Olympic gold medalist Tad Coffin’s SmartRide™ technology featured in Voltaire Design’s newest model — the “Blue Wing”
Ruckersville, VA, January 26, 2016: A perfect pairing of cutting edge technology from America with the leading edge of French styling for saddles will benefit horses and riders.
Brice Goguet of Voltaire Design puts it this way: “We approached Tad Coffin due to his expertise on trees. We quickly realized we share the same vision: making the best saddle to unleash the horses’ potential. Tad’s horsemanship and understanding of tree technology were well beyond our expectations. Our collaboration and transparency with each other has been fantastic, and we just wish we had met him before.”
SmartRide™ technology refers to the most significant re-engineering of saddle tree and panel technology in history. Conceived, designed and developed over a 20 year period by a consortium of experts, this exhaustive effort included a broad range of engineering and fabrication expertise, coordinated in a horse – centric environment under Tad’s direction.
Tad said: “Brice Goguet is a forward thinking individual who is unafraid to seek new truths about the role saddles play in horse performance”. “It is this mutual pursuit of something significantly better for horses that has brought us together. In this Olympic year, it might take a daring young Frenchman to raise industry and consumer awareness of genuine performance improvements in the most obvious and overlooked place – inside the saddle”, Tad noted.
For the first time, in addition to musculoskeletal benefits, SmartRide™ technology has consistently demonstrated a neurologic benefit for horses. “In just 20 minutes of having this technology on their backs even without a rider, horses show greater relaxation, pain reduction and reduced anxiety”, explains Tad. A team of veterinarians at UC Davis is planning a study in the coming months.
SmartRide ™technology was developed around the needs of the horse’s back in motion. Principles of geometry, advanced computer technology for design and machining and advanced material composition have been combined to meet the complexity of the task. The tree, an alloy reinforced and tuned with an array of carbon fiber is formed on a technically advanced tooling system and has well over 20 distinct axis of flexion. The panels use a range of advanced materials machined to exacting specifications and laminated together. When wrapped with leather, they mimic the shape, elasticity and tonality of healthy equine muscle tissue.
The results of this effort demonstrate the previously untapped potential of the saddle to benefit every element of horse performance from relaxation and freedom of movement, straightness and stride length, jumping style, soundness and longevity.
“After 20 years of listening, engineering and innovation, a saddle technology that speaks ‘horse”.
What makes a Tad Coffin saddle…a Tad Coffin saddle?
Is it our proprietary saddle tree design? Is it our best-in-class research and design facility? Is it our team of experienced engineers and designers? Or is it our understanding of horse anatomy and movement?
While all of these factors contribute to delivering a superior product, it’s actually our beliefs that make us the most unique.
The Secret Ingredients of a Perfect Saddle
The following four beliefs guide our every action at Tad Coffin Performance Saddles:
Belief #1: I believe that, of all the tools available to a rider, the saddle has the most untapped potential to improve the components of good performance: relaxation, freedom of movement, balance, straightness, ease of carriage, jumping style, soundness and longevity.
Belief #2: I believe that performance horses share a common shape in athletic motion; a dynamic posture that has specific motions and gestures that must be accommodated by the saddle for a horse to perform at his athletic best. The quality of this accommodation is the essence of “saddle fit.”
Believe #3: I believe that a saddle, specifically designed, engineered and crafted to accommodate this dynamic posture and the needs of the moving back will not only improve performance, but serve a spectrum of back conformations equally well.
Belief #4: I believe that all facets of good equitation, the rider’s seat, balance, feel, symmetry, sense of rhythm and timing will improve when the needs of their horse’s back are fully accommodated.
The Result: SmartRide™
These beliefs have guided us to develop SmartRide™ technology. The following presentation summarizes how our beliefs have shaped the saddles that we design.
Where do thoroughbreds go when their careers are over? The lucky ones end up at one of the many Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (commonly referred to as “TRF”) facilities. Caring for over 1,000 horses nationwide, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is the largest equine sanctuary in the world.
Montpelier Farm, one of the TRF’s facilities in Virginia is a beautiful 200-acre retirement facility located on the estate of former U.S. President James Madison. Montpelier Farm began serving as a thoroughbred retirement facility in 2003 and houses some of the biggest names in the industry, including Correggio, the 1996 Eclipse Award winner. The farm is run by professional horseman, Kim Wilkins.
A Ringing Endorsement for Tad Coffin Saddles
Naturally, we were honored when we learned that Kim published an article on the organization’s website, titled “Go buy a Tad Coffin Saddle.” The article recounts our recent visit to Montpelier. The first sentence pretty much says it all:
“Go buy a Tad Coffin saddle. Don’t ask why, just do it. Your horse will thank you.”
~Kim Wilkins, Trainer and Operator of TRF’s Montpelier Farm
So why is Kim such a believer in Tad Coffin Performance Saddles? The answer is simple. Each horse experienced a significant improvement by using a Tad Coffin saddle. Take for example “Roy” (Wild and Royal).
“I handed him lame horse after lame horse. I even dragged in Roy who hadn’t been ridden since September. . . Roy had a stifle issue, we thought. He never limped, but after several months of (take my word for it) very light riding and steering practice, he had so contorted himself that he threw my back out.
Twenty minutes in the TC (Tad Coffin) saddle and Roy went sound. What? Kidding me?”
Kim’s positive experience was not limited to a single horse. In fact, several other horses had similar results. Even Bailey, a horse that has had a history of spine problems and had been turned out for 5 years, was put to the test. Prior to being turned out, Bailey had been given injections, robaxin, and virtually every other remedy imaginable – but to no avail. Bailey was decidely fracious while awaiting his turn and yet moments after putting the Tad Coffin saddle on his back, the horse gained his composure and kept it. After picking up both leads handily Bailey made it clear he was ready and willing to leave retirement.
Twenty Years of R&D Provides Hope and Changes Horses’ (and Their Riders’) Lives
Through our discussions with hundreds of clients, we find Kim’s experience with our saddle to be quite common. We’re truly honored to have received such a glowing recommendation from Kim Wilkins at the Montpelier Farm.
We’ll close this article with Kim’s parting thought, which sums things up nicely:
“What you spend on the saddle you will save in vet bills and heartbreak. Do it. Call Tad Coffin.”
I am excited to launch our new Tad Coffin Performance Saddles website! I have a passion for discovering the full potential of the saddle, and I hope this site will help inform and excite you about our saddles.
Our saddles are being used nationally and internationally by riders in every Olympic discipline. We have developed our own tooling, enabling us to use special materials and allowing our production to have unmatched quality, consistency and symmetry. We have a unique ability to take a concept, develop a prototype, and test it by riding and measuring performance with our control group of horses.
If you would like more information, please fill out our contact form or call us at 434-985-8948.