All posts by jena

How do you know what size helmet to purchase?

Considerations for finding your new helmet when you cannot go to the shop to be fitted…. 

One of the most important items you will purchase for the safe enjoyment of horse sports is your riding helmet – the top priority is proper size and fit. But how do you know what size to purchase?  

Start With Basics

Start with the head measurement taken, ideally with a soft measuring tape. (Don’t have one? A length of ribbon or hay string will work in a pinch to compare with a yardstick.

  • Measure the circumference starting 2 fingers or approximately ¾” above the eyebrows. Place the tape just above the ears and over the “bump” at the back of the head. The tape should be snug (like a nice hug). But not so tight that you might end up with a headache from the squeeze. 
  • Hair can make a big difference so measure twice if you have different hairstyles for just riding vs showing with your hair up. 
Write Measurements Down
  • Write the measurement down ideally in both inches and in centimeters.  Helmets can be sized typically in 4 ways: small, medium ,large etc;  in inches (example 22”);  in centimeters (example 57) or hat size (example size 7). Each helmet brand has a size chart to compare with your measurements.  If you are between sizes, you should typically size up. You should not “size for future growth”, but there are some systems that allow for SOME adjustment if the rider is growing. Or your hair styles are different from day to day.  

I have included a size chart from Charles Owen Helmets for reference below (check your specific brand for the proper size chart): 

Charles Owens Size Chart
Rider Head Shape

This is also a good time to consider the shape of your head. Are you more round or more long oval? Look in the mirror to see if you have a long length from the top of your ear to the top of your head or not so much? Most helmets tend to be more oval than round because most heads follow that too. If most helmets feel tight from front to back you might need a specific long oval model. If they are tight on the sides or push up toward the top of your head, look for a round helmet model. The depth of the helmet relates directly back to how much height you have from the top of your ear to the top of your head. This aspect does not really relate specifically to the circumference or helmet size, but it does impact your helmet comfort and stability. 

A great way to tell what shape your head is from a birds eye view! Have someon look down on your head to see what shape you are!
  • When your order arrives, you should try it on with the hair style you had when you measured your head. Whether up for the show ring, pulled back for comfortable daily use, or my own method (short hair).  
  • How does it feel? Is it snug like a nice hug all the way around? It should be snug, not loose but not so tight that you give yourself a headache. It should be deep enough – sitting just above your ears and not so low that the brim blocks your vision. Nor so far from you ear that the helmet “pops off” of your head. If you have loose areas or the helmet can be easily rocked around on your head, this is not the helmet size for you. In general if you gently move the helmet front to back and size to side, your scalp should move with it. 
Adjusting Your Helmet
  • The harness is not designed to hold your helmet on your head if it does not fit. Ideally the V of the harness sits close to your earlobe. It should be snug enough when fastened that you can fit no more than 2 fingers underneath it. If you yawn moderately,  the strap should not be able to slip over your chin. 
  • If the helmet is equipped with a dial system of adjustment, loosen (open) it before you put on the helmet. Remember – righty-tighty, leftie loosy! Tighten (close) the dial to secure it below that “bump” you measured over in the beginning. Some helmet brands provide for some shape adjustments. A thick and thin foam insert, or a fold-up flap to create a more long oval fit. Or even an adjustment to make the fit more shallow or more deep in addition to a dial fit. 
Helmet Life

If the helmet feels securely snug;

  • Allows for the adjustment of the harness as I have described above
  • Does not interfere with your vision (sits too deeply on your head and perhaps too low over your ears
  • Does not feel like it is popping off your head or is only secured by the harness cinched tight below your chin

You have found a helmet that should serve you well for the life of the helmet, which is 4-5 years from the time the helmet is worn!

Remember that all ASTM-SEI Safety Helmets provide single impact protection, which means that if you fall and hit your head the helmet needs to be replaced, even if you do not see outside damage.   

Helmet Fitting with Cora

I have tried to provide an easy do-it-yourself guide to properly measure your head for a correct helmet fit, when you do not have access to a store with trained helmet fitting staff.  Remember that helmets only work when you wear them. This particular safety item is not something you should purchase with “room to grow” for a youth rider. Always remember to register your purchase with the maker (or distributor). That registration will save you money if you suffer a fall and find yourself in need of a replacement in the first couple of years after making your initial purchase! 

Enjoy the Ride (Safely)! 

Big Dee’s now carrying the Equestic SaddleClip Equine Motion Sensor

Exclusive provider in the United States!

The Equestic SaddleClip is designed for every rider who is serious about training and improving their horse’s performance. Basic measurements such as training structure, number of jumps, training on the left and right hand, training at each gait and symmetry show the actual load of the horse and are analyzed in real time. Qualitative analysis, such as of rhythm and power of its push off, gives an insight into the horse’s development over a longer period of time. Train your horse to become a “Happy Athlete” and raise your own awareness of progress made.

The Equestic SaddleClip is an equine motion sensor that attaches to your saddle and records all of your horse’s movements during your ride.

The Equestic app classifies the data and counts the time spent for a horse standing, walking, trotting, or cantering, and per each direction – on the left or right reins and the number of jumps.

Data is quickly analyed by artificially intelligent online service to get insights about rhythm, impulsion, and symmetry metrics of the ride.

Key functions of the Equestic SaddleClip and Equestic App

  • Logbook – automatic log of date, time, duration, personal comments for each ride
  • Time balance – measure the time for gaits on the left vs right reins or the time spent straight
  • Transitions – track all transitions from halt to walk, all the up to canter, and back down
  • Intensity – relative comparison of energy consumption between different rides
  • Jumps – number of all jumps with a distinction by approach from the left and right
  • Structure – visualization of training time spent by seconds on each rein
  • Impulsion – measure of elevation force in walk|trot|canter with per second details
  • Rhythm – clocking of steps per second and consistency measure in walk|trot|canter
  • Symmetry – calculation of forces symmetry in landing, push-off, and rhythm cadence in trot
  • Warnings – alert notifications of asymmetry patterns
  • Benchmark – statistical reference of rhythm and impulsion by discipline and horse profile
  • Insights – trend analysis of all measurements over the last 20 rides with deep insights

Train more effectively across all disciplines

With the Equestic SaddleClip you can now track your training activity and measure your horse’s progress on key indicators.

Injuries – How to spot them with the Equestic SaddleClip

Research shows that horse owners often do not realize that their horse is irregular. In a UK study, irregularities were found in 47% of the horses, while the owners had reported that their horse was regular.

Some common sport horse injuries include joint inflammation, suspensory ligament injuries, DDFT damage (Tendinitis) and sore muscles.

Each of these injuries will most likely result in your horse moving differently. The Equestic SaddleClip makes it easier to spot these injuries at an early stage. After professional care and rest, the Equestic SaddleClip will show that you horse has improved or not.

Jumpers, Hunters and Eventers have a higher risk of causing injuries on the forelimbs as they land. Often creating issues with the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) either through inflammation or as an actual tear in the tendon. Suspensory ligament injuries as well as issues in the navicular bone and ligaments in the hoof often occur as well. Due to the nature of their work these horses are highly prone to foot injuries, hind leg injuries and knee swelling.

Dressage horses more often experience injuries more related to repetitive stress. The nature of the sport does create injuries to the legs, neck and spine. The horse must hold its own weight and injuries can often be joint and muscle issues and lead to degenerative joint disease (arthritis) in the fetlocks, hocks, neck and spine.

Click here to shop the Equestic SaddleClip Equine Motion Sensor

Shedding Tools

It’s that time of year when you run your hand over your horse, and it comes back looking like you are wearing a mitten!

I love shedding season! It is so satisfying to brush and brush and have a shiny horse after all your hard work!

I have always thought that shedding happened when the weather got warmer. I was wrong. It happens as the days get longer!  The pituitary gland knows when there is more daylight, this produces hormones that cause your horse to shed its long winter coat.

There are so many great reasons to help your horse shed out their winter coats. I think that my favorite part is the time you spend with your horse. I’m not going to lie – I talk to my horse the whole time. They never answer but I know they get what I am saying! 😊

I recently tried 4 different kind of shedding tools and here are some of my thoughts ..

Electro Groom Vacuum – Our horses love a good vacuum, the little nubs on the vacuum end give a little massage while sucking out the hair and dirt! I love the Electro Groom Vacuum. It has been in the barn for years and keeps on going! Easy removable filter bag to catch all of the dust and debris! The vacuum comes in handy all year long!

Equigroomer – This tool has smaller teeth to really get into the hair. It was great for pulling dirt and dander up from below the coat. The Equigroomer was very effective on the hair as well. When the teeth get full, the hair comes off easily. Highly recommended for very hairy, dirty horses.

Metal Shedding Blade – this is the old school tried and true shedding blade. The teeth on this shedding tool are a bit bigger than the Equigroomer. Works great for those extra hairy, dirty horses. The handle can come apart if you would like to get more area done quickly. I also like that this can double as a sweat scraper when your horses aren’t shedding!

Betty’s Best StripHair Groomer – I love this tool for my horse that has sensitive skin. She doesn’t really love the teeth on the other groomers, so this is perfect. There are little rubber nubs that are great for hair removal, bathing, massaging and more. It bends so it is easy to get to places that the stiff groomers can’t get into. Love this for an everyday groomer!

Hands on Grooming Gloves – These are great grooming gloves! They fit my hands perfectly and I can really get into a great grooming/massage! There are little nubs on palms and on the fingers. The nubs are bigger than the nubs on the StripHair so you may be able to get a bit deeper down into the coat. You can use these for bathing as well!

So, at the end of the day, I would love to have all of these tools in my grooming bag. They are all great, depending on what you would like to accomplish that day.

I had a great time spending time grooming my horses and letting them know all my thoughts! I left the barn knowing that they felt loved, and I felt loved by them.

Happy Grooming!

Equine Herpes Virus (EHV)

I know that I am not alone when I say – equine viruses worry me. I have been keeping up with the outbreak of the aggressive strain of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus in Europe. While there have been no reports in the United States the USEF is recommending that people take important steps to protect their horses.

1 .Review and ensure you are prepared for quick implementation of an isolation plan at a competition grounds and/or at your home farm or facility

2. Check your horse’s temperature twice daily and maintain a temperature log. Any horses with a fever about 101.5-102.5°F should isolate in separate facilitates on the competition grounds or at separate veterinary facility off-site

3. Isolate horses at first signs of symptoms or illness and contact your vet immediately

4. Keep separate feed buckets, brushes, rags, and tack/equipment for each horse. Eliminate communal or shared water troughs and buckets.

5. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate cleaning solutions

6. Practice hand washing in between handling horses

7. Maintain social distancing for horses; limit nose to nose contact with other horses at the ring

8. Ensure your horse is vaccinated for EHV (Rhinopneumonitis vaccine)

Please note that the vaccine does not protect against the neurological form of EHV, which is referred to as Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) but does reduce the clinical signs and shedding of the virus. Early identification and reporting of ill horses is critical in order to trace possible points of exposure and to aid in the prevention of further spread of the disease. The first 30 minutes following identification of a potentially infectious horse frequently determines the extent and scope of transmission and potential outbreak. You should contact your veterinarian immediately for testing if a horse begins to display any symptoms of EHV. Competition managers should also be notified if the horse is at a competition.

Big Dee’s carries vaccines to protect against EHV – you can view them by clicking here

The USEF has also made a Vaccination record for Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes – you can download it by clicking here

They have also made an isolation supplies list – click here to download the list

We hope that these tips will help to keep your horse happy and safe.

Tail Envy

Have you ever had tail envy? You know – that horse you see with the long flowing tail and you think, wow – I would love for my horse to have that tail!

I grew up around Arabians, so for as long as I can remember, I strived to achieve that long, beautiful tail. Along the way, I have learned that beautiful tails take a lot of work! There are so many factors that go into making a “perfect tail,” but hard work pays off. It is important to take tails out and put them back up regularly, especially if you are showing.

Over the weekend, I decided to tackle Rascal’s tail. Rascal has plenty of beautifully long, thick hair but I still deal with knots! As a result, I came up with my favorite “tail care” routine that works best for my routine (and my schedule).

Cowboy Magic Detangler and Guard-Tex – Amazing for Tails!

First things first – get your supplies out and have them within reach BEFORE you begin working. This is really helpful, especially when you get to the end of the tail and you don’t have your supplies and have to let go of that braid – you’re going to be upset with yourself!


1.) Cowboy Magic Detangler – Amazing for getting the tangles out – also works on burrs!
2.) Mane Brush – I really like the Tail Tamer Rainbow Mane and Tail Brush – it is heavy duty and the bristles don’t do damage to the hair.
3.) 2 pieces of fabric that will be braided into the tail – You can use an old t-shirt or that spare polo that losts its match a long time ago. Either can be cut into strips and if you are really in a pinch, a few pieces of bailing twine will do the job. (I’ll get to the why/how in a bit)
4.) Guard-Tex
5.) Marker
6.) Tail bag or an old sock

After unwrapping the tail, apply the detangler and begin working through with your fingers. Remember, a little goes a long way! I love the Cowboy Magic because of its smells good and – added bonus – my hands are soft after I am done! Plus, when I wrap the tail back up in the bag, it keeps it nice and soft. Giving yourself small sections to work through makes the job easier. Once that’s done, take the tangle-free brush and, starting from the bottom, work through brushing out the rest of the tail.

Split the tail into three sections and start braiding a few inches from the tail bone

Next, you are going to start braiding the tail. I recommend starting a few inches below the tail bone, otherwise it may cause the horse to try and rub out his tail. Allow for a few loose braids, then start your nice tight braid.

Here is where your strips of fabric come into play.  Having the fabric strips will serve two purposes. First, as you braid from the top of the tail to the bottom, the braid becomes smaller and smaller, leaving you with tiny bits of hair on hair. By the time you take the braid out, it can knot and cause bits of the tail to break off, so the fabric will help save as much hair as possible. Second, by adding the strips, your braid sections will be more uniform, allowing you to braid the tail all the way to the end without any pieces being too thick or too thin. Once the braid is finished, I bring the tail up and wrap it through the loose braids at the top of the tail. One or two times around is all you need; it’s mostly to make sure all the pieces are kept together.

Next, I reach for the Guard-Tex. This self-adhering wrap is typically used for bandaging, but I like it for tails because it doesn’t get sticky or break hairs when I’m unwrapping the tail. Plus, if it gets wet, I can still remove it. You can use Vetrap, but I find it becomes real tricky to take it off if you leave it on for longer than a few weeks. When wrapping the tail, make sure you get enough of the wrap up and around the top and the bottom of the tail for as much protection as possible. I wrap it around a few times, for good measure. When finished, mark the end with a marker so you know where to start when you unwrap it later on.

To “wrap” everything up (hahaha), the last step is to put a tail bag over the wrap you just finished. In case you don’t have a tail bag, I like to use an old sock that I either lost its match (or its so riddled with holes my piggy toe constantly pokes out). Simply cut a 3” slit down each side of the sock (just enough that you’ll have something you can tie in a bow or knot), put the nicely braided and wrapped tail in the sock (or tail bag), tie at the top, and voila, you’re done!

Have a bunch of mismatched, “holey” socks lying around? Repurpose them into a cute tail bag!

Written by Marketing Manager, Jena

The Original 5/A Baker Blankets

5/A Baker Blanket, Bag & Accessories Collection

We have expanded our 5/A Baker collection ! Yes, we have the Original 5/A stable blanket in its traditional tan and blue colors and now carry their wide collection in turnouts, rainsheets, coolers, and stable blankets along with various matching barn supplies and tack carrying bags.  And we also carry the Original 5/A Baker sheet and blanket in Mini Size!

5/A Baker Original Stable Sheet

For the turnout sheets blankets we have the 2 styles, the more traditional look of the stable blankets and the Black Label collection that has the eye-catching black binding and stripe along the bottom of the blankets. We carry the original style 5/A turnouts in a waterproof sheet, medium weight 200gm fill, heavy weight 400gm fill, and an extreme heavy weight blanket with 555gm fill. Options for the coldest of winters! To match the original turnout blanket style we carry the matching waterproof neck covers, in the lined sheet style, medium weight 200gm fill, and extreme heavy weight 2100D with 200gm fill.

The Black Label collection comes in 3 different options all in the same black and tan plaid. The first being the lined turnout waterproof sheet that has no insulation, then the midweight 200gm fill, and finally the heavyweight 400gm fill blanket.

5/A Baker Black Label Turnout Blankets and Rainsheet

Along with the blankets, we have brought in the other needed blanket items by Baker as well!  We have the anti sweat sheet, square rain cover, fleece dress sheet, square fleece cooler and fleece Quarter Sheet! We even have the matching blankets for foals and your dog.

As for the stable items, you can get into the true matchy-matchy with the 5/A Baker nylon breakaway halter and chain lead rope. Hook up your horse in aisle with the Baker cross ties, and then exercise him with the matching 30 ft lunge line with chain. After your ride you can put your saddle pads on the 5/A blanket bar (also great for hanging those winter blankets/sheets) and cool your horse down with the Baker Ice boots.

5/A Baker Nylon Halter with Breakaway Crown

Of course for the human, (we can’t leave you out), you can wear the tan plaid winter scarf and there are even 2 different styles of throw blankets. They are perfect for the barns viewing room on a cold afternoon, or to bring the Baker flair home with you.

The bag collection gives you two color options for the leather binding, black and a dark brown. There are two styles for the saddle carrier bags, dressage and all purpose. And for other riding equipment there is a bridle bag, helmet bag, garment bag, and tall boot bag. Even a duffle bag for the things that don’t have their specific place! To finish the full collection there is the 5/A Baker Elizabeth Bag, which is for around down and a black or brown leather finish cross body bag.

5/A Baker Bag Collection

Make sure to check out this great collection of 5/A Baker products today!

5/A Baker Blankets, Bags and Accessories

Miniature Horse Products

Miniature Horse Products

Having miniature horses means there is  always a struggle to find items that fit. Most are too small or way too big. Below are some products that I have tried and LOVE for my miniature horses. All of my minis are 34” and under.

Wahl KM10 2 Speed Horse Clipper

I have always struggled with finding clippers that will work on minis thick winter hair. Getting ready for show season takes a lot of time and effort. Why not have clippers that work! I really like the Wahl KM 10 clippers for this job! They are light and easy to handle with a really long cord. I have had my pair for a couple years now and they are still going strong! As for clipper blades, I like the Wahl  Ultimate Competition Series Blades If taken care of and oiled every ten minutes, these last me about 5-10 horses doing a full body clip.

600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket with Bellyband
600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket Bellyband

Horse Wear

Another problem I have is finding a blanket and halter that fit these little guys. My favorite blanket is the 600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket Bellyband Style. These fit really well and do not slide around on the horse and I love the belly band. As for halters, I like the Country Tack Miniature Horse Nylon Halter.  Most of mine wear the average mini size.

Tough 1 Miniature Surcingle
Tough 1 Miniature Surcingle

The Miniature Training Surcingle and the Miniature Side Reins are what I use when teaching how to ground. Both are a must have for breaking a mini to drive! My favorite bit is the Weaver  Driving Snaffle. This bit is great for starting out a driving horse.

Mini Biothane Driving Harness
Mini Biothane Driving Harness

As for a harness I use the Biothane Mini Harness. This fits your A and B type minis very well and is approved for show with both AMHA and AMHR shows. The Mini Hay Bag by Tough 1 is the perfect size for using in the trailer. It is durable and my horses really enjoy eating from it.

I have experience with all of these items and use then all the time on my minis!

Written by Custom Service Representative – Jennifer Williamson

New Dressage Items at Big Dee’s

Anyone else Dressage junkies like me? This year we are introducing a lot of new Dressage items into our already large repertoire. Let’s looks a bit deeper into the new items that we are offering you this show and training season.

Equla Vert Unit
Equla Vert Unit

First of all – coolest invention ever. Not only does the Equla Vert Unit sensor keep track of your speed on a Cross Country course telling you to slow down or speed up, it also alerts you on when your horse is correctly and incorrectly using its head on the vertical. A Dressage riders dream!  This unit is ideal for training and cross country, allowing the rider to glance at the unit indicator lights without lowering their gaze on the course or arena.

HKM Rose Gold English Stirrups
HKM Rose Gold English Stirrups

Two words. Rose. Gold. And they are beautiful!

These HKM stirrups are not only affordable, but modern and stylish. You can now match your iPhone. No need to replace the rubber grips anymore as they are built into the stirrup, which is easy cleaning for you! These gorgeous new stirrups are aluminum, which also means they are rust free.

And here is another great thing…matching rose gold spurs!

One K Defender Avannce with Rose Gold Stripe
One K Defender Avance with Rose Gold Stripe

Not to mention the new One-K Defender helmets with the rose gold stripe. Ride in style!

Kavalkade Dressage Saddle Pad

These new pads were made with the horse in mind. Complete with a mesh strip down the spine for ventilation while riding, and a large quilted square wave pattern for padding. The contoured style allows a better fit on the horses withers. This pad has 300g of padding and 9 mm of foam. Whoa. Comfort! I guarantee your horse will feel the difference and thank you. And even better, Kavalkade has  fly veils too!

HKM Dressage Glitter Boots

These boots right here are why dressage is my passion. Glitter boots and bell boots. They are another flashy new product by HKM. The leg boots are anatomically formed to fit your horses’ legs with a soft shock absorbing fill and 3 strong elastic bands for a secure hold. Both the bell boots and leg boots are lined with a faux fur to add another layer of protection and comfort for your horse!

C4 Bit Pattern Belt

The C4 belts have come out with another cute style – bits! They come in navy, grey, hunter, and black. These belts are one size fits most, even kids! You just size to where you need it, and cut off the extra for an easy fit, 100% recyclable and no animal products used to make them. There are endless combinations as you can switch out the buckles! The C4 belt comes in solids and patterns. They even have a dressage horse pattern and one that looks like leather! Wear with breeches, or just your everyday jeans.

Shires Leatherette Bag Collection
Shires Leatherette Bag Collection


     Shires Leatherette Bag Collection

It’s almost show season! Our new 9 piece storage and carrying bags by Shires are exactly what you need to keep everything clean and stored properly. This navy collection accented with leather handles and straps and has a features “wipe clean” outer shell. Simple and sophisticated. There is a tall boot bag, bridle bag, carry all bag, saddle bag, garment bag, grooming tote, helmet bag,  tote bag, and a matching saddle cover. Arrive at your horse shows in style and organized

Written by Customer Service Representative –Laura Brubaker


Are you show ready?


The popular saying “you never get a second chance at making a good first impression,” is very true when it comes to showing your horse. Whether you are showing in halter ot under saddle, your entrance into the arena is the moment that the judge gives you his/her undivided attention to make his initial assessment. When you come into the ring, the first thing the judge will notice is your horse’s overall appearance and presentation. This is your wow moment.

Grooming pays a huge part in overall eye appeal, no matter what the class is. Getting a horse ready for the show ring is not something that can be done in a few minutes. Grooming for the show ring should begin long before show day. It s as much a part of a horse’s everyday routine as is feeding!

Here are a couple of my favorites available right here at Big Dee’s!

Wahl BrushesA Good Quality Show Brush: Wahl carries a series of mane and tail brushes, soft to stiff body brushes and face brushes! They come in different affordable colors and maintain good quality!

Horse Shavers are perfect for on the go at a show

Horse Shavers:  We do all we can to prepare for the show ring but let’s be honest, we forget things! Thankfully Big Dee’s has already thought of that! A popular last minute touch up is our little handy dandy Horse Shavers! They will fit easily in a grooming tote or even in your pocket. You slowly glide over the area with unwanted hairs and they vanish!

Shapley's Show Touchups

Shapleys Touch Up Spray: Need to cover up scars, stains, flaws & blemishes? Shapley’s touch up spray is your friend! It comes in many different colors to match up to your horse. Shapley’s also works well to keep in case of a last minute spill on show clothes too!

World Champion Pepi for a brilliant shine!

World Champion Pepi Coat Shine:  This coat conditioner defiantly lives up to its name! Easy to use, gentle on the skin and leaves coat looking show ready! Brings our superior shine!  

Lycra Hoods - Keep your horse clean!

Lycra Hoods:  Night before the show and everything is done, but what to do to keep those braids in-tact, flyaways – away, and keep horse as clean as possible? A Sleazy! Full body or head and shoulder hoods work amazing in favor of the showing equestrian! Big Dee’s carries all sorts of colors and options for every horse & rider combo. Just be sure not to keep it too tight, it may rub on horse.

There are so many products to assist you and your horse to get ready for the show ring but the most important is to remember to smile and have fun!

Written by Customer Service Representitive – Jasmyn Bethune

New Bates Advanta Monoflap Saddle Now Available!

I was privy to an exciting unveiling of the Bates Advanta Monoflap saddle the other night. It has stuck in with me since then. Their new saddle has so many thoughtful changes in comparison to previous models. As an eventer, I cannot wait for the opportunity to sit in this saddle over a few fences and get the feel of what it has to offer.

From first glance the saddle is attractive and luxurious. The calfskin leather is velvety and tacky for grip and provides a soft yet durable feel.

Bates Monoflap Advanta Eventing SaddleThe knee and thigh blocks are adjustable with a simple turn of a screw! This is such a nice feature that I am sure plenty will take advantage of it.

New Bates Advanta Eventing SaddleAnother great addition to this saddle is the adjustable stirrup bar that allows you to choose your setting and where you want your stirrup leathers to fall below your leg. This is great to help with your position over fences and center of gravity. I also enjoy the recessed stirrup bar because it allows my leg to lay closer to saddle.

The Advanta Saddle "Sweet Spot"

The Advanta sports a more narrow twist than their other saddles. I have a Bates DS+ Elevation close contact and I could immediate tell the difference in the twist. The seat definitely puts you in a great place and you feel like you are in the “sweet spot”. My leg closely wrapped around the saddle stand when I decided to take a seat in the Advanta.

More Flap in the Bates Advanta Saddle

Because of the monoflap design eliminating the additional panel my leg fell into a nice secure place where you can really feel close with your horses body. The Advanta has done a lot to bring you closer to your horses body by removing the bulk of additional material between you and your horse.

Synergy Panel on the Bates Advanta

The SynergyPanel underneath the saddle has been streamlined and contoured to allow more freedom in your horses shoulders as they move. Complete with the CAIR panel system like their other saddles, you are able to eliminate pressure points and encourage blood flow and muscle movement beneath the Advanta. The changeable gullet system has also seen some improvements with steel hardware and updated tapering of the tree points which provides an easier change of gullets. The girthing system on this saddle encourages a balanced placement of pressure as they lay over the tree in the front and rear portions.

If you are in the market for a new saddle, this is definitely one to consider. Bates spent over 3 years developing this saddle and make over 60 prototypes based on rider feedback. These saddles were ridden by professionals and tested to the limits. Their result is second to none. I am really excited to give this saddle a try. At Big Dee’s we do offer an a demo saddle that can be tried by our local clients. Please set up an appointment Lisa in or showroom and she can get you started! The Advanta is available in 2 color options of black and two tone brown and black. Seat sizes are available in 16.5″, 17″, and 17.5″.