If you could build your own saddle would you build it to fit your horse standing still or would you build it to fit your horse’s back in motion?

  • SmartRide™ is a technically advanced saddle tree developed from a process of Top-Down engineering analysis, design and implementation.
  • The SmartRide™ development cycle began with a scientific analysis of how a horse’s body moves. Over a dozen horses, of significantly different breeds, builds and sizes, were studied at the walk, trot, canter, left bend, right bend, turn, and form over a jump. This motion was analyzed with high speed, stop action photography, load sensors, and strain gauges to determine how a horse moves and how much force the horse generates during the activities.
  • A control group of horses, ridden by Tad Coffin, was used to register and evaluate reactions to prototypes throughout the iterative design process.
  • The analytic portion of the validation was on a computer controlled test-bed that used pneumatic rams to apply various pressures to the saddle tree in known amounts.

  • The results of the analysis showed that the saddle tree should be designed to accommodate eighteen different axes of flexion and bending in order to conform to the horse’s back in motion.
  • Nine different unique structures were developed and incorporated into the SmartRide™ saddle tree to allow movement along these eighteen axes within specific parameters. Examples of these structures include: main engineered support rail to provide longitudinal stability; low frequency wave attribute to provide side-to-side flexibility and freedom of movement of the pommel tips away from the horse’s shoulders; high-strength, multi-directional carbon fiber used to stabilize the girth area and provide load distribution during takeoff and landing; and strain relief areas within the tree to allow the pommel of the tree to act independently from the seat and cantle.
  • The base material is an acrylic alloy tuned with an array of carbon fiber reinforcements.
  • The on-horse testing of the SmartRide™ saddle trees is an ongoing process based on both Tad’s daily rides with his on-site group of horses used only for saddle testing as well as a wide variety of horses with riders of different skill levels.


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