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WHY BUY RP SADDLES?: Engineering
A conventional saddle tree can force a compromise between width and clearance. In other words, a saddle narrow enough to clear the wither often pinches the shoulder, and a saddle broad enough to allow free shoulder play often presses down on the wither. ReactorPanel's two-part flexible panel saddles were designed to overcome these—and many other—fitting problems, which have caused compromises in saddle fit for many horses and riders.
The ReactorPanel system was developed using computerized pressure testing and analysis. By measuring pressures between the horse and saddles of all types, the ReactorPanel design team focused on creating an entirely new saddle that would provide the greatest possible comfort for horse and rider. It took years (1990-1993) to find the right combination of design features, engineered elements, and, most important, materials such as Delrin®, Sorbothane, and memory foams that would combine to form the perfect saddle system. The result is the ReactorPanel Saddle System.
The materials used to create the flexible panels for the saddles and the flexible panel attachment system are as high-tech as the saddle design process:
The ReactorPanel saddle evolved from conventional saddle designs as part of the same evolutionary wave that yielded products of every description that are stronger, lighter, and more flexible—while enabling increased performance. Consider luggage, athletic shoes, and tennis rackets: All have been improved through engineering. It's about time that engineers got their hands on saddles.
The ReactorPanel Two-Part Flexible Panel Saddle Design:
Large Weight-Bearing Surface = Lower Pressures on the Horse's Back
The two-panel saddle system has a long history in military saddle designs, where the ability of the horse to cover long distances without back pain was critical.
ReactorPanel Saddles simply refine this time-tested functionality by using the most modern materials. The RP Saddle's large panels maximize the weight-bearing surface, which distributes pressure over the widest possible area. Different panel lengths ensure that the RP panel system can accommodate average, long, or short backs.
It's fairly obvious that a larger weight-bearing surface equates to lower pressure under the saddle. But how does lower pressure benefit your horse?
Poorly fitting saddles create high-pressure spots, sometimes exceeding 4 PSI (pounds per square inch). The resulting damage can include the following:
Continuous pressure as low as 1.5 PSI can occlude blood flow. And once blood flow stops, tissue damage can begin in less than an hour. If pressure is unrelenting, muscle eventually atrophies. This happens even if the pressure point is fairly low when the pressure on the horse's back is constant, and directed into a muscle.
Pressures under a ReactorPanel saddle are lower; also, pressure spots are often intermittent because the panels flex and move. This helps prevent muscle spasms and maintains maximum blood flow to the muscles. We have documented numerous cases in which horses regenerated atrophied tissue after switching to a ReactorPanel saddle. There have been measurable changes in as little as six weeks, with significant differences after three to six months.
Interestingly, an atrophied horse given six weeks of pasture rest will not improve, but the same horse worked on a basic conditioning schedule under a remedial saddle fit—which is easy to achieve with RP Saddles—usually regenerates tissue.
We are happy to provide references from riders of these horses.