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Build Your Own Bridle step by step guide

Build Your Own Bridle

The John Whitaker B.Y.O.B (Build Your Own Bridle) lets you create a custom fit bridle that is the perfect fit for your horse.  By choosing each component; your headpiece, browband, noseband, cheek pieces, and reins, the John Whitaker Pick and Mix Bridles are a great way to create a design that fits your horse’s needs.


step 1


Both options are padded for comfort and come with a throat lash.

HP100 Anatomic headpiece
HP101 Straight headpiece
headpiece

step 2

Available in 5 styles, 2 colours and in 4 sizes, there is a perfect fit for your horse.
NB100 Flash noseband
NB101 Drop noseband
NB102 Snaffle noseband
NB103 Anatomic noseband
NB104 Mexican noseband
gif


cheek pieces

We have 3 options- clips, buckles or billets?
CP100 Billet cheek pieces
CP101 Buckle cheek pieces
CP102 Clip cheek pieces
cheek piece

reins

All our reins are made from a durable rubber with leather stops- perfect for grip in all conditions!
RER100 Billet 9-loop rubber reins
RER101 Buckle 9-loop rubber reins
RER102 Oblong 9-loop rubber reins
RER103 Snap clip 9-loop rubber reins
reins

browband

Plain, decorative or sparkly- the choice is yours!
BB100 Raised browband
BB101 Squared curve browband
BB102 Flat browband
BB103 Sparkle gold browband
BB103 Sparkle navy browband
BB104 Checkerboard browband
BB105 Chunky black crystal browband
BB105 Chunky clear crystal browband
browband


Shop all the Pick & Mix bridle components here
shop here

 

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Everything you need to know about body protectors

The majority of us would never consider riding without our hat, right? In conclusion, accidents happen, normally when we least expect it! A key part of enjoying spending time with our horses is staying safe. Although body protectors are deemed “uncomfortable” or “unstylish”, their comfort, effectiveness and affordability are improving. Take a look at what you need to know…

Grace period update regarding BETA2018 body protectors

Following feedback from members, and subsequent conversations with the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), British Eventing have been informed that there is a supply issue being seen by some in relation to the new Level 3 blue BETA2018 standard body protector.

With this in mind, we have agreed with our insurers that a six-week grace period can be put in place. This means that ALL body protectors, being worn at any British Eventing event, will need to be of the Level 3 blue BETA2018 standard by no later than Monday 8th April 2024. 

The purple BETA 2009 safety certification will no longer be permitted after this date.

British Eventing will be undertaking spot checks at events from the 8th April 2024 to ensure compliancy.

A good fit is the key to comfort and safety

No one wants to wear a garment that is going to restrict their movement, particularly in high level equestrian sport.

Most equestrian suppliers will help you choose a protector that is a good fit for you and your body shape.  This is the key to comfort and safety while riding.  If you’re not sure if your body protector does fit you well, don’t buy until you have asked for help. It’s better to be sure of the fit, than to guess.

If you’re buying online, you can still speak to your supplier before you make a purchase.  And, of course, if it doesn’t fit, check that you can return it.

How do body protectors help?

Body protectors designed to absorb impact from a fall or kick from a horse, therefore, body protectors are compulsory for some competitions. A correctly-fitted body protector can offer protection to reduce the impact of a fall.

Body protectors DO

  • Protect the thorax (chest and ribs)
  • Reduce injury
  • Protect the abdomen and internal organs

Body protectors DO NOT

  • Offer direct spinal protection
  • Protect against injuries involving severe torsion, flexion or extension

Body protectors should be replaced every 3 to 5 years

If you do have a fall, we recommend that you check your body protector immediately for any dents. The foam will immediately expand back into its original shape, but it is quite likely that this part of your protector will have lost is impact absorption properties and should be replaced before further use.

Taking care of your body protector and making sure it remains intact will ensure that it enjoys the lifespan indicated.

When you’re not using your body protector, we recommend that it is hung on a hanger and remains zipped to maintain it’s shape. Keep velcro fastened too as it can become clogged with horse hair and hay!

Most body protectors are made from heat sensitive PVC nitrile foam.  Whilst it might feel a little tight at first, it will soften and mould to your shape quite quickly.  Try not to store it in a warm place, so that it remains flexible particularly for early morning rides.
body protector

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Meet our brand ambassadors

Here at John Whitaker International and Brogini Ltd, we would like to introduce our brand ambassadors. Here you would find a bit of information about them and their social media accounts so you can follow their journey.

Our brand ambassadors


Catrin Davies

Hi, I’m Catrin and I live in West Wales near Cardigan with my mum and dad, two older brothers, two cuddly labradoodles and my two 148 ponies - Silva and Coco.
I’m now 15yrs old so this is my last year competing on ponies in British Showjumping events. Last year, I was top points scorer in the UK and winner of the Pony Silver League April - October 2023 on Coco, and also the top points scorer in Wales and winner of the Pony Bronze League on Silva.
I also entered my first ever Pony Grand Prix and came 2nd!! What a year we had!
I’m hoping this year will be just as fantastic so that I can finish with my ponies on a high and move on to competing horses next year.
Both myself and my ponies love wearing our Whitaker kit and I am very grateful to Whitaker International for choosing me to be an ambassador for the brand.
Good Luck in 2024 Everyone!

Social media accounts:
Instagram: @catrindavies_sj

Use code: CAT10JWI
Catrin
In this photo, Catrin’s horse Silva is wearing a Rastrick Summer Sheet and a Ready to Ride headcollar in black

Frankie Townsend

Frankie is 11 years old and despite having a severe form of epilepsy, a blood disorder and a connective tissue disorder, she approves every day how challenges can be overcome. She lives and breathes horses and competes in dressage, showjumping and arena eventing, holding 2 National titles from the RDA National Championships in 2023. But more importantly she works really hard to be the best horsewoman she can be, learning from coaches, vets, physios and farriers so that she really understands how to give the best care to her horses both in and out of the saddle. We are really proud to represent both Brogini and John Whitaker as an ambassador.

Social media accounts:
Instagram: @frankies_ponies

Use code: FRANKIE10
Frankie
In this photo, Frankie is wearing our new Hatfield Collection and the matching Thornton collection.

Harrison Day

Hi, I’m Harrison Day I live in south wales near Cardiff I have two thoroughbreds one which is an ex racer call mouse and my other one is my pointer for this season called Raven till dawn….. they both love the socials especially TikTok where you can find them having fun harrison_day
Both myself and the boys love wearing the Whitaker brand as it’s just so well fitted and designed!
Good luck to everyone competing this year!

Social media accounts:
Tiktok:@harrison_day

Use code: HARRISON10
Harrison

Kayleigh Tonkins

I love nothing more than loading up and riding one of my horses in some of the most rural and beautiful parts of Wales, sharing my experiences with my TikTok and YouTube followers. This year I plan to compete in endurance, riding Billy my Standardbred gelding in 10 x 40km rides (all going to plan!). Celt my Arab part bred is entered in one of the best endurance events in the country - Man Versus Horse, and our training will all be documented on my TikTok page! I am so thrilled to be a John Whitaker brand ambassador as I have always really loved the quality of the tack and equipment, it’s very suitable for all my needs as a long distance rider!

Social media accounts:
Instagram: @kay_tonks
TikTok @kayleightonkins

Use code: KAYLEIGH10
Kayleigh
In this photo, Kayleigh is wearing the NRG Helmet, which is available in black or navy.

Laura Robson

Conkers is a 10 year old exracehorse that has been retrained into a wonderful hacking horse and loves nothing more than galloping across the English countryside. Our aim this year is to get out and about doing low level showjumping, attend cross country clinics, and enter lots of fun rides across England, all while sharing our adventures across my social media channels.

Social media accounts:
Instagram: @conkeringhero
TikTok: @conkeringhero

Use code: CONKERS10
Laura

Sofia Melluzzi

Hello! My name is Sofia, but people like to call me Fifi! I’m an 8-year-old show jumper from the UK and we currently live in Wellington, Florida - known as the world’s horse capital! I’ve been riding since I was 2 years old and I currently compete with my New Forest Pony, Flash! (show name ‘Brock Bee Line’). I got Flash in December 2023, so we’ve been a team for only 3 months! During this time, we’ve been showing in the .65cm classes here in Wellington and rising up the ranks each ride! In our last show, we got our first 3rd place ribbon in a very big and competitive class! We are working towards showing in the .85 pony class once I get comfortable with his power! I’ve been a brand ambassador for John Whitaker and Brogini since I got my very first pair of Brogini boots when I was 3! Everywhere I go, people always comment on my boots and all my other amazing tack and apparel that the team kindly sent to me. Thank you for supporting me and following my journey. Lots of Love, Fifi xoxo

Instagram: @fifihorseworld

Use code: FIFICINDY
Fifi
In this photo, Fifi’s pony is wearing our matching San Francisco Collection.

Toni Czogalik

Hey there! My name is Toni, a 25-year-old from Essex and an Equestrian Content Creator. I started horse riding 1 year ago and absolutely love sharing every hoof beat of my journey online. Meet my partner-in-crime, Bobby, the speedy, cheeky 13.2hh piebald Cob who keeps me on my toes and fills my days with endless laughter and joy!

Instagram: @toni.florentina
TikTok: @toni.florentina

Use code: TONI10
Toni

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John Whitaker Riding Helmet Range


An introduction to the John Whitaker Riding Helmet collection.
John Whitaker’s NRG and VX2 riding helmets are both tested to SEI ASTM F1163-15 and VG1 standards, making them suitable for almost all riding clubs. Both of our latest riding hats benefit from a Dial-To-Fit system that allows the user to finely tune the fit of their helmet. Whether you’re looking for a simple helmet, or one to ride and shine in, we have the choice for you!
Approved for the following competitions:

horizon
Horizon Riding Helmet
The Horizon Helmet is a fusion of safety meets design, The helmets inner shell is made from a hard EPS foam with a honey comb exo-shell which provides additional safety by distributing any impact and absorbing shock. The exterior of the helmet has a multi-panel design with different textures and various vents for a classic but sporty look.
The helmet is tested to SEI ASTM F1163-15 standard meaning it is suitable for most riding competitions as well as everyday use.
Horizon Riding Helmet


Whitaker VX2 Helmet in Black or Navy
Whitaker are proud to announce the launch of the VX2 Whitaker Helmet. The VX2 features updated safety VG1 01.040 2014-12 and SEI ASTM F1163 – 15 making it Competition Ready*!
The ever popular Dial-to-Fit system returns in the VX2 helmet. For the customer this means a better fitting helmet, that will not slacken over time and for a stockist it means less stock variations for you to store.
There are three vents to the front of the helmet, ensuring a steady ventilation across the head. The lining of the VX2 has been treated with Coolmax, which wicks moisture away from the head, and can easily be removed and machine washed.
This VX2 helmet still ensures all the safety measures needed to achieve the VG1 and ASTM standard is achieved, whilst still weighing in at only 444g.
Sizes are as follows: -
Small: 50 – 54cm
Medium: 55 – 57cm
Large: 58 – 62cm
VX2 Riding Helmet

Whitaker New Rider Generation Helmet in Black or Navy
Suitable for almost all Riding Clubs*, the NRG helmet has a smooth, matte effect outer and is available in Navy or Black with a breathable coolmax lining which is removeable and machine washable.
The helmet inner shell is made from an EPS foam which is a hard foam designed to absorb shock whilst offering protection, the helmet is tested to SEI ASTM F1163-15 and VG1 standard. Available in four shell sizes, the NRG features a Dial-To-Fit system which allows the user to finely tune the fit of their helmet!
The NRG helmet features 2 large front vents
Sizes XS: 48-52cm S: 52-56cm M: 57-60cm L: 58-62cm
NRG Plain Riding Helmet

Whitaker New Rider Generation Helmet in Black or Navy with Sparkles
Suitable for almost all Riding Clubs*, the NRG helmet has a smooth, matte effect outer and is available in Navy or Black with a breathable coolmax lining which is removeable and machine washable.
The helmet inner shell is made from an EPS foam which is a hard foam designed to absorb shock whilst offering protection, the helmet is tested to SEI ASTM F1163-15 and VG1 standard. Available in four shell sizes, the NRG features a Dial-To-Fit system which allows the user to finely tune the fit of their helmet!
The NRG helmet features 2 large front vents which have silver sparkles
Sizes XS: 48-52cm S: 52-56cm M: 57-60cm L: 58-62cm
NRG Sparkly Riding Helmet

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An Introduction to Whitaker Saddles


John Whitaker International has a new saddlery collection, complete with both updated and entirely new saddles. A new range of semi-synthetic leather saddles is now available under the Whitaker Everyday umbrella which offers all the exceptional quality you would expect from Whitaker UK Saddles, but at a lower cost.

The John Whitaker Saddle Collection has recently been upgraded and fine-tuned, right on time for you to bring in the new year with either a completely new model or an updated model! Our team has worked hard to ensure that these saddles will be the perfect fit for both riders and horses alike. Calfskin leather seats and panels have been made using a softer foam for a comfortable fit, and the slim-line close-contact seat ensures optimum connection between horse and rider. The felt-lined under panel even features slits should you wish to use extra wool flocking.

All saddles are crafted from the finest quality leathers which are specifically chosen to enhance grip. We have hand selected new, softer and richer materials offering exceptional grip. Such is the quality of the leather that it eliminates the need to break in your saddle – giving you a competition ready fit from day one.

Every type of equestrian discipline requires different skills and abilities - and your saddle should be no different. This is why all aspects of every saddle we create have been thoroughly thought out and tested to ensure they excel at their intended use. For example, our Windsor Junior Pro Saddle is designed with stability and safety in mind, with large calfskin knee rolls to help budding riders develop their skills whilst keeping them safe.

Saddles are by no means a small investment though, and we know there can be a lot to take in when considering a new purchase!

Here at John Whitaker International, we have a variety of saddles available for sale. This even includes three different ranges, the John Whitaker Collection mentioned above, Whitaker Demands Range and Whitaker Everyday Range. We also have saddles that come with HeatMould systems and ones with Gullet Tree systems. Each of these have their own particular advantages and so if you’re struggling for a style to go with then read on! 


Whitaker Demands Range

Whitaker Demands saddles come with a medium width gullet bar as standard, but can be adapted by using one of six sizes. This simple system uses an easy access panel, which is opened using an Allen Key (provided); this no nonsense approach makes for a quick and easy adjustment process which is ideal for horses and ponies that are changing shape.

The seat, knee roll, skirt and flaps are crafted from a soft grained genuine leather for superior comfort and durability whilst the under panel and sweat flaps are made using a specially engineered synthetic leather. This durable, waterproof material means your saddles can be wiped down using soapy water and won’t crack or deteriorate.

The under panels of Whitaker Saddles incorporate a shock absorbing latex construction, and the felt-lined panels are padded with memory foam flocking which moulds perfectly to the shape of your horse and won’t compact and harden over time. There are slits in these panels to allow for traditional wool flocking, if required.

Whitaker Everyday Range

All of our new everyday saddles now come with an exceptionally ‘close-contact’ fitting seat and under panels, allowing for a greater connection between horse and rider. The Latex panels have been made softer for your horse’s comfort, and come with slits for additional wool flocking - perfect for horses with an irregular conformation.

All saddles in the Everyday Collection are built upon our Gullet Tree, which allows for super easy adjustments. All you have to do is unscrew the existing bar (all saddles are supplied with a medium width bar) and replace it with the correct sizing.

The synthetic leather used for the Everyday Saddle range has been engineered for a secure grip and a natural appearance, whilst being super easy to maintain - all you need is a sponge and some soapy water! The knee rolls and seat are made from a genuine leather to aid in grip and comfort.

HeatMould Trees

Light, flexible and shock absorbing, these Trees are crafted from a Nylon Polymer which is injection-moulded and then hand-shaped to the correct size. This injection-moulded technique results in an incredibly strong tree without any additional reinforcement. Injection moulding has also allowed us to heighten the tree points, ensuring your horse has full movement through its shoulders.

The HeatMould Tree can be adjusted up to 2cm as many times as you require without affecting the structural integrity of your saddle. This is achieved by using a specialist infrared lamp which penetrates the leather and padding without causing any trace of damage and allows us to mould the tree to your exact specifications.

Not only is the HeatMould Tree exceptionally lightweight, the Nylon Polymer distributes pressure evenly, reducing pressure ‘hot spots’ - this not only places less strain on the horse’s spine but also ensures a comfy and stable seat for the rider.

Gullet Trees

Our Gullet Tree uses shaped steel bars to strengthen and shape the pommel of your saddle to ensure the optimum fit for your horse. These steel gullet bars come in 6 different widths and will comfortably fit the majority of horses.

Once the easy-access panel on your saddle is pulled aside, the gullet bar is clearly visible and can be easily swapped in a matter of minutes. Simply unscrew the current gullet bar, pop your new size in and you’re good to go! Because the Gullet Tree uses steel bars to strengthen the tree, once the gullet bar is removed the pommel will stretch easily, meaning even the widest bars can be fitted with ease.

The only tool you need to adjust your saddle with is an Allen Key. These are supplied with all new Gullet Tree saddles, and if you misplace yours they are sold at most good DIY stores - there’s no need for any specialist tools!

Junior Pro Jump Saddle From: £1,195.00
/
The Junior Pro Jump Saddle has large calfskin knee rolls and a forward cut ensure a secure seat position - perfect for building confidence in future show-jumping superstars.
- Forward cut
- Large calfskin padded knee roll ensure stability when jumping
- Close-contact calfskin seat
- Durable leather flaps
- Contrast white pipe and stitching
- Contrast red/white/blue stirrup keeper
SIZES: 15, 15.5, 16, 16.5”
COLOURS: BLACK OR HAVANA

Stockholm Jump Saddle From: £1,495.00

Designed for the professional and amateur use, our new Stockholm Saddle is made entirely from a supple calfskin leather, large front knee block and a flat seat for comfort when jumping.
Key features of this particular model include:
- Full calfskin flaps for a close-contact feel
- Forward cut for stability
- Improved close-contact panels
- Large padded knee roll
- Heat-Mould Nylon tree for a lightweight and bespoke fit
- Contrast white stitch and piping
SIZES: 16.5, 17, 17.5, 18”
COLOURS: BLACK OR HAVANA

 

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A-Z Rug Bible

Rastrick

After the perfect rug, but getting a little confused at all of the technical terms surrounding them?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Take a look at our A-Z of top terms below to help you with your search:

Breathable rugs allow air flow to reach a horse’s skin, which aids with the evaporation of moisture and sweat

Combo neck rugs have an integrated neck cover, ensuring maximum heat generation

Coolers are indoor rugs with a thin, breathable layer to keep horses warm while still allowing for sweat or water to evaporate, helping them dry without getting cold

Denier is the thickness of the fibres within the rug’s fabric itself, and a higher denier tends to be more durable

Fibrefill is a material that traps warm air in the rug, the same way a horse’s coat does, to keep them cosy in cool temperatures

Filling is usually measured in grams per square metre (GSM)

Foreleg arches are slightly cut out behind the horse’s elbow, offering more freedom of movement

Heavyweight turnout rugs contain over 300g of fill and are the perfect option for the coldest winters, but they have the disadvantage of becoming very heavy when wet

Hood loops provide the option to attach a neck cover to a rug

Lightweight turnout rugs only contain up to 150g of fill and are ideal during milder weather

Mediumweight turnout rugs contain between 150-300g of fill and you can layer rugs underneath them for extra warmth if needed

Neck covers are useful if your horse needs extra warmth, eliminating the need to go up to the next rug weight

Sheets are indoor rugs providing a thin layer without any extra weight. Like a cooler, they are handy to lay over a horse’s shoulders or quarters while you groom them

Shoulder gussets are tailored toward horses with bigger shoulders, as the extra material provides greater range of movement

Stable rugs are indoor rugs which come in a wide range of fills and they can be layered underneath turnout rugs, as the waterproof outer will keep it dry

Standard neck rugs don’t have a neck cover attached, although some come with hood loops included

Surcingles are straps that secure rugs underneath a horse’s belly

These are the main terms we’ve struggled with in the past, do you have any more?

If you’re feeling a little braver, feel free to check out our Whitaker rugs available here.

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Which Tree Is Right For Me

14

“Both the HeatMould and Gullet Tree are backed by a Lifetime Guarantee, so regardless of which tree you chose you can rest assured that your tree is of exceptional quality.”
With the option of 2 types of saddle tree, picking your next saddle can be a bit daunting especially if you aren’t a saddle fitting expert! We’ve put together a handy guide below that might help you in your decision, and remember you can always give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise!

How often will you need to adjust your saddle?

If your horse changes condition quickly, your planning to change horses soon or you train horses before selling them on, the Gullet Tree may be most suitable as the width can be adjusted in a matter of minutes using only an Allen Key and any size Whitaker Gullet Bar. Our HeatMould Tree can be adjusted an unlimited amount of times, but is has a 2cm narrower or wider limit and requires a specialist heating lamp for adjustments. We can adjust your saddle for you, but it can mean you are without your saddle for roughly 5 working days.

Does your horse have an unusual conformation?

Our HeatMould Tree can be adjusted to your own template resulting in a more tailored, precise fit. Because each adjustment takes place by hand you can discuss any concerns with our friendly staff who can offer the best solutions. Our Gullet Tree uses the rigid steel Gullet Bars to retain it’s strength, and the bars cannot be adjusted to a specific shape so may not be best suited to some horses conformations.

Is weight an important factor when choosing your next saddle?

Our HeatMould Tree is injection moulded from a strong yet flexible polymer which ensures strength whilst still being exceptionally lightweight. The Gullet Tree utilises a steel Gullet Bar as it’s pommel to shape the tree which makes it slightly heavier.

Still Unsure?

Both the HeatMould and Gullet Tree are backed by a Lifetime Guarantee, so regardless of which tree you chose you can rest assured that your tree is of exceptional quality. However, if you would like some help you may find it beneficial to discuss your decision with a qualified saddle fitter. If you don’t have a regular fitter, simply contact the Whitaker offices and we can point you in the right direction!
hebden
For more information, visit the Whitaker website - here

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Busting the Riding Helmet Myths

We’ve put together this little myth buster blog to make clear up some common safety misconceptions.

vx2
Image shown is the Whitaker VX2 helmet in Navy Sparkle, click to shop.

You can only get a riding related head injury by falling off you horse! FALSE


The majority of head injuries are caused by unpredictable events, such as your horse spooking. And even more surprising, 1 in 5 people who are seriously injured weren’t even riding – they were just hanging out around horses or watching someone else.

I fell of my horse and the helmet looks fine so I don’t need to change it! FALSE

When your helmet receives a blow, it’s the inner that can become compressed, therefore losing it’s shock-absorbing qualities.  And you might not even know it.  So if you subsequently have an impact, your helmet might not give you adequate protection.  We recommend you replace your helmet every 5 years – which is the expected lifespan of a helmet.

The more expensive your helmet is, the more it will protect you! FALSE

You may think that by spending more money on your helmet that you are receiving better quality or a higher standard. When in fact you could spend much less on a helmet that has the exact same standard and testing.

Your Helmet Must Have a Kitemark in order to compete!   FALSE

A Kitemark is an official kite-shaped mark given to goods approved by the British standards Institution and although many of the approved standards must be accompanied by a kitemark (PAS015, VG1) this is not the case for all of them.

My helmet has to have PAS015 to compete! FALSE

A common misconception is that helmets must have the PAS015:2011 to make them fit for use within disciplines such as British Eventing or The Pony Club, however, this simply isn’t the case! See below the official BETA helmet guidelines for competing.
BETA Helmet Guide

I could always borrow my friend’s helmet!FALSE

 
Avoid loaning your helmet to others. Not only will you not know exactly what kind of treatment your helmet has experienced whist the helmet is not with you, your friend may be a different size and could be at risk by wearing an incorrect size.  

We hope this solved some of your helmet questions or worries! Remember, if we didn’t answer one of your questions always ask a professional.

Ride Safe - From the John Whitaker Team
john peppermill

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Whitaker Winter Wish List

Starting to consider starting your Christmas shopping? Let us help you - we have picked our Top 10 favourite items from the John Whitaker and Brogini range.

Top 10 Picks for Winter:

1- Lami-cell Winter Worker Gloves £16

We all know it’s the time of year when it starts to get a little cooler and our fingers and toes could use an extra layer of warmth - The Lami-cell Winter Worker Gloves are a great start to our ‘Top 10’ list. With their fleecy lining and anti-slip palm, these gloves make the perfect accessory to your winter wardrobe – use them at the yard or out on a chilly hack! Available here
Lamciell Gloves

2- Lami-cell Performance Socks from £20

To keep those toes nice and toasty, the Lami-cell Performance Socks will do the trick! With a thicker lining on the foot, these socks will provide you with warmth without being too bulky in your boot. Available in a range of colours and pack sizes. Prices start from £20. Available here
Socks

3- Kettlewell Luggage: From £25

Our Kettlewell Luggage collection is designed with a tough exterior to protect your tack and riding wear from knocks and scrapes in transit – perfect for those looking for a stylish way to store and transport their tack and accessories around! Our collection includes: Kettlewell Bridle Bag, Helmet Bag, Bandage Bag, Boot Bag and Grooming Bag. All available for Pre-Order now on our website, find them here
Whitaker Luggage

4- Thornton Bandages £25, Thornton Fly Veil £25, Thornton Headcollar £35, Thornton Saddle Pad £35, Thornton Show Rug £75

This stunning collection is available in Navy/Silver and Black/Gold, making it the perfect gift for those who love the #matchymatchy look with a little added sparkle! This collection features the Thornton: Fly Veil, Head Collar, Saddle Pad, Bandages and to top it all off a beautiful show rug. Treat yourself or a loved one to this stunning collection for a Christmas treat! Shop the whole collection here
Thornton Collection

5- NRG Sparkly Riding Helmet £85

The NRG Sparkly Riding Helmet has been vigorously tested to the highest safety standards, which makes it suitable for most UK riding associations. This helmet is exceptionally lightweight and features a dial to fit system which is perfect for those days when you need to wear your ear warmers under your helmet! It’s Sparkle design is beautifully eye-catching making it stylish and functional, get it here:
NRG Helmet Whitaker

6- Dortmund Sticky Knee Breeches £95

The Dortmund Breeches are your perfect winter companion, with Aqua-X technology these breeches have water repellent properties and are quick drying to ensure you stay nice and dry on those rainy days. With Whitaker’s signature colour decals, these breeches offer you a subtle sporty look and a 3D printed silicone knee to keep you put in the saddle. Available in Navy and White here
Dortmund Whitaker Breeches

7- Sanremo Croc-Effect Field Boot £245

The Sanremo field boots are lovely in every way, with their soft grain leather and croc-effect patent leather details these boots are guaranteed to make you stand out from the crowd. All boots in the Brogini ‘Competion Prestige’ collection are available in 11 foot sizes, 4 calf widths and 3 heights to ensure you get that perfect fit. Not to mention they are highly recommended by the renowned Whitaker family! Get them here:
Brogini Sanremo Boots

8- Arezzo/Livorno Micro Crystal Top £310

Don’t hang about for this one, the Arezzo Field and Livorno Dress Boots are made to order (minimum 10 weeks) but will 100% be worth the wait. Treat yourself or a loved one to these elegant and luxurious boots. For a super stand out look, go for the ‘Micro-Crystal Wave Top’ and team them with our Sparkly NRG Helmet to complete your look. You can thank us later! Check them out here
Livorno Brogini Boots

9- Barnsley Pony Saddle £795

This one is perfect for the kids! Our Barnsley Pony Saddle is forward cut with a large padded knee roll for extra support. Easy to maintain with its genuine leather upper and wipe clean synthetic sweat flaps and under panel, the Barnsley Pony Saddle is guaranteed to give you more time in the saddle and less time cleaning. Available is sizes 15”-16.5” and in black and brown here:
Whitaker Barnsley Saddle

10- Ultimate Splurge – Argento Jump Saddle £1,850

Designed and used by John Whitaker himself – The Argento Jump Saddle is ultimate saddle royalty here at John Whitaker International. This saddle is handcrafted using French leather with supple calfskin leather knee roll and seat and is available in classic black or luxurious tan. Your perfect showjumping companion. You need this! See more here
Argento Saddle by John Whitaker

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The ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’ of what to wear for riding competitions

Confusion is rife in the riding industry about what riders should and shouldn’t wear for specific riding competitions and events.  In an attempt to help, here are a few do’s and don’ts in terms of what you can definitely wear. 

What to wear - and when

Any rider will tell you that turning up in the wrong attire to a riding event, can mean you don’t get to compete.  There are more rules and guidelines about dress code in British eventing than any other sport, so it’s important that you understand what you can and can’t wear.  For example, the dress code for show jumping is much more relaxed than for dressage.  The type of clothing you are expected to wear also varies depending on the level you are competing at (amateur, professional, unaffiliated, etc).  Generally speaking, for local horse shows, the rules are less onerous on dress than for professional events.

In all events it’s compulsory that riders wear a safety helmet, manufactured to the required standard.

The ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’ of what to wear for riding competitions

To clarify things, this is our understanding of what is expected when competing in some of the major disciplines:

Show jumping

Breeches and jodhpurs should be white, pale yellow or fawn and fit the styling of your overall outfit.

Traditionally tailored jackets are worn, in darker colours (black, navy, green, brown, burgundy, grey or red), but there is a modern trend towards the use of lighter colours.

Only white or pastel coloured shirts with white collars and ties or hunting stocks are allowed. Most riders opt for plain long black leather boots or gaiters with jodhpur boots.

Dressage

Dress requirements for dressage are extremely formal.

In advanced dressage events, a formal uniform or tailcoat, with top hat, is the preferred choice.  A tailored black or navy coat is also permitted. Whatever the colour of your jacket, riders must wear a correctly tied white or cream stock with hunting cap, bowler or crash cap. 

If you are competing in preliminary or advanced categories, riders are allowed to wear a uniform of plain black or navy jacket with plain white or cream stock.  Many riders opt for pure white breeches, but cream or beige are often permitted.

Often competitors match the colour of their stock and breeches to their saddlecloth, as this creates a professional look and unifies horse with rider. 

Gloves must be worn at all times with the most popular colours being white or cream.

Long leather black boots are required, but brown boots with gaiters and identical jodhpurs are also popular. 

Check the rulebook before you arrive, to ensure you can compete without issue.

Cross-Country

Boots can be long, short, or worn short with plain gaiters.  As with show jumping jodhpurs need to be beige, white or cream.  A cross- country shirt is advised and skull cap (or riding hat without a fixed peak).  Given the physical nature of cross-country many riders often wear back protection.  Many carry a short crop.

Saddle Fitting Guide

See advice before you enter

If you’re still unsure about what to wear, check with the relevant association/governing body for your event, as there will be official guidance available for competitors.  There may also be information on their website. 

Our top tip is to not guess what you should wear, but always do your research so that you arrive prepared, in the right correct attire!

Horbury Competition Breeches

Horbury breeches

Many riders prefer Horbury Competition Breeches for competitions by Whitaker featuring stretchy lycra ankles and reinforced knee patches.  They are made from a mix of cotton, micro-fibre and elastane for great comfort and a perfect fit.


John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

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Free guide to fitting your saddle

Whether you’re an established rider or a complete novice, a well fitting saddle allows your horse a greater degree of freedom, movement and comfort.  It also helps you to adopt the correct riding position.  Fitting your saddle accurately will ensure both you and your horse enjoy your time together, whether you’re competing or out for a casual ride.

A saddle that fits your horse well will mean he can move freely, as well as protecting his vital back muscles.  This will ensure your horse develops a rounded, perfectly balanced outline.  It also means both you and your horse will have a comfortable ride together. 


Free Saddle Fitting Guide

Check, check and check the fit!

There’s been a lot of advice written over the years, about how to fit your saddle correctly – some of it good, and some of it confusing… 

Here are some of our top tips:

    (1) Take time to position it.

Place the saddle on your horse’s back.  In terms of placement, it should go slightly forward of your horse’s withers.  Slide it backwards and forwards until it naturally falls into the right place.  The points of the saddle should ideally be an inch or two behind the shoulder blade to allow for rotation.

Ensure there is a good clearance through the withers.

    (2) Check fit around the withers.

The front arch of your saddle should have sufficient clearance over the withers.  It mustn’t be restrictive.  As a rule of thumb, you should be able to get 2 fingers width vertical clearance between the withers and underside of the saddle arch.

    (3) Check the gullet

The central gullet of the side panel must have sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine.  A poor fit can make result in the horse feeling uncomfortable, and lead to bruises, sores and an unhappy ride.

    (4) Check the seat level

Check that the saddle sits comfortably and has an even bearing surface at the front and the rear, and that the general balance of the saddle is correct.

    (5) Do a final check

When you’re absolutely sure that the saddle is well balanced, positioned and securely fastened, you are ready.  If you’re unsure about anything, get some help from a professional saddle maker.  They will be more than happy to give you their best advice about how to fit different types of saddle.

What our saddle fitting guide video below


Free Saddle Fitting Guide

Take care of your saddle

Your saddle is probably going to be one of the most expensive pieces of equine equipment that you purchase, so take care of it. 

Take care of your saddle

Make sure the flocking remains flat, store it in a cool temperature (to preserve the leather) and treat it regularly with a quality cleaner.  This should ensure that it lasts and continues to ensure you have a safe and comfortable ride.

Remember you should always check your saddle twice a year to ensure that it doesn’t need adjustment or replacing.

Many riders have found that the Bedale Saddle by Whitaker has been a good choice.


This all-rounder, is idea for everyday use, easy to keep clean, with a shallow seat for comfort when jumping.  For a more videos of Whitaker Saddles please click here to visit our video library.



John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

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Essential horse riding gear for Winter. Where do I start?

If you’re a horse rider, the cold is always a real challenge through the Winter months.  Here are some top tips for keeping warm in these chilly weeks ahead, so that when you go out for a ride, you are sensibly dressed, feel comfortable and enjoy it!

Change what you wear

The Autumn and Winter can be a difficult time for riders, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t go out and enjoy time together with your horse as the weather gets colder.

Your horse won’t mind going out for a ride in the cold so don’t disappoint him.

Our best advice is to use additional layers, to help maintain a comfortable body temperature while riding.  If you wear extra clothing, it’s easy more to remove it as your body temperature fluctuates.  This will build pockets of warm air within your clothing that acts as superb insulation. 

Extra layers are recommended – this allows you to remove items as your body temperature rises.

Always opt for fabrics that are specifically designed to wick away any natural perspiration that can make you feel damp and cold.  Many riders find that tight-fitting garments can be a problem in this respect.  We, therefore, recommend that clothing be loose fitting, with plenty of air space, so heat is not trapped in specific areas, and can move around and insulate your whole body.

Extra Layers

Keeping warm is a combination of good insulation and moisture control

High-necked shirts, made from a fleecy (or silk) material, are a great option.  This will keep you warm and allows any natural perspiration that you generate to move away from your skin rather than trapping it. 
But it’s not just the top of your body that can benefit from fleecy material.  Jodhpurs and breeches with a fleecy lining can be a good option for winter, keeping your legs warm and flexible when riding.


Saddle Fitting Guide

Many find that the Santiago Endurance Breeches by Whitaker are a useful addition to their Autumn/Winter wardrobe.  The inclusion of a fleece lining around the seat and inner leg area aids comfort and prevents unnecessary chaffing.

Jackets designed for equestrian use

In terms of outer layering, always go for a moisture-resistant and insulated jacket, specifically designed for equestrian use. Don’t be tempted to wear your everyday coat.  It will not keep you as insulated and, if not cut properly, could hamper your position in the saddle and restrict your freedom of movement. 

Don’t forget your boots!

Good quality boots are a must-have for riders; many find that taller riding boots or paddock boots offer the best insulation and comfort.  These are generally wider than regular paddock or tall boots, thus allowing air to circulate. 

Boots

Don’t forget to check your stirrup iron size when wearing your insulated boots, so that your foot can still move freely.

You lose a lot of heat through your head

Your head is the greatest source of heat loss within your body.  A fleece helmet cover should help to regulate your body temperature.  Some riders prefer body sensitive balaclavas that cover the head, ears and neck.

Check the local weather before you set off for a ride so you know what lies ahead.

Before you go out riding, it’s really important to check the local weather report, so you understand what might happen and can dress appropriately.

Check the wind chill factor in particular. If your body loses heat quickly, you can soon become cold and miserable.  And, of course, if the weather looks really bad, you may wish to postpone your ride. 

 

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Are Whitaker saddles of good quality?

Quality matters.  But how do you go about judging quality when it comes to equestrian saddles? 

The Whitaker family have been associated with professional eventing for over two decades, and, therefore, see equipment through the eyes of the rider and horse.

That’s why every single piece of equipment within the Whitaker range is crafted with quality, comfort, durability and value in mind.  That’s particularly the case with saddlery.

Our range is designed for hassle-free adjustment and fitting

Comfort and durability are key features of all Whitaker saddles.

We have also gone to extensive lengths to ensure saddles can be easily fitted, adjusted and maintained.  They are crafted from fine and genuine leather/synthetic materials that are built to last and perform in a range of situations.

 

Innovative adjustment

All of our saddles come with a medium width gullet bar made from genuine leather for ongoing performance, comfort and durability. These can be adapted by using 6 different widths.

The under panel and sweat flaps are made from a grained synthetic leather.  This is both waterproof and easy to clean with just soapy water.

The look, unique branding, performance characteristics and backing of the Whitaker family make Whitaker saddles a preferred option for many

A versatile range of products that can be bought online directly from us

We have extensive experience of the industry, and this reflects in the quality and range of products that we provide.

John Whitaker Dressage

But the real question is why do riders choose our saddles over and above other options?

Whitaker saddles are quality through and through, and while many suppliers over the years have tried to replicate our high design standards, we think (and hope) they remain in a league of their own.    That’s why they carry the Whitaker logo, known and respected across the equine industry.

A special offer just for you

We don’t normally discount our products, but wanted to give you an opportunity to experience our saddles for yourself. 

Download our discount voucher and use it to buy a high quality saddle from our extensive range of equipment equipment and saddlery at www.johnwhitaker.com

We’d then recommend that you visit our website


Discount

Saddles come in a range of colours and special sizes, and can be manufactured to meet individual requirements.

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of the Whitaker team about your requirements, then please call us on 01706 340500.  Just let them know you’ve read through blogs and they’ll be able to help advise you.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Is a Whitaker saddle easy to fit and keep clean?

Any experienced rider will tell you that you need to take care of your saddle.  If not, particularly with genuine leather products, over time it can lead to cracking and serious problems. 

That’s why we’ve gone to great lengths to provide a range of saddle options that are both easy to fit and adjust, but even easier to clean and maintain.

Our under panels/sweat flaps feature a synthetic/leather design so that cleaning needn’t take longer than it needs to

Saddle cleaning

Genuine leather is what may top riders prefer.  It looks great, feels comfortable and lasts.  But that’s only if you take good care of it, and put the time into maintaining it.

Do you have the time to spend hours cleaning your saddle?

The problem these days is that riders have very little time to take care of their tack, particularly if they only get to ride at the weekends.

While any responsible equine supplier and/or rider will recommend that you take good care of your tack and don’t cut corners, Whitaker saddles feature a unique/part synthetic/leather underside panel and sweat flaps that can be wiped down after use with simple soapy water. 

That means that you can keep it clean, without having to invest hours cleaning it with specialist cleaners etc.  This will ensure that you reduce the chances of your saddle deteriorating or cracking over time.

Always invest time in your tack cleaning regime; don’t cut corners, and focus on a buying a saddle that is practical to maintain and clean

Oiling your saddle

You should always oil your tack.  This is particularly the case when you buy a new saddle. 

Avoid oiling any leather that covers your saddle’s flocking, as the wool or fibres can soak it up and alter the fit, and/or damage flocking.

Instructional Video

If you are not sure how often to clean your saddle, or what you need to do before use, always speak to your saddle supplier and they will give you their best advice.  It’s better to start off on the right foot, so you know what you need to do and when.

“While all of our saddles are designed for ease of cleaning, we are on hand to provide support about cleaning, fit and storage,” said Joanne Whitaker. “There’s always someone at the end of the phone to help with specific queries.”

We hope you’ve found these blogs useful and you’re welcome to download the free Whitaker discount voucher below.

Download our discount voucher and use it to buy a high quality saddle from our extensive range of equipment equipment and saddlery at www.johnwhitaker.com

We’d then recommend that you visit our website


Discount

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of the Whitaker team about your requirements, then please call us on 01706 340500.  Just let them know you’ve read through blogs and they’ll be able to help advise you.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Which Whitaker saddle is right for me?

Whitaker supply a range of saddle options, but which one is right for you and your horse?

We have an extensive range of saddles that will support your specific riding interests.  Be sure to focus on what you need both now, and in the future, as it is a significant investment

Buy a good quality saddle - it matters

Whether you are a general rider, just starting out as an enthusiastic junior, an experienced eventing adult, or just like a casual ride with your horse at weekends, your saddle needs to support your horse, and the type of riding you enjoy.  Our film below gives an overview that may help you decide.

 

Buying a saddle is an important part of securing your riding experience

Buying a saddle is an important part of riding experience as it will ensure you and your horse enjoy your time together, without any discomfort, accidents or issues.

Taking a closer look at design features, fitting instructions, ongoing care and maintenance of your saddle should all form part of your selection process, not just how it looks. That means working with a specialist supplier that knows and understands the equine industry.

Whitaker – up there with the best suppliers

Whitaker supplies a range of saddles, both genuine leather and synthetic, suitable for different disciplines.  Whether you ride for fun, professionally, at events and competitions, regularly, or just at the weekends, the Whitaker saddle range has something for everyone.

But what saddles do riders prefer?

General purpose saddles

A range of general purpose saddles (for adults and junior riders) are available through John Whitaker for training, general riding and hacking purposes. Stocked in a wide range of sizes, saddles can be bought in both black and in light havana (brown).

Dressage saddles

The Harrogate Dressage Saddle by Whitaker features straight cut flaps with large padded knee rolls to encourage correct positioning and excellent posture.

As with other Whitaker saddles, it is a lightweight design, made from genuine leather with a part synthetic underside for ease of cleaning.

The Highgate Dressage Saddle is for junior riders and based on the Harrogate design.

Jumping saddles

The Bedale GP real leather Jump Saddle by Whitaker is a medium cut, lightweight option, with a regular depth seat.  It’s versatile enough to be used for various disciplines, including jumping. 

Specific features include: large padded knee rolls, easy care synthetic leather underside, and quick adjustment mechanism with just an Allen key. There is also a customisable cantle plaque.

The Overton Jump Saddle is another option for jumping. It features a forward cut and shallow seat, helping with balance and providing a high degree of comfort while jumping

John Whitaker Saddles

Hunting saddles

The Hebden Working Hunter Saddle by Whitaker features a straight cut flap with a slim line padded knee roll, making it ideal for both working hunter and dressage disciplines.

It’s lightweight, made from genuine leather and has an interchangeable gullet bar system, for ease of fit.

You can watch films about all the above saddles in our video library.

We want to build lasting relationships with customers that trust in our abilities

As a sign of our goodwill, we are pleased to provide you with an opportunity to download a free Whitaker discount voucher below.

Download our discount voucher and use it to buy a high quality saddle from our extensive range of equipment equipment and saddlery at www.johnwhitaker.com

We’d then recommend that you visit our website


Discount

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of the Whitaker team about your requirements, then please call us on 01706 340500.  Just let them know you’ve read through blogs and they’ll be able to help advise you.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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What if my Whitaker saddle doesn’t fit my horse?

In the first instance, if you find your Whitaker saddle doesn’t fit properly it can be returned and replaced or adjusted free of charge.*


There’s nothing worse than buying a saddle and then finding that it doesn’t fit properly, or the fit changes over time.  What do you do?

Our saddles are designed for ease of adjustment guaranteeing a more comfortable and sure ride – all the time.

What’s the goal of saddle fitting?

At Whitaker we believe that you should always get your saddle professionally fitted, or check fitted, to ensure it is both comfortable for you and your horse, before you take it away. 

Saddle fitting can take 1-2 hours if done properly – and your saddle fitter will go through many different stages of checking before they finally confirm that it is okay.

The goal of saddle fitting is to prevent discomfort, future behavioural issues and any damage by avoiding pressure on reflex points, and distributing the rider’s weight optimally over the saddle support area.

While most saddle makers will give you their advice about how to fit and adjust the saddle that you buy, look out for specific features that will make it easier and less hassle-free for you.

 

Whitaker saddles have been designed for hassle-free fitting and use – so you can focus on riding

Whitaker saddles are designed for ease of adjustment

All Whitaker saddles come with a medium width gullet bar, but can be adapted by using one of six widths. 

This simple system employs an easy use access panel, using just an Allen key (supplied). 

This makes adjustment and fitting hassle free so you don’t waste time.

Don’t forget that saddles need to be check fitted at regular intervals given your horse’s form will naturally change over time

It’s important that you keep an eye on your horse’s development, mood, signs of rubbing, distress etc to ensure that your saddle continues to fit well.

While there is no specific timing for these checks, it should be an ongoing process, as many natural things could occur that may alter your saddle fit.

For example:

  • Seasonal changes – ie: when your horse is out in the pasture more, or having hard feeds during the winter

  • If you move your horse away from his/her normal pasture land into a new one, causing them to eat differently/eat different things

  • Your horse’s saddle can drop if they have been in a different exercise/working routine perhaps due to ill-health, etc

At the end of the day, if you need a custom fit saddle then you need to work with an experienced saddle supplier and designer like Whitaker. They have the experience, knowledge and know-how about how to fit, check-fit and maintain your saddle and will advise you accordingly. And that means you will be able to enjoy your riding experience, and be confident about what you are doing.

Download our discount voucher and use it to buy a high quality saddle from our extensive range of equipment equipment and saddlery at www.johnwhitaker.com

We’d then recommend that you visit our website


Discount

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of the Whitaker team about your requirements, then please call us on 01706 340500.  Just let them know you’ve read through blogs and they’ll be able to help advise you.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

*Conditions apply - see our returns policy for full details

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Why should I choose a Whitaker saddle?

Whitaker is a name associated with excellence and performance – in equestrian equipment supply, and of course, we shouldn’t forget that the Whitaker family themselves are World famous eventing professionals.

It takes an equestrian family to deliver real quality, and to understand what riders demand from their riding attire, saddlery and equine essentials

Saddle

Why Whitaker for saddlery?

It’s confusing isn’t it?  Choosing a saddle. 

The advent of the internet should make it much easier to choose what’s right for you.  But sometimes, too much choice is a bad thing and many riders, particularly if they are new to riding, or inexperienced at buying saddlery, just don’t know which one to go for.

Whitaker is a name that many people trust in this field.  At Whitaker there are members of the Whitaker family in operations, and each one of them that is involved has much experience of training, working with horses, and advising riders just like you about the right kind of equipment that they should be considering.

“One of our key strengths in the equipment supply industry, is that we understand what matters to riders and what they actually need practically, comfortably, etc,” said Joanne Whitaker.

“It’s no good rushing into a decision if you don’t fully appreciate what kind of saddle you need (both today and in the future), how it should be fitted, what features will benefit your riding experience, etc.  That’s why we always recommend that you look to a business that has riding experience.”

Saddle Guide

Why Whitaker?

  • Saddles are easily adjusted – the widths of the lightweight tree can be modified in a matter of minutes using Whitaker gullet bars (sold separately).

  • Partial leather/synthetic underside allows for ease of cleaning and maintenance with just soapy water.

  • All saddles are lightweight, easing the burden on your horse without any lack of performance.

  • Great looking and fully compliant with the latest discipline rules, ie: dressage, jumping etc.  Care has been taken to abide by the rules of specific events, so saddlery meets requirements, but also aids performance.

  • Features distinctive Whitaker brand motif - a sure sign of quality and performance.

  • Many saddles in the range are crafted from genuine European leather which is crafted to last.

Ask anyone in the industry that knows anything about riding and equipment, and Whitaker will be one of those that they recommend.

Interested in our saddlery?  Give us a call or take a look at our video library to see some of our latest Saddle films.

Download our discount voucher and use it to buy a high quality saddle from our extensive range of equipment equipment and saddlery at www.johnwhitaker.com

We’d then recommend that you visit our website


Discount

Saddles come in a range of colours and special sizes, and can be manufactured to meet individual requirements.

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of the Whitaker team about your requirements, then please call us on 01706 340500.  Just let them know you’ve read through blogs and they’ll be able to help advise you.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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How much will my Whitaker saddle cost?

Saddle

Price dictates most decisions. But what of value?  It’s no good buying a cheap saddle, if what you need is something of quality that’s going to last and be of benefit to your riding experiences. 

A riding saddle is probably the most essential element of your equestrian kit that you will buy, so it’s right then to carefully go for the best one that marries up with what you can afford.

Download our discount voucher and use it to buy a high quality Whitaker saddle from our extensive range at www.whitakeruk.com


Saddle Discount

The key considerations

When you’re in the market to buy a saddle, you need to focus on what you need.  That means getting straight in your mind what you regard as the key features that matter to your discipline, to you personally, etc.

Most riders will pay a bit more if they think the saddle will last and provide ultimate comfort.

You also need to think about whether synthetic or leather is what you want. 

As we have said in previous blogs, synthetic saddlery tends to be a bit cheaper than leather, and is light and easy to fit. It’s also much easier to clean. 

On the other hand leather will last if you take care of it and will provide a high degree of comfort, given that the suppleness of leather will naturally mould to your shape, and the shape of your horse.

We think that ease of fit is also important given that you don’t want to be wasting time fiddling about with your saddle, when you should be out riding.

What you’re paying for with a Whitaker saddle

With a Whitaker saddle, you get much more for your money and the surety that you are buying one of the best saddles currently available. 

Firstly, the seat, knee roll, skirt and flaps are all crafted from quality genuine leather.  Under panels and sweat flaps are made from a unique grained effect synthetic leather.  This is durable, but exceptionally waterproof, meaning these areas can be wiped down with a simple soap/water combination quickly and easily without the risk of future cracking.

Under panels feature a shock absorbing memory foam, eliminating the need for re-flocking, and all have an interchangeable gullet bar system (for easy adjustment).  The below film shows you just easy it is to adjust and fit to your horse.

 


The Whitaker range is full of highly affordable all-purpose saddles, as well as those for dressage, jumping, saddlery for ponies, for young riders and more. 

Whitaker saddles are widely used for training and competition use across the UK and carry the unique and recognisable Whitaker branding and stitching.

Blackset

So what will it actually cost?

Prices for Whitaker synthetic and leather saddles do vary.

To give you a broad appreciation of cost, you can buy a jumping or dressage saddle (part leather/part synthetic) from £695.

If you need a supple calfskin leather saddle for jumping, prices range from £995 to £1,750. 

Check out our film guides for information about latest Saddles, fitting and adjustment in our video library.  Then visit us online www.johnwhitaker.com/saddles to see our full range, select your Saddle and redeem your 10% voucher offer.

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of the Whitaker team about your requirements, then please call us on 01706 340500.  Just let them know you’ve read through blogs and they’ll be able to help advise you.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Different types of equestrian saddle – choosing the right one

On the look out for a saddle? It can be very confusing.  With designers, saddle makers and equine stores all claiming to provide the best solution, at great prices, which one do you actually go for?

Saddle

Understanding different saddle types

There are many different types of saddle for different riding disciplines.  From general purpose models, to specific designs for dressage, jumping, hunting and training, if you know a bit about each, you will then understand which one is right for you.

Get your horse measured up and then you can start your search.  Your saddle needs to precisely fit your horse’s shape and size – and be appropriate for your riding discipline

Before you look at specific saddle types, its helpful if you get your horse professionally measured with regard to actual size.  When you know this, you can then move forward with confidence knowing what you are looking for.

Prices vary depending on the material, size and design so be clear about this from the outset.  You will generally find synthetic or part synthetic saddles a bit cheaper than genuine leather.

Always look for the best saddle that your money can buy, particularly if it’s your first one, as this will improve your riding experience dramatically.

General purpose saddles

A range of general purpose saddles (for adults and junior riders) are available through John Whitaker for training, general riding and hacking purposes. Stocking a wide range of sizes, saddles can be bought in black and in light havana (brown).

Saddle Brochure

Dressage saddles

The Harrogate Dressage Saddle by Whitaker features straight cut flaps, with large padded knee rolls to encourage correct positioning and excellent posture.

As with other Whitaker saddles, it’s a lightweight design, made from genuine leather with a part synthetic underside for ease of cleaning.

The Highgate Dressage Saddle is for junior riders and based on the Harrogate design. 

You can visit our video library to see the Harrogate Saddle.

Horse

Jumping saddles

The Bedale GP real leather Jump Saddle by John Whitaker is a medium cut, lightweight option, with a regular depth seat.  It’s versatile enough to be used for various disciplines, including jumping. 

Specific features include: large padded knee rolls, easy care synthetic leather underside, and a quick adjustment mechanism with an Allen key. There is also a customisable cantle plaque.

The Overton Jump Saddle is another option for jumping. It features a forward cut and shallow seat, helping with balance and providing a high degree of comfort while jumping.

The Overton Saddle film as available in our video library.

Hunting saddles

The Hebden Working Hunter Saddle by John Whitaker.  It features a straight cut flap with a slim line padded knee roll, making it ideal for both working hunter and dressage disciplines.

It’s lightweight, made from genuine leather and has an interchangeable gullet bar system, for ease of fit.

See the Hebden Saddle film in our video library.

Whitaker has gone to great lengths to ensure that specialist saddles comply with the latest rules and regulations

Whichever saddle you decide to buy, remember to do your research, try the saddle out for fit and comfort, and then make your final decision knowing that your money is being well spent.
John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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A leather or synthetic saddle – which is best?

Modern saddle design has come a long way in recent years.

Leather or synthetic saddle

From lightweight synthetic leathers, to the look, feel and performance of real leather, it sometimes comes down to your individual preference.

And then there’s the question of getting the best of both worlds, by going for a combination synthetic/leather saddle. This is the case with certain John Whitaker options.

Whichever you prefer, there are a number of key points to consider.

Synthetic saddles are naturally cheaper, lighter and easier to maintain with a simple wipe over

Let’s take synthetic saddles first.

Price
Synthetic covers a wide range of materials, so be careful what you buy.  Generally speaking this type of material is cheaper than leather.  You can buy a good quality synthetic saddle, for the price of a second hand leather model.

Weight
Synthetics are much lighter (but still durable) by design than leather, hence it puts less of a load on your horse’s back.  This may be a specific consideration if he/she suffers from back problems.

Ease of care
Synthetic saddles are easily wiped down with a simple combination of soap and water, whereas leather should be treated with special oils/cleaners, to preserve its performance and prevent cracking.

What about leather then? Grip and quality are certainly key features

Durability and ongoing performance
Leather saddles can last a lifetime if they are properly maintained, cleaned and stored.

A judge’s preference?
If you compete, many judges still prefer the look of a traditional leather saddle.

Comfort
Good quality leather, like that used in Whitaker saddle designs, provides a higher degree of comfort, as it will naturally mould to both the rider and horse’s shape. The suppleness of well-maintained leather also ensures it is more flexible, and provides greater grip and security, given additional ‘stick-ability’.

Whitaker saddles are made from the highest quality leather and should last a lifetime if you look after them properly

Make sure you look after leather, as sweat, lack of cleaning, or poor storage conditions could destroy it.

Saddle

Which option is right for you?

Far be it from us as a saddle supplier to say which one is best.  That depends on your budget, riding preferences, whether you value comfort over ease of maintenance, etc.

Both options are highly versatile, durable and readily available through respected suppliers like John Whitaker International (JWI). 

Whether you are swayed toward a synthetic saddle or leather, both have their pros and cons. Think through what you really need to support your specific riding discipline and then go for it!

Don’t lose sight of the fact that, if you feel comfortable in the saddle, you will enjoy the experience more

Confused?  Download our saddle brochure today, to see what’s available.


brochure download

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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How to fit a saddle quickly and easily

Fitting a saddle quickly, accurately and safely is hugely important.  If you end up tinkering around with it and not knowing what you are doing, you risk the possibility that you could damage your horse’s back and experience extreme discomfort yourself while riding.

A saddle needs to be comfortable for both horse and rider and that depends on how it is fitted.

Saddle Guide

Not seen our FREE How to fit a saddle guide?


saddle fitting guide

The good news about the Whitaker saddle collection is that is has been designed for ease of use. 

The Whitakers are a family that really understands what matters to both horse and rider in relation to comfort, riding experience and performance. 

“It’s not just about selling saddles,” said Joanne Whitaker, accomplished UK horse rider and trainer. “We’ve put together a saddle range that we really believe in, have tested them out, and think they are among the best and highest performance models that your money can buy.”

Quick and easy adjustment

All Whitaker saddles come with a medium width gullet bar as standard, but this can be adapted by using one of 6 other widths.

An easy panel system can be accessed using just an Allen key – so your saddle can be adjusted very easily

This simple system employs an easy access panel, opened using just an Allen key (provided with each saddle).  This is a no-nonsense approach that makes for quick and easy adjustment.

You will, of course, recognise that horses (particularly ponies and younger horses), are constantly changing shape as they mature, hence it’s important that your saddle grows with them and supports their vital back muscles.

Always take care of your saddle – each Whitaker model has an easy care, synthetic/leather underside that can be simply wiped clean with soapy water after use

Here are some top tips to bear in mind when saddling up:

  1. Spend time positioning it Place the saddle on your horse’s back.  In terms of placement, it should go slightly forward of your horse’s withers.  Slide it backwards and forwards until it naturally falls into the right place.  The points of the saddle should ideally be an inch or two behind the shoulder blade to allow for rotation.

    Ensure there is a good clearance through the withers.

  2. Check fit around the withers The front arch of your saddle should have sufficient clearance over the withers.  It mustn’t be restrictive.  As a rule of thumb, you should be able to get 2 fingers width vertical clearance, between the withers and underside of the saddle arch.

  3. Check the gullet The central gullet of the side panel must have sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine.  A poor fit can make result in the horse feeling uncomfortable, and lead to bruises, sores and an unhappy ride.

    The central gullet must have sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine.

  4. Check the seat level Check that the saddle sits comfortable and has an even bearing surface at the front and the rear, and that the general balance of the saddle is correct.

  5. Do a final check When you’re absolutely sure that the saddle is well balanced, positioned and securely fastened, you are ready to go! If you are riding with a more experienced rider, you could get them to check fit the saddle if you are uncertain.

Always get some advice from a professional saddle maker before you buy a saddle.  They will be more than happy to give you their best tips and actually show you how to position, fit and check that your saddle is in the correct and most supportive riding position.


saddle brochure download

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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What makes an equestrian saddle comfortable?

When you’re in the saddle, you need to feel comfortable, or both you and your horse will not enjoy the ride. 

If either horse or rider feels discomfort, it’s going to impact on the overall experience – and could actually put you off riding altogether.

John Whitaker Saddle

What makes a riding saddle comfortable for both horse and rider?

The design of the saddle is obviously important when it comes for comfort.

Whitaker saddles feature a memory foam under-panel, but the overall design means you can still use a wool flocking if you prefer

Design

With Whitaker saddles, the under panel incorporates a shock-absorbing, latex material (memory foam padding). The memory foam ensures that the saddle moulds perfectly to the unique shape of your horse’s back, providing great fit and ongoing comfort. When removed, this reverts back to its original shape.

Fit

If your saddle does not fit well, then this will create comfort issues.

Be sure that your saddle has been properly fitted, so that it does not rub, move or make you or your horse feel uncertain, or uncomfortable while riding.

Your horse will let you know if they are not happy, so keep an eye on their mood, and look for visible signs of rubbing and chaffing if you think your saddle does not feel right.

Whitaker saddles are based on a lightweight design.  This is good for a horse’s back and ongoing comfort, as it does not overload them.

Modern advances in leather and synthetic materials have paved the way for new, higher performance saddles that are lightweight by design. 

Many riders prefer a lighter design, as it does by default, put less of a load on horse’s back.

Comfort is everything when it comes to buying a saddle

In summary, make sure your saddle is a good fit from the outset, try it out with your horse, and go for a good design; all of these things will ensure that you keep on enjoying your riding experience.

Do you have saddle fit problems?

If you see any signs of rubbing, pinching, chaffing or sores on your horse’s back, get advice immediately from your saddle supplier.  An uncomfortable saddle makes for an unhappy horse – leading to behaviour problems, and that’s something that needn’t happen if you are aware of it.

We don’t just sell saddles and walk away – at Whitaker we are on hand to help and advise our customers enjoy the most comfortable ride possible

Saddle

Building partnerships with customers

As a leading and respected name in the equine industry, the Whitaker brand has forged long-lasting relationships with its customers.  That means everyone gets the very best service from the moment you starting talking to us, from the moment you come back again – and everything in between!


saddle brochure download

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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How much should I pay for my saddle?

Saddles don’t come cheap, so you need to focus on the core needs of your discipline(s), and then do your research properly, before making a final decision.

Like most things in life, you will probably have a budget in mind.  That’s a good starting point when making a purchase. At least this gives you some parameters to work within.

At Whitaker we always recommend that you go for the best saddle that you can afford

We would always recommend that you look for value too – that means proper scrutiny of saddle features, like ease of fit and adjustment, leather vs. synthetic, design, durability, maintenance etc.

There is no such thing as a cheap saddle - if it doesn’t last, the fit is wrong and can’t be adjusted or the design doesn’t make it easy to maintain, then it’s likely to be a waste of your money. 

Dressage

Focus on your core needs, then go in search of the one for you

The type of equestrian saddle that you need will have a big bearing on the cost.

If you want a professional standard, show jumping saddle then that will inevitably cost more, but if you don’t have a specific discipline in mind and want something that is functional and simple, then this will obviously cost less.

Don’t over-buy something, if it really is not going to be a benefit for your discipline/preferred style of riding.

The colour of your saddle will not affect the price in our opinion – in general terms, they either come in black or brown

Don’t waste money unnecessarily

While many suppliers talk about the cost of saddles, don’t buy the first one you see; try the fit out and properly assess it, as buying an ill fitting saddle could actually waste money.

The Whitaker team is on hand to chat through prices, and to talk through budgets for specific saddle types

The Whitaker team is used to chatting through saddle options with customers so don’t be afraid to approach us. 

We understand you are going to be spending a lot of money, so we want you to be completely happy with fit, price, performance, ongoing maintenance etc before you finally decide.

Should I buy a second hand saddle?

Second hand saddles are naturally cheaper than buying new, which could be a benefit if you are just starting out. But a word of caution, make sure you properly assess the fit (as with a new one), and make sure it has not be damaged in anyway, as this could actually harm your horse.

Horse

Whitaker leather saddles range from £695 for a leather pony/working hunter saddle, through to £1,750 for more professional standard models.  Synthetic options are generally less expensive


saddle brochure download

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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How to pick the right saddle

Buying a saddle for your horse is a huge investment, so it’s something you simply afford to get wrong. That’s why it’s imperative that you take your time, look at all available options, and consider which approach is best for you, your horse, and your chosen equestrian discipline(s).

Key considerations for you to think about


Price

Your saddle connects you with your horse and something you must have, hence we would always advise to go for the best quality you can afford.

When it comes to saddles, there’s no such thing as cheap! You should always focus on which is the right saddle for your horse, but also one that suits you as a rider.

If you’re really not sure, or are confused by the range of choice available, then ask a more experienced rider for guidance, or perhaps your trainer.

If you like the look of a saddle, and have a specific one in mind, then you can always approach the supplier.  They should be prepared to talk through the price in an open and honest way.

At Whitaker we are always happy to talk through suitable saddle types, price ranges and, of course, availability, so ask away!

Great fit

It’s hugely important that you thoroughly assess whether your preferred saddle is a good fit for your horse.  This might take a bit of time, but it is worth it.

Saddle

If you haven’t already downloaded a copy of our saddles brochure then click below


Whitaker Saddle brochure download

When trying saddles, at Whitaker we recommend that you do so on a flat, well-lit, hard surface. It’s only then that you can make a final judgement about quality and ease of adjustment

Ease of fit and adjustment are equally as important as how it is fitted.

All Whitaker saddles come with a medium width gullet bar, but can be adapted by using one of 6 widths.  This simple system uses an easy access panel (accessed with an Allen key), which makes adjustments versatile and quicker.  Watch the film below to find out more.

 

Easy to maintain

If your saddle is going to last, you need to be able to maintain it. Some saddles are easier to clean than others. Check out the design, how it should be cleaned (your supplier will guide you through this), and what products you should use.

The underside of our Whitaker saddles (synthetic) can be simply wiped clean with soapy water after use.

Horse Saddle

Performance/Durability

Look at reviews that confirm performance capabilities, speak to other riders that have used the brand you like, and, of course, ask your supplier for performance details.

Suitability

At Whitaker we have been particularly careful to scrutinise the existing rules and regulations of each discipline, and then to develop a range of saddles that are suitable and technically compliant. 

From saddles for horse jumping, dressage, working hunter classes, to general purpose riding, our saddles are respected and trusted by the equestrian community.

Buying a saddle needn’t be confusing if you know what to look out for.

Focus on what’s right for your discipline, don’t be afraid to ask for help and always take your time - that way, you will not be disappointed.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

 

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Fitting, using and maintaining your saddle

There has been much written over the years about hot to measure up, fit and maintain your saddle.  This is our attempt to clarify the situation. A saddle that fits your horse well will mean he can move freely as well as protecting their vital back muscles.  This will ensure your horse develops a rounded, perfectly balanced outline.  It also means both you and your horse will have a comfortable ride together.   

Properly fitting your horse’s saddle is exceptionally important.  If your horse is in any way distressed or uncomfortable during his ride, you will soon know about it!  Keep having a go at putting it on and making adjustments.

Choose occasions when you are not pressured.  If your horse is well trained, he won’t mind at all.  He may even enjoy spending additional time with you!

Practise as often as you can, as it does help when fitting your saddle.
saddle

Here are some top tips to bear in mind when saddling up:

  1. Spend time positioning it.

    Place the saddle on your horse’s back.  In terms of placement, it should go slightly forward of your horse’s withers.  Slide it backwards and forwards until it naturally falls into the right place.  The points of the saddle should ideally be an inch or two behind the shoulder blade to allow for rotation.

  2. Ensure there is a good clearance through the withers.

  3. Check fit around the withers

    The front arch of your saddle should have sufficient clearance over the withers.  It mustn’t be restrictive.  As a rule of thumb, you should be able to get 2 fingers width vertical clearance, between the withers and underside of the saddle arch.

  4. Check the gullet

    The central gullet of the side panel must have sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine.  A poor fit can make result in the horse feeling uncomfortable, and lead to bruises, sores and an unhappy ride. The central gullet must have sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine.

  5. Check the seat level

    Check that the saddle sits comfortably and has an even bearing surface at the front and the rear, and that the general balance of the saddle is correct.

  6. Do a final check

    When you’re absolutely sure that the saddle is well balanced, positioned and securely fastened, you are ready.  If you’re unsure about anything, get some advice from a professional saddle maker.  They will be more than happy to give you their best tips about how to fit specific types of saddle.


Saddle Fitting Guide

Taking care of your saddle

As a general guide, we think you should be checking your saddle fit (and making any major adjustments), at least a couple of times a year – more if you can.  Any issues can then be resolved.

In terms of maintenance, make sure the flocking remains flat, store it in a cool temperature (to preserve the leather) and treat it regularly with a quality cleaner.  This should ensure that both of you can go out riding (in comfort and style) as often as you like.

How do you know if your saddle fits correctly?

The first thing to look out for is the way your horse is behaving.  If there is any change in his personality, character or temperament when riding him, there could be a problem with your saddle.

Likewise if your saddle is moving, or you have found evidence of sores on your horse’s back, it could all point to the same problem.

From a rider’s perspective your saddle must be the correct length (in the seat) and width for your horse, but above all else, it must be the correct saddle for your riding discipline. 


Your saddle must be designed for your riding discipline. Ask your equine supplier for advice.

horse saddle

Many riders prefer the LA Grand Prix, full leather saddle by John Whitaker.Crafted entirely from a high-grade, supple calfskin leather, the LA Grand Prix Saddle allows for an extremely close contact feel and needs no breaking in. The mouldable flaps are decorated with a contrast stitched swoosh design and finished with John Whitaker signature embossing. Used by John Whitaker in high-stakes competitions such as the Global Champions Tour, the LA Grand Prix Saddle has been finely tuned to aid balance and stability, specifically when jumping.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit. The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI). Combining superior quality with exceptional performance, the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

 

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Basic road safety for the equestrian community

Before you venture out onto any road with your horse, you need to be suitably equipped to deal with situations that might arise.  That means understanding how to keep you, your horse and other road users, safe and protected.

Whether you’re riding on a country lane or major highway, you need to understand your responsibilities when it comes to road safety.

Horses and their riders are an extremely vulnerable type of road user.

The Highway Code

The Highway Code contains all you need to know about riding on highways and byways, the rules to follow, protective clothing and headgear, hand signals, road signs, crossings, advice for drivers, main roads, country roads, codes of practice and traffic laws.

It’s important that you understand your responsibilities under the Code and act accordingly.
road safety

Some key elements of the Code include:

  1. The wearing of reflective clothing and bands at night or when visbility is limited.

  2. Children under 14 have to wear appropriate headwear.

  3. Bridleways should be used whenever possible – do not take horses onto cycle tracks, pavements or footpaths.

  4. Avoid roundabouts (if possible).

  5. Horses are not allowed on any motorways.

  6. Horse riding is not permitted on motorways!

  7. Learn the hand signals given in the Code and ensure you always use them clearly.

  8. Use equestrian crossings whenever possible as these are purpose-designed for riders.

  9. The Code also covers horse-drawn vehicles.


  10. Saddle Fitting Guide

     

Before you take a horse on a road

Before you and your horse get onto the road, The Code requires you to ensure that all tack fits well and is in a good condition; that you can control your horse and, quite obviously, that you always ride with a saddle and bridle.

Nervous riders or those with limited experience, are encouraged to ride with others that have more insight into road riding.

Riding and road safety test

If you are a regular road rider, you might consider taking a riding and road safety test. Whilst it’s not essential for a horse rider to take a test (many riding schools, etc do give some great advice about road riding and other risky situations), it is a good way of reinforcing your knowledge and helping to prepare you for specific situations that you might encounter.

The BHS Riding and Road Safety Test helps educate riders in road safety, in order to minimise the risk involved when riding on roads. You can take the test if you are 12+ years and it’s recognised by the Department for Transport.  It’s worth enrolling given it could potentially save your life as well as protecting other road users. 
Taking a riding and road safety test protects you, but also other road users.

Knowledge and experience count

To summarise, knowledge and experience do count in equestrian sport and will help you to maintain good road safety habits when riding.



horse road safety
Do not attempt to ride on a road (by yourself) if you have little experience.  You need both experience and knowledge of The Highway Code before you do this.  And you must have complete control over your horse.  When you feel confident of all of this, you’re there…

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

 

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Caring for your horse after a ride

When you’ve been for a ride, you will still have many important jobs to do when it comes to cleaning your tack and caring for your horse.  Understanding your responsibilities will ensure your horse continues to be happy, healthy and that you take proper care of him. This all constitutes good horsemanship!
Going out for a ride is just part of the experience – make sure you’ve also got time for what comes afterwards!

From drinking plenty of clean water, to cleaning down your riding gear, removing your saddle, cooling him and grooming, going out for a ride with your horse is just part of the experience.  You will have much to do when you get back!

He needs to cool down

The first thing you need to do when you get back from a ride, is to loosen the reins and walk him around so that he can cool down, particularly if you’ve been cantering or jumping.  Horses that have worked hard deserve a bit of time to cool.  We recommend that you walk him for around 10 to 15 minutes.

Walk your horse around for at least 10 to 15 minutes to cool him down.

Once you have given him time to cool down, dismount and loosen the girth and remove his bridle, and then replace it with a halter and lead shank if you are walking him around.



Saddle Fitting Guide

Clean your tack, ie: to remove saddle sweat, mud, water etc, so that it’s clean and usable next time. Do spend time doing this as it will preserve your kit and ensure it remains in good working order.

horse caring

Give him a good groom

When you have removed your saddle and girth, etc, you can start to groom your horse.  Bearing in mind you should have checked and groomed your horse before your ride, after-grooming is a bit different and shouldn’t take as long, ie: you will probably not need to brush him as much.

 
You may need to hose your horse’s legs down and belly to remove any mud or grime.  If your horse is sweaty, a sponge-down around the saddle area may be required.  This is particularly important on hot days.  You may even consider a complete hose down if you think he needs it! 

When he has cooled down entirely, he can go into his paddock or stable. Many people like to turn their horse out into the paddock for a short time (15 to 30 minutes), before they are stabled for the night.  This mean he can eat some grass, roll about and generally move about without a saddle.

Give him a drink

He will need plenty of water to drink when he’s been riding, to prevent dehydration.  Encourage him to drink as much as he needs.  If he wants a whole bucket of water – that’s absolutely fine.

A horse can lose up to 2-4 gallons of sweat per hour if it’s hot and he’s worked hard. 

Wait before you feed him grain

Grass and hay can be offered after a ride immediately, but wait around an hour if you are giving him grain.  Your horse has a delicate digestive system and you must be sure that he has cooled down before he eats, as he could develop health related issues such as colic.

caring after ride

Finally, don’t forget to check for any obvious injuries when you return from a ride – you will soon know if your horse is uncomfortable or uneasy.  Any issues should be dealt with immediately.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

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Everything you need to know about horse rugs

Don’t be tempted to put any old blanket or rug onto your horse’s back as they are not fit for purpose. Coming in many different sizes, weights and dimensions, for different uses, horse blankets (or rugs) can be quite confusing.  It perhaps begs the question – what does my horse really need?

The winter is a time to reach for your horse rug

Whilst the temperature will define when you need to start using your horse rug, it’s typical to start protecting your horse from the cold, from early fall, into winter.  Many say that, if it’s 40 degrees or lower throughout the day (outside), you should blanket your horse.

It’s not just the cold!

But it’s not just the cold weather when your horse will need a rug.  Bear in mind too that if they are ill, or have only been ridden indoors, or have been taken from a warm climate into a cold one, they will also need to be protected by their rug.

There are many different types to choose from so take some time to learn about them, so you don’t waste your money.
Once you understand the need to use a horse rug, take some time to learn about the most popular types, so you can home in on which ones are right for your horse.
horse rug

Here’s our take on it:

Turnout blankets

These are desiged to both protect and keep your horse warm from the wet and cold.  They are particularly durable and can be used for a wide-range of purposes. Most are made of nylon, or a combination of different fabrics, and in different weights.  This allows you to control the level of warmth delivered.

Be sure to pick the right gram count for your horse as you don’t want to go too light or too heavy.

Stable blankets

These are mainly used while your horse is stabled or being transported about.  They are not waterproof and often made of thick, quilted material.  Some are water resistant, but many won’t withstand the rain, so be careful what you pick.

Just like the turnout blankets, they come in different weights.  It will keep your horse warm and dry when he is in his trailer or stall, but not much more than that.  Many regard it as a less flexible option, preferring turnovers.

You can also buy other types of protection for your horse including rain sheets, anti-sweat blankets, coolers, dress blankets, etc.  These are all designed to keep your horse happy and healthy!  You can also get combination rugs that can be used for multiple purposes. 

If you’re not sure which weight to go for, ask your equine supplier which rug they recommend.

The Menston 200g Checked Turnout Rug is a stylish, durable rug. It has a 200g soft polyester fill to protect your horse from the elements. With 2 x front trigger clip fastenings, waterproof tail guard, fleece wither protection, rubber badge on hindquarters, crossed belly surcingles, silver tone hardware. horse rug The Menston Turnout Rug by Whitaker is a stylish way to protect your horse against the elements. John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Saddlery and leatherworks for your horse: what to look for

Leather is the main (and preferred) material from which saddles are made. What you need to note, however, is that not all leather is of the same quality.  When looking at saddles, always seek good quality leather and pay attention to the finishing, the stitching and fittings.

Whilst this might be a little more expensive, it will last if you take good care of it so it’s a sound investment for you and your horse.

Make sure you fit your saddle properly

A saddle that doesn’t fit your horse very well can lead to all sorts of health and safety issues, so take some time learning how to fit it – it will also make sure you feel comfortable when you’re riding and will not throw you out of position.

Read our blog about: A guide to fitting your saddle.


Free Saddle Fitting Guide from Whitaker

Leather is a good all round material

horse

Leather has long been the preferred option for riding saddlery and tack.  It generally absorbs heat and sweat, and can provide a greater degree of comfort for both horse and rider.  It’s also built to last a lifetime and moulds well to horse and rider, particularly when used on wool flocking.


You need to be clear that leather tack will require a higher degree of maintenance and care – but it’s worth it!

Regular cleaning and oiling will be required for both your tack and saddle.  We recommend that this is part of your daily routine.  Also ensure that you keep your equipment in a dry, dust-free environment, where it won’t deteriorate.  There are a host of quality cleaners, oils and soaps that are all designed to protect, clean and preserve your leatherworks.

Many riders prefer the Argento Saddle, by John Whitaker. This is a good option for show jumpers.  This features a forward cut design, large calfskin covered front, and back blocks - ensuring maximum stability when in the saddle.  Specific features include: full grain calfskin leather seat and panels, large shaped calfskin knee roll, personalised cantle plate, shock absorbing latex under panel, high tree points and either an adjustable nylon elastic tree.

The Argento Saddle, by John Whitaker, is preferred by many top riders.  It ensures maximum stability in the saddle.

horse jump
John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Top tips for caring for your tack

If you don’t take care of your riding tack, it won’t take care of you and it certainly won’t last.  The combined cost is considerable, so it makes sense to take care of it, and do the routine maintenance and cleaning that it deserves.  This is part and parcel of your riding experience and will ensure you get the most out of it.

Pay attention to leatherwork

You need to find time to treat all of your leatherwork, ie saddle, bridle, etc.  Some find that the winter is a good time for this.  If leatherwork is regularly treated and maintained it will last, but left, will become brittle, crack and deteriorate.

Mould can penetrate and destroy your tack - beware!

Mould can burrow itself into your leather and destroy fibres very quickly, so it’s important that you not only clean your tack, but keep it exceptionally dry at all times.  There are various products that will remove mould, but preventative measures are also recommended.

tack

Watch out for temperature variations

Fluctuating temperatures can cause your leather to dry out and crack.

Our advice is to start washing your leatherwork with soap cleaner, to remove dirt and grime, before you use you use a conditioner to nourish and protect it.

Check for damage when you are cleaning, as this might not be immediately obvious to you. Some things might require a specialist repair.

Your metalwork is important

Whilst leatherwork is a key consideration when it comes to tack and cleaning, don’t neglect your metalwork.  Invest in a good quality metal polish to clean up any buckles and rings on your bridle so that everything looks amazing.


Saddle Fitting Guide

Don’t be tempted to leave your cleaning – seize the moment

It’s very tempting after a ride to leave your tack unclean, particularly if you’re feeling wet and cold.

We recommend that you remove any mud, dirt or sweat immediately so that it doesn’t set in. Start with a thorough water clean (with soap) and then treat accordingly, ensuring everything is dry (and away from direct heat).

Our advice would also be to keep your saddle on a saddle rack, off the ground, preferably covered with a saddle protector or cover.  This will ensure it keeps its shape, does not get dusty and keeps nice and dry.

 
A saddle rack is a good option – it will keep it dry and free from dust and mould when the bad weather sets in.

Invest in good quality products

The Whitaker ‘Ready to Ride’ collection is an evolution in low-maintenance, easy to clear bridles and leatherwork.  The rich leather has been tanned an pre-treated using a special unemulsified oil which penetrates deep into the leather - meaning this leatherwork oils itself!  Because the oil is so deeply saturated and supple, the Ready to Ride leatherwork is exceptionally resistant to cracks and blemishes, keeping the leather looking in tip top condition for much longer, as well as making it super easy to clear!

Looking for a more traditional tack solution – try seeing cleaning it as part of your sport, and invest in good quality products to clean and protect all of your kit. 
By adopting a simple, but regular cleaning regime, you can be sure that your riding gear will last, protect you and your horse and, of course, look great! 

Valencia bridle ft. chelsea looking beautiful

Many riders prefer the BR053 Valencia Bridle by Whitaker. This is a flash bridle, crafted from high quality leather that is easy to clean and maintain.  It’s padded for comfort and finished with contrast pattern stitching along browband and noseband areas.


John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Correct dress for all riding occasions

With so many different riding disciplines within the equestrian field, it’s sometimes difficult to make sense of it all – certainly in terms of what you should wear.  Add into the equation, competitions, riding lessons, hacking and things like winter and summer riding, and it’s very difficult to generalise at all about what constitutes correct riding dress.  That’s why it’s important to invest in versatile riding attire that you can use whenever you need it.

Why is it important to wear the right clothing?

Horse riding is an expensive hobby.  Most riders will confirm that.  But it’s one where safety has to come first and that starts with understanding that what you wear is not just fashion and comfort (although they are naturally part of it), it’s about keeping you safe when you are riding.

Start at the top and work down

Every rider will require a safety helmet.  This is universally accepted as one of the key elements of your riding wardrobe. You shouldn’t ride without it and not make any compromises when buying one. Most riding associations look for safety standards such as SEI ASTM F1163-15 and VG1, but check with your riding association before buying as the rules can change. 

Never buy a second hand riding helmet as previous impact may not be visible from the outside of the helmet - make sure it conforms to required standards

The top half!

Your riding shirt or top is more straightforward than your jacket.  This needs to allow for freedom of movement and breathability, be waterproof and then depends on whether you prefer long or short sleeves.

When it comes to your jacket, don’t be tempted to go for a general warm jacket.  Equestrian jackets are specially designed for riding – longer coats, for example, are generally split up the back to provide warmth to the legs, while not restricting movement in the saddle, and many contain loops to fasten around the legs, to prevent them from moving.

Yes, you will pay more for a riding jacket, but it’s going to be more hard-wearing in the longer-term, and will ensure you have an extra degree of protection, given additional padding at the elbows.  There will also be vents built in for comfort, etc.

 
Ask your equestrian supplier which jacket is best suited to your riding discipline.

And the gloves?

Gloves are not just about warmth and protection, they also help you to grip and control your reins more easily.  From leather, to synthetic and woven styles, a pair of gloves is an essential part of your riding attire.

Gloves

Jodhpurs or Breeches?

Most breeches (long) and jodhpurs (short) are naturally made from stretchy material such as lycra or spandex – or another similar fibre.  This ensures they don’t cling to your body, but move with you as you ride, providing a high degree of comfort and surety.

Both jodhpurs and breeches are purpose-designed for riding, so it’s your decision. As soon as you start riding, you will need to invest in a good quality pair.

 
Don’t forget your footwear

You will need a quality pair or riding boots as soon as you start riding.  Make sure you get someone to check your measurements before you buy them. See our blog: 6 things to consider when buying a perfect pair of riding boots. or watch Joanne Whitaker in the film below, providing great advice about fitting your riding boots.

 

 

This is perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of your riding gear as there are many different types - tall, short, wide, thin, discipline-designed etc.  Generally speaking heels should be 1 inch, so that your foot doesn’t fall through the stirrup and the sole must be smooth - wellington boots are a big no!

Don’t overlook the necessity to go for ‘easy clean’ boots either, as you will need to look after them if they are to last.

 
If you’re not sure which boots are right for you, again ask your equestrian supplier.
If you regularly compete, you will need specific colours, styles and types of riding attire.  Be clear on this.

There are, of course, many other aspects of your riding attire that you need to consider particularly if you’re a specialist rider, ie: dressage, jumper or regularly compete, but you can add to the basics over time and, if you’re not sure what colour jodhpurs, for example, you should be wearing, you can check with the relevant authority.

 

 

Many riders prefer Blackshaw Competition Breeches by John Whitaker – these can be worn for competitions, but also for casual riding.  They come in a wide range of colours.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

© 2017 John Whitaker International Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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The importance of buying properly fitted riding breeches

If your jodhpurs or breeches feel tight and restrictive, it naturally follows that you won’t feel comfortable in your saddle.  Ill-fitting breeches or jodhpurs don’t only affect your ride it can make you feel really miserable.

Jodhpurs or breeches?

Ask any rider if they prefer jodhpurs or breeches and they will have their favourite.  Whichever you prefer to wear, your riding pants need to be a perfect fit, if you are to feel comfortable and relaxed in your saddle when you go out for a ride, or compete.


What’s the main difference?

They are very similar, but one of the key differences is where they finish when it comes to the rider’s leg.  Both are designed to be tight fitting (snug fit).

Jodhpurs finish around the rider’s ankle, while breeches finish around the mid-calf area.

Whilst breeches can be worn with long riding boots, they tend to be combined with jodhpur or paddock boots, combined with chaps or gaiters.

Jodhpurs tend to be worn with long riding boots.

fitted breeches

Competition rules

Jodhpurs and breeches come in a variety of different colours. Generally speaking, you will find that specific competitions state that more conservative colours should by worn by riders, ie: white or cream.

If you are in any doubt, check your rulebook for advice. For general sessions, the colour of your riding pants doesn’t matter.

 

Many younger children prefer jodhpurs, given they encourage the correct leg position and grip.

Here are a few things to consider when buying a pair of jodhpurs or breeches:

  1. Try on different pairs and brands to see which one is most comfortable and the best fit.

  2. Darker colours hide the dirt and are, therefore, a good practical option.

  3. Most competitions will require cream or white riding pants, so make sure you have a pair in your closet.

  4. Microfibres and some cottons provide a higher degree of breathability.

  5. In cooler winter months, Polartec-type microfibres provide additional warmth.

  6. Breeches and jodhpurs are low maintenance, but make sure they are machi