Custom Saddlery Designs and Delivers New Saddle to Paraequestrian Superstar, Lauren Barwick
Wellington, FL – Custom Saddlery is known for their exceptional attention to detail, design, and a custom fit for both horse and rider. For all equestrians these are important factors, but for the paraequestrian, they are exceptionally important. For Olympic paraequestrian Lauren Barwick, Custom recently designed and created the perfect dressage saddle, and will help Barwick ride even further up the ranks in FEI Paraequestrian CPEDI classes than she has before. Barwick is a member of the Canadian Para Equestrian Team, and is a gold and silver medalist from the 2008 Paralympic Games in Hong Kong. Since that time, she and her horse, Maile, have become superstars through their success in the dressage ring and have helped propel the sport of Para-Dressage into the spotlight. Now, training in her new saddle, Barwick has her sights set on taking her riding to an entirely new level in 2013, and then striking gold again at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
“By feeling more secure in my saddle, I can feel safer and focus on riding,” Barwick explains, “With a disability, I have a lot of muscle atrophy. I needed a saddle that would be very soft on my seat and tail bones, giving on my skin, have knee rolls to help prevent my legs from bouncing, a proper balance for my position preventing me from tipping over, and a mounted handle bar. Plus, my overly sensitive horse must be comfortable in it!” she adds. “Being able to sit quietly in the saddle, be balanced and able to move with the horse will allow me to stay out of her way so she can achieve her best. When I bounce around, it unsettles her and interferes with her fantastic gaits. The saddle needs to be a seamless extension to my body, not simply an object that assists the rider but interferes with the horse.” Barwick goes on to say that she was impressed with Custom Saddlery’s knowledge of balance and function. “The subtle differences and attention to small details were very obvious to me when sitting in the saddle,” she describes, “Custom was able to add a thick gel layer, which is perfect for preventing pressure sores, and then add a soft, smooth material on top, instead of leather, to prevent skin chaffing. Also, I needed specific knee roles strategically placed, and slits in the saddle for my leather straps. All these details are important because if I’m constantly trying to rebalance myself, or ignore my leg bouncing, or worry about my skin, I’m not able to put 100% into feeling for my horse and being the best technical rider in the ring.” Barwick continues, “It was really a pleasure to work with Custom Saddlery. At first, I thought it would be overwhelming for them because I didn’t think this was going to be easy. But they made it easy!” The adapted saddle not only allows Barwick to compete at the International level in her FEI para classes but also allows her to compete successfully at the top of her class nationally against able bodied riders.
Cary Wallace, President and Master Saddle Fitter at Custom Saddlery, says they pride themselves on making it easy for top-level equestrians to ride their best. In addition to their own high level of research and design, Custom Saddlery is dedicated to listening to the input of riders and trainers, making it possible to provide a wide range of styles to accommodate countless horse and rider combinations. “By listening to riders and trainers, and with our state-of-the-art facilities, qualified personnel and combined knowledge, we are able to offer a great selection of the finest dressage saddles available,” Wallace explains, “Also, by working with top level equestrians like Lauren, we can continue to provide new models, styles and designs for maintaining our position as the top choice for dressage saddles in the market.”
Custom Saddlery is well known for the host of dedicated dressage superstars that ride in their saddles. Today’s top performers and past MVR Award winners include US Olympic Dressage veterans, Steffen Peters, Heather Blitz, and Sue Blinks. In addition, Custom Saddlery endorses a host of other dressage superstars including Tina Konyot, Kathleen Raine, Lauren Sammis, Caroline Roffman, Endel Ots and David Wightman just to name a few.
Custom Saddlery has a wonderful website designed for the serious equestrian, and they encourage everyone to visit www.mysaddle.com to learn more about their saddles and read stories about the Most Valuable Riders. On the website, visitors can view each type of saddle they offer, the various customizable options and sizes, read about the warranty, pricing policy and how the saddles were developed.
Photo: For Olympic paraequestrian Lauren Barwick, Custom recently designed and created the perfect dressage saddle, and will help Barwick ride even further up the ranks in FEI Paraequestrian CPEDI classes than she has before. (Photo courtesy of Custom Saddlery)
Cary Wallace Custom Saddlery 800-235-3865 www.mysaddle.com