The BUA Saddle

What is a BUA saddle?

The BUA saddle is constructed from a patented cantilevered tree, foam panels and saddle flaps that are available in jumping, dressage or GP styles. The saddle has been designed to maximise comfort for both horse and rider. The unique cantilevered tree design distributes weight evenly across the horse’s back to deliver balance and at the same time allows the horse to move freely. The most interesting thing about this saddle is that one size fits all! The foam panels come in a few levels of thickness but the tree itself has been designed to expand and contract depending on the horse and its movement, so one BUA saddle would fit a range of different horses.

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Who designed the BUA saddle?

Martin Ryan, an Industrial Design Graduate from the National College of Art & design in Dublin, is the designer of the Bua saddle. Martin developed the concept and first prototype in 2005, he then began work refining his design, building a team and finding suppliers to make his saddle innovation concept become a product that could be retailed throughout the equestrian market. The patent for the BUA saddle was formally granted in 2014. Whist in the product testing phase Martin recruited the input of numerous equestrian experts, from top riders to traditional saddlers, to ensure his product design fulfilled his original aspirations and reasons for creating a 21st century saddle.

The BUA saddle, tried and tested…

You can read some very positive testimonials on the BUA website from a range of riders and professionals, however, nothing beats trying a product for yourself. So the Coast team (and friends!) took a look at this modern day saddle and interviewed a local retailer to get a first-hand idea of what the future of saddles could look like.

My own experience
After riding my own horse in a saddle I got for him when I first bought him I had got used to the way he went in that particular saddle. He is a slightly lazy horse and forwards movement is something we are always working on, but at the time I had no idea how much his saddle was affecting his natural movement.

So, when trying the BUA saddle for the first time I couldn’t believe the difference. My horse instantly felt as though he had more freedom through his shoulders and back, which resulted in better forward movement. He also had a habit of carrying his head quite low, but the BUA saddle appeared to allow him to work up through his shoulder, lift his head and sit back on his hocks. The other great thing about this saddle was that it was so comfortable and supportive.

After trialling the BUA saddle for a couple of weeks and discovering how much it helped me and my horse I purchased my own.

Feedback from other test riders
Three friends also tested out the BUA saddle on their own horses and all had such positive experiences that they too all purchased a BUA.

The key benefits that each of the test riders highlighted were:

  • The weight of the saddle is much lighter than a lot of saddles on the market. The BUA saddle weighs approximately 4kg.
  • They all commented on how comfortable the saddle was. They believed this was to do with the cantilevered tree design that enabled them to move with their horse better.
  • The freedom for the horse was the other key topic of conversation that came from testing the BUA saddle. Each test rider noticed a difference in the way their horse moved in the saddle. One of the horses the saddle was tested on had been recovering from a deep digital flexor tendon injury and the rider felt as though the horse was stepping out much better in the BUA saddle compared to her normal saddle.
Where can you try and purchase a BUA saddle?

There are various BUA saddle reps across the UK that can provide you with a range of BUA saddles to test as there are several design variations depending on what discipline you want to use your saddle for.

Avril Verhagen owns and runs Equine Agents in East Sussex and is now also a BUA saddle rep. Coast took some time to discuss the BUA saddle with Avril…

Q. How long have you been working in the equestrian industry?

A. Since I was 16 years old, so 32 years now.

Q. Approximately how many horses do you have on your yard at any one time?

A. 20

Q. What sort of horses do you buy and sell?

A. Mainly Irish horses, usually riding club level horses.

Q. How many horses on your yard now use a BUA saddle?

A. At least 11.

Q. Why have you embraced the BUA saddle as your saddle of choice?

A. The technology, it’s good for the horses, it makes riders feel secure, its light weight, its versatile, its helped with my back pain and it’s a saddle for life as it fits so many different horses.

Q. Do you have any particular success stories using the BUA saddle?

A. Not one in particular because it has helped all of my horses so far. I feel they are less one sided and it has helped my own aches and pains so much that I am not having to go to the physio as often.

Q. What BUA fitting services do you offer?

A. I am happy to visit customers at their yards or they are welcome to bring their horse to my yard in Hadlow Down, East Sussex. I have a full range of BUA seats, panels and flaps so customers can trial any combination to find the right design components for them and their horse.

To find out more about the BUA saddle visit where you can also find details about your local BUA rep. If you are located in the South East then you can contact Avril at Equine Agents if you are interested in trying out a BUA saddle for yourself.