About us

“There is little better than the relationship between horse and rider”.

Our Story

We all know that feeling of returning to the barn after a good ride: the sense of satisfaction, the spirit calmed and body sweaty, muzzles nudging pockets in search of treats and, after a relaxing grooming, a hug and snuggle as a shared “thank you.”
But we also all know the feeling of returning to the barn after a disappointing ride: horse unresponsive, rider uncomfortable and the resulting worry … what’s wrong, what’s changed, why aren’t we getting results?

Side profile of a horse wearing a black saddle, standing outside in front of trees on a sunny day.
Side profile of Brenda Richardson riding her horse in a green field on a blue-sky day.

That was the start of our story, one that eventually led us to create Sapphire Saddles. 

We had purchased Prince Pal – a traditional cob, registered as a Gypsy Vanner, and we quickly fell in love with this blue-eyed boy who was a lovely mover, forward but sensible with just a pinch of cheekiness thrown in! He was also small, just 13 2, barrel bodied and short-backed … think a saddle support area almost square!

Our First Try

We immediately booked our saddler and ordered a custom saddle. After waiting months for delivery, we excitedly took our first rides; at first the saddle was great but very quickly it began slipping from side to side and Pal struggled to maintain his lovely trot. We had the saddle adjusted, but the problem was only exacerbated and he quickly resented being asked to go forward and, upon close inspection, presented with a sore back.

Worried that the saddle was causing the problem with its constant rotating to the side, we called the fitter back and asked for help. We were told it was just his shape and the saddle was always going to slip, going so far as to suggest that I dismount and re-position the saddle during my ride!

Close up of a black leather saddle by Andrea Hicks.

Tailored for Equestrian Harmony

This experience lead us to create Sapphire Saddles: importing saddles made for the hard-to-fit ponies, with their round bellies and bottoms, short backs and sometimes questionable withers.

 We are importing AH Saddles for the riders of the drafts, draft crosses, the cobs, ponies, and all the natives, whether large or small, so that they can all have the chance of returning to the barn with that sense of satisfaction after a good ride. Whether you ride the trails, pop jumps or perfect your 20-metre dressage circles and halts along the centre-line, both you and your horse deserve the saddle, the means through which you communicate with your horse, that delivers the perfect ride.

Finding the Perfect Supplier

Understanding this to be a ridiculous answer, we quickly looked for a second opinion: “look to England” we were told.  In particular, AH Saddles by Andrea Hicks: she knows native breeds, she knows cobs.

Within months I had received my new dressage saddle, customised for the best fit for both my small, but round, boy, and me. For the first time in years I wasn’t struggling against the dreaded “chair seat” which had always resulted in me twisting my back and closing my hips. And best of all, his back was no longer sore and his forward trot and excited canter had returned!

Side profile of Brenda Richardson riding her horse in a green field on a blue-sky day.

Ready to have your perfect saddle fitted?