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I really never thought I’d like a ReactorPanel and told Carmi as much before my first ride. I had just started to work for Carmi and naturally, Carmi wanted me to ride in an RP so I could understand how they worked. So, armed with my traditionalist mentality, I mounted up, prepared not to feel anything miraculous. Then we started to trot... and then we jumped... Read their whole RP Story...
Bear’s first reaction to the saddle was a sigh of relief. Now, eight months after his kissing spines diagnosis and a couple of months with the new ReactorPanel saddle, Bear is moving better than he ever. He has made nearly a complete recovery. He has more freedom of movement in his gaits. He is able to use his back and step underneath himself again. We even completed our first flying lead changes together; finally, we can collect the canter enough to do them! Read their whole RP Story...
I have 2 RP saddles. I bought my first one when my mare, TR Ready Set Go (Kay), kept being pulled because of intermittent lameness's. On one 100 mile ride, I happened to get in touch with a fantastic equine body worker, Van Harding. He asked to see my saddle. He showed me how the right side was narrower and how the right side of my mare's back was hard as a rock. Ouch! He suggested an RP. Wow it was comfortable, and Kay got better, and stopped having 'ghost' lameness's! Read their whole RP Story...
"A totally different horse! It has taken me almost 4 years to find the right saddle for P.J. and it has made a huge difference in our partnership. Before our ReactorPanel saddle, there was a lot of friction between P.J. and I. Now, we have really become a team. We have progressed more in the last 9 months than the previous 3 years that I have owned him. I feel a huge part of that is due to the fact that he is so much comfortable now in his RP saddle. Thank you ReactorPanel" Read their whole RP Story...
"Rascal clearly felt great about that saddle on his back. At every vet check and after the ride, he received all "A"'s. He absolutely floated down the trail, winning the race over an hour ahead of the second place horse, and taking Best Conditioned Horse award. It couldn't have happened without a great saddle between us. " Read their whole RP Story...
"The beauty of the RP system is that I am able to fine-tune the fit of the Baker for Bronze, whose body will go on changing as he continues to develop, but hopefully grow no wider. Those belly lifts work wonders!" Read their whole RP Story...
Carol Federighi and Gobi, Virginia (Dressage and Jumping)
"The RP saddle has given me so many fantastic experiences—a thorough education in saddle fit and function, an introduction to the amazing and talented characters of the RP staff, and most importantly a sound, willing, and happy horse." Read their whole RP Story...
"I've fallen in love with a saddle!!!!...Aslan, my short-backed, wide-backed Arabian and I had several requirements we were aiming for when I started my saddle trial with ReactorPanel. Through a process of trial and error,I am happy to say RP met our criteria. Aslan and I are now the happy owners of an RP VSD Summit. The RP isn't just any saddle that you slap on and go, but then again, the first line sums it up. I didn't know riding could feel this wonderful and I already thought riding was pretty awesome." Read their whole RP Story...
When I got the RP, my trainer (a new one) was very leery. She had seen her share of gimmicks and wasn't very optimistic. Boy was she surprised. She could not believe how well he moved in it.
I thought you might like to know that Lakota won BC in the RAT at Descanso in Ember's saddle--and I suspect that the saddle had quite a bit to do with it. Getting a saddle that fits her, doesn't pinch the shoulders, and doesn't slide forward onto her ears when going downhill was a major challenge (and she has the white hairs to prove it). Read their whole RP Story...
During my endurance career, I have ridden...several brands of endurance and English saddles, and am now riding in a ReactorPanel endurance model. Each of these saddles had qualities that I loved. Some fit my horse better and some fit me better. My RP endurance model is the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden in, and I believe it fits my horse very well, also. I believe that it's worth spending the money to get a saddle that truly fits you and the horse. Read their whole RP Story...
I think so far the thing I love the best is the seemingly infinite adjustment possibilities the saddle has. I had my first ride in the RP saddle. I really like it. My horse seemed to like it, walked out and extended well at the trot. The workmanship is impeccable. We experimented with the fit for a while last night (in the dark) and again this morning. It's a perfectionist's dream in terms of the degrees of adjustment possible. Read their whole RP Story...
Carolyn Hock (Endurance)
I'm happy to tell you about the RP saddle. My past saddles have been Stubben all purpose and Big Horn endurance. I liked them both well enough but knew the fit for the horse wasn't quite right, and I had been experiencing lower back fatigue from long distance trail riding. As I increased mileage in my Big Horn, I also noticed that my endurance Arab gelding seemed to have trouble on the downhills. Nothing extremely bad, he just sort of shortened his stride and had a jarring quality to his gait that didn't seem right.
Since I've been using the RP, my horse has a much easier time of it on the downhills-I think it freed up his shoulders so he could take advantage of the full range of motion. We have been competing very successfully in 50 and 100 mile rides in the RP.
The big sell for me personally is that my back is so much better. I believe it is because the RP puts my legs under me where they should be. I really like the saddle. Also, as you may already know, if your horse's back changes shape, which can happen once they are out from under a more restrictive saddle, the RP saddle can be easily re-fitted and adjusted to ensure a perfect fit.
Finally, another important feature is that the RP company is first-rate. They are service oriented, genuinely believe in their product, and want their customers to be truly satisfied. They are also experienced businesspeople with lots of technical and marketing savvy. I expect this company will continue to grow and increase their product offerings in the years ahead. I hope this information is helpful. Good luck with your decision.
Amy Wepplo (Dressage)
Just to let you know, my RP saddles are working just fine! My old gelding, even though he's stiff on and off, loves his saddle!
Unfortunately, my TB mare (who has the Avant Garde) got injured and is laid up for a while. Up until that point, we have been very happy with the saddle. Lynne adjusted it for me three times already because she was filling out so much.
I gave an RP booklet to my dressage coach, as she had become curious about the saddle. Hope you all are doing wonderfully, with all the wonderful work you are doing for horses and riders!
Jo Zimmer (Combined Training)
I didn't think I could find a jumping saddle that worked for both me and my horse, but this RP saddle does. It's secure--even "sticky"--cross country, and still easy to get out of over a fence. I'm able to sit down and ride my horse into a fence better, because I can get both seat bones on the saddle at the same time. My horse obviously likes the saddle, too, as he is now willing to canter to the base of the fence and use his back and neck, where before he was throwing himself at his fences. No more resistance to jumping down banks or galloping downhill, either. I honestly think that this saddle has improved my riding and made my horse a better jumper.
Lynette Hulbert (Endurance)
I have found my dream saddle!
After throwing it on her for a few minutes Thursday, I met Lynne, and she adjusted it to give me the most glorious ride. On Saturday at the start of the ride, my mare threw in all the "stuff" she does so well-bucking, spinning, and generally leaping in the air. And it was so easy to stay with her. People were coming up and asking what saddle I was riding in, they were so impressed with the show!
After the ride, she got an A on saddle fit, but I knew she would as we were hitting the downhills fast and she would just lift her back and float. It was awesome. In fact, she even over-reached going down a hill and pulled a shoe.
I can't rave enough about these saddles. My riding buddy wants to try one. He left me after I lost the shoe and went on to ride in with the winners, but his wife said she gets the first RP! (Like me, she also does dressage.) I feel like a missionary. I have seen the light!
I am so glad I waited for this saddle. The endurance model is perfect-absolutely perfect!
Alicia Boyle and Fitz (Dressage and All-Around)
The saddle has arrived! Jeff could not wait to get it to the barn and fitted. Mind you, we had already blanketed and fed for the night. He is more excited about this than anything I have ever seen. He has been lunging Fitz to build up the muscles on the atrophied left side. His problem is definitely our saddle, as he has been moving beautifully sans saddle at the canter and the trot. Not so with saddle on, as he kicks out violently at the canter especially.
Now, to the fitting. We fiddled a little here and there to get it somewhat level and high behind the withers, as I know that will be where it sits down and could cause a problem. I didn't feel any tight spots, so we girthed up and took Fitz to the ring. Mind you, we didn't put leathers or anything on it: "Just for sitting purposes until tomorrow"-so the "man" said. Well, the look was amazing when he sat in it and of course, Fitz moved off in a long, low, rounded frame, which never, ever happens! And Jeff just sat there.
The seat was level, the man was in the middle, and the horse was definitely more comfy. So, that being done, he said, "Let's play more tomorrow," as it was getting quite dark. I expected him to get off and walk to the barn, as I figured Fitz would bolt for the barn and sure enough, he did. It wasn't a bolt, though. It was a beautiful, round canter all the way there, with Jeff just sitting as proud as he could be. No leg wiggling back and forth, no rocking upper body, just following the horse-no stirrups, either. He was elated.
And I might add that Fitz did not kick out once! Now, my dear, is that a testament to your saddles? Not even a great fit can put horse and rider into oneness. I'm sure you have heard it all before, but I truly have not seen grins like this from Jeff in ages. He's talking Three Musketeers now!
My extreme thanks for bringing this fantastic saddle to all who can benefit from it-especially all my boys!
Jane Feeney and Barri (Pleasure)
I've been riding Barri these past couple of weeks in her RP, with great results. But lazy me, that Ansur was sitting on the saddle rack in the aisle as I brought her in. I really didn't want to dirty another saddle (my RP is ALWAYS cleaned after a ride and left pretty on its perch). After all, I have the Logic short girth for the Ansur, and it was only a short ride.
All went well with tacking and mounting, and I proceeded down the drive. Barri was a bit short, but not complaining. I decided the gravel was a bit "ouchy" after the newly melted snow. I continued to the field, and Barri's head seemed very high. We took a round or two, no change. "Good spirits," I thought. "It's such a brisk, windy day." Her head stayed high, and her strides short; her back was hollow.
I returned to the barn and moved her saddle back, thinking it was too far forward. I couldn't move it back far enough to clear the pressure from the withers even with the Logic, so I dragged out the RP for a comparison ride.
I saddled, I mounted, and she took the drive with long strides and a lower head. "Well, maybe she's taken the edge off," I thought. We hit the field. She was forward, loose, head down and relaxed, back up, horse happy. Spooking diminished, and strides continued to lengthen. I decided the better shape in her neck is no accident-it's RP.
Now that the new saddle panels are finally broken in, the saddle sits so well on her back, with even pressure throughout, and no excessive pressure fore or aft-a Barri first!
I was so excited after this ride that I tried the RP on Vesti. She always adamantly preferred the Ansur. With the more flexible broken-in panels, and the newly Barri-tuned tree, the saddle sat on Vesti beautifully. The ride was great, the horse forward and comfortable, and the sweat pattern after the fact superb.
The shaped girth is crucial to RP comfort on my horses with the forward girth pockets and laid back shoulders/withers. It absolutely allows the saddle to function properly with no forward slip or wither interference. On horses with very forward girth pockets, well laid back, low, wide, withers and well sprung ribs, the shaped girth does not necessarily relieve the wither pressure from the Ansur. Saddle stability requires a tight enough girth that the pressure is too much for real horse comfort. This same combo is easily and securely accommodated by our custom fitted RP.
Lori Bertolucci (Endurance)
After thinking my gelding was shy and wouldn't pee, turns out, after many tests and an ultra sound for bladder stones, he had a very sore back from the saddle not fitting any more. He had built up so much muscle where there hadn't even been flesh before that his saddle was all wrong.
Luckily, I have a ReactorPanel saddle! As soon as the problem was discovered, Carmi and Kim spent hours on Sunday getting it to fit. It's so comfortable for me, and my horses love it!
Love those saddles!
Bettyann Cernese and Breezy (Trail Riding)
A final note on my saddle and rides with Breezy. I made some adjustments, and think I now have a great fit going! I have managed to get out three days this week for short, quiet walks in the woods with a bit of ring work to start conditioning. My ride yesterday was AWESOME! We walked through the woods with little to no tugging by Breezy and nice, controlled speeds at the trot (She used to always try to accelerate away with a high head). We came back and did a bit of work in the ring, with similar results. I have always known she was an awesome horse and just needed to find the right equipment! I can't thank you and ReactorPanel enough!
Debbie DeSelle and Leidi (Trail Riding)
My saddle came last week, and it is so beautiful I can hardly believe it! We got it all fixed up, and "Voila!" A totally calm, pleasant, willing Leidi. Even before she was satisfied with the saddle position, I was saying "Oh, yeah. Now I remember how comfortable I really can be mounted on horseback!" What a joy to sit in this saddle! Thanks so much.
I've bored all my friends with babbling on and on about how much Leidi and I like our new saddle. How did I make it to 53 without knowing that I could be so comfortable and secure on horseback? I guess the old adage that you get what you pay for is proving true once again. I know that this saddle will make the rest of my riding years amazingly fun!
My girth (as this hick is learning to say, instead of cinch) came today. Wow, is it beautiful!
In my enthusiasm, I forgot to tell you that it is snowing here and has been for three days! What's the deal? Doesn't the weatherman know I have a new saddle?
This whole story started out to say thank you, thank you, thank you!
Sarah Spaulding, Hayward, CA (Hunter/Jumper)
I had my second ride last night, and it was interesting. Using the conventional pad made a huge difference. He hated it! I noticed the pad (not the saddle) slipped and started to pinch his withers. So I just took the pad off and he was GREAT. No ruffled hairs or uneven sweat marks. He was just happy as a clam!
Our Assistant Trainer was present and gave the saddle a glowing review! She plans to ride him in it today. Mary, our working student, was just raving about the way he looked on Sunday. I also let my two best barn friends ride him in it. Cindy has taken lessons on CD before and was just amazed at the difference. She had him moving forward and cantering, and much to her amazement had forgotten to take a whip with her!
My trainer is about to be overwhelmed by the response my horse has to this saddle. I can't wait! I can tell you right now I want to order this saddle. Thank you again for sharing your time and knowledge with CD and me. The RP saddle is and is going to make all the difference in the world to CD.
Eva SooHoo and Gemini, California (Dressage)
I've been meaning to write this letter to you for nearly six months. I have to say that I've been hesitant largely because I was afraid to jinx the good fortune that I had found since purchasing the ReactorPanel saddle. After all that Gemini and I have been through, I was scared that the moment I wrote the letter, the saddle would stop working for us (as all of the others had)! Well it's been eight months, so I'm going out on the limb! (Please catch me if I trip..)
Without trying to be melodramatic, the ReactorPanel saddle has been Gemini's and my savior. My sweet, wonderful horse that I had purchased as a 2 year-old and backed as a 3 year-old was getting to be completely unrideable. He's now seven, and instead of being my steady, dependable dressage partner, he was trying to scoot out from under me whenever I mounted. He would rush around at the trot and the canter, ignoring all of my aids to the point that I was getting to be very afraid of him. In retrospect, Gemini had been an angel for not dumping me months earlier. A horse with a smaller heart probably would have done so ages ago.
Gemini had been under treatment for pretty bad back pains for over one year with one of the Bay Area's leading veterinarian chiropractors. We tried all different treatment modalities, including chiropractics, deep tissue massage, and acupuncture/acupressure and all of the different saddle pads on the market with a variety of saddles at my barn without avail. Finally, I was convinced that I needed to purchase a new saddle. After a nearly six-month search for saddles, we finally selected a saddle which the vet, the saddle fitter, and my trainer all agreed was just about a perfect fit for Gemini. I was so relieved to finally have a saddle for Gemini.
Shockingly, in less than 3 months, his back was showing soreness again. We rechecked the saddle and it still visibly looked fine. It just appeared that in motion the saddle didn't work for Gemini. In desperation I had air panels installed in the saddle. That worked for barely one month, when Gemini's back completely went downhill. This was all going on with ongoing chiropractic and massage therapy. Needless to say, I was heartbroken and at my wits' end.
My vet/chiropractor indicated that my best (and possibly last) hope was to purchase a custom saddle for Gemini and the tune of approximately $4200! I was not overly enthusiastic with this idea. What concerned me was having a custom saddler from England try to fit a horse that was clearly in severe back pain. It was going to take nearly 4 months just to get the saddle. Worst yet, what was going to happen after two months and the saddle wasn't right again? Would I have to wait 4 months again for an adjustment? Was the saddle going to be obsolete? And why did I think that this guy was going to do any better of a job than this so-called perfectly fitting saddle that we had found previously? I was miserable because my horse was miserable. I was ready to just quit riding at that point!
Wow, I am so thankful that I happen to read about the ReactorPanel saddle on the Ultimate Dressage Bulletin Board and came upon Lisa's name on the Bayequest.com. I started seeing results almost immediately upon trying the saddle. And now, after three months, his back is completely different. His topline has completely changed. Instead of being inverted with a fairly distinct "hunter's bump," he is rounder across the top of his back in the right way. He is no longer having back spasms, and he is no longer rushing around trying to evade the pain of his saddle. I can't say enough of the positive changes that the saddle has brought about.
So in summary, we've been using the RP saddle since September 2001. We've made about 4 major adjustments during this period. The biggest pro about this saddle is that it makes my horse HAPPY! I can adjust it as my horse's back changes to keep him HAPPY. I've never seen a horse's back improve as quickly as Gemini's back has-he looks like a different horse these days.
The second big pro for this saddle is the support. Lisa and Carmi are fabulous! I've had tremendous support from them. They helped me with the first 3 major adjustments. I did the last on my own.
The biggest con with this saddle is that you have to
be proactive about making the changes and fitting the saddle when changes
are needed. But the tradeoff is waiting for someone else to do it,
or replacing a conventional saddle when your horse outgrows it, or
padding the hell out of a conventional saddle. For me, it became a
no-brainer. Buying saddles at $2000-$4000 a pop every single year just
didn't seem feasible.
C.P., Washington (Pleasure, Trail Riding, Dressage)
It has been blistering hot here, for the NW. Still, yesterday evening I rode a good cross country in the ReactorPanel saddle-Colleen, my riding pal, and I boogied!! Pilgrim was very free in the shoulder-even down steep hills-and almost no saddle slippage front to back going up or down. That surprised me a lot-steep hills! Again, we got the super-even sweat pattern and dry along the backbone even on the withers. Except with the ReactorPanel saddle, I have never before gotten the correct sweat pattern, thought it was a myth. Also, gradually, Pilgrim is getting less girthy/nippy. That's a relief.
I will be buying the saddle and putting my check in the mail tomorrow or Monday. I think Pilgrim and I are going to be extremely happy-and I can say this with a good deal of confidence, having really ridden in this saddle and having had Suzanne corroborate and fine-tune my fitting. It was wonderful to have her come; now, a NW RP representative, I feel much more confident about adjusting on my own as Pilgrim's back and shoulders change.
It is a real pleasure, Carmi, to do business with a company truly committed to the comfort and certainty of both the horse and the rider. Thanks so much!
Allison Ferrin, California (Endurance)
Well, I thought I'd let everyone know that Lynne Glazer has another new ReactorPanel Saddle convert. She fitted two demo saddles to my horses at Mt. Laguna, and we had our first chance to try them out on a ride last night.
The easy part: Betsy and I agreed that the saddles fit US! I have struggled for the past year to get my riding position into the true balanced over the inner thigh and feet underneath me position. No struggle in this saddle. I'm there. No pull-the-thigh-fat-out-from-behind and place leg correctly on the saddle, then do it again when I fall out of position. Nope, just in position. Uphill, downhill, fast or slow.
Better than that, the horses love them. I have become increasingly more concerned over Gydion, as he will no longer pick up a right canter lead. For over a year, I have been trying to figure out why he resists the right lead. Yesterday, I not only got a right lead on request, I also got a flying change from the left lead to the right lead. Both times I admit I exaggerated the request-can you say leg waay back and shoulders twisted to be almost parallel to the horse's longitudinal axis-but I got a right lead!
Gyd is clearly more comfortable in this saddle. I am not sure we really have the optimum adjustment yet (as I try to remember all the fitting instructions Lynne gave me!), so it's only likely to get better. Both horses walk out more freely, and Betsy said Ceders seemed to balance better at the trot and canter.
Now all I have to do is figure our how to pay for them.
Jewdy Lambert, California (Endurance, Trail, Dressage)
Brandy said your exhibit [at the Western States Horse Expo] was absolutely swamped every time she stopped by to see you.. It seems that your saddle company is taking off!
We had a potluck dinner/club ride early this week. I was at the serving table when I heard the question asked and answered many times by different members: "How is your new saddle? Did you buy it?" And the three various new owners all exclaimed, "YES! I bought it and it I LOVE it! And so does my horse!" I just smiled inside and let the others talk. Happy new owners do your company advertising.
Every time I take a lesson out at the 3-day-event field, someone comments on how beautiful my horse is moving under collection. "He has a way about him that is pleasant," they say. (I have the smallest horse there, at 15.2 hh).
I love my two new saddles. Thank you for all the time you spent with us to get us going. I wanted to tell you at the Nevada City ride how many times I heard from the saddle fitting participants HOW MUCH they liked you. Everyone complimented on your help and patience. And how much they all personally liked you.
The only other note is; I had a long ride in hot weather (PHEW) and the saddle sweat marks agreed with what I thought was going on. The left rear panel was sinking or lower. The "sinking" was the feeling I had when I rode. So I moved that portion of the panel up. The last sweat mark check after a ride told me that it now needs to come back down about 1/2" to make everything even again.
Next weekend I plan on another 50 miles in Nevada, North of Reno, close to Pyramid Lake. I'm betting on a break in the weather, since it likes to go in cycles.