Saddle Exchange Company History
In the late 90′s Dean Woodward was breeding Welsh Cobs and fitting second hand saddles he picked up from tack shops, customers and auctions. Unfortunately he found that very few actually fitted the horses and ponies to his satisfaction, the trees being the wrong shape. He had a particular problem fitting short backed, flat, wide Natives.
Dean then researched the different types of saddle tree available, designed his own saddle and approached makers in Walsall to make them for him, he had saddles made by a number of makers but was never completely happy.
In 2002 he purchased the name The Native Pony Saddle Company from Hayley Hyde Andrews and with found the right person he had been looking for, Steve’s designs were what the original Native Pony Saddle Company Saddles were based on and together with Dean they refined the designs based on his experience fitting the saddles all over the country and the input of his customers.
“The Native Pony Saddle Company ” went from strength to strength as nothing fits as well, they do not roll, they do not move up the neck and the ponies and cobs love them, Building on the success of Native Pony Dean realized that not everyone wanted a “Native Pony Saddle” as they “didn’t have a Native” and the Native Pony saddles were specifically GPs and showing saddles, hence Comfort Saddles was born.
With the same style of tree which fit horses and ponies so well but specially designed for other disciplines made by another team of saddle makers led by Geoff who has extensive experience working with some of the biggest names in Walsall.
These saddles were designed by Dean and the saddle makers with the help of our customers for example the Mathew Lawrence Show saddle designed with Mathew’s input.
These saddles based on innovative designs featuring more comfortable, supportive seats and knee rolls available for Showing, Dressage, Jumping, Hunting and General Purpose.
Later came along the Pro Pony Range of saddles giving dressage and jumping saddles designed for smaller people on ponies, with seat sizes available from 14-16.5 inch. We also now have available The Working Equitation Saddle for customers wishing to compete and show Iberian horses designed with the input of Pedro Neves.
We have recently added the New Comfort Endurance range of Synthetic tack used by the British Team at the European Championships in Florac 2011 and designed with their input
By 2010 it was evident that there was a need in the market for Native Pony Saddles with a more modern look, the Comfort Range filled a niche for the competition/performance horse however after fitting more disabled and elderly customers and customers who wanted an “all round saddle” rather than specific showing and a jumping saddle another style of saddle was needed. The Native Pony Saddle Company Saddles were well loved as they were and therefore after consultation again with Steve the saddle maker Dean purchased his brand name “The Pony Saddle Company” and set about designing the new range in order to give customers a choice, the first of these saddles became available spring 2011 and seem to be as popular as the original saddles.
After a split in the business in 2010 Native Pony Saddle Company Saddles are now available from two sources, Native Pony and Cob Saddles Ltd and our selves. All our designs are true to tradition,enhancements being made with the introduction of The Pony Saddle Company range.
All our Native Pony Saddle Company Saddles Look The Same, Fit The Same, Feel The Same and are Made to The Same High Standard By Our Original Manufacturers
Since the closure of Roe Richardson Company Ltd in 1999 Dean has also been the face of The ReactorPanel® Saddle Company throughout Europe. Fitting, selling and maintaining this unique product he is also the owner of the trademark after purchasing the remaining assets of Roe Richardson Company LTD. During this time the product has been enhanced by his innovation, fitting and designing new saddles and accessories for customers such as Lucinda McAlpine and Christine Yeoman and Providing the saddle for the double world Endurance Champion, Maria Alvarez Mercades Ponton and some of the top Endurance riders Europe. The Xtreme Endurance, previously known as the “Tevis” was introduced in early 2011′
Then in 2011 Dean’s wife Gini, who is a bit short of leg! Aquired a horse who although being quite wide through the rib cage, dropped away under the leg. A question then arose as to how to fit the horse and still allow Gini to get her leg on! The first Mono-Flap Dressage Saddle was born. The Comfort Elite Rapport Mono-Flap then led to a Jumping version, The Elevation. Then thanks to ours customers, Jaqui Gardner and Diva the Cob, a Cob version. The Cadence was then designed and the first Cadence Cob was made for Paula Phillips and her Welsh section D, Taff.
These Saddles proved very popular and two years later both Yasmin Ingham, who rode to victory at The British Pony Eventing Championship and then European Pony Eventing Championship, coming home with Double gold. And Alysa Matravers and Dressage Cob, Tiger Tim. Winning First The British Riding Club, Elimentary Dressage To Music Championship and then the Restricted Novice Dressage Championship at Stoneleigh ride in only these saddles.
The Comfort Elite Range was furthur enhanced with, after consultation with Christine Yeoman, Marjorie Grant and other high level Endurance Riders. The Evolution was born. Followed by The Pony Mono-Flap Range, Thank You, Tara Teague for testing the Proto – Type, Elevation Pony For us and Jarrad Baxter Ingham, Cousin of Yasmin for the finished saddle. With input from Maj-Britt Carter we then designed the first Icelandic Saddle.
In 2013 we designed Firstly, the Mono-Flap, Lighter Weight ReactorPanel and they were sent to the product testers to try, The first of these, a Mono-Flap Xtreme Endurance, was sold to a customer In June, Thank you Katy for your Input.
Another popular saddle designed in 2013 was the Pony saddle Company “First Saddle ” designed to support young riders on fat ponies and in January 2014, at the time this was written we have 6 more saddle designs going through the design process.
Saddle Exchange Saddling Solutions is at present training a team of locally based Saddle Fitting Specialists with Four now in place throughout the UK and Denmark with retail outlets in The Isle of Man, Holland, Norway and Finland and contacts in The Czech Republic and Portugal. All these exceptional people are personally trained by Dean himself to fit the saddles he designed.
Nothing is too much trouble for us when it comes to ensuring the comfort of yourself and your horse, striving to give you the ultimate riding experience.