In my early teens I grew very quickly and at fourteen and six foot tall had to move from ponies to horses.
We bought Prince, a six year old 16.1 ISH, from the Midlands. He had done seven or eight BE Events with a professional rider. We tried numerous saddles but the ones which fitted Prince nicely did not give me enough leg room and the ones which gave me enough room were too big on Prince.
We arranged a meeting with Gini and Dean to try some off the shelf Comfort Saddles which, with minor alterations, were the closest to a perfect fit that we had yet found. Gini kindly loaned us a saddle, took photos and measurements and suggested that they would build a ‘Callum’ saddle. Prince was expected to muscle up and change shape so it was agreed that the Gel style padding was the best solution to allow for these changes. The new saddle would be a slightly longer mono flap with the flaps angled and extended forwards to give more leg room. The knee rolls would be moved slightly upwards and the stirrup bar centralised to maintain balance.
A few weeks later Gini and Dean returned with the new ‘Callum’ saddle which was perfect for comfort and fit but Gini, perfectionist that she is, suggested that it was a good fit for horse and rider now but there was no tolerance for me to grow any taller – a few weeks later the ‘Callum MkII’ saddle was delivered, tested and approved by all (I have grown an inch or two since then and the saddle still fits as well as the day it was delivered).
Winter 2012 through to early summer 2013 was spent getting to know Prince and many hours of schooling with weekly lessons for flat and jumping progressing to local unaffiliated events and finishing the Summer with three BE90s gaining a qualification for a Regional Final at Kelsall Hill at the end of September.
After a lot of ribbing from Gini on Social Media about competing in dressage using a jumping saddle I agreed to try a dressage saddle. The first I tried was really uncomfortable but as always Gini and Dean persevered and came up with a made to measure ‘Callum Dressage Saddle’. Angela, my dressage instructor, commented that the saddle improved my position a lot and the benefits of the new dressage saddle and additional training are reflected in my 2014 BE dressage scores.
In any sport, many things have to come together and come right on the day to get any sort of result. Anything you can do to improve your performance makes a difference and my Comfort Saddles have definitely helped improve my riding.
Although Callum is too modest to mention it in his testimonial Callum and Prince had a fantastic 2014 season and he has now qualified for Grass Roots at Badminton 2015. He is also an excellent photographer, for more information on Callum or his photographs please see his website. www.cjsphotography.co.im. The CJS Puissance is also available from us to suit even the tallest of riders. We are very proud to be assisting Callum and wish him the very best of luck in his 2015 season.
Here’s a great video of Callums eventing trip April 2014 and the BE90 Regional Finals 2014, where they obtained 25 Dressage and a Double Clear… Badminton here they come !