Friday, 01 May 2015 09:20


When it comes to creating the perfect fit for horse and rider, Childéric Saddles are truly bespoke in their approach and this was showcased beautifully recently, when aspiring amateur dressage rider amputee Caroline Smail approached Childéric Saddles UK to help her overcome her disability in the saddle.
CHILDERIC Caroline Smail close up Photo Jon Stroud Photography emailer
“I have little control over the prosthetic leg when I'm on a horse and often it is as if someone has hold of my leg and is trying to push me off. My amputation is very high and my stump very short, which makes the leg very heavy and cumbersome.

My new horse has an enormous trot and it's really difficult to sit it and my leg jumps up and down and really rubs”

Tricia Bracegirdle, Senior Saddle Technician for Childéric Saddles UK, went about tackling the issue by crafting special blocks with greater support to allow Caroline’s leg to sit snugly between both blocks and help balance her in the saddle, as she explains:

“The challenge was the usual one - to sit the rider still and in balance and to allow the horse the freedom to move. We already work with a some para riders, including Heather Bennett, but Caroline is our first rider in the UK with only one leg and a very heavy prosthetic that was literally weighing her down.

We believe that every rider and horse should be able to enjoy their time in the saddle, regardless of their level or physical ability and we are delighted to have created a saddle which will now enable Caroline to ride in less pain, for her horses not to have to worry about her losing balance and to follow her dream of becoming a competitive dressage rider”

Caroline, who is also an equestrian artist says:

CHILDERIC Caroline Smail riding Photo John Stroud emailer
“In the new saddle the leg is totally supported by the back block, so stays  completely still which is incredible!

It puts me in the perfect position and I can sit my horse’s trot without bouncing up and down like I'm on a trampoline. It is like I have been given my leg back and although I will never be pain free I have the least amount of pain when I'm in that saddle, so much so that I am considering having it in the house to sit on when I paint, and watch TV!”
                                            All images supplied by photographer Jon Stroud

Childéric Saddles – For The Ride Of Your Life!