THE E BAR
The e bar in the saddle significant reduces pressure on the horse’s back especially at maximum pressure (landing over an obstacle).
This is how it is configured and the bar swivels as opposed to being rigid and the riders weight is removed from direct pressure allied to the points of the tree and is taken over the top of the tree in much the same way as the girth straps are attached. It is not difficult to imagine how much difference this makes to the horse’s comfort, especially in those saddles where the rider demands a further back leg position. The pressure and damage caused by elongating the stirrup bars can then be massive. With this method the rider can dictate where and how far back they want the stirrup leather and their associated leg position to be.
If you decide to go for the e bar option you should be aware that the design of this bar cannot ensure that the stirrup leather would come off in the case of a directional fall – we therefore advise the use of safety stirrups of which there are several designs on the market. ( Many standard, so called “safety bars”, are so deeply recessed that they could not be relied upon to release the leathers and the same applies to the many hook bars which are now on the market.)
We are quite certain that many horses would benefit from the e bar in G.P and Jumping saddles but feel that greater safety test should be put into place before we produce these for the open market.
The advantages of this moving part are also potential disadvantages from a wear and tear angle. Users of the e bar should be particularly vigilant in ensuring that the bar is kept clean and regularly inspected for any sign of wear.
This standard stirrup bar has the advantage of being attached to the metal in the head of the tree whereas the e bar is riveted on to the tree and the springs.
e bars have been used in classical dressage saddles in Europe for many years but have never been really adopted by the UK or USA markets.
We are now offering our dressage saddles with this alternative – those riders with whom we have been testing this report that their horses backs have never been better and the need to rebalance the saddle is reduced.
This reduction is pressure has to be one of the prime considerations of any rider trying to improve performance and alleviate the negative effects of pressure by riding their horse.
It is particularly important in the very wide, flat backed horse and in those which are Croup High.
The purpose of this testing was to prove that horses that have a low regular pressure under saddle have the ability to perform more effectively. High pressure peaks will always be evident under rider and saddle, due to the nature of the activity. The aim was to minimise localised high pressure peaks and accelerate the recovery when high pressure peaks are present.
We obtained a lot of interesting data but the testing time was too short, the calibre of the horses not good enough and at the end of the day the saddle fit which had been left to others as I was flying to the UK and this had to be done prior to my arrival, not really to my satisfaction. So there were far too many variables. None the less the results, bar one, which was a saddle which was not a good fit at all, pointed to the fact critical maximum pressure was reduced from a maximum of 14.1 to 8.8 and 9.4 with the e bar jump saddles.
Vanessa Way has had all her horses in NSC saddles with an e Bar and says:
“The e Bar is fantastic! My team are feeling amazing with improved suppleness and freedom through the their toplines. Even my position feels more elastic due to the new positon of the e bar enabling a straighter line from my hips to heel. I just didn’t think the saddles could be made any better, but Josephine has done it again!”