Childéric Saddles helps aspiring amateur dressage rider amputee, Caroline Smail, to overcome her disability in the saddle.
Caroline said: “I have little control over the prosthetic leg when I’m on a horse and often it is as if someone has hold of my leg and is trying to push me off. My amputation is very high and my stump very short, which makes the leg very heavy and cumbersome. My new horse has an enormous trot and it’s really difficult to sit it and my leg jumps up and down and really rubs.”
Tricia Bracegirdle, Senior Saddle Technician for Childéric Saddles UK, went about tackling the issue by crafting special blocks with greater support to allow Caroline’s leg to sit snugly between both blocks and help balance her in the saddle, as she explains:
“The challenge was the usual one – to sit the rider still and in balance and to allow the horse the freedom to move. We already work with a some para riders, including Heather Bennett, but Caroline is our first rider in the UK with only one leg and a very heavy prosthetic that was literally weighing her down. We believe that every rider and horse should be able to enjoy their time in the saddle, regardless of their level or physical ability and we are delighted to have created a saddle which will now enable Caroline to ride in less pain, for her horses not to have to worry about her losing balance and to follow her dream of becoming a competitive dressage rider.”
You can find out more about Childéric Saddles here.