Q: I am interested in purchasing a seat saver, as I injured my coccyx recently.
Long periods in the saddle can affect my position as I tuck my pelvis under to help reduce the pressure and end up with a sore lumbar area.
What products are available and can I use them when I compete?
One seat saver on the market is the suede Heather Moffatt Seatbone Saver (£49.95, from Enlightened Equitation), designed by trainer Heather Moffatt when she developed bursal enlargements of the seat bones, in pursuit of the classical seat.
“The foam inside the pad was developed for use in American military pilot’s seats, to withstand G-forces,” said Heather.
“It moulds to the rider’s shape, helping the rider absorb the horse’s movement. It is great for back pain sufferers, so could help with the reader’s problems. I would also advise working with an instructor to address your position.”
An alternative could be Aerborn’s magnetic back saver (£39.95), a fabric garment with bones either side of the spine.
To help blood circulation and promote healing, 2,000 gauss magnets are carefully placed for deep penetrating magnotherapy.
Who uses them?
“I bought a Seatbone Saver earlier this year, as my saddle at the time was quite slippery,” said Matt Riley from Lincoln, who breaks and schools young horses.
“It is very comfortable and helps to ‘glue’ you to the saddle. My girlfriend uses it for sponsored rides and riding holidays.”
Paralympian Lee Pearson uses a high-pile fleece version from Aerborn (£15), bonded with an internal layer of foam, to make training more comfortable.
Seat savers are also popular with endurance riders, such as Sharon Perry.
Are seat savers competition legal?
You don’t state your discipline, but you will be pleased to know that unobtrusive gel or foam-based seat savers are permitted in British Dressage competitions and in the dressage element of British Eventing competitions, provided they match the colour of your saddle — sheepskin versions are not permitted unless written dispensation has been obtained.
There are no rules regarding seat savers issued by the British Show Jumping Association and according to a spokesman from the British Show Horse Association, there is nothing in the association’s rulebook or dress code.
“However, opinions are varied, so it would be up to the judge on the day,” the spokesman added.
• BSHA, tel: 01462 437770 www.britishshowhorse.org
• Aerborn, tel: 0115 941 4040 www.aerborn.co.uk
• Enlightened Equitation www.enlightenedequitation.com
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (13 November, ’08)