The Definitive Guide to the Easy Change Riser System for the Bates, Wintec and Arena Range of Saddles - This is everything you will need to know about this class leading method for altering your saddle's panels.
This is Part 2 of a 3 part series exploring the systems used in the Bates, Wintec and Arena saddles and how amazingly adjustable these saddles actually are and how this benefits you and your horse.
Bates, Wintec and Arena saddles employ several layers of adjustability and state of the art technologies making these saddles the most adaptable in the world.
Part 2 - Bates, Wintec and Arena Saddle Risers - The Easy Change System
Part 3 - Bates, Wintec and Arena - Horse And Rider Technologies - The HART System
Saddles Ireland are experts in the supply of new and used saddles. We have fitted thousands of saddles and have decades worth of experience in all saddle brands and their models. It's for this reason that we are recognised as Ireland's leading saddle experts and able to advise you on all matters that are saddle related.
The aim of this guide is to answer any questions you may have on the Easy Change Riser System used by Bates, Wintec and Arena branded saddles. If you are new to this System, you will learn why you really should be considering it.
We sympathise with every rider who has issues with saddle fit. It's a tricky thing! But it's not all doom and gloom. There are things you can do to empower yourself and your saddle fitting prowess. A major thing you can do is to use an adjustable saddle system.
After fitting every combination of horse and rider, we have come to the conclusion that adjustable saddles are the way forward, without doubt.
We believe every saddle will be adjustable in the future. Indeed world leading Brands such as Bates, Fairfax, Wintec, Kent and Masters, GFS, Thorowgood, Ideal and Arena all produce adjustable saddles. Some, such as Bates, have been producing adjustable saddles for well over 40 years.
Quick Find Contents
What is the Easy Change Riser System?
The Easy Change Riser System used exclusively by Bates, Wintec and Arena saddles is a means of adjusting the panels via specifically shaped foam inserts to achieve and maintain even contact and saddle balance. It omits the requirement for correctional pads.
As explained in part 1 of this series, your horse can and regularly does change shape, so it makes sense to have a saddle that you can easily alter to match any changes encountered.
By utilising the Easy Change Gullet System and the Easy Change Riser System in combination, you will be employing the highest levels of adjustability found in any saddle. For the average DIY saddle fitter this heightened level of adjustability is paramount.
'Very basically' speaking there are two directional planes to consider when fitting a saddle -
The side to side aspect via the gullet as discussed in Part 1 of this article.
And the front to back aspect via the Panels, considering back shape, evenness and balance.
The Easy Change Riser System is a means of adjusting the saddles panels using specially developed high density foam inserts known as shims.
The shims sit inside pockets that run along the panels from the front to back of the saddle.
These shims are available in different thicknesses and can be used in combination to achieve the desired panel shape and balance.
The Easy Change Riser System is particularly handy when using the saddle across 2 or more horses. The rider can simply remove, add or swap out the shims to suit the next horse's confirmation.
Alternatives to the Easy Change System!
"The only saddles I can think of whereby the panels can be easily adjusted by the everyday rider, with a cost effective, reliable and permanent solution is the Bates, Arena and Wintec saddles that employ the Easy Change System".
There are other systems available, but in our honest opinion, the Easy Change System is the most versatile.
The alternative systems that are used by some manufacturers such as pump up air bags or removable panels known as modular saddles are in our experience unreliable or expensive and often 'quite specific' in their uses.
That is not to say they don't have their place, but these systems are, in our professional saddle fitting opinion, much less versatile when compared to the Easy Change System.
The Easy Change System is utilised in virtually every Bates, Wintec and Arena saddle no matter which confirmation or discipline the saddle is designed for.
What are Saddle Panels?
A saddle's panels run from front to back on the underside of the saddle on either side of the horse's spine. The saddle panels are the bearing surface that provide the contact and cushion between you, the rider, and the horse beneath.
It is of high importance that these panels have even contact along the horse's back so that there is no bridging or points of pressure.
Also, at no point along the panel's length should it elevate the saddle, putting it out of balance. An out of balance saddle will tip you forwards, backwards, or side to side. In combination with possible un-even contact, this will lead to pressure related issues due to unevenly distributing the rider's weight, and poor compensatory riding styles.
The channel that runs between the panels must allow enough width to accommodate the spine. We advise a minimum of three fingers width.
Below are examples of some panels on various Bates saddles.