Holmbros Carbon Fibre Saddle: The Ultimate Lightweight Saddle for my “oddly shaped” horse

Glory’s topline changes daily, especially during an endurance ride or long-distance ride, so being able to adjust as needed was a necessity to ensure his comfort and soundness. At the time (2015), there was not a lot of options available for adjustable lightweight saddles.

I came across the Holmbros at the recommendation of a friend, as an option to fit my handsome, ever changing, odd-shaped Arab. It had a different sort of twist and seat shape than conventional saddles and a “pocket” for my bum but it didn’t look constricting. The pads looked quite thick and I’ll admit I was sceptical of it, especially in regard to adjusting it wider or narrower and having even spreading of pressure with just foam panels. I was also sceptical of the shape, it looked like it wouldn’t sit level and would tip back with the handle being higher than the cantle. I was worried it would sit me too far behind the horses center of gravity. I was given an upholstered Endurance model to trial by Holmbros.

Trialling a Holmbros Endurance model

I took it straight out the day I picked it up from the post office, fiddled around with the pads, got it till they looked ok, with support from the saddle maker, got on expecting the worst, but it was great. I immediately felt under his shoulder and back to see if I could ‘feel’ the tree of the saddle and I couldn’t. I did not have a saddle blanket on, as suggested. I had a feel under the saddle while I was in it and it felt even. It was a bit weird walk, trotting and cantering in it, it felt different with a more open seat to it. He was happier to go, but I didn’t notice much difference in stride length.
I decided to push for a longer ride so went down a 5km trail and it was lovely. My boy did throw in a spook, then a pigroot right after. The saddle didn’t move at all and neither did I, I stuck quite well (the handle helped in the spook and pigroot). Came back and the sweat marks were a bit uneven so we came to the conclusion that he needed custom pads. He still worked well in it regardless which is odd because any other saddle if it doesn’t fit in the slightest bit he crow hops and humps. Only issue I had was with the buckles of the girth interfering and knocking my lower leg. I had quite a long girth on compared to my boys size and it was on the shortest holes possible. A shorter girth stopped that issue for me.

The demo English saddle was designed to accompany panels for longer backed horses and a larger seat size, hence why the panels look shorter as these are Arabian sized panels on it.

Holmbros English model trial

Great seat, it really encouraged ear-heel alignment and felt a lot different to the Endurance model or any other saddle I’d ridden in. It wasn’t hard on my boney butt and my boy worked beautifully in it! No change in stride length but nice and forward and was perfect for doing flat work, trails and endurance. I did one small jump during trialling it without any issue just felt like jumping in any other saddle or bareback. I did notice though that if you tilted your pelvis forward or backward (arched or concaved your back) after maybe 10m my seat bones started to get a touch sore but in the upright pelvis seat there was no issue at all.

When it came to purchasing the saddle, I opted for the English model because I wanted to be able to do multiple disciplines in it. It arrived just in time for one of Glory’s physio appointments and she is also a saddle fitter. She really liked it. Loved the flare and clearance at the shoulders. She said that with most saddles that aim to give good shoulder clearance, they skimp out on the contact but not this saddle.

I have had my trusty Holmbros English model for almost 10 years now with not one single issue. I made a leather cover for it and did a few shows as well without comment.

When I started planning the Azadi Far Ride, I needed one less thing to worry about, so it was a no brainer when choosing another saddle.

The leather cover adds 500g
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