The new Enlightened Equitation FlexEE saddle is a high quality synthetic saddle at an amazing price!
Designed by well known Classical Seat trainer, Heather Moffett, the FlexEE saddle is built on a
leather tree, a very old method of making a flexible saddle. The saddle, as with all Enlightened
Equitation saddles, past and present, is ergonomically designed to allow the rider, even a total
beginner, to sit in the correct ear/shoulder/hip/heel alignment with ease. The stirrup bars are set
back on the dressage model to enable a very deep thigh position, and the large velcroed on knee
rolls (sold separately) that Heather has designed for this saddle, really assist with the deeper knee
position. The velcro on the sweat flap of the GP saddle reaches far enough to permit the dressage
knee rolls to be placed well back, in order to enable the dressage/flatwork seat with ease, ensuring
that the saddle truly is 'General Purpose'. The bars are one inch further forwards on the GP to allow
for shorter stirrups for jumping.
So what are the further improvements that we have implemented? In the final FlexEE, we have made the saddle truly closer to a treeless saddle in versatility of fit. We do not want riders to assume that this is a treed saddle, and can be treated as such. Even the majority of flexible treed saddles are carbon fibre or plastic, and have a normal front arch and gullet plates, requiring fitting by a saddle fitter. The original leather base saddles that we tried and tested, on many horses of different shapes and sizes, worked very well and fitted all but the highest ‘shark fin’ wither horses. Even those high withered horses, with careful padding, were able to be accommodated, providing the rider was prepared to work with the saddle to build the topline up again. However, my manufacturers were having difficulty in achieving the right arch for this to work, being new to saddle manufacture of this type, and only previously working on normal treed saddles. After experimentation and testing, we have been able to achieve the correct arch, now with a good cutback head and no gullet plate, meaning only one width which will accommodate almost all horses! We have also been working with Griffin NuuMed to produce a correction pad for horses needing padding, as we have found their Shimmy pad to be the most successful of all, with their Propad Plus also being a fantastic everyday numnah/pad for horses needing a little additional buffer. So we have amalgamated the two, to produce the ‘ShimEE’ pad, based on the Propad Plus, but with pockets for shims, to produce a very versatile correction pad. We have also lightly padded the skirts of the saddle giving additional rider comfort and made the ‘waist’ a little narrower, giving an even better feel of a ‘twist’ for the rider.
We have also added soft velcro to the underside of the sweat flaps and designed ‘shoulder pads’, which make the panels into a French panel for horses needing shoulder support, velcroing in place, to lift the front of the saddle. These also give amazing extra support for the rider's legs and a feeling of additional security! The shoulder pads are sold separately, as with the knee rolls, but make a huge difference to the fit for horses with straighter shoulders, that need a ‘French’ panel. Those with very wide, loaded shoulders are better without the pads, with the ‘Owen’ panel, which is the basic panel in the saddle. We have also velcroed the panels at the front, meaning that that can be moved slightly up or down, to adjust minutely to the shape of the horse. To this end, we do not recommend changing the panels for two different horses, as it can weaken Velcro over time, but to set it up for one horse and leave it, unless the horse changes shape.
The freedom of the horse’s shoulders is truly wonderful, nothing hard to impinge on the lateral movement, and the saddle is so comfortable I almost forget I am not riding on my Vogue!!
The saddles come in two models, Dressage and VSD, currently in four sizes - 15", 16", 17" and 18". The saddles have no points and
the panels are then 'floating' so that they widen in or out, according to the width of the horse’s
shoulders. Therefore the panels will just spread out according to the width of the horse. The saddle being flexible, will not
bridge, conforming to the shape of the back and is self-levelling.
The panels have been designed to provide a wide bearing surface for the horse. These are moulded
as in typical close contact panels and ensure absolute symmetry every time. The gullet is not as
wide as on many saddles nowadays. Having the gullet too wide causes lateral instability, but the
muscle is strongest at the point of attachment to the spinal processes, and the further apart the
gullet, the weaker the muscle where the edges of the panels rest. So the gullet widens out towards the front arch, as with a flexible saddle once girthed up the gullet will pull in,
leaving the width the same all the way down.
Considerable attention has been paid to the comfort of the rider too, in that the seat is layered with
Cushion EVA and latex, giving a very comfortable ride. The seams are far enough apart to allow the
wider splay of the female seatbones to rest on the padding, and not end up on the hard slope of
the tree, as happens with many saddles, when trying to sit in the deepest, most central part of the
The seat and knee pads are covered with Microsuede synthetic suede. This is the same material used in the
seats of expensive ranges of breeches, and we have chosen for its longevity. It is fully washable in breeches, so we know that even repeated wettings in climates such as
the UK, will not affect its wearing qualities.
The stirrup bars made for this saddle are extremely strong, solid diecast steel. Sweat patterns under the saddles have been
exceptionally even in all test horses used. The girthing is a three point system and
assists in spreading pressure over the whole saddle.
The design of the dressage flap has the elegant lines of the EE Vogue SoftTree saddle, making a truly
stylish saddle at a very affordable price. The cantle features a lacquered brass cantle plate with
the EE torch logo, and the lacquered brass head nails, are also with the double EE logo, adding a
smart finishing touch.
The VSD flap is cut sufficiently wide at the back, in order to accommodate the thigh in the flatwork
position. Many saddles do not take this into account, and the wider thigh especially, will overlap
the back of the flap.
For pricing and options, please see the prices page.