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Saddles: How new technology is paving the way

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Choosing a saddle just got easier, thanks to groundbreaking new technology

Choosing a new saddle isn’t something to be considered lightly. It’s a big investment and something that you’ll be living with – and using – for a long time, so it requires careful thought. Technology has started to play a huge part when it comes to saddle performance, and some of the best technology available when it comes to saddles comes from the XCH saddle series by GFS. The range has been carefully designed by saddle makers and riders alike, to ensure comfort and performance. All of the saddles in the XCH range have the same key features, designed to enhance performance and maximise comfort…

Carbon Fibre trees

Think about hand-made traditional saddles, with their heavy wooden trees. A bulky tree can push you further away from the horse and the rigidity of wood means these trees are not adjustable. Most horse owners are faced with the problem that their horse changes shape from season to season, which can often be inconvenient and very expensive, and may even be overlooked for these reasons. All saddles in the XCH range, however, are made with carbon fibre trees. Carbon fibre is a very light but incredibly strong material that saves valuable pounds in the total weight of the saddle, improving your horse’s comfort and performance. Because carbon fibre is not bulky, it allows you to sit very close to your horse – and with the saddle trees being made from a mould, every tree is precisely the same. Carbon fibre also offers flexibility, meaning the width of each saddle is adjustable. So confident are GFS about the performance of their unbreakable Carbon Fibre Trees, they offer a five year guarantee with every GFS XCH saddle. Looking after your horse’s back at the beginning of his training is just as crucial as any other time. Mistakes made at any stage could cause permanent damage – both physically and mentally. Why take the risk?

XCH saddlePerfect fit

When your horse changes shape, often a brand new saddle or a new tree are the only options, both very costly paths to go down – not to mention inconvenient. XCH saddles, however, can be altered in minutes to ensure your saddle always fits perfectly, meaning quick changes whenever your horse changes shape – something which is just not possible with inflexible, wooden trees. Not only is this extremely convenient, it also proves very inexpensive. All you have to do is visit www.gfsxch.co.uk for instructions on how to tweak the width, or watch the video demo below.

XCH saddleTraditional saddles’ flocked panels can often be lumpy and can cause uneven pressure on the horses back, leading to soreness which may cause a horse to resist and be unwilling to go forward. The XCH range’s combination of wool flocking and foam is designed to suit your horse’s unique shape. A special foam layer ensures maximum contact across your horse’s back. This gives a wide weight bearing surface for maximum weight distribution and shock-absorbing properties from the speciality foam layer,  whilst distributing pressure evenly across the horse’s back. All GFS XCH saddles also feature the revolutionary AMS Humane panel design, which allows for a perfect union between horse and rider. It provides a soft, consistent and very close-contacting layer to support the rider’s weight on the back of the horse. This layer will absorb impacts and distribute pressure evenly for maximum comfort and freedom of movement for your horse. The result? Your horse will be more comfortable to ride, and he’ll be willing to move more freely.

Try before you buy

Always take your saddle for a test ride before you commit to a purchase, and don’t be afraid to compare and contrast as many as you like until you find The One. You’ll be spending a long time in your new saddle, so you have to feel good about it. All the XCH saddles are available to try – for all the XCH model details, visit www.gfsriding.co.uk or phone 01922 638094 for your nearest test ride centre.

Top tip! When trying your new saddle, have your instructor look at how your horse is moving, as well as your own performance.


The GFS XCH range: one for every horse

Event XCH

The Event XCH has a shapely tree that is ideal for horses with more of a curve through their back. The Event XCH is the perfect partner for the rider that enjoys a more traditionally shaped and secure seat. This saddle offers a close feel to allow the rider the best possible communication with their horse. Suitable for a wide range of disciplines, it is priced at £950.

Elite XCH

The Elite XCH offers a brilliant solution for an all round rider, whether their forte is competing or happily hacking around the countryside. A cut-back head and flatter tree suit a horse that typically has wider set shoulders and is broader through the back. An open and comfortable seat allows the rider to accurately adopt a range of positions. Priced at £950.


An attractive saddle designed to fulfil the needs of a rider that has a need for an all purpose saddle but has a preference towards jumping. An open seat and adjustable velcro jumping knee blocks provide the versatility required to achieve balance and precision in both everyday riding and when tackling demanding jumps. A very comfortable all round saddle, ideally suited to a horse with a flatter back. Priced at £950.


The EVA AP XCH saddle is the ideal saddle for a rider in all disciplines. Narrow through the twist, the EVA AP places the rider close to the horse enhancing feel. An open and comfortable seat with a generous flap supports the rider, whether it be used for jumping or on the flat. The EVA AP XCH provides plenty of room around the wither and suits a wide range of different shaped horses. An extremely versatile saddle for life! Priced at £950.

Haflinger XCH

A fit solution for a broader horse, the Haflinger XCH combines a wider gullet with a wide panel to provide a larger weight-bearing contact surface. The flatter tree and shallow gusset allow the rider to sit close to the horse, promoting optimum balance and feel. The panel of the saddle is straighter cut to allow for broader shoulders. You can adjust the fit of this saddle in minutes using the GFS X-change system. The ideal solution for the wider horse that gains and looses condition from season to season. A perfect GP saddle for the every day rider with a wider horse, it is priced at £950.

Thoroughbred XCH

A specialist saddle created to fit a type of horse with a high wither and hollows behind the shoulder. These hollows may be due to natural conformation, age or lack of muscle tone. Using a supportive AMS Humane comfort panel and an extra deep gusset the saddle creates a balanced platform that sits evenly across the horse’s back. Comfort and precision for horse and rider! Priced at £950.

Eva dressage

A great saddle for amateurs or more experienced dressage riders. The Eva Dressage supports the rider and puts them in an excellent position that will allow for precise communication of aids. The seat is balanced and open and allows you to sit close to the horse, supporting you without restriction. The Eva Dressage XCH is built on the same tree as the Eva AP and it is ideally suited to a number of different shaped horses. Priced at £950.

For more information

Call 01922 638094, fax 01922 622921, email sales@fieldhouse.co.uk or visit www.gfsxch.co.uk

How to measure for your new XCH saddle

How to change the gullet of your XCH saddle

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July 2020 Horse&Rider Magazine

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