When did you first find out about EQ saddles?
I have been exercising endurance horses for Carolyn Hock for a few years, so when I felt that Parzeval had outgrown his conventional jumping saddle and was planning on looking into getting him a replacement she recommended EQ to me.
How long have you ridden in an EQ?
Since August 2013.
What kind of riding do you do in your EQ?
I am training Parzeval for hunter/jumping and possibly equitation over fences. We also like to go for a hack from time to time.
Do you use your EQ saddle in training, competition, or for pleasure riding?
So far just training and pleasure, but look for us in the Baby Green Hunters this spring!
Have you noticed any differences in your horse since riding in the EQ saddle?
Definitely! He feels much looser through the shoulder, and I’m certain that he feels more comfortable going over fences. He used to be pretty strongly one-sided, but now feels very close to even on both sides. Additionally, when I was teaching him to turn on the forehand he was having a lot of trouble with it and would get very cranky, often pinning his ears and kicking out when I asked him to turn. The first time I tried this movement in my EQ he did it right away with no attitude problems!
What do you like best about the EQ saddle?
The saddle has a very close contact feel. When I’m riding in it I’m aware of everything Parzeval’s spine and shoulders doing, and I think this helps me keep him balanced and engaged. It also lets me know when he’s about to do a crazy 4-year-old maneuver! He can throw a big buck when he feels like it but he’s never managed to throw me while I was riding in my EQ (knock on wood…). I also love how adjustable it is. This is important to me since my horse is still young, so I know that as he muscles up and his body changes I’ll be able to adjust the saddle so that it will still fit him. This is especially important since I’m operating on a graduate student budget and can’t keep buying new saddles as my horse grows!
What are your riding goals for this year - for competition, schooling, pleasure or other goals?
I’m a bit of an odd customer in that I have both endurance goals (hoping to get to the Tevis Cup with a completely different horse! I don’t own the horse and I don’t ride him in an RP, though, so I guess that’s not particularly relevant for your article) and show goals (with Parzeval). I started Parzeval over fences this fall and he’s doing very nicely, so I’d like to continue schooling him through the winter with an eye to competing in the hunter ring at some local and county shows this spring. He’s an attractive jumper and has a wonderful temperament, so I’m hoping to start taking him to rated shows once he’s a little older and more experienced.
What would you like other people to know about EQ saddles?
I’d like them to know what a big difference a proper fit can make to a horse—not just in terms of movement and performance but in the horse’s overall attitude towards his work. In the last couple of months that I had been using Parzeval’s previous saddle I noticed him getting increasingly crankier (totally out of character for him!) and spookier (also out of character!), and once I got him into a saddle that actually fit his usual sweet self came right back.
What are some features or benefits about the EQ system that you discovered on your own but were not told about?
The adjustability is definitely the main thing. I had never really thought about how a horse’s back might change over time and how as a result its saddle would no longer fit the same way, but now that I’ve been through the EQ fitting process I’ve been paying attention to Parzeval’s back and it’s definitely been changing! I love that I can adjust my saddle so that it can still be comfortable for him.
Prior to 2017, EQ saddles for sporthorses were marketed by their sister company, the ReactorPanel Saddle Company.