An equestrian saddle developed by ÉireComposites and its partner BUA saddles won the JEC Innovation Award for sports and leisure. The saddle promises greater comfort for both horse and rider, enabling both of them to move freely and without effort, whether the horse is walking, trotting or galloping. The cantilevered tree is made from a thermoplastic composite material, making an economical, water resistant, lightweight (weighing just 4kg, 6kg less than traditional saddles) robust saddle. The award was presented to Kenneth O’Toole from ÉireComposites at the JEC Conference in Paris on March 8th 2016.
Traditional saddles have a single rigid structure and are not always comfortable for the horse. The Bua Saddle, in contrast, has a cantilevered structure that provides support for the rider while at the same time offering an inherent dynamic flexion for the horse. As well as being more flexible, the saddle also promises to reduce concussion as the cantilevered tree provides a natural suspension, which means that as a rider drops their weight after jumping a fence, it cushions the impact so there’s a softer transition on to the horse’s back.
The complex, cantilevered structure within the saddle is manufactured by ÉireComposites from advanced composite materials. Composites have revolutionised sports such as cycling; it is anticipated that a similar modernisation may take place in the equestrian world.
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