

Just to let you know that I did my first dressage competition in the new saddle yesterday and the difference in the way that the horse goes and how I sit is quite unbelievable. I’m absolutely thrilled with it. It’s beautiful and so comfortable.

To finish, here are a few of the horses!….and a lovely message & photo from Gail in USA.

Tom is an 18.2hh Shire in Australia who had an Impala Pro Jump in 2022 and a Suzannah Monoflap Dressage saddle in 2023!

Reggae in the UK had a Ramsay Show Saddle.

Leo in Sweden, an ID x ISH had a Impala Pro on a Jessica tree.

Digby, an ISH in the UK had a Grandee Elite.

Natasha, in Australia had an Impala Pro for her lovely horse.

Beautiful Sienna Dressage Saddle

“Love my beautiful Saddle. We won the class! Definitely the Saddle!”
….from Gail & Lazaro in USA
The saddle is a Sienna!

A Further 20% OFF our Saddle Special Offers!!!

Three Fabulous New Offers just posted!

Three lovely saddles, two being ex demonstrators , one being new! All at great prices. Save at least £400 on each!

Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle 17″ MW £1850

Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle 17″ W £2595

and Ideal Nyala Jump GP Saddle 17 1/2″ MW £1350.

View them here



Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle 17″ MW SPECIAL OFFER £1480

Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle 17″ MW SPECIAL OFFER £1480

Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle 17″ MW

SPECIAL OFFER was £1850 NOW £1480

  • Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle with Tonishia style knee blocks.
  • Dark Havanna with Cognac piping.
  • 17″ MW

This saddle is an ex demonstrator. The Tonishia blocks are slightly smaller than the standard Suzannah blocks.

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle
Ideal Nyala Jump GP Saddle 17 1/2″ MW SPECIAL OFFER £1080

Ideal Nyala Jump GP Saddle 17 1/2″ MW SPECIAL OFFER £1080

Ideal Nyala Jump GP Saddle 17 1/2″ MW

SPECIAL OFFER was £1350 NOW £1080

  • Ideal Nyala Jump GP Saddle.
  • Dark Havana with Blocks on velcro.
  • 17 1/2″ MW

This saddle is an ex demonstrator.

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

Ideal Nyala Jump GP Saddle
Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle – a rising star!

Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle – a rising star!

…..and the word is spreading!!!

The Sienna Dressage Saddle is a brilliant & ground breaking new design from Ideal. The Sienna combines a wide and forgiving fit for a well-muscled and/or bigger boned, broader shouldered type of horse with a narrow twist & seat for the rider. The design also puts the rider in a fantastic position, over the horse’s motion, not behind it.


Developed by Rob Lugsdin, the owner of Ideal, chief designer and the force behind this successful company. This saddle will suit professionals and amateurs alike. The word is spreading! 


We currently have several Sienna’s on order for clients, so more feedback in the weeks ahead!

We recently send this one to Jackie in the USA:

Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle

Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle in cognac with whisky liquor accents, rolls & cantle design

Ideal Sienna Dressage Saddle

Jackie says: THE SADDLE IS AWSOME!…..and then went on to say ” I’m very pleased with the feel of the saddle, it puts me in a great position. My horse seems to be moving freer through his shoulder already since wearing his new saddle, and he’s very particular about saddle fit! It’s also as beautiful as it could possibly be!!”




T&T Monoflap Dressage Saddle added to Ideal’s range of Adjustable Gullet saddles

T&T Monoflap Dressage Saddle added to Ideal’s range of Adjustable Gullet saddles

The Technical & Traditional (T&T) adjustable gullet range from Ideal now comprises this monoflap dressage saddle plus twin flap dressage, jump, GP and monoflap XC saddles.

The Monoflap Dressage Saddle has a pre moulded medium soft dressage seat and soft surface mounted knee blocks and is made up in soft Calf Leather.

Some customisation of T&T saddles is also possible!

View the range here



18″ Grandee MW ….Great Special Offer just posted!

18″ Grandee MW ….Great Special Offer just posted!

This lovely 18″ MW Ideal Grandee GP saddle in Dark Havana with cream piping is new and comes with knee and thigh rolls on velcro. You can have a variety of different rolls/blocks on request. The full price of a Gazelle is £1650 plus £170 for the blocks on velcro that this saddle has. So, it’s a great SPECIAL OFFER at £1395!

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

Ideal Grandee GP Saddle 18″ MW with knee & thigh blocks on velcro




Most Saddles made to a Very Individual Specification for Fit

Most Saddles made to a Very Individual Specification for Fit

What will 2023 hold for us all? Have to admit, it has started slowly for us but we are not alone!!!! Hopefully things will pick up as they usually do(!) as the year gets properly into gear! Fingers & everything crossed!!!!

Last year, overseas customers accounted for two thirds of our orders rather than the usual roughly half. The USA, Australia and New Zealand were key markets for us, joined by orders from Canada, Switzerland, France and Norway. Very happily, we had several customers returning to us for another saddle. Katie from USA said…..

“It’s another work of art! It fits Solon perfectly and it’s very comfortable. Thank you again to you & Ian for such wonderful help & service”

As ever there was a wide range of type of horse & pony. As illustration, felt I had to share this pic from France. What a mane!

…..and, as ever, most saddles were made to a very individual spec for fit and in some cases for “look”. The Suzannah was as usual a key model, both the twin flap, in some cases built on a Jessica tree, and the mono flap. Popular too were the Impala Pro, the Grandee and the Gazelle. We can add to the list the Styletta, Lynx Monoflap Deluxe, Ozelle, Nyala, Sophia and the T&T adjustable. Notable last year were orders for larger seat sizes, 18″ & 19″ & 20″, some built with shorter panels, some not.

Specifications included modifications to the standard model such as:

  • shorter/longer/more forward cut flaps
  • deeper/shallower gussets
  • longer girth straps
  • shorter panels
  • custom knee rolls/blocks
  • multi cell comfort seat
  • coloured/contrast piping and stitching
  • Crocodile or stingray cantle

This Technical & Traditional (T&T) Adjustable Dressage Saddle was made with a specified flap length, blue piping and Stingray cantle:


Lets conclude with some kind words from Elsie in Scotland….

“Saddle is here and all is well, in fact better than well. I am delighted & more importantly so is Princess….good look and good fit. Thank you so much for all your help.”

Fitting Visits!

Ian is more than happy to visit if you live in


Contact us to arrange a day!
01572 767638
07976 125235

Ideal are winners at BETA!

Ideal were New Product Award winners at BETA International with their Technical & Traditional range of adjustable saddles.
Judges said:
A clever product at a good price. Excellent design for bespoke options and adjustability.

The T&T range has been designed to optimise panel fit for different conformations of horse shape which enhances the already extensive options and adjustability that the T&T range offers.

View the range here:
The T&T Range

“So in love with the saddle”

“So in love with the saddle”

“Because I’m so in love with the saddle please see pic attached. Thank you again.”

The pic is of her Palomino for whom Julie, from Australia, wanted a Suzannah. Julie already had a Suzannah, a black one, which she loves too but wanted a brown one for her Palomino in a colour a close match to an image she sent to us.

This is the pic re colour that Julie sent to us:

and here is her saddle!

“In the flesh”, the colours are almost identical!

Ideal “Deal” Jump Saddle 16 1/2″ W+ SPECIAL OFFER £760

Ideal “Deal” Jump Saddle 16 1/2″ W+ SPECIAL OFFER £760

Ideal “Deal” Jump Saddle 16 1/2″ W+

SPECIAL OFFER was £950 NOW £760

  • Ideal “Deal” Jump Saddle.
  • Made up in Dark Havana and fitted with point & balance straps.
  • 16 1/2″ W+

This saddle would suit an Arab or a wide pony.

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

Deal Jump Saddle 16 1/2" W+
Deal Jump Saddle 16 1/2" W+
Ideal Show Cut H & C Wide Seat Saddle 17 1/2″ XW SPECIAL OFFER £760

Ideal Show Cut H & C Wide Seat Saddle 17 1/2″ XW SPECIAL OFFER £760

Ideal Show Cut H & C Wide Seat Saddle 17 1/2″ XW

SPECIAL OFFER was £950 NOW £760

  • Ideal Show Cut H & C Wide Seat Saddle.
  • 17 1/2″ XW

Show Cut 17 1/2″ XW in Military with a square cantle.

Working Hunter or Show saddle for very wide cob type. The saddle looks two tone but it is all Military!

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

Ideal H & C Wide Seat Saddle 17 1/2" XW
Ideal Ramsay Show Saddle 15″ W SPECIAL OFFER £680

Ideal Ramsay Show Saddle 15″ W SPECIAL OFFER £680

Ideal Ramsay Show Saddle 15″ W

SPECIAL OFFER was £850 NOW £680

  • Ideal Ramsay Show Saddle.
  • 15″ W

This lovely Ramsay show saddle, brand new, has hide covered flaps and a suede seat. It has no knee rolls and is the deepest seat version of the Ramsay.

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage Saddle
Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle 15 1/2″ SPECIAL OFFER £520

Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle 15 1/2″ SPECIAL OFFER £520

Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle 15 1/2″

SPECIAL OFFER was £650 NOW £520

  • Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle.
  • 15 1/2″

This is a great pony jump GP saddle with a good sized block for jumping. Suits all types.

15 1/2″ made up in black & ranch.

All special offer saddles can be sent to you as they are or fitted to your horse or pony as described on our web site. We fit UKwide and Worldwide. Ian can visit within London and the home counties and a bit beyond!

15 1/2" Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle
15 1/2" Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle
Rosehill Dressage story just posted!

“We now feel comfortable asking horses to work”

Rosehill Dressage is a classical dressage training centre in Northville, Michigan, USA instructing students of all ages from beginners through to Grand Prix.

Towards the end of last year and through this year we have established the most rewarding working relationship with Anne Stahl, the proprietor and instructor. The net result to date is 15 dressage saddles for her clients. Many are the Suzannah Monoflap but also the Styletta and the Olivia. We started with primarily Spanish horses but then Warmbloods and off track TBs. 

Laura & Inter Caracol, 3 year old PRE have an Olivia

“Ian is fab!”

Anne has years of experience and over these years has tried many different brands of saddle. She told us that constant problems were saddles moving from side to side and/or pinching the horse’s shoulders and/or not being stable in the correct place on the horse’s back. Problems were solved through a combination of Ideal’s unrivalled range of saddles & trees for horses of all shapes and Ian’s “ability to understand what we are experiencing and relate this to what he recommends as the solution”. Anne went on to say “Ian is fab”! I think Ian would add that he wouldn’t be so fab (!) without Ideal, their philosophy, their Designed to Order service plus the recourse from time to time to discuss the solution to a problem with Rob Lugsden, Ideal’s owner and the inspiration behind their designs and philosophy.

There is so much that could be said but a few quotes from Anne say a lot! 

“The work of the horse improved and improved”


“horses are moving more freely & positively”


“moving more gymnastically”


“symmetry is important in training”


“it helps soundness”


“he’s happy & comfortable in flying changes and straight”


and very importantly

“we now feel comfortable asking horses to work”.


Watch the rider too!

Talking to Anne, something else stood out for me and is an aspect of the saddle world that doesn’t get so much focus…..the rider! One of the Styletta’s was made for an unusual shaped horse. He has huge withers then drops away. “Watch the rider” says Anne, “totally in the right place” and “the horse swings through the back, remarkable improvement”.

Overall, Anne said the riders “didn’t have to think about the saddle, their body stable, their back supported”. So everyone, watch the rider too when assessing a saddle!

Lots of saddles built on a different tree!

Notable in the last few months has been the number of saddles built on a different tree…………Impala Pro on an H&C tree, Impala on GPX (Grandee) tree, Impala Pro on Gazelle tree, Working Hunter on GPX tree, Nyala on Jessica tree, Suzannah on Jessica tree and so on! The purpose being for the rider to have the saddle they want and the horse to have the tree it needs!

Amazing photo!

Amazing photo!

Just posted a new “Saddle Story” with this fab photo!

Desiree Maile Lavilla with Ulambo, sitting in his custom made Suzannah Monoflap Dressage saddle.

Amazing photo!

Thailand joins our list of countries!

Our mix of business, UK and overseas stays around 50:50. The USA is an important overseas market for us, as are Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Europe much less so for now, surprise surprise!

Thailand joined our list of countries this year when we supplied a dressage saddle to a trainer of King Power’s horses in Thailand (the other love of the family after football). The saddle was a Suzannah Monoflap to specification to be mainly used on a KWPN who is destined to emulate his wonderful stable companions. We were very kindly allowed to show you these amazing photos!

Desiree Maile Lavilla with Ulambo, sitting in his custom made Suzannah Monoflap Dressage saddle.

As I write, an Ozelle is on its way to Iceland. These wonderful photos are very evocative of the horse world in Iceland. Our thanks to those who have let us share them with you. A pic of the saddle we sent will soon be on its way! 

In the USA, we have built up a great relationship with Rosehill Dressage, a dressage centre in Michigan and supplied many saddles, mostly the Suzannah Monoflap but also the Styletta and Olivia. But more on this in a later post! 

Trends over the months have been the ongoing success of the Suzannah Monoflap but also the Impala, both the dressage and the jump and the Pro of each. The Gazelle deserves a mention too!  Nearly all saddles have been to a very individual spec for fit and “look” through the Designed to Order service but notable in the last few months has been the number of saddles built on a different tree…………Impala Pro on an H&C tree, Impala on GPX (Grandee) tree, Impala Pro on Gazelle tree, Working Hunter on GPX tree, Nyala on Jessica tree, Suzannah on Jessica tree. The purpose being for the rider to have the saddle they want and the horse to have the tree it needs!

Erin from NY State in USA didn’t need a different tree from his owner’s choice of saddle! Here he is enjoying his two new saddles: 

Gazelle 1550 jump saddle in military & black with royal blue piping. This saddle was made more forward cut than standard & with longer flaps

Suzannah Monoflap Dressage saddle with white welting, black patent rolls & forepiece and Stingray cantle.

Been very busy!

I have been very remiss in my blogging of late! But, we have been very busy!!! Soon to be posted will be some great new “Saddle Stories”. So, watch this space!

New Year Lockdown Update

2021 begins amidst worrying Covid developments and further lockdown measures. But, Ideal remain in production and the “best estimate” of order timescale stays at 4-6 weeks. In recent months this has held good for the majority of orders and we expect and hope that it will remain good in the months to come. As you can imagine, managing production schedules whilst coping with possible staff sick leave and isolation requirements is not an easy or predictable task but so far so good!!!

We wish our customers and site visitors all the best for 2021. If you need a saddle, we’re here! We are specialists in fitting remotely.

Take care, stay safe, keep hopeful and press on!!!

Donation made to Hillside

Donation made to Hillside

Yes, today we sent a few hundred pounds to Hillside, the result of our fund raising efforts in honour of Sara & Alfie. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Alfie at home



Update…..the UK’s second “Lockdown” begins but there is some good news!

…..and the good news is that Ideal will remain in production. Timescale for making is the usual 4 – 6 weeks although in these difficult times we feel we must say that this is a best estimate.

Most importantly, we specialise in fitting “remotely” as we have been doing for all our overseas and distant UK customers over the years. Our process is described on this web site and we support our service with a full money back guarantee. In these difficult times, no fitting visits are needed!

So, if you need a saddle, look no further!!!!

Such a variety of horses!…..and saddles!

Such a variety of horses!…..and saddles!

Odysseus (or Ody) 15.3hh 13 yr old Freisan from USA


Part of the fun of what we do is “meeting” all the horses….and their owners!…from around the world. In recent months, the UK and USA have been our key countries. Sadly things have been a bit quiet from Australia and New Zealand, but the USA has made up for it….so far! France and Denmark have been good to us too.

Interesting are the trends that have emerged over the months. As ever, the range of types of horses is amazing and I attempt to give you some feel for that here. Another trend in recent months has been the predominance of dressage saddles (Suzannah Monoflap, Tonishia Supreme, Hayley WG and Styletta) going to USA and GP type saddles (Gazelle, Grandee, 1350, 1550 ) in the UK. It will probably be the other way round in the next few months!

In nearly every case we have used Ideal’s Designed to Order service quite extensively.to achieve the fit both for horse and rider and the appearance desired. The saddle made up in special leathers, patent rolls and/or welting and decorative stitching were all popular while the range of specifications for fit covered the choice of tree, depth of rear gussets, width of front gussets, length of panels, girthing arrangement and for the rider, depth of seat, flap shape and length and the choice of blocks.

We’ve had some great feedback….”its stunning”, “I’m really pleased”, “both love the saddle”, “absolutely love it, its beautiful” which adds to “the fun” for us!

So, lets see what the next few months bring!

“Meet” some more of “our” horses!………

Cash, 16.2hh 9 yr old Dutch Warmblood from UK


Alex, 15hh Haflinger from Denmark


Ziggy, 16.2hh 4 yr old KWPN from USA


Archie, 15hh 4 yr old Irish Cob from UK


Serenade, 16.2hh 5yr old Oldenburg mare from USA

In honour of Sara and Alfie

In honour of Sara and Alfie

Meet Sara and Alfie! Alfie was featured in publicity boards for Blossoms Rescue Centre in Suffolk when Sara was fund raising. Sara’s ill health and now incurable cancer meant the closure of Blossoms after 35 years. Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk came to the rescue and took Blossoms’ animals into their care. Here is a link to their site Hillside Animal Sanctuary They have nearly 2000 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

We met Sara and Alfie when Sara wanted to try and find a saddle that would allow her, despite chronic pain, to enjoy some gentle outings on Alfie. It was also a present to Alfie for when “he ends up with someone on loan when I die”. We were able to help and indeed, they had a lovely FWB on a hooped tree in black with white piping and stitching, which happily we had in stock. It was an XXW which Ian then fitted to template……in 30 years, Alfie was the widest Ian has fitted!!!!! Sara has managed to enjoy some gentle outings with help from her family….and Alfie.

Here is Alfie now…..

This is a very moving story and in honour of Sara and Alfie we would like to try and raise a charitable donation for Hillside. We have set up a project on the Just Giving platform.

Here is the link  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saddles-worldwide

We will be making regular donations and hopefully collectively we may raise a meaningful sum. A big thank you to everyone who donates.

This Suzannah Monoflap is “incredibly versatile”

This Suzannah Monoflap is “incredibly versatile”

Made for a customer in the UK, this Suzannah Monoflap is made up in Remi French Calf with grey patent piping and rear facings.

The standard Suzannah Monoflap has a moulded knee pad over a fixed block. This one has been made with a plain, soft pad so that it can mould to each of three sets of blocks on velcro.

The first block illustrated is the full Suzannah dressage block, the second is a Nyala style jump/GP block and the third is a shorter, Tonishia style, dressage block.

As you can imagine and as Ian says, “this saddle is incredibly versatile”.

Suzannah dressage block

Nyala Jump/GP block

Tonishia dressage block

Something Very Special off to the USA!

Something Very Special off to the USA!

This lovely saddle is an Ideal Hayley W G Dressage saddle made up in Buffalo and Makela. Our customer asked for Ivory coloured stitching and sent us a photo of a design that she asked us to replicate. This is the result! It is hard to do this saddle full justice in a photo. Even Rob, the boss man at Ideal thought it was extra special!

An Individual Spec off to the USA!

An Individual Spec off to the USA!

This one is a Suzannah Monoflap on a Suzannah Low Head tree. Made up in Buffalo and Makela, it has serge lining on the panels, royal blue piping, Tonishia style blocks and shallower rear gussets. Designed to Order makes all this possible….and more in many cases!!!

Two new saddle offers posted!

Two new saddle offers posted!

Firstly, an Ideal Impala 1450 Jump saddle, 17″ W in Sala and secondly, an Ideal Lynx Pro Monoflap Deluxe, 17 1/2″ MW in Black, a lovely combination of the Lynx Pro Monoflap and the Lynx Pro Deluxe with Buffalo skirt & flaps and Suave seat & pads.

Ideal out of lockdown AND we specialise in fitting “remotely”!

Great news! Ideal are out of lockdown, albeit initially with reduced staff.
So, if you need a saddle, it now can be made!….AND the waiting time is no longer than normal…..Ideal have quoted us 4/5 weeks.

Most importantly, we specialise in fitting “remotely” as we have been doing for all our overseas and distant UK customers over the years. Our process is described on this web site and we support our service with a full money back guarantee. In these difficult times, no fitting visits are needed!

“I only wish I had found you sooner”!

“I only wish I had found you sooner”!

This lovely saddle went off to Jane Sturrock in France at the beginning of the year. It is a Suzannah Monoflap, 16 1/2″ with 16″ panels, all covered flaps with white stitching and crocodile inserts on each flap and on the back of the cantle.

Jane sent us some photos and a lovely message…..which says it all!!!!

“Please find attached photos of my fabulous new saddle! Arrived in France within a month of ordering.
As always, both you and Ian have managed to supply me with a saddle that fits the Andalusian breed of horse so brilliantly well. After spending so much money on other saddles, like Amerigo and Bates and never finding that they have felt right on the build of the horse. They just perched on top of them like a basket on an elephant. Now both the horse and myself feel truly connected in unison! I only wish I had found you sooner.

I appreciate all Ian’s expertise, advice and knowledge ensuring the comfort and freedom of movement of the horse. The saddle is amazingly comfortable for the rider too and gives you such close contact to the horse.
The Ideal Suzannah monoflap model was really great advice from Ian to fit most of the short coupled stockier breeds. I totally agree that it is incredible how one saddle can adapt to slightly different sized horses. The saddles are aptly named, truly Ideal!
It was super to be able to make it more bespoke and customise the design for such a small amount of money extra.
The Ideal saddles are extremely good value for money anyway, particularly as they are made to measure. I couldn’t believe that you could produce such an amazing fit from a few photos and a template of the horse.”

Suzannah Monoflap with white stitching & crocodile inserts.

Suzannah Monoflap with crocodile insert on the cantle.

Here are a few photos we took before boxing it up!

Thistle the Tank!

Thistle the Tank!

Or whisky barrel on legs!!! Dear Thistle (proper name Inverness), a very wide 15.2hh Warmblood Thoroughbred cross, had not done alot recently and had become overweight. Hence her nicknames!

Jo from Massachusetts contacted us late last year, a Suzannah having been suggested as the answer for Thistle. Thistle was new to Jo’s family and the aim was to do low level dressage with her. Thistle had training in dressage before time off so it was a case of getting her fitter, slimmer and back in to ridden work and Jo was very concerned that Thistle should be comfortable under saddle.

The answer turned out to be a Suzannah Monoflap on a low head tree. In Jo’s words….” the mono-flap allows for excellent contact with the horse which, for a big barreled horse like Thistle is key!” In black with wine piping and welting, Jo decided upon Buffaloe skirt & flaps and Cruiser seat & pads. We fitted the saddle and gave it a custom flock.

We were so happy to hear that Thistle “is moving completely differently from when last under saddle”. A bit later, we hear she’s “improving every day. She gets ridden by both experienced and beginner riders . She takes care of everyone and is learning/re-learning her dressage lessons”.

To finish the story, a few more words from Jo….

“I love it and more importantly so does Thistle!
Thank you Jane and Ian for excellent advise and great service!”

Suzannah Monoflap on Low Head Tree

Suzannah Monoflap on Low Head Tree
Buffaloe skirt & flaps, Cruiser seat & pads
Wine piping & welting

Photographs by kind permission of Joseph Cantor, Photographer

NEW from Ideal. Saddles with changeable gullets

NEW from Ideal. Saddles with changeable gullets

This new range, Technical & Traditional (T & T), comprises a dressage saddle, a mono flap XC/Jump, a twin flap jump and a GP.

Ideal bring their quality and technical/engineering expertise to adjustable saddle design. It’s all in the name! Ideal are ideal saddles! Their changeable gullet system is called the Ergonomic Gullet system. Ergonomic describes scientific study to improve comfort & effectiveness. QED!

Ideal T&T Adjustable Dressage Saddle


Ideal T&T Adjustable Monoflap XC Jump Saddle


Ideal T&T Adjustable Twinflap Jump Saddle






Never a dull moment at Saddles Worldwide!

Never a dull moment at Saddles Worldwide!

…..from a 19″ Suzannah on a Jessica tree for a tall man and his Lusitano stallion in the UK through to a tiny, tiny 13″ seat/12.5″ tree Ramsay for a very young little rider and her show pony in Australia and everything in between! Well, not quite everything, but it isn’t far from the truth! Notable this year is that so many saddles have been made to a very individual specification. This is what we do(!) but this year in particular, the need for what we do to get the fit and in some cases the look, is very evident. Here are just a few examples:


A Grandee Elite was made for a UK customer with shorter flaps, wider front leg gussets, a wider gullet, flaps as per the 1450 Impala, Cruiser seat & pads and D rings all round. Also for the UK was another Suzannah on a Jessica tree in two tone Sala with shorter flaps, a square cantle, more forward cut and with three sets of blocks on velcro. Bound for Canada was a Gazelle on a Jessica tree (yes, the Jessica tree featured quite a lot this year!) with Buffaloe skirt & flaps, Cruiser seat & pads, comfort seat,”Milky Bar” patent piping and matching leathers & sheepskin girth. Off to the USA was a Gazelle with balance straps, no thigh pad, deeper rear gussets, wider front leg gussets and two pairs of blocks on velcro. In the process of being made as I write is an Exceed with cobalt blue patent piping for a customer in New Zealand.

Gazelle with matching leathers & sheepskin girth


To finish. I must mention the B word….Brexit. Our business mix is roughly 50:50 UK and the rest of the world. This year has seen a drop off in enquiries from Europe. I fear the Brexit effect. However, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have taken up the slack and 50:50 is still the split….and Iceland has joined our list of countries!

New Special Offers Posted!

New Special Offers Posted!

Yes, I’ve just posted five new special offers:

16 1/2″ XW Ideal Impala with Gazelle flaps & blocks in Military.

17″ Ideal Suzannah MW in a very dark, Dark Havannah!

17 1/2″ Ideal H & C Wide Seat XW Show Cut in Military.

17 1/2″ Ideal FWB XXW on a hooped tree in black with white stitching & piping.

17″ Ideal Nyala Jump/GP MW in black.

You’ll find all these saddles on our Offers page.


This is the Nyala…..

“It’s everything I dreamed of”!

“It’s everything I dreamed of”!

……and Jackie went on to say “Huge thank you to you,  Ian, and Rob! I didn’t get it until 6pm, but still had an hour of daylight,  so I ran out cleaned up a horse and rode in it.  I LOVE IT! Thank you! ”

Jackie is the talent behind J S Training and Sales based in Andover, Kansas. She has had two lovely saddles from us in the past and now this fabulous Suzannah Monoflap. It is difficult to do this saddle justice in photos.  You really have to see it to believe it! It is made up in calf, the colour is Military with “Milky Bar” patent piping & rolls. Special too is the detailing on the flap. A final subtle touch is the cantle half moon in Buffalo.

The “darker” photos are ones we took before the saddle was shipped. The lighter photos, Jackie took during that first ride. Jackie’s photos better illustrate the colour than do ours!

Here is a link to Jackie’s Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/JSTraining23/ where she has “posted” her saddle!

PS Rob, referred to above, is the boss man at Ideal!



Ideal Ramsay on an H & C Tree

Having recently posted a “Saddle Story” from Tasmania with some lovely photos of two ponies who had Ramsays built on an H & C tree, I thought a few more words on the merits of this saddle/tree combination would be helpful!

To look at, you can’t tell the difference between a 100% Ramsay and one built on an H & C tree. They look the same and the differences are subtle, but significant. The Ramsay on the H & C tree offers a deeper, wider seat and unlike the pure Ramsay, can be used for prolonged periods. It is very comfortable for the horse/pony, is supportive for the rider and crucially accommodates judges!!!

Ideal Ramsay on an H & C Tree……”A Picture Paints a Thousand Words”

Ideal Ramsay on an H & C Tree……”A Picture Paints a Thousand Words”

“A picture says a thousand words”!

Simonn from Tasmania used this famous proverb in the English language when she sent us these photos of her ponies at a recent competition. Apart from thinking what a delightful picture they both make, we also have to admit to being very pleased with what the pictures say about the saddles! The ponies were fitted with Ramsays, both built on an H & C tree and both to a very detailed spec. “They are going so much better with these saddles” said Simonn……..and indeed they look to be going beautifully!!!!

Photos reproduced with the kind permission of Melissa Lee Stone Photography.

Two very individual specs!

Two very individual specs!

….made for customers in UK! Just a couple of examples of what can be done!

Firstly an Ideal Gazelle for a big man and a big horse. This is a 19″, deepest seat version of this comfortable & secure saddle in black and finished with white piping & stitching and silver D rings & fittings. In addition, it has knee blocks on velcro, longer flaps than standard, deeper rear gussets, wider front leg gussets, reinforced point pockets and additional felt lining to the panel.

Ideal Gazelle “Designed to Order”





















Secondly. we have an Ideal Event Standard Seat, 17″ in London Tan with pale blue piping, including the stirrup leather keeper. This saddle has a comfort seat, narrower twist and slightly deeper seat than standard and is fitted with point & balance straps.

Ideal Event Standard Seat “Designed to Order”















Ideal Ramsay Show Saddle 15″ W SPECIAL OFFER £680

Ramsay ready to go!

Just posted a lovely Ramsay, 15″ W in Sala on our “Offers” page. Brand new, this Ramsay has hide covered flaps, suede seat, no knee rolls and is the deepest seat version of this classic show saddle.

15″ Ramsay with suede seat, hide covered flaps and no knee roll

Saddles with Short Panels

Saddles with Short Panels

A notable theme this year have been requests for shorter panels than standard. A decision to be taken with care(!) but it can be done! Here is a good example. It is a 16 1/2″ Suzannah made with 16″ panels. For comparison, included are photos of a standard 16 1/2″ Suzannah with 16 1/2″ panels.

Ideal Suzannah 16 1/2″ with 16″ panels













Ideal Suzannah with standard panels















Ideal Suzannah 16 1/2″ with 16″ panels














Ideal Suzannah with standard panels


















Three new saddle offers posted!

Yes, I’ve just posted three new saddles on our “Offers” page Saddle Offers

They are….. Ideal Finesse Show Saddle 17 1/2″ W in 2 tone black & military, Ideal Nyala Jump/GP 17 1/2″ MW in sala and Ideal Suzannah Dressage Saddle 16 1/2″ MW in black. As with all our “Offer”saddles, we can fit them for you or send them to you as they are.



2018….so far!

Well, I have to admit to having been a bit remiss in my posts so far this year! Having told myself off, let me bring you up to date!

The UK has been our biggest source of customers so far this year, although “the rest of the world” has still accounted for over 50% of our buisness. Australia was a key country, Ramsay show saddles being in demand. Japan was in the list again, as was Sweden. New countries for us were Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Returning customers were a notable and to us, very rewarding feature. The range of type of horse, as ever, is wide…….from ponies to an 18hh Irish Draft, taking in warmbloods, TBs, cobs and some interesting (Percheron x Spanish) crosses along the way.

As ever, the Suzannah dressage saddle, including the Monoflap, is high on the popularity list, as is the Roella but overall this has been more of jumping and GP time! Top of the pops is the wonderful Gazelle, one being made for the aforementioned 18h ID but the Nyala, Impala, Grandee and X-ceed featured also. For the very wide, the new FWB came in to its own although the H&C range held its place as a regular answer for the wide. Another feature this year have been requests for saddles to be made with extra short panels. More about this soon!

Ramsay show saddle off to The Nationals!

Ramsay show saddle off to The Nationals!

Renee from Australia ordered a Ramsay show saddle for her daughter’s pony, Daisy at the end of last year. She wanted the deepest seat version with an integrated pencil block.

As you can see, Daisy is gorgeous and Renee’s daughter rides beautifully. They make a very elegant pair! Renee sent us these photos and wrote:

“Over the last two weekends we have attended two major shows here. Daisy’s saddle fits her perfectly and looks amazing on her and she is so free in her movement.

We won smartest on parade in the leading rein and she was Runner Up Small Open Pony so she is off to represent NSW at the Nationals. Thanks so so much once again for your amazing service.”

Success so well deserved. Lets wish them all luck at The Nationals!

ENSW Elizabeth Farm Horse of the Year Show 2018

Pacific Coast Championships 2018

Photos by kind permission of Lorelle Mercer

Walsall Riding Monkey Jump Pony Saddle 15 1/2″ SPECIAL OFFER £520

Two new saddle offers posted!

I’ve just posted two new saddles on our “Offers” page. One, a Walsall Riding Monkey Jump pony jump GP saddle (15 1/2″) and the other a show cut FWB for the very wide (17″). Both available now!….and can either be fitted or sent to you as they are.

A great pony jump GP saddle

Show cut on FWB tree

Tall, long legged & riding very short!

Tall, long legged & riding very short!

If you are and do, for jumping and cross country then you might be interested to see this saddle. It was made for a young man in Ireland who is tall, very long in the leg and who likes to ride very short across country. This is a Walsall Riding Integra Monoflap made extra forward cut and with a bigger knee roll.

Integra Monoflap, extra forward cut

2017 Round Up!

2017 Round Up!

Well, it’s been quite a year! The UK, our home country has topped our list of countries this year, followed closely by Australia, New Zealand and USA. Closer to home, we have had orders from Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark. Norway, France and Ireland. So, we continue to live up to our name!

Reflecting this diversity is the range of types of horses: Warmblood, TB, Hafflinger, Andalusian, Gypsy Cob , Pure Bred Spanish, Connemara, Highland, Welsh Cob, Irish Sport Horse, Stationbred and even Friesan X Apaloosa!

The Suzannah and the Suzannah Monoflap top the list for choice of model. Popular jump saddles were the Impala, the Gazelle and the jump GP, Nyala. Very notable this year was the need for wide fitting saddles. The new Ozelle came in to its own for this as did saddles built on the new FWB hooped tree although in some cases the answer lay in old favourites, the H&C and the Jessica tree.

As ever, some saddles were made to a very individual specification, not only in terms of creating the perfect fit but also appearance. Some saddles were quite exotic!…as described in earlier posts.

Here are a few stories of this year’s happy customers. Forgive me if I begin with Page from the USA and Cheryl from New Zealand. Both have described our service as “AWESOME” which as you can imagine made us very happy too! Page is a returning customer, this time needing a saddle for her youngster, Anja, seen here in the photo below. She decided upon a 1550 GP with 3 sets of knee blocks on Velcro, thigh blocks on Velcro, no rear pad on the flaps, show bar ie stirrup bar in the dressage position & dressage length billets. Cheryl’s saddle for George was also a 1550 but built on a FWB tree.

Page….” As I have said before – you guys provide the BEST customer service”!

Cheryl…”Thank you again for all your help. You are awesome”!

Next is Kaitlyn, from USA, riding in her Impala, made with slightly longer flaps than standard and with Buffaloe skirt & flaps and Grippy Hide seat & pads.. We weren’t asked to fit this saddle to a specific horse and here is what Kaitlyn had to say……
“just wanted to update you and aside from the saddle being beautiful, it is breaking in super well! Fits such a variety of horses, more than I anticipated! And with the grippy leather and thigh blocks has saved me from some falls off some frisky horses! I just wanted to thank you again!”

Feeling secure on frisky horses!

Lets now go to France! Jane has three PRE Spanish horses and needed a saddle for Lunar. The new Ozelle was the answer, made for Lunar in Buffaloe with Suede seat & pads & white stitching. Jane sent us a lovely message:
“Hello Jane.
Please can you tell Ian that he made a great job of the saddle for Lunar. It doesn’t slip to the left and is about as close to perfect as I think I could get.
A huge long distance success!”

This is the lovely Lunar

The new Ozelle was the answer for Lunar

Now we’re off to Norway! Jenny had had a long and fruitless search for a dressage saddle to fit her Danish Warmblood, Attack . The issue was his big shoulders and tall, wide, long withers compounded by his short, straight back. As a result Attack had been out of work for some time and was loosing muscle. Jenny was despairing. The solution was to put our heads together with Ideal. We often ask for their input when faced with a particularly difficult fitting. The result was a Suzannah, probably the only tree that will accommodate his shape, with the panels cut and shaped to conform to Attack’s conformation. We were delighted to hear that:
“the saddle fit him good, he works good in it and I think he has a little bit more muscle on his back”
“I have to say that the saddle is just amazing to ride in and people on the stable think it looks so nice and good to sit in”

Here is a now happy Attack!

A Suzannah with panels specially cut and shaped was the solution to his fitting problems.

Well, dear reader, I could go on and on and on but if you have got this far, thank you for your perseverance!

Roll on 2018. We look forward to “meeting” lots more great people and their lovely horses here in the UK and around the world!

Happy 2018 to all!

New Special Offers!

4 NEW SPECIAL OFFERS have just been posted on our site:
1/ Ideal Suzannah Monoflap Dressage saddle 17 1/2″ MW Black
2/ An exotic version of the Barclay Majestic Dressage saddle also 17 1/2″ MW Black. This saddle has special detailing on the flaps and patent leather rolls.
3/ Ideal Roella Dressage saddle 17 1/2″ W Black with Memel skirt & flaps
4/ Ideal FWB VSD cut 17 1/2″ Brown. This saddle is stamped XW but will fit anything super wide.

Click here for more details

Made in Britain

Made in Britain

The August issue of Equestrian Trade News included a feature on Made in Britain and met some “major players” with reasons to celebrate being British.
One of them was Ideal!

ETN gave a brief history of the company which I summarise here.

Founded in 1986, Ideal today employs 73 skilled craftsmen and women across two manufacturing sites. In 2007 Ideal purchased Walsall Riding, itself established in 1946. More recently Ideal purchased Beebee & Beebee, saddle tree makers since 1870. Ideal also purchased out of administration, the (Barnsby) patterns, now made under the Barclay brand, from Jabez Cliff Company. This year saw another acquisition, that of Aulton & Butler, saddle tree makers since 1955.
So, not only are Ideal one of the largest saddlery manufacturers in Walsall, they can also claim to have more tree blocks and patterns than any other company in the world!

Black & White!

Black saddles with white piping and/or white stitching have been quite a thing this summer!

This saddle, an Ozelle and made for a Spanish horse in France is in black Buffaloe with suede seat and pads with white stitching…..

and this saddle, a H&C Wide Seat Jessica, made for a Hafflinger in Switzerland has both white stitching and piping…..

To complete the picture i.e. white stitching, white piping and white patent moon we have a Suzannah in the making for a lovely piebald dressage horse in Ireland. Photos to come!

Two “specials” off to the USA!

Two “specials” off to the USA!

One has arrived, the Suzannah in black smooth Buffaloe & beige Nubuck and is a great success! The other, an Impala 1450 in black Kilger leather and Persian suede is on its way!
“The only limitation is your imagination” say Ideal about their Designed to Order service. Here are two wonderful examples! Both made up in exotic leathers, with patent leather detailing.

Ideal Suzannah with smooth, black Buffaloe skirt & flaps, beige Nubuck seat & pads and patent rolls & piping.

Ideal Suzannah with smooth, black Buffaloe skirt & flaps, beige Nubuck seat & pads and patent rolls & piping.

Ideal Impala 1450 Jump saddle in black Kilger leather and Persian suede with patent roll and piping.

Ideal Impala 1450 Jump saddle in black Kilger leather and Persian suede with patent roll and piping.

The Ideal Ozelle – a dressage saddle for wide horses but with a narrow twist for the rider! Truly an innovation!

The Ideal Ozelle – a dressage saddle for wide horses but with a narrow twist for the rider! Truly an innovation!

In an earlier post I mentioned this new saddle from Ideal, the Ozelle. It is truly an innovation and to our knowledge has never been done before. This saddle is for wide horses but at the same time gives a narrow twist for the rider! This saddle is for the flatter, wide backed horse….wide cobs, natives, Icelandics, Hafflingers. It has a wide gullet, flat tree but narrow twist. It is a neat and tidy, small stamp of a saddle. The seat is not particularly deep.

We don’t yet have any “official” photos from Ideal but here are some photos we took of an Ozelle we currently have in stock….it is also on our Special Offers page!

Ideal Ozelle Dressage Saddle 17 1/2" MW Black Patent rolls & piping

Ideal Ozelle Dressage Saddle
17 1/2″ MW Black
Patent rolls & piping

Ideal Ozelle Dressage Saddle 17 1/2" MW Black Patent rolls & piping

Ideal Ozelle Dressage Saddle
17 1/2″ MW Black
Patent rolls & piping

Ideal Ozelle Dressage Saddle 17 1/2" MW Black Patent rolls & piping

Ideal Ozelle Dressage Saddle
17 1/2″ MW Black
Patent rolls & piping

A Suzannah ready to go!

A Suzannah ready to go!

We have one 17 1/2″ MW Black Suzannah Dressage Saddle, brand new, ready now and just listed in our special offers. No need to wait for it to be made!!!!

Ideal Suzannah Dressage Saddle 17 1/2" MW Black

Ideal Suzannah Dressage Saddle
17 1/2″ MW Black

The “Amy Saddle”!

The “Amy Saddle”!

This lovely saddle recently winged its way to USA! It was made for our customer, Amy and we just had to call it the “Amy saddle”!
Amy sent us a photo of a saddle she had seen and asked if we could create a similar effect on a Suzannah. It is difficult to convey how gorgeous it is in a photo because it feels so good too….and has a comfort seat.
Amy sent us a great message when it arrived. It didn’t half make me giggle!…..”Little Amy arrived safely today. Major problem….she’s too beautiful and perfect to take to the barn!!! I suppose I’ll eventually bring her out for visits.”
We’re waiting to hear how “little Amy” rides!

The "Amy Saddle', a very special Suzannah!

The “Amy Saddle’, a very special Suzannah!

Jumping Saddle Special Offers!

Jumping Saddle Special Offers!

We’ve just put four lovely jumping saddles on Special Offer:
a Barclay Liberte Monoflap XC saddle (Barclay is essentially what was Barnsby. Ideal took over the patterns but not the name), two Ideal X-ceeds, one with patent blue detailing and a Walsall Riding Integra Mk II Monoflap (Walsall Riding is part of Ideal). All are 17 1/2″ MW except the Integra, which is 17″ MW. All can be fitted or supplied as they are. Not to be missed!
Here is a link to these offers

Ideal X-ceed Jump Saddle  with Cobalt Blue piping and roll SPECIAL OFFER

Ideal X-ceed Jump Saddle
with Cobalt Blue piping and roll

Spring Round Up!

Many new customers in the UK but key countries for us so far this year overseas have been USA and New Zealand. Even more pleasing for us was that quite a few of these orders were from returning customers.

Popular saddles have been the Gazelle and Impala 1450 for jumping and the Suzannah (as ever!) and the Suzannah Monoflap for dressage. The Monoflap is proving a wonderfully successful saddle and to quote Sophie from New Zealand, “I have ridden in my saddle twice now and I’m in love”! That was a while ago now and she still is!

Notable so far this year has been the very detailed spec that was asked for and/or was necessary to achieve the fit. Many saddles were all or part Buffaloe, a few were made with extra detailing for example with patent leather and stitching, many had shorter/longer flaps, different block arrangements and one Suzannah in progress is being made with a very specific cut of the panels to fit a very difficult to fit Danish Warmblood in Norway.

Roll on summer!

PS This lovely Suzannah went to the USA!

A New Year!

Well, here we are in 2017 and I hope it’s a great one for all our customers and readers! We will soon be busy sending out saddles ordered at the tail end of last year and over the holiday period. As we had thought the Suzannah Monoflap is building a following and the other little observation from our orders is how far and wide our native breeds have flown!….saddles will soon be despatched for an Exmoor pony in Germany and a Fell pony in Poland!

In December, Ian and I visited Ideal which we do quite regularly, but this time we took a camera with us! We thought you would like to see where your saddles are made. More on this soon….I am busy putting something together to post on the web site.

During our visit, Ideal introduced us to their latest new saddle: the Ozelle. This saddle is truly an innovation and to our knowledge has never been done before. This saddle is for wide horses but at the same time gives a narrow twist for the rider! This saddle is for the flatter, wide backed horse….well muscled wide warmbloods, wide cobs, Icelandics and natives. It has a wide gullet, flat tree but narrow twist and deep seat for the rider. More on this soon!

From the Racing World!

From the Racing World!

Echo is a 6 year old racehorse with 5 wins and 12 places to his credit. Not only successful, Echo is “the sweetest horse ever, always tries his best. So genuine & not a crazy racehorse!” says his owner, Victoria. I think you can see this in him from his photos. I completely fell for him!!!



Echo’s racing career has come up against the handicapper. He now has to carry too much weight. He’s not big, just 15.2hh. So he’s off home for a new career as Victoria’s “happy hacker”. I’m not sure this is quite the right description(!) but his change of career is how we had the great pleasure of meeting the lovely Echo. The plan is low level jumping/eventing and Victoria wanted a forward cut, GP type saddle with a good knee block. Discussions led to a Gazelle.

Echo ran his last race at Hamilton in September. He is now to have the winter off, allow him to naturally let down and we will start his saddle fitting in the spring. Enjoy your holiday Echo!

Here he is looking very beautiful
….and also very muddy and comfy last winter!



Echo’s new saddle was delivered in March. Victoria wrote to us “I LOVE IT. It is so comfy”. Echo was so good. He hasn’t been ridden for almost 6 months so I was expecting him to be bonkers but he wasn’t. He must love his new saddle too!”. We hope to have a photo soon of the pair of them with their Gazelle.

Great News for Worldwide Customers!

The British Pound has fallen in value against all major currencies. The % move varies from currency to currency but broadly speaking we are talking about £ being 10%, 15% or even 20% lower than it was last year. So if you buy a saddle from us it will be 10%, 15% or 20% cheaper in your currency terms than it would have been last year. Buy British is all I can say!!!!

Worldwide Roundup!

Worldwide Roundup!

Well. It’s been a busy year! Lots of saddles to the UK but also to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan and more! Many were Suzannahs but also in demand were the Suzannah Mono flap, Gazelle, Impala, Nyala, Grandee & Lynx. We fitted them all and most had “Designed to Order “ modifications, for example shorter or longer flaps, different blocks, deeper or shallower rear gussets, special leathers, contrast piping. Here are just a few stories in brief:


Nelle from New Zealand has a lovely big boy, Popeye and wanted a saddle for working hunter classes and hunting, seen here doing it in style (but not yet in his new saddle!). Nelle is 5” 10” and Popeye 17 2hh with a high wither but quite broad with it. Nelle struggles to find a saddle which is forward cut enough and has the length of flap she needs. She also likes an event type jumping saddle with a bold knee block. The answer: a Gazelle with longer flaps for Nelle and deeper rear gussets for Popeye! As I write, their saddle is nearly ready to ship.




Dolly from Australia had a Suzannah for use on several horses. Her particular need was to accommodate her long legs! She wrote to us:


“Have ridden in the new saddle on 3 different horses. I have to admit I was not looking forward to riding in it as brand new saddles always have such stiff flaps.  Well, It was awesome!  I can’t believe how good it is to have those two extra inches in length!  Finally my top boots aren’t hooking on the bottom of the flap.  The deeper seat is beautiful as well!  I am so happy with it.  Couldn’t believe how good it feels and it is not even broken in yet!”


Corrina from Canada had a lovely Gazelle. The seat and pads were made up in black calf skin and the skirt and flaps in dark havanna Supplex. The rear gussets were slightly deeper for fit. Corrina wanted a secure saddle for jumping and she wanted it to be especially comfy….hence the calf skin and Supplex!


Joanne from France was another candidate for a Gazelle. It was a long saga for Joanne with a happy ending! After contacting us about a saddle, she had a riding accident, then changed horses and had a long wait for the new one to arrive from Ireland. ….he’s gorgeous! So in the end we fitted the saddle to the new one and it all ended happily with a successful show jumping outing! Photo hopefully to come!


Yuka from Japan chose a Roella, which is a narrower twist version of the Suzannah. Yuka didn’t need the saddle fitted to a particular horse, it was for use generally on Thoroughbreds. Her first thought was a medium fit but we advised a medium wide unless the horses were the really skinny type. However, Yuka needed the saddle fitted to her! She is petite and Japanese people have proportionately shorter legs. So, Yuka had a 16 1/2 “ seat with much shorter flaps than standard. Ian and Ideal put their heads together to work out what length. The saddle was made up in special leathers: Memel Solid skirt & flaps and Grippy Hide seat & pads. Yuka asked for a brass nameplate on the back of the cantle to read “Yuka & Horses”! Yuka wrote us a lovely message made lovelier through the translation (she does’t speak English)! Our thanks to Yuka’s English sister-in-law for help in our communications and and our appreciation too for online translation tools!

“Hello Jane

I’m sorry , my answer became slow.

Roella is my ideal saddle!

In the form that is easy to sit down. The seat is tender, and without too being wide, it supports the knee block kindly without being too obstinate. It is easy to ride on because I have shortened flap


As it is soft and is light, it fits a horseback kindly.

“The medium wide” was right.

Roella is moistened and I have not yet poured the oil as it is soft.

I intend to wait until leather wants oil.

The summer of Tokyo was very very hot, and nobody were in the club not to be able to ride a horse, but in September, everybody came back to the club little by little. I introduce your shop if somebody shows interest in my Roella!

Thank you Jane,

Thank you very much. Take care.”

Stacey Donnelly from Talesend Farm, Somerset, Virginia USA ordered a Nyala primarily for her son Neil and his competition horse, Fool Proof but for her use occasionally too and also perhaps on their other horse, Darcy, the chestnut shown here. The horses were not too far apart so it was possible to accommodate the two.


Neil & Fool Proof are competing successfully with a string of successes & top places in Horse Trials this year. They are entered in their first CIC 1* at Morven Park at the end of September. We wish them a great day!

Here is a video of Neil and Fool Proof jumping at Middleburg HT in June…..in their Nyala!!!! I think you will agree Neil rides not only successfully but beautifully too and is a joy to watch…..

 Middleburg HT 2016 Prelim 1st place.mp4

If anyone is interested in sponsoring this talented your rider, please get in touch and we will forward your details.

Sarah from Saudi Arabia ordered a Lynx Twin Flap for her horse Twilight. The saddle was to have Jessica style knee rolls and no thigh rolls. She found it impossible to find a dressage saddle in Saudi and (we are glad to say) found us! Asked about her saddle, she wrote :

“ I looooooove it ):” 

Here are Sarah and Twilight looking very elegant….and comfortable and relaxed too!













To finish my roundup, let’s return briefly to the UK. Suzannah’s were often the choice for dressage saddles, not only the original Suzannah but the new mono flap version too. Also successful has been the new FWB GP saddle designed on a hoop head tree for the extra wide. Some saddles were made to a very individual spec, for example an Impala for a customer in Essex had deeper knee rolls, was more forward cut, with Buffaloe skirt & flaps and Grippy Hide seat & pads finished off with Cognac piping! As ever, we have seen a great variety of horses, (even an Orlov Trotter!), who turn their hand/hooves to a great variety of things! Our job is to help them do this in freedom and comfort.


Till next time!…..


A Breakthrough in Saddle Design for the XXX Wide

A Breakthrough in Saddle Design for the XXX Wide

I’ve just been talking to Ian about fitting the XXX wide! He thinks Ideal have made a breakthrough in design with their FWB GP saddle and says there has been nothing on the market like this saddle until now. It is the answer for wide cobs, natives and all horse and ponies with little or no wither and a very flat back.

The big problem for the XXX wide is movement. A saddle may appear to “fit” but the saddle moves from side to side. It is unstable for the rider and most likely uncomfortable for the horse because the root cause is that the saddle and its tree is not wide enough.

The FWB is new to Ideal’s range of wide fitting saddles and is designed upon their own new hoop head tree. The FWB is extra wide in the head which means that the saddle fits over more of the breadth of the wither. Together with broad, thin flocked panels this saddle “does not move” says Ian, “Guaranteed”!!!!

So, at last, here is a saddle that gives stability to the rider and comfort to the horse. The horse may never have had a saddle that truly fits him and his shape. Under this saddle the horse can relax, move freely and be happy!


Illustrated is the VSD cut version with a straighter flap and panel. You can have any block/flap configuration that you would like through the Designed to Order service.



From Malta

From Malta

I just had to ask Sarah if she would let me share her photos here! I think we all dream of this!

Sarah contacted us about a saddle for her 3/4 American TB, 1/4 Dutch bred youngster. Smart Shrimp! He is now 28 months old, Sarah having had him since he was 3 months old. “Shrimp” is young but Ian says there is not a lot of difference from a fitting perspective between a 2yr old and 3yr old. Sarah’s thought was a 1650 GP which is a good choice for a young horse. It is a very forgiving fit and has plenty of panel which will encourage him to develop top line.

When I asked if she had done anything with him yet, I received the wonderful reply that she had sat on him a few times in the sea!!!! Here are the photos:




Sarah also has a mini Shetland called Angus, for her daughter, Alex.


and a rescued 9 year old French-American standardbred. Here are the three of them together.


Lastly, fun at a gymkhana plus Alex & Angus showing us all how to do it:









I have just posted 10 new SPECIAL OFFERS on the site.
There is a brand new 17 1/2″ W Ideal 1350 GP for £1150, a brand new 17″ XW Ideal Josephine for £995, a brand new 17 1/2″ W Ideal Suzannah 1650 GP for £1150 and a brand new Ideal Lynx Pro Twin Flap for £1150:

We also have an almost new 18 1/2″ W Ideal Jessica Professional for £950 and a 17″ MW Ideal VSD on a Roella Tree for £795, which is a bargain. Both these saddles have been sat in once, they are in effect new.

Ex demonstrators are a 17″ MW Jeremy Rudge Pace Dressage Saddle for £850, an 18″ W Manor VSD for £895 and a beautiful 17 1/2″ MW Ideal Impala:

We have one 2nd hand saddle, a 17 1/2″ MW Manor GP VSD for £550.

More detail about all these saddles plus photos can be found here

If you are interested in any of these saddles, please get in touch! All saddles can be sent to you as they are or we can fit them for you.

From New Zealand

From New Zealand

Bella from New Zealand was looking for a dressage saddle for her 7 year old, Hanoverian gelding, Lyndon. Although Bella liked her current saddle, she thought it was too narrow for Lyndon. A friend of Bella’s in Holland has a Suzannah and is very happy with it and thought that this design would suit Lyndon and Bella. How right she was! The wide twist and generous panels would help Lyndon gain and keep top line at a crucial stage of his training and development.
For Bella, her main preference for us to accommodate was that she did not like too big a knee block so the saddle was made with shorter and slimmer blocks than the standard Suzannah block. We also advised Bella that the Suzannah has a wider twist and there is “more saddle” than she has been used to. We explored other options, for example the Lynx Twin Flap but Ian didn’t think the fit would be as good for Lyndon so after conferring some more with her friend in Holland, it was decided to go for a Suzannah.
Lyndon is quite high withered but then fairly wide with quite a lot of shape in his back rather than being flat. So the saddle was made with deeper rear gussets and his shape meant that more flocking was required in the waist of the panel.

A few weeks later Bella writes….
“And Yes! This morning the saddle arrived!
So I rode on it this morning without anything under it.

When I first got on him it felt right straight away! Yay!
I think it is the same as with shoes, when you buy shoes they have to fit right from the start not that you have to get used to them for weeks…

I walked for 10 minutes and then started to ride like I always do. It felt so comfortable! I have the feeling that my position is better. My legs are much stiller and I can’t lean backwards too far.

Lyndon also made all the right noises.. he seemed pretty happy and relaxed!”
It fits perfectly so far”

And a bit later ….
“Have been riding for over a week now and still love the saddle!”

The result: this lovely photo of the two of them……

Re size 3

From USA

From USA


Page lives in Minessota, USA and has a greatly loved Friesan/Morgan cross gelding called Luther. Her saddle fitted Luther but didn’t work for Page. So, this time Page was the fitting conundrum for us, not Luther!!!

Page wanted a dressage saddle but due to the angle of her knee joint, the length of her thigh bone and her round thighs, she has found it impossible to find a dressage saddle that fits her leg comfortably. She finds that her knee travels over the knee block as she rides and traditional dressage saddles are too straight cut for her. Other considerations for us were that Page likes a narrower twist, a medium, not super deep seat and supportive knee blocks and currently rides in a 19” seat.

Ian had a chat with Ideal and together they thought the answer was a saddle with an increased bearing area, wider gullet and a broader more generous and not too deep a seat. That saddle was a 19” Jessica Professional made with a lower cantle, slightly more forward cut flaps and shorter, higher knee blocks. Subsequently we decided to have knee blocks on Velcro, 3 pairs, which would give Page greater flexibility in this respect.

Luther has big shoulders and is wide but not over wide. He is a bit asymmetrical, as many horses are but Ian’s view is that the saddle should be flocked evenly and then the flocking takes up the shape of the horse rather than the other way around. It turned out that we had thought Luther was more “up” in front than he actually is and on this occasion we didn’t get the balance of the saddle quite right first time. I assure you reader, this does not happen often but I tell the story as evidence of our commitment and guarantee to our customers: we arranged for the saddle to be collected from USA, made the necessary adjustments and sent the saddle back out to Page all at our expense.

Luther. Isn't he lovely!

Luther. Isn’t he lovely!

Page has been a wonderful customer and we have had great fun corresponding. She has another horse, Anja, a Friesan cross again, just 3 years old and we are looking forward to helping Page with a saddle for her next year.



To complete this story for now, a few words from Page:
“I’ve never had a saddle fit my leg so well. Luther felt free in his shoulder and canter depart was awesome. The sweat pattern was perfect. I am very happy.”

“Things are going VERY well! This saddle is so versatile. I can hike my leathers to get in to a good two point position and my knee STILL does not go over the flap so that is perfect. I couldn’t be happier.”

“People need to know what a fantastic job you do!”

and the best one(!!!)…..
“Please keep in touch. I really like you guys!”

From Canada

From Canada

Zuzana lives in Saskatchewan County in Canada. She has several wide backed horses, Lusitano crosses and Warmbloods and rides to Grand Prix level with some. She trains with Mary Wanless and likes to “clearly feel her seat bones and ride with a fairly closed angle of her leg”.

Zuzana had recently bought a Tonishia but found it wasn’t wide enough for some of her horses and so she was on the hunt for another saddle! Although she and the horses love the Tonishia she would like her new saddle to be closer contact with a smaller block and less restricted seat.

We thought there were two options:

Option 1: we could adapt a Tonishia to greatly enhance her closeness to the horse and accommodate her leg position. We would do this by having less padding in the seat, cut the panels less full, custom flock the saddle with lambs wool which is lighter and softer than the Jacob’s wool used as standard by Ideal and reduce the bulk and depth of the block allowing her knee to pass under the block. The block could be on Velcro allowing her to ride with or without a block.

Option 2: choose a different saddle, our suggestion would be the Lynx Pro. This saddle is a fairly new addition to the Ideal range. It is a closer contact saddle with a smaller block, a less restricted seat, designed for the high level rider. It is a very forgiving fit and should be fine for the horses.

We exchanged lots of emails and Ian and Zuzana chatted on the phone and it came down to this!…….

“to summarise: a “modified Tonishia is a bit of a compromise between what is ideal for you and what we know works for the horses. But you know the saddle so it is not a leap in the dark. Alternatively, go for what I think you want, the Lynx Pro and I guess trust in us that it will work for the horses too!”

Zuzana went for the Lynx Pro and I am very happy to report dear reader that it did work! Here are a few things Zuzana wrote to us:

“I rode a few horses in the new saddle today – and love it! It feels as comfortable as my treeless – like I can forget there is a saddle there at all. The more open seat is great and the blocks are perfect!”

“Yes, the saddle’s working out great, love it. It is the best saddle I ever rode in ☺ . The horses are super comfortable in it and it stays centred with a loose girth”

“It’s been great dealing with you and you definitely have a customer for life!”

5 (8)

13- 33

Zuzana is riding in her new saddle in the snow. It was -25 degrees!



Just posted on this site are 11 “SPECIAL OFFER” saddles. Most are Ian’s ex demonstrators. Brands are Ideal, Jeremy Rudge, Keith Bryan, Jeffries & Minster. There are dressage saddles, show saddles, jump saddles, a pony saddle and an endurance saddle. Sizes are 17″ and 17 1/2″ (the pony saddle is 15″) , width fittings vary.

All can be supplied as they are or they can be fitted. Please get in touch if you are interested in any of these saddles. Look forward to hearing from you!!!!

Long Time No Blog!

Hello everyone,

I have been very remiss in not keeping up with my blog! My lame excuse is that we have been very busy looking after customers in the UK, Isle of Man, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and more. Truly Worldwide!

More new posts and stories to follow soon……promise! I’ve made a start with some great SPECIAL OFFERS for you on a selection of saddles.

Slipping back….badly!

K**** from Nottinghamshire rang us on her way back from a show. Her coloured horse is “all shoulder” and very flat backed and her new saddle which had been fitted and made for her (not by us) had slipped back so badly and rolled about so much that she fell off. She was amazed her horse hadn’t bronked. Someone at the show suggested she call us (thank you, whoever it was!).

With big shoulders and a flat back, the fit of the saddle needs to be precise. Not only must the front arch of the saddle be the right width, it must be the right shape.  Once that is established, the saddle must be the right shape underneath so the gullet is wide and the panels are flocked to the shape of the horse. Given the type and shape of horse, the panels will need to be flat and soft. Many saddles are too rounded and thus will move about. Stability will be further helped with point and balance straps.

Poor K**** was now faced with buying a second saddle and with this in mind, Ian suggested she consider one of his own made to order Minster GP saddles which are unbeatable value at £695. I am about to add this saddle to our web site too! Do take a look under GP saddles!

Enjoying himself!

Lauren from Worcestershire is thinking about an Ideal Gazelle for her six year old, 16.1 hh Warmblood. The saddle is purely for show jumping. They compete atm at around 1.05 but are hoping to move up through the classes over the summer. She needs bigger knee/thigh blocks than on her current saddle for a more secure seat as her horse is very spooky. Her other problem is the saddle sliding forward.

The Gazelle is an excellent choice for rider security when a horse is “enjoying” himself!  It has big blocks and the stitching on the knee pads goes around the blocks allowing the knee pads to fold. Ideal describe this as “it has ghost pad lines to enable fold in the soft knee pads to ensure comfort and security”. It is pretty forward cut and quite a generous saddle. Lauren didn’t want to loose the close contact she currently has and though neither the Gazelle nor Lauren’s current saddle are strictly close contact, Ian thought Lauren would feel closer in a Gazelle.

For the “going forward” problem, we suggest incorporating a point strap in the girthing and combine this with a softer consistency in the flocking. This should solve the problem.

From Norway

From Norway

Let me introduce you to Glima!

Elisabeth  lives in Norway and wanted a saddle for her new mare, Glima who had arrived from Iceland a few months ago. After much discussion, thought  and fun for everyone,  she decided upon a saddle in Sala coloured leather with Ranch coloured piping along the seat,  based on the Ideal Icelandic but with Ideal Jessica style flaps, calf skin seat and knee pads, both with extra cushioning, large short knee rolls and dressage style girth straps. Ian’s comments included “the saddle will be a very similar width (to Elisabeth’s current saddle), just narrower by a nudge, have a shallower gusset at the back and a softer, flatter  flock”. He suggested point and balance straps (v girth) to help stability given that the horse is a young Icelandic, round and flat. He commented that the larger, shorter knee rolls are more versatile and practical than dressage blocks (Elisabeth’s first thought) as your knee can pass underneath, allowing more freedom of movement. He went on to say that the Jessica flaps with these blocks are a good combination of being off the horse’s shoulder but allowing your knee forward.

When fitting the saddle, Ian had to allow for the fact that this young horse was not yet ridden away and was going to have a foal before being backed.

Elisabeth wrote “I love, love, love my new saddle”

The following year, Elisabeth bought a 10 year old black stallion. His saddle was similar but subtly different to Glima’s saddle.  It is an Icelandic with a medium depth seat and short, large knee rolls with “formed “saddle flaps.



Dressage saddles for the very wide!

Our topic for today is inspired by an enquiry from Mandy from Lancashire, England who is “desperately searching” for the right dressage saddle for her very wide Irish Draught Mare. “Everything seems to shoot up her neck or lift at the back”.  She was thinking of an Ideal Jessica on a hooped tree, given that the vsd she has at the moment on Ideal’s hooped tree is the best saddle she has so far tried on her mare. She asked if this can be done.

Yes, it certainly can and we suggested the only other thing she might like to consider is having a Suzannah on that tree. The Suzannah flaps and blocks give you a bit more saddle.  Ian had just done a saddle for a similarly very wide Irish Draft cross. That saddle was a Suzannah on a Jessica tree!


Katherine from Australia  enquired about saddles for sturdy Welsh Section C ponies and Connemara types, plenty of substance, very broad and sturdy, about 13-14 hh. However, being quite small, short in the leg and medium to heavy build, Katherine prefers a narrower twist as she needs to get as much of her leg down the side of the ponies as possible.

We initially confined our response to dressage and general purpose saddles as a GP saddle might suit her for jumping too, although we would need to explore this further.

We suggested a Suzannah dressage saddle but on a Jessica tree, (see above) which works well on the wider types being a bit flatter. It also has a slightly narrower twist than the Suzannah and a bit more room in the seat. There is also a GP version.  We said we would be a bit concerned recommending a saddle with a narrower twist than this eg the Roella, given the type of pony it is to be used on. Point and balance strap type girthing arrangement is standard on the dressage version and can be incorporated in to the GP version. This will help the stability of the saddle, often a problem on sturdy, broader types of pony. In this respect we suggested she might like to consider GP style (ie short) girth straps on the dressage saddle so that she can use a GP girth and get more purchase than you would with a dressage style girth. She could also then adjust the girth herself while mounted!

The latest on this is that we have all gone back to the drawing board! Katherine feels that the bigger, chunkier saddles are too much saddle on these ponies and she herself prefers a more discreet type of saddle. We suggested she take a look at the Stuttgart Junior and the Rebecca (in the Ideal range but not illustrated on our web site) , both of which are neater, smaller saddles with flatter seats, less block and a narrower twist. The saddle can be “Designed to Order” to fit her as needed: a deeper/flatter seat, shorter flaps and the tree can be adjusted to narrow the twist, although this will be a compromise between what is comfortable for her and what will work for the ponies. We would work with Ideal and Katherine to achieve this balance.


We will soon be starting a series of articles on saddle fitting, to include one on the problems, solutions and principles of fitting the very wide. Please send us a message if you would like to receive a copy. 

From The Isle of Man

Sammie from The Isle of Man was looking for a saddle for her 14.1 Section “D”, 9 year old mare Maggie. Sammie rides the pony and so does Ella, Sammie’s 9 year old daughter.  Very green for her years, Maggie has a big, arching jump and so security for Sammie and Ella was a key consideration.  They also hope to do some dressage. Sammie loves the look of the Nyala: they want to be able to “put their knees into” the saddle.  The Nyala is a great jump/gp hybrid with a neat, secure seat.

Given that Sammie and Ella are very different size and weight, the saddle would have flexible blocks on Velcro so that they could adjust them for who was riding. Seat size was also a question but it was decided to size the saddle to Sammie and the pony as Sammie was the main rider now and would be for a while. Even if she squeezed in to a smaller seat it would still be too big for Ella and if the seat was too small for Sammie she would tend to sit on the back of the saddle causing discomfort and problems for the pony.

In this story, the needs of the two riders has been the key issue, Maggie being quite straightforward to fit. How the saddle looks was also very important. Sammie loves the look of the Impala Pro Dressage saddle…….”the two tone and contrast stitching and piping is just gorgeous”. So, her Nyala is going to be made up with dark havanna seat and knee pads, black skirt and flaps and white stitching and piping as per the Impala. She is having a matching two tone girth with white stitching and a set of dressage leathers in black.

The saddle is due any day now. When it arrives we will post an image to show you how great it looks!

From Lancashire

From Lancashire

Suzanne is the lucky owner of two wonderful piebald cobs, Shaun & Wilf. Wilf is a true Piebald and Shaun is all white except for his head! Wilf is 14.2 and now 24 years old. Shaun, show name Shaun the Sheep, stands just under 15.3 and is much younger. Suzanne does mainly dressage, schooling and hacking but enjoys a bit of cross country on Shaun. She now does all her lessons, competing, xcountry and horse camps on Shaun although Wilf is still active and ridden and often hacks out with a friend on board.

A couple of saddle “problems” came up in our discussions with Suzanne and they are problems many share.

Problem 1:

Suzanne is tall and the cobs are short backed. Ideally Suzanne needs a seat size bigger than the cobs can accommodate.


Part of the solution lay in the choice of saddle, a dressage saddle, a Suzannah. To make the saddle more flexible for hacking and the occasional jump across country, we suggested the saddle have two sets of blocks, one full dressage, one shorter and also GP girthing.

The other part of the solution is to be practical: fitting “rules” state that a saddle must not extend beyond the last rib but in the real world lots and lots of horses and riders are not anatomically suited and this last rib fitting “rule” sometimes needs to be interpreted with some discretion. Rather than whether the saddle extends a little beyond the last rib, we believe THE most important “rule” is that the saddle is in balance by which we mean that the rider sits naturally in the centre of the seat and the weight of the rider is evenly distributed over the entire bearing surface of the saddle. If the saddle is too small for the rider, the rider will tend to sit on the back of the saddle. The rider and saddle will not be in balance. This will create discomfort and soreness for the horse

Problem 2

Suzanne would like to use the new saddle on both cobs


Wilf is sway backed and Shaun is too but less so. The saddle will have a custom flock with pure white lambswool. The idea will be to flock the saddle more to Wilf’s shape but given the soft consistency of the flocking it will work for Shaun too. We don’t want the saddle to “bridge” on Wilf ie it makes contact at the front and back but not in the middle. Conversely we don’t want too much shape in the saddle for Shaun so that it makes more contact with his back in the middle of the saddle than either front or back. But Shaun is a bit sway backed too and the soft consistency of the flocking material will do the trick. All a bit tricky but possible!

This all being said, it turned out there was a different solution to “problem 2”! Two new saddles ie one for each was not an option but Suzanne began to ask herself whether it made more sense to gear this new saddle more towards Shaun than Wilf. Wilf is getting on in years now, with hopefully many more to come but most of her riding is on Shaun. So it was decided to fit the new saddle to Shaun and look out for a second hand saddle for Wilf. It turned out, Ian had just the thing, a Minster dressage saddle that he could offer Suzanne at a very good price.


So, in the end, both boys were fixed up! Suzanne has just taken delivery of the saddles and we are waiting to hear how she and the boys are getting on.

Ian is featured in Chiltern & Thames Rider Magazine

Ian is featured in Chiltern & Thames Rider Magazine

The following is from an article in Chiltern & Thames Rider Magazine. Download the original article here.

When Sue Mitchell, editor of Chiltern & Thames Rider Magazine decided to get a dressage saddle for her eight year old mare, Special Print, she thought “why compromise” when she can have a custom made saddle to her exact specification. So she contacted “our” Ian and her experience became the subject of a feature in the magazine.

“Before the 1970’s every saddle was specially made for horse and rider. Why compromise with anything less than a perfectly fitting saddle?”

Here, Ian shows the process of taking a saddle template and points to the adjustments that were made to the saddle to fit both Special Print and Sue. The whole process from template to delivery took six weeks.

Taking the template



Fitting the saddle




The finished result


Sue and Special Print love the new saddle!

Sue and Special Print try out the new saddle.

Special Print’s saddle is a Sussanah Dressage Saddle from Ideal, made to order and specification through Ideal’s Designed to Order service. The cost of the saddle was £1,195 inc VAT. An excellent price for a bespoke saddle of high quality.


Contact us for more information or to discuss your requirements.


From Germany

From Germany

Sheila contacted us for saddles for her two Arabs, Will & Noddy. Both are six year olds and both had been backed the year before. To date they had been hacked out but looking forward, Sheila hoped to perhaps show them and/or do some endurance type riding.

Arabs are rather notoriously tricky to fit! To compound this potential problem, Sheila was finding it hard to find saddles in Germany for anything other than the Warmblood type and for anything other than dressage and jumping. Will is the more substantial type, wide, indeed very wide, and long striding. Noddy is finer, high withered and short backed.


Arabs are notoriously tricky to fit!

Will was our first project! Sheila sent us a photo of the type of saddle she had in mind. There were various ways to arrive at this but given that the Ramsay tree works very well on Arabs, this was going to be our starting point. However, Will is very wide, so Ian had a long chat with Ideal and they strongly recommended that we use a Finesse tree. This is the same as the Ramsay but for wider horses. From the photos and video that Sheila had sent to us, it was clear Will was unwilling to go forward. It was very likely that the saddle being used was too narrow and could well be the problem or at least eliminating the saddle as the cause is the first step and hopefully the solution.

Much discussion then centred on flaps and blocks and seat depth. The saddle in the photo Sheila had sent us had dressage style blocs. Ian suggested that given that she wanted to use the saddle for working hunter, showing and general riding, a shallower, shorter block would give more flexibility and allow Sheila to ride shorter. The final spec was for an Ideal Finesse in Dark Havana with a medium depth seat, and GP blocks. The saddle would be fitted with point and balance straps to help stability.

The saddle arrived and “looks lovely”, said Sheila. However, Will was still not happy although at least he did not buck or kick out as he had done with his last saddle, said Sheila. We asked Sheila to send us some photos and hopefully a video so Ian could check the saddle was sitting in balance. Meanwhile, Sheila took great care to familiarize Will with the feel of his new saddle. Sometimes it can take a bit of time for a horse to respond. His behaviour is so conditioned by his past discomfort that it doesn’t change immediately.

However, in Will’s case, there was a different cause. It turns out he had a serious problem in a stifle. An operation and long box rest later. I’m relieved to say that there is a happy ending. Sheila is being cautious with him, but he is sound and in light work.

Now for Noddy! It must be said, Noddy is easier to fit!!! The spec for the saddle was very similar and everything went smoothly.

After receiving her new saddles, Sheila said:

“Noddy loves being ridden. I am very happy with the saddles and find they are a perfect fit. I have seen made to measure saddles here that are twice the price.”


That Noddy loves being ridden is perhaps the best testimonial we can have!

From Norway

From Norway

Bente contacted us having been referred to us by a friend. She needed a saddle for her daughter, Malene to use, if possible, on two horses. Both horses are 6 year old, rising 7, Icelandic competition horses. The narrower horse, the red one, was not very muscled. He had been ridden in an ill fitting saddle and had had some time off with back problems.  The wider horse, the black one, was rounder but a bit fat rather than fit!

Malene wanted a black Ideal Suzannah with a 16 ½” seat. This is a snug seat for a Suzannah but photos Bente sent to us confirmed that it was not too small for Malene. However, Ian was a bit concerned that the snugness would force her into one rather strict, dressage style position. So he suggested that she have shorter, smaller knee blocks. This would give her some freedom of movement and flexibility which she will need when riding over varying terrain.

The templates of the horses’ backs were such that Ian felt the one saddle could be used on both horses, particularly since it was a Suzannah. The design of this saddle makes it remarkably flexible in this respect. He would fit the saddle to the wider horse and Malene could use a pad if necessary to lift the saddle a touch on the narrower horse.

Bente wrote to us :

The saddle is PERFECT! Malene is so pleased with it. The saddle fits perfect for both! You have to send or best thoughts and thanks to Ian too. He has done very good work on this!

I have to say that I have my doubts in forehand, but I had no reason for that, because this I would do again

Thank you so much for all your help and kindness. I think Malene will love this saddle.

I will recommend you to all my friends, that’s for sure.

All the best from Norway



Sway Back

Heidi is a 17 year old Thoroughbred and is a dressage schoolmaster or should I say mistress, for her new owner, Heather in Victoria, Australia.  A Suzannah Dressage saddle is on order for Heidi. The key issue fitting this saddle for Heather & Heidi is Heidi’s sway back.  A sway back is when a horse’s back dips excessively in the top line and often causes the saddle to bridge thereby putting the rider’s weight on the front and/or the back of the saddle and causing uneven pressure points and soreness for the horse. This was what was happening to Heidi.

Once the right width of the tree is established, the saddle needs to be flocked to the shape of Heidi’s back. Any dressage tree has more shape to it than other disciplines with its deeper seat and the Suzannah with its big broad panels makes it easier to change the profile of the flocking and get more flocking in to the waist of the saddle which is where it is needed for a sway backed horse. It is not easy to get right, takes skill and involves dropping the panels out, not something many fitters do. It is our view that you have to drop the panels out to get the right result and the best flocking material is pure, soft lamb’s wool.   It involves a lot more work but its worth it!

Heidi left side

From Australia

From Australia

Virginia is an Equine Myofunctional Therapist, trainer and competitor and lives in Australia. She contacted us about a dressage saddle for her horse, a 5 year old Warmblood x American Saddlebred gelding. He has been under saddle for about 18 months and is working at Novice/Elementary dressage and jumping around 70-80 cms. Virginia described him “as quite short backed and solid and since his scapula slopes a fair way back behind his wither”, she felt there was not a huge space left for a saddle to sit before his last rib.

Virginia described a long tale of woe in her search for a saddle , one that suited them both. She is not very tall but not light either and this compounded saddle fitting problems. Cheeky Chops expressed his discomfort with an unwillingness to go forward particularly in canter, lots of tail swishing and “pig rooting”. Many different brands, styles and sizes were tried to no avail.

These are some of the photos Virginia sent to us before placing her order for her Ideal saddle, and the change after:

Ian explains that Virginia and Cheeky Chops were suffering from a common problem. The saddles were too narrow for him in front but because he was well muscled and croup high, he kept Virginia in balance and so the problem was disguised, other than manifesting itself in the horse’s discomfort. However, with the correct width of tree for the front, the horse’s shape and musculature behind the saddle will tend to make the saddle too low at the front and for Virginia to feel “downhill”. The answer is to rebalance the saddle using the flocking so that the saddle lifts at the front and sits down at the back. The Suzannah has drop panels as standard and front gussets so it lends itself exceptionally well to this fine tuning.

The next common problem was the perception, which is widely shared, that the saddle should not extend beyond the horse’s last rib. The fundamental problem here is that this is very rarely possible to achieve if a saddle is to fit both horse and rider. If the rider is big relative to the space on their horse’s back where he or she can sit….”you cant do it” says Ian. If you accommodate the horse in this respect, the rider is squeezed in to a saddle that is too small, their leg falls too far forward and they sit on the back of the saddle, causing uneven pressure, discomfort and a sore back for the horse.

The number one golden rule is that the front arch of the saddle tree must be the same shape and width as that part of the horse’s back upon which it should be positioned.  The other golden rule is that the saddle is in balance by which we mean the saddle is positioned such that the rider naturally sits in the centre of the saddle and the combined weight of the saddle and rider is evenly distributed over the whole bearing surface of the saddle. The Suzannah with its wider twist and big, broad panels is ground breaking in this respect as it is designed to maximise this bearing surface.If these two golden rules are obeyed, it rarely causes a problem if the saddle extends a short way beyond the last rib.

Our thanks go to Virginia for allowing us to tell this story. That her problems were common problems is only clear to the expert but having said that many experts would not recognise them nor be able to find the solution. We must say this next!….. Luckily Virginia found us and through us, Ian and his team!

“ I LOVE the new saddle!!! I have ridden in it 4 times and it hasn’t moved at all on him not like any other saddle I tried. It is lovely to sit in and I definitely notice the difference position wise as it sits my pelvis and leg in a much improved position…….and touch wood I haven’t had any pig roots or even any real ears back since I have been using it. Very HAPPY CUSTOMER”.

A couple of weeks later, Virginia wrote “ My instructor, Cherie is a top level judge and coach in this country and in her day rode Grand Prix Dressage and Show Jumping. She is very impressed with the alteration the saddle has made to my riding and to the comfort and happiness of my horse. I even made her sit on him in it and it was only then that she really realised how wonderful it was and how it sat you in the right spot without even trying and allowed your leg to hang in a much more correct position without forcing it. “ Virginia went on to say that her instructor “made about 5 other people sit in it (poor Chops must have thought he was doing pony rides) and it made a big improvement to most of them. The interesting thing was that it suited many different body types – tall and slim to short and round, long legs and short legs”.

As you can imagine reader, we were thrilled to hear all this. We care about what we do, indeed we are passionate about it! We believe this successful outcome is down to the combination of excellent communications, Ian’s experience, expertise and attention to detail plus the quality and excellence of the design of the Ideal Suzannah saddle.

From The Netherlands

From The Netherlands

A happy comfortable Charlotte!

A happy comfortable Charlotte!

Lorette wanted a dressage saddle for her 10 year old KWPN mare (Negro X Cabochon), Charlotte. The mare had been working at M1 level in The Netherlands before a 4 year foal break. She was back in training but not quite to her old shape and musculature. She has a flat, straight back and round ribs. Lorette’s constant problem has been saddles sliding forward over Charlotte’s shoulder, the one saddle that didn’t, an Amerigo close contact was not the right saddle for Lorette.

Charlotte moving freely in her new saddle with Lorette in perfect balance.

Charlotte moving freely in her new saddle with Lorette in perfect balance.

Lorette came to us because she had been breaking in a horse for someone whose owner gave her her own saddle to use. It was an Ideal Roella. She tried it on her own horse and it fitted surprisingly well. Although not quite wide enough, it didn’t move forward! Eureka! It was also “a lovely saddle to ride in”.

Our initial thoughts for Lorette were that we are off to a good start with the Roella because one of the biggest problems for saddlers is saddles moving forward! The only suggestion might have been to consider the Suzannah which with its wider twist is slightly better for the horse. However, some riders find this saddle too wide and so the Roella was developed by Ideal along the same lines as the Suzannah but with the narrower twist for the more petite rider and finer horse. Lorette’s response was to do what was best for Charlotte but Lorette is slim, Charlotte is the finer type of Dutch Warmblood and Lorette had already said that the Amerigo, with the wider tree, was not the saddle for her. So, we suggested she stick with her first choice.

Charlotte poses for her fitting!

Charlotte poses for her fitting!

The next key issue was the width of the tree. Lorette was very concerned over this because in the past, even with a custom made saddle, trees had not been wide enough and constricted and impacted Charlotte’s movement even to the point that she lost shoes. The saddle she had tried was a “wide”. Having seen the templates of Charlotte’s back, Ian agreed with Lorette that her horse is deceptively wide. Ideal do a fitting in between W and XW, the W+ and he thought this would be our starting point. He and his team would then fine tune the fit from there and the custom flock would create a flatter shape in response to the horse’s flat back.

Lorette had also mentioned (and the templates revealed) an unevenness in Charlotte’s back, one side versus the other. However, Ian considers this as not material to the flocking of the saddle. Other than in exceptional circumstances, he is not a believer in adjusting the flock to “build up” one side, believing that it works better the other way round ie the flocking molds to the horse’s shape rather than he molding the flocking to the horse’s shape. He also thought that given her shape, the saddle would benefit from a deeper rear gusset. When a horse is higher at the wither and falls away, a deeper rear gusset allows greater leeway in the flocking to create a saddle in balance, which is when the deepest part of the seat is in the centre of the saddle. Conversely, when a horse is croup high, a shallower rear gusset similarly helps create a saddle in balance.

Lorette had no special requirements in terms of block shape and positioning, flaps, depth of seat etc so the saddle was a standard order in that respect. The key issue was the fit and stability on Charlotte.

After Lorette had received her saddle, we were thrilled to receive the following:

Hi Jane

It’s lovely! I’ve won the competition level M today with the saddle. I truly love the saddle. Many thanks!

A very happy customer – Lorette.

Charlotte’s foal, what fun he’s going to be!