Peter Storr: dressage rider

Which saddle do you ride in and why?

“I work with Mr Spalding and he’s been very helpful in designing a saddle which fits me perfectly. The latest one I’m getting is made with special leather – it’s incredibly soft.

“My saddles have to fit the horses perfectly, because I spend such a long time sitting on their backs. All my saddles have to have a level seat. Some saddlers don’t spend enough time ensuring a perfect fit – the saddle must sit level on a horse’s back so it’s not pressing on the sensitive areas.”

How long do you keep your saddles?

“Once I get a saddle, I stick with it – if the saddle fits, it tends to stay with the horse. The oldest saddle I have is six years old.”

John Whitaker show jumper

Which saddle do you ride in and why?

John Whitaker rides in the “John Whitaker saddle”, which he designed himself. “I started with it at Christmas. It’s similar to one my brother Michael designed. It’s very light and comfortable and is designed to keep a very close contact with the horse.”

How long do you keep your saddles?

“I tend to keep my saddles for four or five years – or even six. You get used to a saddle on a certain horse and stick with it.”

Ian Stark: event rider

Which saddle do you ride in and why?

Ian Stark rides in a saddle he designed with Jeffries Saddlery.

“I ride in the new Jeffries lightweight Flyover saddle, which I’ve had for about 18 months. I’m sponsored by Jeffries and so I was part of the design team for the saddle. I particularly like it because it’s lightweight. It’s good for both jumping and cross-country, particularly cross-country.

How long do you keep your saddles?

“I keep going with my saddles as long as they fit the horses, and providing they don’t look shabby and worn.”

Jane James: endurance rider

Which saddle do you ride in and why?

“I ride in Champion saddles – they’re English general purpose saddles which, I think, are made in Devon. I’ve had three Champion saddles: one with Master Fiddler which I bought in 1992; I got another when I bought Rowengay Garnet and I purchased the third one when I bought Steel Tobias three years ago.

“Garnet has won best condition twice and he’s never had a mark on his back. People say to me: “how can you ride 100 miles and never get marks on your horses’ backs?- Champion make great saddles and I’d like to find out if they’re still making them.”

How long do you keep your saddles?

“Once I buy a good saddle that fits, I keep it. I’ve kept my Champion saddles – I swear by them.”

Brook Staples: event rider

Which saddle do you ride in and why?

“The saddle I was using when I was at Badminton was a Butene cross-country saddle. I’ve been riding in that particular style for two years now. I was introduced to the make when I first came over to England. I was working for Mark Todd and he was sponsored by the manufacturer. He lent me one of his saddles, and I rode in that – it suited the horse well and I just really like it.”

How long do you keep your saddles?

and “I replace them every couple of years – simply because I don’t actually own them. The manufacturers supply them.”

David Tatlow: leading showman

Which saddle do you ride in and why?

“I don’t really have a favourite saddle, since I can’t have just one that fits all the horses I’m going to ride. I did buy two Ideal saddles and immediately took the knee rolls off them. I don’t like knee rolls, because I think it looks tidier not to have them. I don’t ride with my knees tucked into the knee rolls anyway.

In my tack room, I have some 30-odd saddles. Some are Stbbens, which I like. The lightweight hunters wear a Stbben saddle, since it tends to suit the narrower horse. My wife jumps her workers in Stbbens.”

How long do you keep your saddles?

“If I get one I like, it will die with me. I’ve got some very old saddles which I’ve had for donkey’s years. The trees last longer these days – they used to break after a few years.”