For over a hundred years saddles were build using the same old fashioned principle: An inflexible saddletree made from wood, metal or plastic padded out with a soft filling of horse hair, felt, wool or similar. This to prevent the hard tree pressing against the horse's back and squeezing the sensitive back muscles. So sat our ancestors on their horse, as we still sit today.
The inflexible saddletree is the birth defect of nearly all saddles.
You can visualise this using a simple example. Imagine two narrow, 20 inch long pieces of wood laid along the back of a horse. Buckle a longeing line around the middle to hold them together. You now have a simple saddletree.
Now walk the horse with the halter lead in a tight circle, make sure the horse is yielding into the turn. What happens? If they are close enough together the wood pieces make contact sometimes at the front, sometimes at the back. Never do they nestle correctly into the flexing back of the horse.
Can you now appreciate how the horse feels with an inflexible "tree"? What happens when a rider with 50, 60 or even 80 kilograms weight is added? Poor horse!
20 years ago we started to think about this absurd tradition of saddle building. Why, for hundreds of years, should saddles be made so stiff and inflexible?
Eventually we found the solution. Admittedly it was no sudden enlightenment, no stroke of genius, but in reality many small steps. There were discussions with veterinarians, professional riders and trainers. Many other saddles were disassembled in our workshop to try and understand the methodology behind them.
Always with the same result: These saddles can never fit properly. They are torture for the horse.
Eventually the Swing-Saddle evolved, first on the drawing board and then in our workshop. The prototype was tested on our own horses, then seven in number, ranging from the Arabian through the Kabardian to the Quarter Horse. The saddle was dissembled, modified in many small steps, reassembled and tried again. At the end of a two year development cycle the first saddle, fit for production, was made. Its name: Swing-Tree-Vario.
That was in 1989. You can read more under the
menu button - The Swing System