Performance saddles – Equipe

Equipe

Ben Maher is one of the many international riders who elect Equipe as their saddle of choice.

The art of crafting the perfect saddle can be likened to the age-old art of glassblowing. Each curve, each line and each stitch is a quintessential component of the overall product. One incorrect move and the end product will be flawed. A 1mm flaw in a saddle can be the difference between clearing a 1m or a 1.6m fence – the devil is most certainly in the detail. This month, HQ speaks to Italian saddlemakers Selleria Equipe and its local team about how they craft their masterpieces, what goes in to the design and detail, and why their saddles are the preferred make of champion equestrians all over the world.

Who is Selleria Equipe?

All Equipe saddles proudly bear the badge ‘made in Italy’ and are all 100% manufactured at the company factory in Valdagno, Vicenza province, Italy. The Selleria Equipe team pride themselves on the individual attention they provide to their clients and the customisations available to match each rider’s stance as well as the horse’s build.

Their goal is to create saddles and accessories that help the horse and rider benefit from the best in technique and elegance, facilitating superior performance on the world’s biggest stages.

With over 20 years’ experience in equestrian sport, Equipe pays close attention to quality, technical perfection and attention to detail. The company’s ongoing commitment to research and development ensures that it remains at the top of its game globally. Drawing from a host of traditional methods, coupled with only the most modern techniques, the company is not afraid to make use of newer raw materials, which its research shows ultimately enhance the craftsmanship of every saddle, and in turn, the performance of its athletes.

According to the Selleria Equipe team, craftsmanship is non-negotiable, and when coupled with a dynamic inventive spirit, it is able to innovate with materials, styles and even the structure of its products, ensuring that all of these components meld into the perfect product.

Staying ahead of the curve

Equipe

Equipe saddles are available through Equestrian House in Gauteng. Natal Saddlery in KwaZulu-Natal and the Tack Shack in Western Cape.

What sets the brand apart? According to Greg Wharram, owner of Equestrian House, Equipe as a brand, unlike many manufacturers he has worked with in the past, are not afraid of innovation, nor do they fear introducing new and unique ideas to the international market.

“The beauty of Equipe is that they provide a vast range of saddles, bridles and leather work, using only the finest materials and utilising the latest technology,” states Wharram. “Their research and development arm is in constant contact with veterinary experts and top international riders from around the globe, and each addition or development is done with the horse and rider at its core. It’s no wonder that its collection strives to satisfy the technical requirements of riders of all levels, with the focus on the comfort and wellbeing of the horse. From the most competitive performance horses to the happy hacker, an Equipe product will not disappoint.”

Innovative to the core

Not shy of being a trendsetter, the brand proffers to lead the way in equestrian products. In September 2011, the company launched its new showjumping saddle, the EK-26, which is part of a new E-Carbon line. This particular saddle is incredibly lightweight, made from carbon fibre, and is the height of nano technology.

Each saddle is designed with a specific discipline in mind, ensuring the position of the rider and the required movement of the horse is taken into account with every stitch. From showjumping and dressage to eventing and endurance riding, what each saddle and item of tack has in common is that it is manufactured and stress-tested to precision, ultimately promoting the wellbeing and sense of connection between horse and rider.

Based on technical and sporting requirements, riders can choose between saddles featuring either the revolutionary carbon fibre tree, a traditional wooden tree, or a tree made from innovative synthetic material. The saddles are designed to ensure that the rider’s weight is evenly distributed on the horse. Notably, once purchased, a saddle can be slightly altered at the opening of the saddle tree and the saddle panels’ size (thickness) can be adjusted.