The BUA is not a conventional saddle, so we do get a lot of questions about it. Have a look through these and perhaps you will find an answer to your own question. If not, please don't hesitate to contact Groen Equestrian.
Q: If the tree is cantilevered, does the front of the saddle not put pressure on the trapezius muscle? +A: The trapezius muscle is the muscle that lies around the shoulders and withers of the horse. So the points of the tree of the saddle rest in this area. There is no added pressure on the trapezius muscle with the BUA saddle, the rider weight is distributed evenly over the whole surface (provided the rider is balanced in the middle of the saddle). There is less shoulder restriction than with more conventional saddles because of the short points of the tree of the BUA.
Q: If I am suspended above the horses back am I still able to give seat aids for more advanced dressage? +A: The cantilever can be adjusted to give the smallest amount of suspension, keeping the rider as close to the horses as possible. As the rider is only suspended a little bit and when seated, like in walk or sitting trot not or hardly at all, one can still give finer seat aids in a BUA.
Q: Will I not feel I sit far above the horse in a BUA? +A: Because all the material of the BUA is light and thin, it is designed as a close contact saddle. The cantilevered tree and seat are very close to the horses back. A conventional saddle has a lot of padding in the seat, many rigid structures within the tree and thick panels under the saddle, keeping the rider further away from the horse than in the BUA. As the flaps are thin mono flaps, the rider’s leg is in the closest possible connection with the horse's side.
Q: Will the suspension of the BUA saddle bounce me out of the saddle? +
A: The BUA saddle will feel differently when you first ride in it, it will feel a bit more bouncy. But most riders will get used to it very quickly and will realise the suspension will actually help them stay closer to the horse when they relax into it.
If you still feel bouncy after riding a while, please check a few things:
• Are you sitting in the middle of the saddle, or are you sitting on the cantle? If you are sitting on the cantle, you are not in the correct part of the saddle to ride. The cantle is the outer part of the cantilevered tree, making it the widest in the range of movement of the cantilevered tree. So try and sit in the middle of the saddle and see how that feels.
• Are you gripping tight with your knees or legs? If you do, try and see if you can relax into the saddle more and soften your grip. The gripping can make you work against the suspension and bounced out of it.
• You can adjust the setting for the suspension, I often advise to start with the tightest setting and try how you feel with more suspension later. Sometimes the looser setting will actually feel less bouncy as it can absorb more of the movement if you have a big moving horse.
• Sometimes changing between the 2 stirrup settings can also give a different feel.
Q: How can the BUA fit so many horses? +
A: First things first: the BUA will not fit all horses, but it fits a lot of them! In all the years I have been fitting different horses I have noticed the majority of sport-type horses fall into a reasonably close range of saddle tree sizes, the width of the BUA tree is based on this average. There are several reasons that the BUA saddle has an even more extensive range:
• The BUA has quite short points of the tree, so less restriction for the shoulder blades and this makes the BUA fit more horses, especially the ones with broad shoulders.
• The BUA has panels that can be adjusted to the shape of the horses back. They can be shimmed or get more or less padding.
• The BUA tree is not rigid but moves with your horses back giving it more freedom than conventional saddles.
• The BUA tree is short, so even short backed horses do well with a BUA saddle.
Q: If the BUA saddle is modular, should I buy all the separate parts or do I buy a complete saddle? +A: You can buy separate parts, but the BUA saddle is offered in a full saddle, either with dressage, jump or general-purpose sweat flaps. Some people like to order an extra set of flaps for an additional discipline or multiple sets of panels, for instance, when they are using the BUA on different horses.
Q: Are there video’s available about the changing of the BUA flaps? +A: There are some video tutorials on changing flaps panels and seat on the BUA website: buasaddles.com
Q: How long does it take to change the sweat flaps? +A: if you do it often it takes about 5 minutes, for less experienced probably around 15 minutes.