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  1. #1
    Veteran Angua2's Avatar
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    Default Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    I have been looking at the shires highlight saddles for my section a and wondered if anyone had any experience/ thoughts on them.
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  2. #2
    Veteran Battyoldbint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    ive got 2 and i love them
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    A word of warning. Self adjusting gullets can cause serious pressure points. They flex back and forth. A nice idea (?) but it just doesnt work! ONE reason is the pommel can end up resting on the withers because the points have flexed outwards.
    A few years ago a manufacturer from the UK tried to develop a similar system. They used engineers from a respected university and spent years and a lot of money only to bin the idea because it never worked.

  4. #4
    Veteran Angua2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    Teddyt, that was my main concern and part of the reason i have dithered about buying one. They may be ok with lightwight riders ie small children, but not with lightweight adults who are helping me bring my lad on
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    teddyt - I don't think that is true!
    I looked at one of the early prototypes of these saddles in leather made by the company in NZ

    Its impossible for the pommel to rest on the withers without the panels sticking out so much that your leg would be lifted away from the horse. However the early models started life being very wide, but they now have a standard model.

    Rather than having points like a normal saddle in this case the hinge was connected to the entire panel. So I would have thought this wouldn't necessarily create any more pressure than a wintec.

    That said not quite sure what the ultimate effect is on the horse with regards to the gullet not remaining at a constant angle.

    I don't think these have been pilance tested, which would be really interesting.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    I used one of these to re-back my sisters mare when we first bought her. She was pretty fat at the time and I didn't want to buy her a 'proper' saddle until she'd lost some weight. She had a lot of issues with saddles after having a badly fitting one in the past but was very happy and relaxed with this one (after a lot of preliminary work of course!) which I think is a fairly good assurance that she found it comfortable:



    (Ignore how fat she was please!! )

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    Cotswold - that info came first hand from a master saddler involved in the project. It wasnt the saddles or trees mentioned here. I dont know if the project i mentioned had a similar design to the tree in the hilight saddles but i do know it was a flexible tree. They tried several designs and one of the faults was the pommel resting on the withers on some horses. The constant flexing also enabled pressure to build up behind the shoulders. I dont know how they measured this but i do know that the saddlers were working in conjunction with engineers. They played with the design alot but as i say they stopped eventually because it just wasnt working.
    Edited to add-
    My view is that if a team of saddlers and engineers spent alot of time and money to develop a flexible tree that they ultimately never bought into full production because of the problems they encountered, then i cant see how a saddle being sold at around 150 can have a flexible tree that is any good.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    The quality of the materials is not very good. The synthetic covering easily wears out and the flocking is shocking (not wool).

    The theory behind the easy flex system cannot work - the gullet cannot be stable enough to easily mould into the shape of the horse, and then be rigid enough not to collapse on the withers, and then be flexible enough to "spring" back into the original shape. If so, every saddle would have this tree!

    Thorowgood makes good pony saddles which will last a lot longer and wont cause the kind of harm a hi lite will.

    I would be very careful with ebay saddles - the ones I have seen have very askew panels and flaps and the trees are completely twisted.

    I have heard a few people have bought the Robinsons pink and bue saddles (euch colours) for small ponies but havent seen these in the flesh so cant really comment on materials or quality.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    The shires saddles don't flex - they have the Benefit system that is essentially a rigid gullet hinged onto the panels. I suppose in theory this makes it a pointless tree system as the gullet doesn't have a specific pressure point per se.

    I think these have been confused with the flexible tree system, as its not flexible, only hinged to allow the fit to alter. They certainly don't have lateral flexion, and I woudn't expect one of these to be physically able to hit the withers due to the way its shaped.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Shire's hi lite saddles - thoughts?

    My 14.2 connemara came with one when he was just 4, used it for 18 months until he outgrew it!!! I liked it when it fitted him, looked a bit cheap an plastic but didnt really need an expensive one for a youngster an hunted and jumped in it no probs!!!

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